Polk Audio PSW10 (black) review: Polk Audio PSW10 (black)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

4 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Equally adept with movies and music; robust MDF cabinet; matches other speakers in Polk's Monitor Series.

The Bad All that's missing is a direct input that bypasses the sub's internal crossover.

The Bottom Line Polk's baby subwoofer belts out tight home-theater bass and sounds sweet with music, too.

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Subwoofers look pretty much the same. Some are big, and some are small, but most are cubes or boxes of some sort. Catch is, they don't all sound the same. We've heard our share of boomy, muddy-sounding subs, and while they sometimes click with home theater, the boomier models fall to pieces when they attempt to reproduce the nuanced sound of a stand-up bass. That's why we were so jazzed about Polk's most affordable sub, the $199 PSW10: it pounds out home-theater thrills and musical bass with equal prowess.

The PSW10 has a 10-inch composite woofer and a 50-watt high-current amplifier. Yes, we know that some of you are probably snickering over the skimpy power rating, but we'd urge an audition before you dismiss this sub. We found its bass power definitely up to snuff. For connectivity, you get stereo speaker-level inputs and outputs as well as RCA line-level inputs. All that's missing is a direct/LFE input that bypasses the onboard 80Hz-to-160Hz crossover control. We prefer direct inputs because they make it easier to blend the sound of satellites and the subwoofer, but we didn't have any problems matching the PSW10 with Polk's Monitor 30 satellite speakers.

This is a fairly compact subwoofer, just 14.5 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 15 inches deep; thanks mostly to its robustly constructed MDF (medium-density fiberboard) cabinet, it weighs a hefty 26 pounds. The PSW10 is available in black or cherry-colored vinyl, and its titanium-finish front baffle matches that of the other Monitor Series speakers. The extended warranty offers five years of protection on the woofer and three years on the electronics--pretty decent considering that the electronics warranty on many other products is often limited to just 12 months.

The PSW10's deep-bass capabilities were impressive, but its definition and control on the Blue Man Group's new DVD-Audio disc, The Complex, were really special. The Blue Men's drums and percussion-heavy instrumentals lose impact on muddy-sounding subs. But the PSW10 delivered every thump and rumble with the utmost clarity. That said, it will do its best work in small to moderate-size rooms. If you want to feel the bass in larger spaces, check out the PSW10's bigger sibling, the PSW12.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Polk Audio PSW10 (cherry)

Part Number: PSW10 Released: Jul 15, 2004
MSRP: $199.95 Low Price: $89.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul 15, 2004
  • Speaker System Type Powered subwoofer
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 50 Watt
  • Speaker Type Powered subwoofer
  • Color black
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired