When considering ultra compact subwoofers, the expectation is that of maximum audio quality compromise to get something discrete. Flabby or anemic bass from small subs is the norm with low frequency roll off points that are too high to be considered true subwoofers. Subs in this size range usually come with HTiB systems, computer speakers, or are the bass module with those cubed speaker systems. They are certainly easy to hide, but ultimately disappoint anyone hoping for actual LFE performance.
Despite its small size, the Photon-8 can output some unexpectedly deep bass at very respectable SPL levels while still maintaining a characteristically musical sound quality. The bass output was always solid, details present at bass frequencies in the recording were not buried under murk, and transient response was always clean and crisp.
While a sub woofer of this size does have physical limits whose effect can only be minimized with good engineering, it certainly will have little trouble outperforming many larger but lesser subwoofer designs. This sub can definitely add some tactile excitement at the bottom and over taxation of the Photon-8 is remarkably unobtrusive with very little that is audible to give away the distress. Sonically it performs as if it is larger than it is, never sounding small, inadequate, or underpowered.
The Photon-8 is a good subwoofer by any measure and an excellent subwoofer when taking into account its small size. If one is in the market for the smallest subwoofer possible but loathes the fact that small subs usually have some severe limitations on actually performing as subwoofers, the Photon-8 just might be the answer.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor
|Fit and Finish|
|Ergonomics & Usability|
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