Published On: February 15, 2005

Definitive Technology IWSub 10/10 In-wall Subwoofer Reviewed

Published On: February 15, 2005

Definitive Technology IWSub 10/10 In-wall Subwoofer Reviewed

Our reviewer was very impressed by the IWSub 10/10. When listening to music, there were never had any "boominess or bloated-sounding bass notes." The system was "very quick getting the bass in and getting it out so it always sounded clean." While watching DVDs, "the bass response was clean and powerful, making for a very vibrant viewing experience"

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The biggest problem when integrating a home theater into your home is the inevitable cluttering that results due to all of the boxes that comprise a home theater, including subwoofers, power amplifiers, speakers and source equipment, which shrinks the actual space in which you can sit and enjoy your favorite movies. Careful planning and smart ideas can help to minimize this sense of clutter, including putting your source equipment and amplifiers into a nearby closet (and using a centralized remote control), and, of course, by using in-wall and in-ceiling speakers to make up your surround sound.

Additional Resources
• Read more subwoofer reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore reviews for similar products in our In-Wall Speaker Review section.

That leaves the cumbersome, and often ill-fitting, subwoofer. Great bass performance, even in the most modest room, requires a large, square box sitting behind a sofa or against the wall. Well, as of late, you have a viable option: an in-wall subwoofer. Some manufacturers have produced some pretty weak and flabby in-wall subwoofers, but now that Definitive Technology (a company known for its brains as well as its brawn), is getting into the game, people should stand up and take notice. Their new IWSub 10/10 in-wall subwoofer has all the right specifications, and paired with the company's stunning and powerful SubAmp 600 external power amplifier, it should be a contender.

Unique Features
The IWSub 10/10 subwoofer features a 10-inch Flat Technology driver coupled with a 10-inch, pressure-driven Infrasonic bass radiator for smooth bass response. The subwoofer is a 19 7/8-inch by 14 3/8-inch sealed medite box (with a mounting flange) that fits directly between two studs in your wall. It is less than four inches deep, so that it fits flush in a normal wall, making custom installation in either new or existing construction a no-brainer.

Mated to the SubAmp 600 (the only amplifier recommended by Definitive Technology for the IWSub), it is a clean product that is very versatile. The SubAmp 600 comes in either black or silver finish, and can be rack-mounted using the supplied rack mounts, or mounted on a shelf using the supplied feet. Personally, I find the shiny silver finish really tasteful. One SubAmp 600 can power either one or two IWSub 10/10s. The SubAmp 600 has several useful controls, including phase, subwoofer volume and crossover. These allow fine-tuning of the subwoofer specific to its environment for a customized sound and feel. Also, you can paint the removable grilles and bezel on the in-wall subwoofer, so it can even match your chartreuse walls, if that's your goal.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Installing the subwoofer into the wall is really easy. In fact, in my test installation, I installed two of the IWSub 10/10s mated to one SubAmp 600 (per Definitive Technology's blessing), as the test room was pretty large and required two subwoofers, no matter what kind. The IWSub 10/10 subwoofers get cut into the wall, just like any normal in-wall speaker, and Definitive Technology even gives you cutouts of your subwoofer dimensions so you can simply trace around the cutout sheet on your destination wall and then use a drywall knife or saw to cut out the drywall for easy installation.

On the amplifier side, simply connect your line-level subwoofer output from your audio/video receiver to the LFE input on the SubAmp 600, and then connect speaker cable from the SubAmp 600 to each subwoofer, and you're good to go. Then calibrate your receiver's subwoofer output, as you normally would, and dial in the controls on the front of the SubAmp. You should have incredibly well-tuned bass response. For my installation, I installed the subwoofers in the front walls, making them both LFE subwoofers. I set my three Definitive Technology UIW-75 front speakers (left, center and right) as "small", and with the balanced sound due to the addition of the subwoofers, I was thrilled with the result. Using the subwoofer amplifiers is also well thought out. You can connect the subwoofer amplifier to the rest of your system in two ways. You can use a trigger to actuate the power command on the amplifier, or set it to signal sensing, which will have it turn on when needed. Personally, I prefer the 12-volt trigger variety, as that way the subwoofer is ready no matter when you need it, and there is no delay at all.

Read more on Page 2.

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Final Take
I tested the IWSub 10/10s with a variety of music and movie clips, and I have to say that I was very, very impressed. The bass was tunable to my test room very easily, and there was never any boominess or bloated-sounding bass notes. Bass response was smooth and resolute, and made for a very pleasant experience. It sounded great while listening to Beck's 5.1 and stereo mixes of his new album Guero, a mix of electronic hi-fi with decidedly low-fi sounds, which is a challenge for even the best systems. Particularly, on the track "Girl", which is a bass-driven piece, and definitely a challenge for almost any system, it did an extraordinary job with virtually no tweaking.

The IWSub 10/10 filled the room with just enough bass energy, and was very quick in getting the bass in and getting it out, so it always sounded clean. I had similar results while listening to Peter Gabriel's SACD of his last album, Up. Again, a challenging album with deep bass presence, and many systems just aren't up to snuff. However, this was not one of those systems, and it passed with flying colors. In particular, the track "Growing Up" was an exciting experience to listen to, and its pounding rhythms were as they were likely designed to be - unrelenting and evocative.

On bombastic movie soundtracks like Sahara and National Treasure (both terrible movies), the IWSub 10/10s were equally impressive. During crashes and explosions, the bass response was clean and powerful, making for a very vibrant viewing experience. I didn't want to turn off the movies, even though they were pretty horrendous, but they sure sounded great with these in-wall subwoofers!

If you have the opportunity to cut into your walls and install the perfect subwoofer for so many installations, then do it. The price is great for what you get, and as I mentioned above, you can even pair up two subwoofers with one amplifier, and the results are spectacular. If you are renting, you can still go ahead and install this speaker package, as long as you are okay with losing your security deposit. If you own your own place, it's a no-brainer, and it'll also surely make your significant other happy by cleaning up the clutter in your home theater or media room. Either way, you'll be happy in the long run.

Definitive Technology
IWSub 10/10 In-Wall Subwoofer 
MSRP: $699

SubAmp 600 
MSRP: $599

Warranties
IWSub 10/10 5-year parts and labor 
SubAmp 600 3-year parts and labor

Additional Resources
• Read more subwoofer reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore reviews for similar products in our In-Wall Speaker Review section.

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