Published On: May 15, 2024

Starke Sound SW15 Review: Beast at a Bargain!

Published On: May 15, 2024
We May Earn From Purchases Via Links

Starke Sound SW15 Review: Beast at a Bargain!

The Starke SW15 is a big V8 you can throw into your car, get tons of raw power that is surprisingly well put together and full of life, but it does lack some control and finesse that more expensive subs excel at.

Starke Sound SW15 Review: Beast at a Bargain!

  • Indiana Lang, owner of Emptor Audio and A/V Integration in Orlando, FL, brings extensive AV industry experience from inside sales to custom installations. Starting in the field at 17 and writing about Hifi since 2016, he boasts over 25 certifications from top brands and is the current Editor-In-Chief of

When shopping for subwoofers, it can be challenging to find the perfect balance between sound quality, power, and price. On one end of the spectrum, you can find inexpensive subs on Amazon that produce bass, but may lack clarity and refinement. On the other end, high-end subwoofers can cost thousands of dollars, take up significant space in your home theater, and require a team to move. But what if you're looking for a subwoofer that delivers exceptional sound quality at a reasonable price point, without all the bells and whistles? That's where Starke's SW15 comes in - a solid, no-frills subwoofer that offers excellent value for your money.

Starke Sound SW15 subwoofer 45-degree angle view


  • Impressive overall sound
  • The best value sub I’ve ever tested
  • Not heavy or bulky, can be moved by one (strong) person


  • No color options or gloss finish
  • Lacks musical bass


When it comes to subwoofers, finding the perfect balance between quality and affordability can be a daunting task. While inexpensive options flood the market, promising earth-shattering bass, they often fail to deliver a truly refined audio experience. Conversely, high-end models boast jaw-dropping performance but come with price tags that might make even the most ardent audiophile flinch.

However, the Starke SW15 strikes a remarkable chord, offering quality sound without the unnecessary bells and whistles or the exorbitant cost. When I tested this subwoofer, the bass hit so hard it felt like the room was shaking. It made intense movie scenes feel like you were right there in the middle of the action.

Starke Sound SW15 subwoofer rear view with connectivity options

The SW15 might not have the same level of precision as pricier subs when it comes to music, but overall, it blew me away - especially considering I got it on sale for just $549. It easily beat out subs from big-name brands like JL Audio that cost way more.

If you're looking for a subwoofer that can shake your house without emptying your wallet, the SW15 is a great option. It hits hard and sounds amazing, all while being easy on your wallet.


Starke Sound SW15 subwoofer view from the ground
  • Drivers15 inch
  • Amplifier475W RMS (950W short-term)
  • Max SPL output(1m)116dB
  • Frequency response (±3dB)14Hz-240Hz
  • Active driver15 inch
  • 1-piece glass fibre cone
  • Input terminalsXLR balanced input
  • Subwoofer input(RCA)
  • RCA stereo inputs, a pair
  • FinishMatte
  • Color optionsBlack

Stare Audio History

Founded in 2009, California based Starke Sound combines innovative technologies and superior materials to produce an incredibly amazing sound, delivering an unparalleled acoustic reproduction. It was born from a passion to challenge the status quo and create a world-class creative speaker company that combines state of the art technology with an elegant, contemporary design aesthetic.

The design team includes:

  • Scott DeLoache, Chief Design Officer
  • Dan Wiggins, Chief Technology Officer
  • Spring Qin, Chief Marketing Officer

After years of development to craft a deep product line with solutions for a wide array of budgets and performance needs, Starke Sound officially launched to the US market in 2016.

Unboxing and Setup

Starke Sound SW15 driver

I was thankful this sub wasn’t delivered on a pallet, those are never fun to unload and unbox. This sub was packaged surprisingly simple, just some foam in a box. Most subs I have tested are double boxed and have foam over everything. Not so with the Starke sub, it will be simple and easy to get right out of the box. 

The SW15 is also easy to set up, like I said it’s a no frills approach to a subwoofer. Just plug it, turn it and adjust your levels, rather simple and no serious calibration needed to get rock and rolling, no apps or UI to bother with.

I have always liked the simpler approaches to audio. While some may want better calibration, which is possible from the source if you wish to adjust the input feed, I like calibrating this by ear. 


Listening to a subwoofer is far different than, say, a set of speakers. Subs impart not just sound but also feeling, the feeling of deep bass that rolls over you, bass so low that you can’t hear it, just feel it. So when listening to a subwoofer, you don’t want to hear it.

Starke Sound SW15 subwoofer front view

What I mean by that is, you want to feel immersed into the track so that the bass glides along with you noticing too much or too little low end. Putting a sub that is too large and powerful with a set of small desktop speakers sounds awful no matter how well you tune it, and the same goes for the opposite. 

I tested the SW15 in a mid-range home theater that I designed and installed a few years back, using mostly Episode speakers and Sony video components. The only downside of this system was I had to use a wireless sub adaptor.

The homeowner wanted thunderous bass over musical bass, he wanted the windows to shake and to truly feel the bass in his chest. The SW15 really delivered here, the room was about 20x30 with 12ft ceilings and three doorways. The low end the SW15 can put out is impressive.

Starke Sound SW15 subwoofer closeup

We first tested the SW15 with some earth shaking scenes from the Transformers movies, packed with action they push subs to the limit out of the gate. Having to hold low frequency bass notes was no issue for the SW15, it was shocking to hear how powerful the SW15 could hit in such a large room. Movies gained so much low end that my client was missing SW15. It was wild! 

While larger subs can put out massive bass, they often have issues sounding tight and controlled, it takes more power and a stiffer driver to keep bass under control and not sound sloppy. I did notice some slop here and there in music tracks, but it was still pretty good. I didn’t get a SW12 in for testing, but I would assume that would do better for music and two channel bass than the SW15. 


As a AV installer myself, I mostly install JL Audio subs. While not really in the same league as Starke, I can say the differences in sound are quite small and the differences in price are quite large. JL makes subs that are more dual purpose for movies and music, while the Starke sub excels at mostly movies. The Starke sub truly is a step up from cheap Amazon options, while throwing punches at subs costing far more.


Starke Sound SW15 connectivity options

The Starke SW15 is a big V8 you can throw into your car, tons of raw power that is surprisingly well put together and full of life, but it does lack some control and finesse that more expensive subs excel at. If your goal is to find a value sub that can put out bass that you really feel in your chest and that not only you, but also your neighbors can clearly hear, the Starke SW15 fits the bill nicely.

At the time of writing, the MSRP is $899, but it’s on sale from Starke at $549, which is insane for what you're getting. Yeah it’s a beast at a bargain, get it!

Subscribe To Home Theater Review

Get the latest weekly home theater news, sweepstakes and special offers delivered right to your inbox
Email Subscribe
HomeTheaterReview Rating
Overall Rating: 
© JRW Publishing Company, 2023
As an Amazon Associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
Share to...