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Friday
Apr072017

Podcast #786: Theater Solutions SUB8S Slim Subwoofer

Home Theater without a subwoofer is like pumpkin pie without whipped cream, chips without salsa, a burger without fries. Some things are just meant to go together. And when you don’t have them both, you don’t really get the full experience of either. Typically, to get good bass in your home theater, you need to have a giant subwoofer the size of a small coffee table in the room somewhere. But they aren’t always easy to place. If that’s your dilemma, the Theater Solutions SUB8S 250 Watt Surround Sound HD Home Theater Slim Powered Active Subwoofer might be your answer.

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Theater Solutions SUB8S Slim Powered Subwoofer

Home Theater without a subwoofer is like pumpkin pie without whipped cream, chips without salsa, a burger without fries. Some things are just meant to go together. And when you don’t have them both, you don’t really get the full experience of either. Typically, to get good bass in your home theater, you need to have a giant subwoofer the size of a small coffee table in the room somewhere. But they aren’t always easy to place. If that’s your dilemma, the Theater Solutions SUB8S 250 Watt Surround Sound HD Home Theater Slim Powered Active Subwoofer ($109.99) might be your answer.


About the Subwoofer

This slim versatile sub comes with stands to set up in any area, a mounting bracket to attach to a wall or the slim 4 3/4" height can slide under most furniture. The 8 inch long throw bass woofer has a frequency response of 35-150 Hz +/- 2dB. The port design smooths air flowing in and out of the cabinet, reducing turbulence and port noise. The ports also increase linearity, lowers distortion, reduces 5th order harmonic distortion and provides an increased output as high as 2-3dB. A black wood finish, cabinet feet, 115 AC cord, included RCA cables, RCA "Y" adapter, stand mounts and hanging mount with mounting screws round out this subwoofers fantastic details.


Setup

Setting up the Subwoofer, at least connecting up the audio to make it go boom, is really no different than any other subwoofer. It needs to be plugged into power. Then you run your LFE output from your receiver into the Sub. That’s it.There are a couple knobs you can adjust, but once you get them dialed in, they are pretty much ‘set it and forget it.’  If you want to mount the sub to the wall using the included bracket, tack on a few more minutes to get the bracket mounted to the wall and the Sub hung up on it. But overall, setup was a snap.


Performance

Performance is what really matters in any home theater component and subwoofers are no different. In most cases, unless you have motion actuators in your furniture, the subwoofer provides the only noise your body can actually feel during a movie or song. We must say that considering the size of the woofer itself, the size of the amplifier and the size/shape of the cabinet, we weren’t expecting much from this sub. But it turns out we were pleasantly surprised. It packs a decent boom for a subwoofer of its size.

With any content we played, when the level was set too low (which tended to be anything below half way) you simply couldn’t hear it. Crank the output volume a little and it would come to life. Anything between 50 and 100% on the gain dial would give you a decent bass response. Because of the unique shape and features of the subwoofer, placement ends up being a bit more difficult than you’d think. The placement of a subwoofer in a room, and it's proximity to walls, especially corners, can change bass response dramatically. Putting the SUB8S in a convenient location may give you less than ideal performance. But you bought it for that location, so you're kinda stuck.

By default is sits on four legs and fires down. You can also set it on its side using a pair of included stands. The last option is to mount it to the wall using an included wall mount bracket. It is incredibly versatile in that regard. Assuming where you want it to go gives you the bass response you need, it's great. If not, you'll end up with a subwoofer in the wrong spot anyways, so you could consider a more traditional unit that has stronger, deeper bass.


What we noticed was that, although the SUB8S sounded really good for an 8” sub, it doesn't match the expectations of someone in need of heavy, dedicated bass for a home theater. If you want to feel the bass, feel the explosions, it probably won't get you there. If you simply want to expand the low end for listening to music, or add a bit of umph to some movie and TV watching, it fits well.


Conclusion

Overall the SUB8S is a great subwoofer for its size and price. It will not outperform your current setup at home, unless you are lacking a sub or still have the speakers that came with the HTiB when you bought it. Due to its lack of umph and the unique challenges in placement we had to give the SUB8S a bit of a knock. Our take is that you probably don't want to use it in your home theater, but if you have a room that could use a bit more bass, and you can run power and an LFE line to under your bed or couch, throw one of these under there and you’ll be glad you did. It's a solid option for a loft, game room, bedroom, etc.


 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (3)

I was thinking about the Amazon Live transmission and it occurred to me that it would be a good idea for mobile phones, so, let's say you are driving, and you don't have a TV receiver in the car, or you are working and at the office you don't have a TV. That would work!
Keep the good work!

Cheers,

Eduardo

April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEduardo Pszczol

Regarding SmartTV, "unsmarting" a Samsung 4k, the smart thing to dou would be remove YouTube from AppleTV and keep it in the Samsung, ATV is only 1080p, while the TV could watch a 4K youtube video!
This is what I did, all the apps I have on my 4k SmartTV, I hid on my ATV.

April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEduardo Pszczol

Just a comment on the AVS Forum survey. I would vote for immersive audio. I have four ceiling speakers for Atmos and possibly this is the differentiator when it comes to your Atmos experience versus mine, but when done right, the sound truly is immersive and involving. The best recent example I've seen/heard is "Deepwater Horizon". You should see it.
I have seen HDR in stores and shows but of course the panels are likely set to vivid mode (or equivalent) and the image doesn't look real to me; colours are oversaturated. I have a Panasonic VT65 plasma and continue to be very happy with its picture quality. Reading reviews of UHD panels that refer to their 'plasma-like' blacks just keeps me enjoying what I have.

April 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMartin D

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