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B&W ASW 610XP Subwoofer Measurements and Analysis


The B&W ASW 610XP subwoofer was measured outdoors sitting on the ground with the microphone placed 2 meters from the front lip of the cabinet pointing at the main driver which was forward firing. The low pass filter was disabled and the subwoofer volume was set to maximum for all testing, except for those tests purposely conducted to examine the effects of the built in functions.

The overall approach to this testing along with the equipment and software used is outlined in the article here.

Powered Subwoofer Testing Outline and Procedures Overview


asw610xp xover response.jpg 

B&W ASW 610XP: Effect of Low Pass Filter Settings

A measurement was taken of the ASW 610XP with the low pass crossover bypassed using the LFE input and at maximum, middle and minimum settings to observe its effect on the response shape. This is presented in the graph above. The middle, 12 o’clock setting of the crossover resulted in a very low XO point of roughly 30Hz. The minimum setting produced what appeared to be a 25Hz XO point which is of little use. Most of the effectiveness of the control is in the top 50% of the knobs rotation. There was little difference between the response with the low pass filter bypassed and with it at maximum.

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B&W ASW 610XP: Effect of Extension and EQ Settings on the Response

Above are the measurements of the effects of the ASW 610XP’s extension and EQ settings. With the 2 EQ curves and the three extension settings there are a total of 6 combinations. The results of each combination to the overall response are relatively modest and mostly consist of a slight boosting of the 30-80Hz region, or extending and boosting the low bass below 30Hz.

asw610xp basic response.jpg

B&W ASW 610XP: Basic Frequency Response as Tested

For the rest of the measurements I settled on using the ASW 610XP with the extension on the C setting and the EQ on the A setting. This provides a response that is rolled off towards the low end but should lower the power demands on the amplifier due to less total EQ boost being applied and should allow the subwoofer to use more of its upper range headroom for some of the tests before becoming limited in the low frequencies. In this configuration the response is within +/-3dB from 27-200Hz. This is very close to B&W’s spec of 25-140Hz +/-3dB. The flattest combination was with the A EQ and A extension settings. In that configuration the ASW 610XP was within a +/-3dB window from 20-200Hz easily exceeding spec. These response shapes are at the base starting drive level used for testing which is referenced to 90dB at 2 meters from the microphone at 50Hz. At higher levels the output will compress and the response shape  deviates. 

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 B&W ASW 610XP: Waterfall Decay

 asw610xp group delay.jpg

B&W ASW 610XP: Group Delay

The waterfall and group delay plots for the ASW 610XP are very good and show little to no delayed energy and certainly nothing that would be audible. The group delay never exceeds one cycle.

asw610xp power compression.jpg 

 B&W ASW 610XP: Long Term Power Compression

The results of the long term power compression sweeps show that the ASW 610XP maintains good linearity up through the 95dB nominal sweep level. During the 100dB sweep there is some compression apparent near 20Hz. During the 105dB sweep the output is being limited severely everywhere below 45Hz.

 asw610xp power compression magnitude.jpg

B&W ASW 610XP: Power Compression Magnitude

Looking at the amount of compression exhibited only it can be seen that the ASW 610XP does very well above 45Hz all of the way up to and through the 105db nominal sweep level. There is a large amount of compression evident on the 100 and 105dB sweeps in the deep bass. The centering of the compression at about 20Hz is an indicator that this is likely to be the center point of the built in EQ used to flatten the ASW 610XP’s response.


 B&W ASW 610XP: Maximum Long Term Output Level

The maximum long term output achieved by the ASW 610XP during the power compression testing is at the low end of all subwoofers that have been measured up to this point. Over a significant range from 24-53Hz it has the lowest maximum output recorded. The resulting response shape of the 105dB nominal sweep fits within a +/-5dB window from 30-120Hz.


 B&W ASW 610XP: 100, 105dB Sweep THD Comparison

The ASW 610XP distortion results during the 2 highest level power compression sweeps are shown above. Overall this is not a bad showing. The behavior is best above 35Hz where it remains well below 10% THD. Below 30Hz the distortion starts to increase rapidly which is not uncommon. With a single 10” driver in a sealed alignment there won’t be enough sub 30Hz output to be of note anyway.


B&W ASW 610XP: CEA2010 2 meter Groundplane RMS Results

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B&W ASW 610XP: CEA2010 2 Meter Groundplane RMS Comparison

CEA2010 Results

The CEA2010 maximum passing results for the ASW 610XP show that the design is amplifier limited at the 40Hz band and above. From 20-31.5Hz it is distortion limited and would produce a bit more output if distortion levels are ignored completely. At 20Hz the ASW 610XP could produce a passing result of only 85.1dB. Below 20Hz the ASW 610XP could not produce a passing result. The maximum CEA2010 passing output is the lowest of any subwoofer that I have measured yet at the 25, 31.5, 40 and 50Hz bands. It is very near the bottom at the rest of the 1/3rd octave centers as well.


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Recent Forum Posts:

gene posts on October 21, 2011 15:03
kevon27, post: 837082
This just shows sometimes price does not match performance. $1200 bucks seems to be for the B&W branding.. But hey, wise sub shoppers will by pass this and seek better performing subs at more attractive prices

It's interesting to me that this sub has about the exact same output capabilities of the Emotiva Ultra Sub 12. B&W seemed to really eek out a lot of performance out of a small enclosure with a 10" driver, but it certainly doesn't come cheap.
kevon27 posts on October 21, 2011 15:00
This just shows sometimes price does not match performance. $1200 bucks seems to be for the B&W branding.. But hey, wise sub shoppers will by pass this and seek better performing subs at more attractive prices
smurphy522 posts on October 21, 2011 08:45
A very “revealing” review - typical of this site. Not typical of past B&W product reviews from other sources (i.e. print publications).

Any chance for a review of their flagship DB1?
allargon posts on October 20, 2011 22:47
The specs (and price) are similar to the Dayton Titanic MKIII 15. However, I bet the B&W is more musical than the Dayton.

For that $1k though, I'd probably skip both the B&W and the Dayton (I spent way less on my Dayton.) and audition the Hsu ULS-15 instead. (15Hz for a sealed sub!)
nickboros posts on October 20, 2011 16:30
It is good to see an honest review of a sub such as this. In most other print magazines this sub would be reviewed as part of a 5.1 system I'm sure that the B&W speaker system would come highly recommended. But, for $1200 you can get much more of a sub for your money, even if the small size is a requirement. Those same print magazines, I've seen review $3000 to $4000 subs that don't have the output and extension of say the SVS Ultra 13 and again the reviewer may highly recommend it as part of a 5.1 speaker system.
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