The Polk Audio PSW111 isn't just a very good compact subwoofer, it's a excellent match with the brand's RM and SurroundBar speaker systems. Not that the PSW111 wouldn't jell with other Polk speakers, or those of any other manufacturer, for that matter, but its prime directive is to fill in the bass for the RM and SurroundBar Series. Based on our listening sessions with the SurroundBar 50, the PSW111's performance was beyond reproach.
At 12.1 inches high by 11 wide by 13 deep, it's small enough to hide behind furniture or tuck into a corner. The PWS111's softly rounded cabinet and nicely finished cloth grille add a bit of style, but it's otherwise an unobtrusive design. It weighs a manageable 20.3 pounds. The PSW111 is only available in a matte-black finish.
The sub's front-firing 8-inch composite woofer is mated with a 150-watt (300 watts on peaks) power amplifier. The rear panel houses an adjustable crossover, phase switch and subwoofer volume control. Connectivity options cover all the bases: There are stereo speaker-level and line-level inputs, plus a direct, LFE line-level input, and a set of speaker-level outputs.
We auditioned the PSW111 with the SurroundBar 50 and were impressed with the combination of the two. The blend was so smooth that we couldn't distinguish for sure whether the bass was sometimes coming from the SurroundBar 50 or the PSW111.
Likewise, when we played the Sunshine Blu-Ray Disk, the deep bass was impressively deep for a sub as small as the PSW111. And when we popped in a few CDs, the sub's definition was above par. It's an amazingly good sub for the money ($350 list, $300 online). But if you're looking for even more bass, you might want to upgrade to the PSW110 or PSW125, which boast 10-inch and 12-inch woofers, respectively. (In fact, the 10-incher can be had for as little as $250.) Alternately, you could step up to the DSW series, which offer real-wood enclosures.