B&W ASW 650 Subwoofers

ASW 650

The ASW650 has all the attributes of the ASW600, but is more suited to larger rooms because of its greater output capability, achieved by a combination of a larger cabinet, driver and amplifier. In this case the driver is a 300mm (12 in) unit that can go lower in the bass that its smaller sibling. Its capabilities are fully exploited by the powerful 200W on-board amplifier.

User Reviews (23)

Showing 1-10 of 23  
Gregg   AudioPhile [Nov 24, 2016]

I bought my 650 "used" off craigs, I was a little skeptical since I had my Velodyne "cost of college" - 3yrs old) recently repaired due to poor (zero) heat dissipation for the amp ( expensive) ... As I researched this issue I found that for moderate priced subs with heat dissipation design ... that Paradigm and B&W are two of the best. I am using this in my bedroom system ( B&W cdm7se's, Citation amp, NAD pre, Marantz 6005 CD, Marantz 110 tuner, Akai R2R, Monster power conditioner) ... compared to my main system with the Velo,Adcom 750 pre and 545 main, Marantz 6006 CD, DP 59L TT, Nak 303 & Cdm9 NT's, etc it comes close ... this sub made it within a hairs difference of my main system, it is very musical ( good with movies but it is really a music sub) ... blends perfectly with my cdm7se's ... it is worth every penny ... best deal out there for a "pre-owned" sub ... and the heat dissipation design with very functional fins for the amp means it should last a long time ... at least on paper ...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
James Shannon   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2010]


I bought the B&W ASW650 Subwoofer about four years ago with B&W VM1 Center and Front Speakers and B&W M1 Side and Rear Speakers. They are powered by a Denon AVR 2807 Receiver. I really like the way the system sounds for as my Home Theater. The bass from the 650 is clear and accurate. I am pretty disappointed that it stopped working after only four years though. I've had much less expensive system that have lasted much longer without a problem. I took it to an authorized service center, and it's going to cost me $195 to fix. I hope the speakers last much longer than that without any problems. I really miss the sub though, the sound is much thinner without it.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Kyle JMU   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 16, 2007]
Strength:

Bass response at lower volumes is perfect, I can keep the volume down and feel my bass without the boomy sound.
When I do push the sub, my dishes rattle.
I appreciate the auto-on feature as well.

Weakness:

The 200W amplifier isn't going to knock pictures off the wall. The 12" driver is perfect for movies and music in medium to large rooms, and 200W will suffice. But if its that ground breaking bass you're looking for I'd recommend one of its bigger brothers such as the asw700.

I have always been a fan of good sound for both music and home theatre, but it wasn't until recently that I discovered what good sound was. I had been running a polk Rti system with a denon integrated amp. I had researched speakers all summer and finally this winter I decided to go with the B&W 600 series. I added the 602 bookshelves and the lcr60 center and they sounded amazing. What did not sound amazing however was my polk sub. So i went back to this store stereo types and the owner introduced me to some subs. I listened to a few klipsch subs and a few B&W's. I was amazing at how the asw650 blended when listening to music. I picked it up and I am so happy with the performance. Finally I am able to listen to music with deep clear bass that isn't boomy. The sub is much more active that any sub i've had before. The first movie I watched with the new set up was Crash and i was blown away. I don't need my music or my movies too loud and what i like best about the asw650 is the bass response with only the 200W amp. It is just enough bass. At the same time I enjoy throwing on Big Tymers and maxing out the system, and trust me this sub gets the job done. I completely recommend this subwoofer to anyone who is stepping up into entry level high end sound. There is a drastic difference between this and any polk, mirage, or other mid range sub I have ever listened to.

Similar Products Used: Polk PSW404, PSW1000 - not nearly as smooth and accurate as the asw650
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Huge   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 05, 2006]
Strength:

Sound and punch without too much sigh.

Weakness:

The auto-ON circuit seems to be of mediocre quality.

