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KEF PSW2500 Review

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Kazman, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. Kazman

    Kazman
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    I've had this for a while now, and have to say I'm very impressed with it.

    OK, it doesn't compete with an SVS PB2+ (thanks for the demo Smurfin :)), but it more than makes up for the £239 I paid for it.

    The first mission was to find a decent location, and my choices were limited due to WAF.

    But it is situated hidden away in front of the left front speaker, in between it and one of the sofas with just enough space so it doesn't boom.

    I was initially a little worried as the sub was humming quite loudly, at first I feared I had a grounding issue, but, luckily, and conveniantly, there was a ground in/out switch at the back of the sub, flicked that, and the hum dissappeared :D

    The unit itself is well built, and was packed very carefully by KEF. With a retail price of £349, this sub is a relative bargain. It is used in the KEF Q7 AV speaker package and the KHT 5005 speaker package. A cube version of this sub is also used in the current KEF Egg 2005.2 package and is called the PSW2010 in there.

    It has a 10" cone, and is a closed cylinder type design. Although it is more oval than cylindrical. I managed to get mine for £239 after Technosound of Milton Keynes price matched with PRC direct, it is available in several finishes but the one that was supplied to me was in silver (for a saving of £110 I wasn't going to complain) and looks very tasteful.

    It has all the relevant connections on the rear including low/high connections and relavent speaker terminals. It has a gain toggle and a phase toggle dial, the gain controls the overall volume and the phase dial moves between 0 and 180 degrees. All the dials (including the crossover dial) feel well damped and ooze quality, an over-engineered elegance that surpasses other subs in the price range.

    It also has a music mode switch which I'll come onto later.

    I bought a Monster Bass 100 cable and plugged it all in. Set the crossover on the amp to 80Hz and on the sub I set it to about 90hz. I do not have an SPL meter so had to do the rest of the setup by ear, but I am quite happy with the results achieved.

    Once all tuned and ready, the first thing apparent was the control, my previous boom box pile of crud Eltax was so loud and boomy that it really detracted from the listening experience rather than enhance it, and with music it was better to just switch it off. The KEF on the other hand is a revelation.

    The first test disc (and my fave one to test a sub) was Minority Report, 90% of this DVD's soundtrack isn't really bassy at all, but one scene (scene 9 in the UK R2 DVD) makes up for all of it. The scene where Tom Cruise uses the sonic gun in the Lexus warehouse, amazing!! I jumped out of my seat, for 250 watts and a 10" cone, this little sub doesn't half shake the room!!! And I was only listening at -10db!!!! Bang Bang Bang, not a boom in earshot, just cool, smooth when needed, tight bass.

    Next up was Matrix Reloaded, the opening scene with Trinity falling out of the window was handled very well, and the car chase scene felt so much more weighty and authoritative.

    The next disc was Finding Nemo, (this movie has massive amounts of bass), started off with the first day of school with the manta ray teacher swimming over the reef. Lovely, deep rich bass filled the room, it increased the ambience in that scene and had so much more depth and the dynamics were great. The next scene was the minefield going off after meeting the sharks, again, I was impressed, it took that scene on very well and didn't miss a single explosion. I then moved onto the scene where the submarine topples over the edge, here is where the KEF almost meets its limits. It can handle the levels, but it just didn't go as deep as the big SVS sub I heard or the B&W675 I've also heard. BUT, for a £350 sub, it was bloody marvelous!!!

    It handled the scene inside the whale with ease, and didn't really fall down once.

    The next movie I tried was Bad Boys 2, the car chase scene and the gunfight just before it. One of the rasta gunmen has one huge gun that gives off some seriously deep bass when fired, where the eltax boomed and gave up, the KEF took on and delivered each shot fired with forcefulness and accuracy, and it didn't boom once!!! It still shook the room, but it didn't take over the rest of the soundtrack, therefore we still felt the bullets being fired and certainly heard them, but we could hear the rest of the action going on too, fantastic!!!

    I then decided to try some music, firstly with the sub still switched to movie mode at the back.

    I tried various pieces and styles of music and found the sub to be a little too forceful in movie mode, so I switched to music mode, the bass mellowed out, was tighter and didn't bully the rest of the soundstage, sublime.

    I've never heard my CD's sound so perfect, the integration with the front two Mordaunt Shorts in my setup was fantastic, the deep low bass of some of my R&B CD's was spot on, and the snap of drumbeats in my rock CD's were timed so well, impressive.

    There are few subs Ive heard in the price range that sound better or as good, the only ones that come to mind that equal or better the little KEF's performance are the Mordaunt Short MS909W, B&W ASW675 an the £980 all inc SVS sub I heard in Milton Keynes. It certainly betters or equals the equivalent models from MJ Acoustics and REL. What makes it even sweeter is that I only paid £239 for it, relative bargain imho.

    Definite 5/5 from me, and perfect for a home cinema system in an averaged sized room. The only downside would be that I wish the dynamic range at reference was a little better, but for £350, (or indeed £239), I am not complaining at all. A good buy, and very underrated.:thumbsup: :clap:
     
  2. drago

    drago
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    Hi Kazman
    I have Kef 5005 and am very pleased with performance, However I have found the following has made a big improvement firstly b4 I bought this system I had a Yamaha 100 sub in my previous system Gale 420 front speakers Mission 77c centre and large Bose rears and sounded great until Gales finally gave up the Ghost! Marantz 5200 supplied the amplification with a Musical Fidelity Synthesis pre amped the front speakers as I have a Michell Gyrodec. Anyway new house etc required new smaller more WAF friendly system so went for 5005. After dicussion with Kef on help line I have used the Yamaha as second sub alongside the KEF. Huge improvement in peformance! In addition I have placed containers loaded with sand and other heavy and yet WAF friendly objects and can say I am staggered at the deep deep Bass that has resulted. Of course I still am desperate for an SVS!
     
  3. Kazman

    Kazman
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    How did you team up the PSW2500 with the Yamaha sub mate?

    Did you use a splitter on the sub pre-out of the amp?

    I wouldn't mind using the Eltax as a second sub, just to try it out :D
     
  4. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Kazman

    Excellent review! :smashin:

    Thanks

    Nimby
     
  5. sjp1966

    sjp1966
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    Kazman, A good review, i enjoyed reading it, i have just purchased one of these and some other kit (see signature), one question i do have is this. I do not have a clue how to set this speaker up properly, i am new to all this lark and i ohave played with the various switches and dials but i dont know how to set it up properly, can you give any advise at all?

    Thanks
     
  6. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Well done Kazman, I find these in-depth reviews very interesting.
     
  7. Kazman

    Kazman
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    Been a while since I wrote that, I'd still stick by it, but have to concede that the B&W 675 does outperform the PSW2500 by a larger margin than implied in the review.

    As for setup, make sure you phase dial is set to 0 degrees, and your crossover depends on how low your floorstanders go.

    If you hear a humming noise while the sub is on, toggle the ground switch at the back.

    As for the music/movie mode, you can only hear the difference at higher volumes.

    I have bottomed out the sub a few times at reference or near reference levels, but I was asking too much from the little'un.

    The volume dial depends on how large your room is, I have mine set to just under the half way mark.

    I'm going to order an SVS PC Ultra now though, in preperation for the home cinema loft conversion in the new yr :D :devil: but will keep the KEF for the living room after the main system moves to the loft.
     
  8. Unlight

    Unlight
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    Anyone got any tips on where to get this a little bit cheaper?

    Best I've found is £258 + delivery at hifibitz... must be cheaper on the web somewhere?
     

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