Energy Speaker Systems AS-180 Subwoofers


Powered subwoofer - 180 watts. Twin rear-firing tuned ports. 12" paper cone. low and high - level ins/outs. Variable lowpass filter and gain controls. Polarity switch, audio & video response-curve modes.

User Reviews (1)

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ISAACDVANWESEP   AudioPhile [Nov 25, 2009]

I bought a pair of AS-180s from a gentleman in Rhode Island. When he sold them to me, the volume and LF-pass knobs were making a horrible noise whenever they were turned. I took them home and discovered they made noise occasionally even when they weren't being touched! Knowing this is an issue with old pan-pots (panoramic potentiometers, the resistor inside the knob), I went to the local electronics store and bought four new pots (two for each of the AS-180s), and then installed them. Not too hard, and I'm not soldering expert! Once the new pots were in, these things sounded GREAT!

I also wanted to find out more about this rare and unknown sub. When I called Energy, I was transferred to a Klipsch representative (Klipsch owns Energy now). He told me that judging from the "Made in Canada" badge on the back, that these AS-180s were made by hand in Canada by Energy, before the company changed direction from making very high-end speakers, to targeting the "Best Buy" market. This shift was marked by a change of manufacturing from Canada to China. Energy has since climbed back up the quality ladder, and now offers a new high-end line that looks a lot like the AS-180. Energy does still make the "Best Buy" lines as well.

But the ears tell the story the best, and after installing my new panpots I wired the AS-180s to my main stereo pre-amp outs (Rotel RSP-985), one on each side. From each AS-180, I ran an RCA to my main stereo amp (an Adcom GFA 545 II), then sent the amp signal out to a pair of Paradigm Studio Monitors (PSMs). The PSMs don't benefit much from subwoofers - they're huge tri-ampable towers. But they do benefit from the AS-180s. These subs make smooth clear bass way way down to nearly 20Hz. What I really like is that when they're wired in this way I maintain the stereo image all the way down to the subs, and the transition from PSM to AS-180 is seamless.

My old subs were Cambridge Soundworks SW1 and Slave. If you know these, you know that the SW1 and Slave are regarded as one of the few good-sounding products CSW made. They use an acoustic suspension design, which delivers tight bass. I was thinking the AS-180s, with their twin tuned ports, might be a little "bumpy" compared to the tight, controlled sound of the SW1 and Slave. No such bumps! I see now with the AS-180 that porting can actually smooth a speaker's response curve.

I am totally satisfied, and would recommend these subs to anybody on the hunt. And I am a big fan of subs in stereos and home theaters, as long as you use at least two! I am a big fan of buying vintage in general as well, rather than buying new. Given the fact that you can't find much info about these subs anywhere, I bet you could get a great deal on them. And you can buy with confidence. I listen to a LOT of speakers and amps, and these certainly stack up to the best powered subs costing into the thousands. Buy with confidence.

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