My May 29 2005 review has to be updated: The subwoofer was still sounding great. The only problem was that a friend overloaded the sub with a sudden loud peak of sound. Since the Denon reads volume as minus xx dB, he thought he had to go into the plus range. The amp switched on at the plus setting, blowing loudly. I had the auto-ON setting enabled and ever since the sub switched auto-on at a higher sound input level. Furthermore, I am going to have to return the sub because after a power out and a reset to power on due to next door construction (on Manhattan) the sub does not work anymore. I suspect the auto-ON circuit is cheap and not suited for power peaks so I am getting a surge protector. Still want to stay with this box; my system sounds quite thin without it right now.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
ciscokid1970   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 02, 2006]
Strength:

Class B amp...ahhh Sealed...helps control the bass Good sound for music Excellent sound for movies Good price

Weakness:

Big...yeah so what

I am a big B&W Fan. I have B&W 601s with asw300 in my listening room and also have ceiling speakers in my bedroom. Normaly you can buy B&W in any price range and you will be assured of best sound and value in that price range. I was shopping for a new sub for my home theater room. Since I have B&W ceiling speakers and center channel...might as well get a B&W sub to match. Went to local shop listened to the following: ASW 600 ASW 650 ASW 675 ASW 700 After listening I took home both the ASW 650 and ASW 675. I do this all the time...guys at store know me. Burned them in for 24 hours using stereophile test cd. Hooked them up to my system and this is what I found. ASW 650 was less expensive, sounded smoother, richer, better dynamic range with music, Miles davis, Led zeppelin. It was even more obvious with movies such as jurassic park 3 and Independence day. Yes this sub is better suited for Home theater but you will not find a sub this big that can reproduce music as well as this one can. What gives with the ASW 675 ? Well after looking carefully at the specs I noticed that it has a class D amp (as in Digital) These amps "claim" more accurate controlled sound while also consuming less electricity and making less heat. It also allows them to customize the frequency curve of the signal so that they can "squeeze" more bass out of a smaller driver. Now the thing that bugs me is that the ASW 675 is almost twice the price yet I KNOW that the material to make this is cheaper that the ASW 600 so this is a expensive Ripp off. What happens is that D class Amps do not have anywhere near the richness or dynamic range of good old fashinoned Class A or Class B. And when driven hard they distort and sound thin. After further investigation I realized that ALL of the B&W line from ASW 675 up to the ASW 855 has digital amps !!! I wanted to cry. SO IF YOU WANT A B&W WITH CLASS B AMP THIS IS THE LARGEST ONE YOU CAN BUY. The units below are also class B amps. Buy this sub today...before they replace it with some cheap D amp sub.

Similar Products Used: All kinds of B&W products, HSU, Klipsh
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Huge   Audio Enthusiast [May 29, 2005]
Strength:

- Tight, clear, deep bass - Compact - Easy to set up

Weakness:

- None so far

Paired this sub last week with a pair of B&W 602 S3s that I have used for 4 months. I have used this setup mainly for stereo listening, using a Denon AVR2805 receiver and a Denon 1910 DVD/CD player. The Denon player is connected only through the digital interconnects, since analogue quality is supposed to be mediocre. Sound through the B&W speakers was already excellent, but pairing this set with the ASW650 sub complements the systems' low range perfectly for stereo listening. The sub does not have a reflex port hence no "sighing" bass effects; this actually makes the bass sound tight and naturally sounding. Even at low levels ("9 o' clock") the bass is deep; turning it up would only annoy the neighbours. The sub was extremely easy to set up. There was actually no tweaking involved at all. The sub was placed behind the TV set (Philips 32" CRT HDTV) between and 3 feet behind 603s, with the woofer pointing right, connected with single cable + Y adapter and I didn't need to change anything; setup sounded beautiful. CDs listened to: Orbital 1989-2002 Daft Punk - Human After All Tupac Greatest Hits Snoop Dogg Greatest Hits Ministry Of Sound - Annual 2005 Guns and Roses Greatest Hits U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Barry White - All Time Greatest Hits Some other electronica CDs. The set performed excellent on dance, rock and rap. Barry White sounded a bit dull, but I think the quality of the recording plays a major role in this as well. I haven't tried any jazz or classical music, but if it is really bad, I will follow up. Despite their genres, the aforementioned CDs contain many vocal passages that sounded brilliantly. TV/movies are equally good. Voices are clear, sound effects (knocking, telephone rings) sometimes make my head turn because they sound so natural. Overall the sub added a great deal of depth to the satellites, making music and movies more involving. The sub manages to shake the glasses on the shelves 24 feet away at relatively low volume. I haven't been able to compare this sub to any other subs, but nevertheless I would highly recommend it.

Similar Products Used: N/A
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
sactohye   Audio Enthusiast [May 28, 2005]
Strength:

Tight, clear bass no matter the level.

Weakness:

Could use a more powerful amp.

