No home theater is complete without a subwoofer or two. It used to be that all subwoofers had to be large, unsightly black boxes that not only cost a small fortune but were made to go stand in the corner for their crimes against interior design. The days of coffee table-sized woofers are all but over as numerous compact designs have made their way to market, designs that are not only room and décor friendly but budget friendly as well - for example, the Bravus 8A powered subwoofer from Aperion Audio reviewed here.
Aperion Audio is an Internet direct loudspeaker and electronics company based out of Portland, Oregon and their Bravus 8A subwoofer is the smallest, most affordable sub the company offers at $299. Available in your choice of cherry wood or gloss piano black finish, the Bravus 8A a compact, lifestyle oriented subwoofer that measures 15 inches high by 13 and a half inches deep and 13 and a half inches wide. The Bravus 8A has a single, downward firing, eight-inch aluminum driver that is powered by an internal 100-Watt amplifier. The Bravus 8A is a ported design, also downward firing, giving it a reported frequency response of 36Hz to 160Hz -not exactly earthquake inducing but sufficient for those who may live in apartments or have smaller home theaters. Another possible use for the Bravus 8A is to provide a bit of low-end kick to a soundbar setup like those offered by Aperion Audio, Vizio and more.
In terms of connection options the Bravus 8A has a variety of options including speaker level inputs, analog stereo inputs as well as an LFE input. There are controls for power up, phase, crossover (40 -160Hz) and level as well. Throw in some fairly robust spikes and that's the Bravus 8A in a nutshell.
In terms of sound I utilized the Bravus 8A in my bedroom system where it temporarily replaced the larger, more expensive GoldenEar ForceField 4 subwoofer. Despite being low on power and a bit more traditional in its design, the Bravus 8A more than held its own in my bedroom system. While it failed to plunge as deep as my other subwoofers, what it possessed was nothing short of spectacular and never really left me wanting for more. I was surprised how agile and frankly musical the Bravus 8A's smallish eight inch woofer with only 100-Watts behind it could be. Sure I was used to a bit more depth and dynamic slam from my other subs but when watching movies like RED (Summit) on Blu-ray, I wasn't exactly taken out of the film when the Bravus 8A was installed. My wife preferred the look of the Bravus 8A to my other subs and if I'm honest so did I. In my bedroom system, connected to my reference Onkyo receiver powering a full compliment of Noble Fidelity in-ceiling loudspeakers, I found little fault with the Bravus 8A's performance - provided I kept the volume within reason and didn't thrash it with bass heavy material just because.
Read about the high points and low points of the Bravus 8A subwoofer on Page 2.
• At $300 retail the Bravus 8A is one of the better looking, more affordable, compact subs out there.
• In small rooms, such as a bedroom or den, a Bravus 8A or two will provide you with all the bass you need - especially if you're an apartment dweller.
• The Bravus 8A can be converted to a wireless subwoofer with the addition of Aperion Audio's Home Audio Link system, which like the Bravus 8A is affordable at $149.
• When driven too hard, the Bravus 8A can get a bit tubby and loose. This can also happen if you place it in a room beyond its capabilities. If you find that you've mistakenly placed the Bravus 8A in a situation it can't win, you can easily add a second Bravus 8A or even a third for the price you'll pay for a lot of the competition. Or you can step up to one of the Bravus 8A's larger siblings.
• In its black gloss finish the Bravus 8A is difficult to keep clean and free of dust. I think I had to Swiffer my review unit quite a bit to keep it from looking like a scene out of CSI.
Competition and Comparison
It's hard to argue with the Bravus 8A's sub-$300 asking price; however it is not alone in the ultra-affordable subwoofer space. One notable competitor has to be Outlaw Audio's newest compact sub, the M8, which retails for $249 and is sold direct. The M8 is an eight inch design like the Bravus 8A; however it features a more powerful amplifier at 125 Watts, giving it a slightly better frequency response of 29Hz to 250Hz. However, the M8 lacks the Bravus 8A's finish options there for it doesn't look as visually appealing as the Bravus 8A does - but if performance is what matters most, the M8 is worth auditioning.
Another affordable but compact subwoofer to consider is Polk Audio's PSW125 Subwoofer, which at $349 retail is bit more than the Bravus 8A; however it has a larger woofer (10 inches) and a more powerful amplifier (150 Watts). Like the Bravus 8A, the PSW125 also comes in more décor friendly finishes such as cherry wood veneer, though I believe the Bravus 8A's cherry wood finish looks superior and is finished to a higher standard.
For more information on subwoofers including the latest subwoofer news and reviews please check out Home Theater Review's Subwoofer page.
For $299 direct the Bravus 8A from Aperion Audio is hard to fault for it sounds great when utilized in the proper setting, it looks beautiful and like all Aperion products comes with free shipping and a 30-day in home trial and money back guarantee. Plus, if you find your system and/or tastes require a bit more bass you can easily add a second Bravus 8A to your system and still pay less than a lot of the competition - plus for an additional $149 your Bravus 8A can be turned into a wireless subwoofer. For the home theater enthusiast who may be tight on space and funds you can't go wrong with Aperion Audio's Bravus 8A subwoofer.