PolkAudio has been one of the companies in the audio sphere who have improved over the years to provide users with better sound at an accessible price. When it comes to price, most audio products that Polk have engineered have always been at an affordable price. The Polk Audio PSW10 is just one among many of their products that are priced affordably. We spent a month with the Polk Audio PSW10, and we can assure you this is a quality product from an industry leader. In this review, we will explore the Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch’s design, sound, packaging and accessories, specs and more. For alternative subwoofer options, see our list of the best subwoofers.
Build Quality & Controls
When it comes to looks, there is not much to say as with most subwoofers. The Polk PSW10 has a minimalist and solid appearance. It is a compact subwoofer with the following dimensions, 14.5’x14’x15′,(LxWxH). It is constructed mostly with MDF board. The color of the subwoofer face is metallic silver, although it also came with a black mesh that you can use to cover the front of the subwoofer.
With the Polk PSW10, you will have a choice of two finishes; black or cherry colored vinyl. (In this review we used the Black model for testing).
The controls of the PSW10 are located on the back of the subwoofer. Here you will find controls for the volume, low pass (80Hz to 160Hz), power (on/off) and phase (0º to 180º). The power control is toggle type and has three positions, which are On, Auto and Off. With the Auto mode, the subwoofer powers right away when it gets a signal or when the volume is turned up. It also stays on for about 15-minutes when not being used and powers off to save you the extra cost of power no matter how small.
The only issue we did not like in the design of the sub was the lack of a magnetic shield. When placed near your TV or computer, you will most likely notice some electrical interference.
Although the lack of a magnetic shield on the subwoofer does not affect the overall sound quality, you may see distorted colors or interference if the sub is placed near your CRT based (tube) TV or computer. If you own a DLP, LCOS, LCD or Plasma, you will not be affected by the speaker magnets.
Inputs and Technology
The input and output connections are also located on the back of the subwoofer. They include the RCA line in L, R connectors and the stereo speaker inputs and outputs located just below the other controls.
However, the subwoofer lacks the LFE input. However, although the input is not there which is slightly annoying. No big deal though because you can easily bypass it with a good receiver.
When it comes down to the sound, the PSW10 was immersive. I tested the subwoofer using movies, music and played my all-time favorite first-person-shooter game (COD: Ghosts) on my PS4.
The bass output was detailed and sounded clear without being overpowering. If you expect this subwoofer to be boomy, it is not. However, if you are getting this SUB for a bigger room, you will lack the full experience of the bass. In our testing, in moderated sized rooms to small rooms, the PSW10 delivered quite well. For Larger rooms, the punch of the bass was lacking, but you can check out the Polk audio PSW12 which did quite well.
For music and movies, when it comes to reproducing the bass frequencies, the Polk PSW12 does that with enough volume and clarity. However, when experimenting a bit lower the lower frequency range, it does tend to lose control a bit, But overall it is perfect for most people.
With gaming, the bass came out better with explosions and gun-firing sound having a more natural sound output with plenty of bass while not drowning out the higher frequencies.
Mids & Treble
Usually, I don’t get my subwoofer to play the mids and highs, and this was no exception.
I added two mid-range tweeters to the mix, and the combination was the best.
When the sub first arrived, it was well packaged with no deformation on the package itself or scratches on the sub.
Out of the box, the Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch also looked way bigger than it looked, I was quite surprised but liked what I saw.
In the box, the subwoofer comes with a removable front grill which can be removed or used with the sub according to user preferences. I like the sub with the front grill, it just looks better and compliments my current setup.
What we like:
- Cheaper price
- Better sound
- Easy to setup
What we don’t:
- Lacks LFE
- Not magnetically shielded.
The Polk PSW10 Alternatives:
1. Polk PSW10 vs. Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10″
The Polk PSW10 is a great budget-friendly subwoofer. It packs a great bass and comes in at a very lower and friendly price. However, let’s face it, it has its lows. If you are searching for an alternative, then the Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10″ 300w Powered Subwoofer would be the first subwoofer I would recommend. Sure, it comes at a higher price range but, it delivers quite above the PSW10 standards. It looks terrific, just like the PSW10 and also offers some remarkable sound.
2. Polk PSW10 vs. Monoprice 109723
Monoprice is a company that has gone years with a deficit of imagination. Nothing personal, but the design of most of their products have been boring. However, this is not to mean they make boring gear, on the contrary, the Monoprice 109723 delivers better sound quality with a thumping and clear bass. If you are willing to overlook the design of the subwoofer, this Monoprice sub would be a good cheap alternative.
3. Polk PSW10 vs. Sony SACS9
Another alternative subwoofer to the PSW10 would be the Sony SACS9. If you have a few dollars to spare then, this would be worthwhile. It packs a lot of bass and comes with plenty of flexibility and capacity built into the subwoofer to satisfy most user needs.
4. Polk PSW10 vs. Yamaha NS-SW100BL 10″
At just under $150, the Yamaha NS-SW100BL 10″ is the closest subwoofer I found that really good performing as the PSW10. It comes with a good built quality and from online user reviews offers good sound too. Though the sub sounds good, I doubt it produces sound down to 25Hz as claimed, if this were true this would be an excellent sub. My team is yet to get this for testing, but I will update this article and provide a review of the NS-SW100BL after the testing.
When the Polk PSW10 first came out, it was of a cheap subwoofer in the market. For small and medium-sized rooms and apartments, this subwoofer delivers quite well. The bass is on point and lacks distortion when you turn up the volume. If you are looking for a budget subwoofer pick, this is just the right one. The price, sound, and built quality make it a good bargain.