In this review we look at the Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP subwoofer. This high-end subwoofer has been on sale for a few years, but if we can believe the manufacturer, we still have to offer an impressive experience.
Subwoofer in the home theater
A home theater can not actually do without a subwoofer. No matter how large and good your speakers are at the front, nothing can show bass as tight and full as a good subwoofer. Moreover, it gives your front speakers some space to focus on the mid-range and high frequencies. A subwoofer replenishes the sound and, if desired, lets you vibrate from the couch during intense action scenes. Subwoofers come in all shapes and sizes, and also in various price ranges. In this review we look at the Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP subwoofer which should not only be suitable for film but also for music. The subwoofer has a suggested retail price of 999 euros.
Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP Specifications and design
Below you will find the most important specifications of the Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP subwoofer.
- Crossover tuning
- 10-inch paper / kevlar cone
- Frequency range: -6dB at 18Hz and 25 / 140Hz
- Extra bass settings (A, B, C)
- 500 watts of power
- 30 Ohm impedance
- Line input or loudspeaker input
- Entry level
- Low-pass filter
- Extra bass
- Setting bass roll-off
- Auto on / standby
- Phase change
- Weight: 15.5 kilograms
- Dimensions: 325 x 325 x 375 mm
- Finishing: Matt black
The first thing you notice about the Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP is the format. It is a very compact and small subwoofer that you can take with you, so to speak. That small size actually causes the expectations to be tempered, but it is clear that a great deal of attention has been paid to the construction and design of the subwoofer. The ASW610XP is very neatly finished, looks sleek and comes with spikes or caps to put the woofer firmly on the surface. There is also a grill included with which you can hide the woofer (which is facing forward).
The ASW610XP comes with all the functions and settings that you can expect from a premium subwoofer. You can use the line input or connect the woofer to your speakers. In addition, you can adjust the volume (for speaker connections and line input) to adjust the low-pass filter, switch the low-pass filter on or off, change the phase (0/180), an A- or Use B-setting equalizer and determine the bass roll-off (A, B or C setting).
Setting up and placing the subwoofer
After testing a number of subwoofers, it became clear to us that these are the most difficult speakers to install and set up. You can take a few hours to find the ideal position and then find the ideal settings for that position. In our test room, which is completely optimized in terms of acoustics but has limitations in terms of space, the subwoofer behind the listening position proved to be the best. If you are still looking for the ideal position of the subwoofer, it is useful to place the subwoofer at the listening position and crawl through the room yourself. You place the subwoofer at the place where you can best see the bass.
The ASW610XP has various setting options that can influence the reproduction of low tones. We first set the volume to 9/10 hours and using the receiver we determined the level of the woofer. This came to + 2dB and that’s what we’re going to do for the receiver. However, there are two settings on the subwoofer that have a lot of influence on the display and take some time to get them optimal.
The equalizer of the subwoofer can be set to A or B. Position A gives a ‘dryer’ result, matching the setup of a subwoofer at an angle and compensates for a room with strong resonances. Position B does not fit in with a somewhat less pronounced room acoustics and arrangement in the corner. Although we have acoustically got our room acoustically perfect and therefore quickly opted for the B-setting, the A-setting turned out to be the fullest and most tight layer. It is really a matter of trying, despite a clear description on paper. Go to the settings with different test tones or audio tracks and listen to your feelings and hearing.
Another setting that we have spent a lot of time on is the Bass Extension setting with which an increase or decrease of low can be realized. This comes with three options; A, B or C. Position A gives the largest increase, position C the least, while position B lies in between. When using the system at very loud levels or in very large rooms, reducing the low by selecting B or C according to the manufacturer is sensible to prevent the subwoofer from exceeding the limits of its capacity. However, in most cases it is recommended to use option A. Yet we felt that the A-setting caused too much noise and rumbling in the extremely low tones. The C-setting gave just too little impressive low so the subwoofer went too far to the background. In our space, with our equipment, the B-setting turned out to provide the best view. Deep and tight low, summer rumbling.
After having tested a hundred times and fixing the best settings we were able to get started with a few good films and albums. We have used the films Everest and Super 8, and albums by Muse and The Beatles.
To begin with, we have just set up the films, of which Everest of course with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Immediately it became clear that the compact size of the subwoofer says nothing about its qualities. The sub is present and clearly shows that it wants to contribute to an impressive home cinema experience. The scene of the train disaster in Super 8 is an ultimate test for many subwoofers. It is quite difficult to separate all the explosions, collisions and the low rumble well separated and tight, but the ASW610XP has little trouble with it. On a volume of -16dB, which we normally watch a movie on, the subwoofer holds very well. The extreme layer is refined but powerful, without sounding cluttered and undefined, and at the same time low effects with punch and dynamics shoot through space. If we go a little further with the volume (-10dB), then the subwoofer seems to have reached its limit anyway. However, this does not mean that the sub is going to sound distorted or that it is making strange noise. It ensures that the dynamics sink and the low tones are displayed with less control.
Our review of the Teufel S 5000 SW subwoofer showed that we had to move in a different direction for music and the ASW610XP seems to be a very good step in that direction. The subwoofer knows Sgt. Pepper’s subtle but tight bass line with a lot of conviction and character to put down. The step to Muse is a big one but it makes it a little more difficult for the subwoofer because it goes deeper and more happens in the low frequencies. Yet this does not seem to be a problem for the ASW610XP; the overview is retained and the display fits perfectly into the total picture. Although sometimes a bit more punch and power in a kick drum had expected, the layer remains rather detailed and tight. The ASW610XP provides a nice combination with the CM9 S2 speakers from Bowers & Wilkins, both in film and in music. The sub gives the fronts a bit more room to really excel while he himself provides deeper, more detailed and more dynamic lows.
All in all, we must say that appearances are deceiving. The Bowers & Wilkins ASW610XP is a very small subwoofer but offers impressive performances for both music and film. We are particularly impressed by the sleek display with sufficient dynamics and detail. Certainly the combination with the CM S2 series ensures a perfect blend. Yet in our view it is in particular a subwoofer for the smaller home theater, like ours. If you go to a larger room with a higher volume, you need a larger driver with more power and punch for a lively home cinema experience. If you have a relatively small space and you are looking for an unobtrusive subwoofer that can be neatly concealed in that space but is unobtrusive at the same time, then the ASW610XP is definitely recommended.