“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Power Sound Audio XV15 Subwoofer Listening Session


For all of the listening sessions the XV15 subwoofer was placed in the front right corner of the room with the port about 5 inches from the wall. This places the subwoofer about 4 meters from the primary listening position. I have determined this to be the best available single subwoofer placement in the room for most units. Audyssey was run on the system to allow it to integrate the XV-15, which was then followed by a check and recalibration of the subwoofer and speaker levels prior to the listening sessions. It is assumed that the majority of purchasers would utilize some form of automated room correction system to integrate a new subwoofer hence running the auto equalization routine. The XV-15’s internal low pass filter was defeated in favor of a 100Hz internal one inside of the Onkyo PR-SC886P processor.

Editorial Note: I have recently moved into a new home and have a listening room that is significantly different from my previous one. The new room is a smaller 3150 cubic ft but open to a large hallway connecting to the rest of the basement with a shorter ceiling and more complex shape. Additionally it is a cement slab floor with 3 walls of brick as opposed to the larger, wood frame and floor constructed room I had been in previously. This room is easier to drive than the old space but has much less tactile transmission so I now use a higher -10 master volume setting for movie playback instead of -15.

Music Listening

Afilter amalgamut.jpgs usual I started off by listening to a variety of music once the XV-15 was integrated into the system. I like to start with familiar music to get a feel for how the subwoofer is blending with the rest of the system and how linear its response is. Filter’s 2002 release Amalgamut is a well produced pop/rock album which I know very well having a hefty dose of sub 40Hz content and the occasional synthesized bass tone underneath of the drums and bass guitar. On tracks such as "Where Do We Go from Here" and "It Can Never Be the Same" the XV15 produced a palpable kick drum fundamental with a clean attack, and the weightier than average tone of the bass guitar mix on this album, with fantastic presence. The definition of individual tones in the upper bass region were, clear, distinct and it was difficult to tell where the XV15 trailed off and the main speakers took over. The occasional synthesized bass effect was reproduced with ease and no sense of strain at spirited output levels that were vibrating the furniture. Listening to Clockwork Angels the latest release from Canadian power trio Rush with the XV-15 run quite a few clicks hotter than the mains (For that authentic concert feeling.) only further reinforced the impression of power and neutrality. Having just attended a live Rush concert where this album was performed in its entirety, I found the XV-15 capable of producing a fairly convincing impression of the bottom end of the massive concert PA in my much smaller domestic sized room. I would give the XV-15 the edge on pitch delineation and neutrality versus the live event though. I also ran a few tracks from the N.I.N. album The Slip at house party levels to see how the XV15 would cope with loud electronic bass. It did not disappoint. The kick drum was satisfyingly big and room filling during Discipline and when the upwards sine sweep comes in during the break towards the end of the song the XV15 produced it powerfully and with the deep bass at the start of the sweep intact indicating response to below 20Hz. This was further confirmed on The Four of Us are Dying which has content down below 20Hz throughout much of the track. Many subs either miss this deep content or are overdriven trying to reproduce it, not the XV15.

Blu-ray Movies

monster house.jpgHaving satisfied myself that the XV15 was suitably neutral and refined without major acoustic issues listening to music, it was time to test the XV15’s metal with a dose of over the top Hollywood style bass. With it being close to Halloween I decided to go with movies that were appropriate for the season. Monster House is an animated film intended for younger audiences that has long been one of my favorites of the genre, in large part due to the excellent surround mix. Throughout most of the film there is bass that is sprinkled in as needed for scare factor, feelings of dread and background music, in between the usual bumps and slams of doors, etc. Whenever the house starts to transform is a different story and is accompanied by prodigious bass content that is quite taxing for many subwoofers. The final climactic scenes involving the house are incredibly bass heavy and involve content extending to below 20Hz. The XV15 easily handled everything through the first half of the movie with and when the final sequence got underway it produced room filling, thundering bass as the monster lifts off of its foundation and attacks the kids. There was enough bass that I paid a little bit of extra attention to the XV15 to make sure that it wasn’t distorting or in danger. It was not but a glance at it revealed that the driver was going crazy. If the XV-15 was hitting its limit during this I do not know, but if so there was nothing audible to indicate it, as all I heard were impressive amounts of deep bass output. There was even a hint of the underwater pressure on the ears sensation that sub bass at loud volume will give. Movie number two on the viewing list was the horror/suspense movie Pulse. This is admittedly not my favorite movie but it does have fantastic amounts of bass useful to demo any sub system. Once again the XV-15 was equally up to the task of providing ominous background rumbles, the low register of music in the soundtrack and abrupt bass transients used as queue’s to go with the on screen action in an effort to make you jump out of your seat. The server room scene in this movie is notoriously difficult for most subwoofers to handle as it contains a loud, sustained, pulsed 16Hz signal with not much masking content going in on the rest of the speaker channels. Most subwoofers will either not reproduce the signal at all by filtering it away or they will be overloaded badly at a loud playback level. The XV15 proved it is capable of output this low in room and managed enough output during this scene to shake some things in the room while not being obviously over loaded. However there was some accompanying audible port noise during this scene. This was the only time during the listening session that port noise was heard. One XV-15 is quite capable and will probably be sufficient for many rooms, however with the bargain pricing one will likely start to wonder how much more fun a pair would be. I know I did.


Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

Tom V. posts on September 05, 2014 13:06
billy p, post: 1048418
Yeah… the standard finish is quite nice, I've seen it in person….much nicer IMHO than the traditional flat or faux black finish you often get on competitors products. Curious to hear read your thoughts once you have it all set up.

Just a FYI, we can send out samples of the wood veneer AND the Black Satin free of charge. Just send me a note to one of our email boxed.

Tom V.
Power Sound Audio
billy p posts on August 28, 2014 10:40
Yeah… the standard finish is quite nice, I've seen it in person….much nicer IMHO than the traditional flat or faux black finish you often get on competitors products. Curious to hear read your thoughts once you have it all set up.
smurphy522 posts on August 28, 2014 08:45
Unboxing the XS15se

Well I got the sub (very fast shipping BTW!) Here are some photos of the unboxing. While it was not double boxed it seems to have travelled well.

billy p posts on August 26, 2014 23:02
That would be the gentleman in the above post TV…IIRC he mentioned that chat line(pop up window) has become his preferred line of communication when dealing with the public.

Congrats on the new sub…
smurphy522 posts on August 26, 2014 16:38
I too popped onto the site as I was looking into possible units to replace my Carver sub with. I spoke with a knowledgeable source who suggested a XS15se in lieu of the VX15se I was initially there to get more detail on. Based on my media room size 2400 cu ft and the fact it is sealed with no opened walls (only a door), my new receiver (Denon AVR-X4000) and mains (Infinity Kappa 7 mk IIs) the sealed sub would be plenty and benefit greatly from the smallish-sealed room. I rarely listen at reference levels so that may have driven the suggestion as well.

Anyhow I was greatly impressed with the knowledge from the Chat person (can't recall the name).

Looking forward to picking my PSA sub, receivers (Denon AVR X-4000 and X3000) and my Panasonic projector (PTAE8000) up from the local Fedex store tonight!
Post Reply