Pros / The subwoofer’s front-firing cabinet design makes it easy to find a good place to set it up.
Cons / During our tests, this down-firing woofer was inaccurate during short bursts of sound effects.
Verdict / The Pioneer SW-10 is missing a few design and sound features the best subwoofers have, but its modest price and compact design make it a good fit for small entertainment rooms, especially if you have other Pioneer speaker components.
The Pioneer SW-10 has a unique cabinet design that uses a front-firing port to project low-end content from a down-firing speaker. In fact, this is the only subwoofer we tested with a down-firing speaker. The woofer’s cabinet design and its amplifier’s high, 200-watt continuous power rating helped it create ground-pounding sound at high volumes in our long action scene listening test.
We tested each subwoofer’s ability to project long and sustained bass notes by watching a clip from the James Bond movie “Skyfall.” Near the end of the movie, there is a scene that shows a train falling through the ceiling of an underground room, and it makes the subwoofer work hard for about 15 seconds straight. The SW-10 showed no signs of volume or frequency loss during that long action scene. It did, however, have a hard time recreating short bursts of sound like gunshots and other effects normally associated with fight scenes. This is possibly because of the inefficiency of its down-firing woofer design.
The speaker and amplifier are housed in a black semi-gloss MDF cabinet that hides fingerprints and dust well. This compact and light cabinet design is easy to maneuver into tight spaces, and the front-firing port helps the cabinet breathe and sound better in those tight spaces.
This subwoofer has an above-average frequency response compared to the other 10-inch woofers we tested. It can recreate frequencies as low as 30Hz and as high as 150Hz. The adjustable crossover allows you to set the low end starting point from 50Hz to 150Hz. If your AV receiver has a low-frequency effects (LFE) output, we suggest turning the crossover to the lowest frequency setting because that output sends an already crossed over signal. Also, keep in mind that the SW-10 does not have speaker-level inputs or outputs, so you can’t use this subwoofer with older two-channel stereo receivers.
Pioneer has the worst warranty of all the subwoofer manufacturers we reviewed. The company only covers the subwoofer’s speaker and amplifier for one year – most manufacturers, including Klipsch, offer five-year speaker warranties. The Pioneer website has a FAQs page as well as phone and email support contact information in case you have questions about hooking up the SW-10 to your existing speaker system.
- Low Frequency Response (+/- 3dB)
- High Frequency Response (+/- 3dB)
- RMS Continuous Power