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Meridian Digital Active DSW Subwoofer Preview

Meridian DSW Subwoofer

Meridian DSW Subwoofer


  • Product Name: DSW Active Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Meridian
  • Review Date: October 31, 2006 08:25
  • MSRP: $5000
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting

Outline Technical Specification


• Meridian SpeakerLink in and out (RJ45)


• Channel selector switch for channel(s) 1, 1+2 or 2


• Plywood cabinet with extensive internal structures for maximum strength & rigidity


• 1 x 12in long-throw bass driver, facing downwards


• Closed-loop Class D Power amplifier rated at 600W peak. 

• Overall distortion typically <0.02%

Power consumption:

• 550W max


• Rear-mounted LED


• Height on standard feet (recommended for use on a carpeted floor): 445mm (17.52in); height on standard feet plus rubber shock absorber (recommended for use on a hard floor surface): 450mm (17.72in) 

• Width at base: 380mm (15in);

• Depth at base: 430mm (17in)


• 22kg (48.4lb)

Meridian is a company you may only know in passing if you don't have a Lexus parked in the garage. They are well known in the echelons of custom installers and high-end aficionados for there pricy and beautiful offerings. Recently, Meridian has been moving toward self-powered speakers. Not only are the amps included but you connect everything digitally. So, from your (preferably) Meridian pre-amp or CD player to digitally to your speakers. All the decoding and upsampling (which is part of their claim to fame) happens at the speaker. If you are using a Meridian preamp or CD player, you can use proprietary SpeakerLink connection (essentially an Ethernet cable). If you have your own preferred CD player or preamp, you can use a digital connection to one of the speakers and then the SpeakerLink connection to the other. From there, you can SpeakerLink to the new Meridian DSW subwoofer.

Wait, what about a direct digital connection? Sorry, not available.

The Meridian Digital Active DSW subwoofer is a diminutive sub at 15" by 17" by 18" tall. Given these dimensions, it weighs in at a hefty 48.5 pounds. It sports a downfiring long-throw 12" driver in a sealed, plywood, enclosure.

That's right, no MDF here, just regular plywood.

Lest you think Meridian is skimping on the build quality, they've stated that they've used:

...exceptionally strong, carefully-positioned internal struts. In addition, the driver itself is mounted in a “nest” of internal ribs that hold it firmly in position for the maximum stability and control.

The Meridian DSW has a closed-loop Class D amp capable of delivering up to 600 watts (probably a dynamic rating meaning its nominal power is somewhere south of that). According to Meridian, one of the advantages you gain from having a sub with an internal DSP is that it doesn't require the phase control normally included on subs. This is because the phase control is supposed to fix delays; a problem that isn't present with this sub as it will be used with Meridian speakers.

And therein lies the rub. The Meridian DSW subwoofer MUST be used with Meridian speakers. Looking past the plywood construction, the diminutive size, or the complete lack of frequency response information, leaving off any sort of traditional connection for use with a standard speaker system seems incredibly short sighted. Sure, the DSW comes in high gloss black or white, and it will fit under your desk, but it costs $5k and will only work with their own speakers with their own proprietary connection (granted, it's an Ethernet connection though we're betting the Meridian branded cable costs a bit more than the standard blue/yellow ones you'll get at your local hardware store). For the same price you could get a Velodyne DD18 or two (count'em) JL Audio Fathom F112 subs. Audioholics and Audiophiles alike should agree that the Meridian DSW looks to be woefully overpriced in those comparisons.


Meridian says their new DSW Digital Active Subwoofer is suitable for use with any of their DSP line of speakers up to the DSP7200 tower speakers. What they don't tell you is that it will HAVE to be used with one of their DSP speakers since it completely lacks a traditional sub input. Meridian has also failed to list any sort of performance specifications on their DSP line of speakers meaning that an end user won't really know if they need the new DSW or what sort of bass they will get out of it. Their marketing material says that they've created a subwoofer design that generates "a significant level of low bass." But don't they all say that?

For more information, please visit www.meridian-audio.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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