There are subwoofers, and there are subwoofers. M&K's superpotent V-76 sub ($699) is definitely in the latter category. It's a big fella, tipping the scales at 45 pounds and measuring a stout 18.5 inches high, 15.5 inches wide, and 20.25 inches deep. We wouldn't call it homely, but apart from its curved perforated (and removable) metal grille, it's your basic black vinyl cabinet.
The V-76 features a variable 50Hz to 125Hz low-pass crossover, volume controls, and a phase switch, but no on/off power switch (we left it plugged in at all times). Connectivity is limited to stereo RCA line level and stereo speaker level inputs via spring-clip connectors. M&K's build quality confidence is reflected in its extensive warranty coverage; the V-76Â’s 12-inch woofer is covered for 10 years, while the electronics gets 5 years (most manufacturers limit coverage to 5 years and 1 year, respectively).
We auditioned the V-76 with M&K's five-in-onesuperspeaker, but it can also be used with a variety of M&K or other brands of satellites. Concerns about the V-76Â’s 75-watt power rating vanished as we listened. We were floored by the subÂ’s extreme low bass power and glory. This boomer reached down to an impressively deep 25Hz in our large home theater. That performance humbles that of most smaller competitors, which are lucky if they make it to the mid-30s Hertz range. The depth-charge explosions in the World War II submarine DVD, U-571, were as much felt as heard--the V-76Â’s subterranean bass powers are that extraordinary.
But the V-76 isn't just a bass brute; its tactile definition on music is no less impressive. Well-recorded CDs with lots of deep bass--the organ on Saint-Saens' Symphony No.3, for instance--came across with the airy presence of the real thing. Reggae rhythms, meanwhile, kicked harder than ever. Bottom line: If you can live with the V-76's mammoth size, you won't be disappointed by its performance on either movies or music.