The B&W ASW650 is currently being driven by a Sherwood Newcastle R-725 receiver and a Technics SH-AC500 processor. It makes up the subwoofer in my home cinema system along with the DB604S3 for the left and right channel, DM602S3 for the rear and an LCR600S3 for the center. Once I decided on its final location, I fitted the floor spikes to it as well as to the DM604S3s. With it coupled to a slab floor, the sound improved. The bass is tighter and cleaner. While the ASW650 does not have the power to shake the walls, it goes loud and low enough to feel the bass when it’s called for as in the cannon firing scene in “Immortal Beloved” or the Firebird Suite from “Fantasia 2000”. The stampede scene from “The Lion King” rattles the shutters on my windows. Whether reproducing movie sounds or music, the sound from the ASW650 is always clean and undistorted. After four months of using this subwoofer, I can find no real weaknesses. If one wants to rattle walls, B&W makes more powerful (more expensive) subwoofers. But for the price, the ASW650 is hard to beat.

Similar Products Used: None.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Deke_Nut   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 04, 2003]
Strength:

Great for movies.

Weakness:

Not as musical as it might need to be.

I bought this sub and was quite pleased with it for movies - boy does it move some air and then some. I also used it for music and I have to say I took it back after hearing the ASW675. The 675 is tighter and much more musical, though about $1000. So, I have to say that for anyone looking for a sub to do double duty, you may be happy with the 650, but you might want to compare it some other units - perhaps 10" vs. a 12."

Similar Products Used: B&W ASW675
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
BBQ Warrior   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 04, 2003]
Strength:

ACCURATE!!! Reproduces even the most subtle sound Excellent amplifier controlls More than emough power

Weakness:

None that I have found yet.

To start this off all I can say is that I am very pleased with this purchase. It plays low, hits hard but is so accurate that it can reproduce the signal the way it was intended to be. I have used other subs that have been louder, cheaper, smaller and in between, but none of them really compare to the Bowers & Wilkins ASW-650 Amplified Subwoofer. To address some of the issues other people seem to have with this sub: 1. BREAK IT IN!!! it really takes about 60 hours of actual use at moderate volumes for this baby to sing. Movies may only have 20 to 30 minutes where the LFE Channel is really workin, so set up your reciever so it passes the signal to your sub in 2 channel mode, put you satellite dish on a channel such as R&B, RAP, Hip-Hop, Top40, Classical/Symphonic, or any kind of music that works the lower frequencies and let that baby play. I did that for 9 hours a day for about 10 or 11 days and left it on while I was at work, first two days at a reasonable listening level, then the next 4 or 5 cranked up pretty good and the rest back at a normal listening level. 2. SUB PLACEMENT!!! due to this subs nature when used by itself it will create areas in you listening room where reflected sound waves will either collide and create incredible resonance problems or they will hit 180 degrees out of phase with each other and will sound weak and dull. Get a 12 gauge 25 foot extension cord, and just go buy and inexpensive set of rcas like they use in basic car installs. Start moving your sub around the perimiter and listen to it for 10 minutes in each spot, move around the listening area with a notepad, write down where the sub is located, where the hot spots are and the dead spots are. When you get to the corners, try the rotating the enclosure so it fires along each wall and then try it offset 45 degrees so its firing diagonally across the room. My first impression of this sub was bad because of its physical placement. It took about 3 or 4 days of moving before i found several optimal locations and now I find that really this is the best sub I have auditioned for under 1 grand. Actually the first four locations I tried were the worst, so dont be afraid to move it around. Once you decide on your location then you can go out and spend the money on a good set of interconnects now that you know the distance to the reciever. If you want accurate bass that works with everything from classical to movies I would strongly recommend this sub. Its not the loudest sub out there, there are many ported designs that will "slam" harder and play louder, but none of them will give you the accuracy in the lowest octaves as the ASW-650. One excellent featue is this subs ability to daisy chain multiple 650's together, which i will be doing very soon.

Similar Products Used: Denon avr 1802 & avr 3802 B&W 601Series3, 602Series3 LCR600Series3 B&W Nautulus 802 Velodyne CHT-12 & CHT-15 RBH TS12AP PSB Stratus Silver
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dane Kara   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 12, 2003]
Strength:

Great deal for the price, plenty of power. Makes my PS2 games a whole new adventure.

Weakness:

Hard to access controls.

I am new to the world of better audio equipment and started with speakers. I am on my way to a home theater system. I am very happy with this sub. I am using it with my B&W CM2s and they seem to compliment each other well for music and movies, but I am using an old Marantz SR 63 receiver and it does not have the capability to set music vs. movie settings and this is often a problem since it does not have a sub out and 1 setting of the crossover is not enough for both music and movies. My next buy may be a Rotel 1055 and I am expecting a big improvement once I get a better receiver.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 23  

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