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Cambridge Soundworks Powered Subwoofer
23 Reviews
rating  3.96 of 5
MSRP  700.00
Description: 12" Woofer


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Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Isaac Van Wesep a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 26, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I want to point out that there are two (that I know of) master/slave subs that came out of CSW, and they are VERY different. I think most of the reviews here are for the ones that came with the ensemble system sold in the late 1990s through the 2000's. these were thin-bodied boxes and were really boomy. I have a pair of bigger-boxed, acoustic suspension subs with a 500w amp in the master. these things make serious bass and if you have a preamp with a sub out and you adjust the volume low enough, they are very musical. they are called the PSW 1 and they are great. $240 from a guy on craigslist.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by nopcbs a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 21, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is an "old" model no longer available as "new". It cost $700 when new, by mail, and was WAY over-priced at that price. It was a $500 sub that was sold for $700 because of it's association with designer Henry Kloss. I think a lot of the low ratings it got were because of the price problem. Now that it's a "used" model to buy and sells for under $300, it becomes a screaming bargain if you can find one in nice shape.

Given proper placement (no "in a corner on a hard floor nonsense") and sensible use of the volume control (some people love to over-drive a sub and they all sound like hell then), it provides solid musical bass down to 30 Hz and it does it reliably (as I say, I've had mine for several years and use it daily). It can't do 20 Hz pipe organs, but then if you want that you better have a huge room and a heck of a lot more money to spend on your sub. We use ours for home theater, too, and it works just great. Overall it's a very nice unit that would keep anyone happy who spent the time required setting it up in their room. My value rating is based on buying one used. (Can't get them new, anyway.)

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Best Buy



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Mike a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: January 5, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I have had a complete Cambridge(CSW) Ensemble System for 4 years (Ensemble + Powered Sub). I used the sub primarily for movies. For music I used the (3 way) Ensemble by it self.

The sub has served me well, in fact I did not realize its
weakness until a week ago when I upgraded my system.

I purchased the M&K S-125 Left, Center and Right speakers.
The S-125 contains a tweeter and two mids. Therefore
it requires a sub to become a full range system.

I figured that I could use my Cambridge sub. NOPE! The M&Ks with the CSW sub sounded horrible. I played with the sub's filter and volume but could not get the system to sound right in 2 channel stereo (Movies sounded OK).

When playing music, it sounded like the CSW sub was sloppy.
When a bass note was hit the sub seemed to rattle on for longer than it should. The music would continue on while my sub sat there shaking. Also, it sounded like there was a gap between the bass of the sub and the mid-range of the M&Ks.

I went back to the store where I bought the M&Ks and explainded the problem. They loaned me the M&K V75 MKII powered sub. This sub made a huge difference. The M&Ks came to life. The High, Mid and Low all blend together and sound terrific. For movies I don't get the floor rumbling bass that I did with the CSW sub but the sound is so much better.

All of which leads me to believe that the CSW sub was disigned primarily for movies. When I did use it for music I only turned it up a hair.

When comparing the two it is no contest. The M&K purrs while the CSW rattles like rocks in a box.

CSW (4 years ago) $700
M&K (Now) $700

Value Rating Basis - If you can get one cheap.
Overall Rating Basis - For movies only





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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   Cambridge Sound Works



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jim Harrison a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 27, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Based on my listening tests at several hi-fi sound rooms, there is no better sounding sub for the money. I used the powered sub alone for a year and then added the slave last year. I have a good sized room and enjoy home video cranked up. The powered sub alone couldn't handle the room at the volumes I enjoy. I experienced some extraneous vibrations coming from the speaker, both a little rattling of the cabinet and some noise coming from the grille area. With the slave (and the additional wattage the amp puts out with the lowered impedance) I now have more than adequate volume for those occasional transients and few of the problems. I am surprised and disappointed at the amount of cabinet vibration at low frequecies. Perhaps this is the reason for the slightly muddy base line at higher volumes. At moderate and reasonably loud levels the speakers sound great. But when they are stressed, they disappoint. I noticed that my old AR-15's with 12" acoustic suspension speakers in similar sized cabinets put out almost as much base volume (though not as low a frequency) with much less cabinet vibration. Perhaps toouch particle board and not enough bracing in the CSW subs?

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   mail order



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Karl a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 31, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this as an open box at Best Buy for $250.00. A month earlier, I purchased the slave at Best Buy for $100.00...
I have lived in apartments/condos for the last three years, and for the last three years the slave has remained in its box! The powered woofer is just too powerful by itself. In fact, I hear the bass through my walls even at very low volumes. My neighbors sometimes hear it too.

However, thats where I believe that this woofer shines--at low voumes. You can still "feel" the sound without having to crank it. In that way it sound very lifelike./ You can feel a man's baritone voice much in the same way you can feel a man's deep voice in conversation. The same goes with reports and explosions in movies, they are heard and felt--even at low volumes.

At high volumes, I have to be sure the neighbors are away, because this thing rattles the walls and some of my pictures--literally. When I crank my system, my pictures rattle against the wall, very disconcerting!

Until I move into a house with an acoustically sealed listening room, I think that the slave will remain in its box. I don't need it!

My system now includes HTD (Home Theater Direct) Level Two mains, Cambridge Soundworks Center Channel II, and Cambridge SoundWorks Surround II 5.1. By the way, those Level Twos are great speakers--they work exceptionally well with the subwoofer--better than my Ensemble II's.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Best Buy




Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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