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Pioneer SW-10 Review

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.

Our 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.

For

  • The subwoofer’s front-firing cabinet design makes it easy to find a good place to set it up.

Against

  • During our tests, this down-firing woofer was inaccurate during short bursts of sound effects.
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You adjust the Pioneer SW-10’s volume and crossover with its brushed-aluminum knobs.

You adjust the Pioneer SW-10’s volume and crossover with its brushed-aluminum knobs.
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The Pioneer SW-10’s back panel is simple and easy to navigate.

The Pioneer SW-10’s back panel is simple and easy to navigate.
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The down-firing woofer is located on the Pioneer SW-10’s bottom panel.

The down-firing woofer is located on the Pioneer SW-10’s bottom panel.
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There is a power indicator light on the front panel, just below the Pioneer logo.

There is a power indicator light on the front panel, just below the Pioneer logo.

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.

Billy Bommer

When Billy isn’t testing audio products and writing reviews for Top Ten Reviews, you can find him at the top of a snowy mountain peak looking for fresh powder, or in a studio or live music venue working as a sound engineer and musician. He has been critically listening to speakers and using audio production software for more than 15 years in a recreational and professional capacity. He has been the Audio & Travel Writer for Top Ten Reviews since 2017 and does his best to make product recommendations based on his hands-on experience using these products in a real-world scenario.