Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
I purchased this subwoofer about 2 months ago and since then have given it an extensive listening test. Following is a list of things I would do to improve sound quality as well as some reservations I have toward it.
Before I start off, I would like to clarify one thing about the PSW-10 that might unjustly turn off potential buyers from it: it runs at 50 watts RMS. In the world of music and sound systems, one of the biggest misconceptions out there is that wattage directly correlates with how loud a speaker is. THIS IS NOT NECCESARILY TRUE! The efficiency of the driver determines how loud it gets at a certain wattage, not only the amount of power you're pumping into it! This is why you can buy, for example, computer speakers that boast 400watts of power and have them easily massacred in terms of volume by speaker set ups with half the power (for further examples, compare computer speaker systems to shelf systems to a true sound system. You will find the volume, at a given wattage, tends to increase as you go down the spectrum).
I found the PSW-10 easily competed in terms of volume with every other sub in it's range, including those running at twice to three times the power RMS. If you want to prove it to yourself, run down to your local Circuit City (who sells Polk subs) and sound test it yourself.
Now, onto the guts of the review.
1. As far as entry subwoofers come, this is probably the best bang for your buck that you can find bar none, especially considering the quality of the build. Built around high quality medium density fiberboard and using a highly efficient 10" driver, the PSW-10 manages to bang as well, if not louder, than other subwoofers in this category, despite running at 50 watts RMS.
2. The sound quality is excellent, with very little distortion at high volumes above 50 hz or so, with full excursion easily being reached because of the ported design. In the 40hz - 50hz range, the polk begins to show the limitations of an entry level sub, the sound becoming slightly more muddied (though not horribly so) with extended length sounds(ie. a hellicopter landing slowly) while still staying crisp for burst noise (ie. a gunshot or bassdrum). Below the 40hz, it's pretty much non-functional as a subwoofer. I should also stress that no entry subwoofer has any redeeming qualities below 40hz.