Friday, June 22, 2012

Alpine Type-S SWS-10D4 10 Inch Subwoofer Review

If you like bass and car stereos, there is one way to get it. It is called a subwoofer. Subwoofers come in all shapes and sizes. Mostly round, some are square. Most are big, and some can be just huge. Up for review today is a subwoofer more on the smaller size, being a 10" model. It is the Alpine SWS-10D4 .
Don't let it's smaller size fool ya. One thing I like about technology is that it is always changing. The new technology tends to debut on the top of the line models. Then it can work it's way down the product line. This is also true with Alpine. The Alpine SWS-10D4 benefits from technology previously found on it's SWR-10D4 line.
It's features and specs:
Power Handling Range: 150W - 500 Watts RMS
Power Handling: 500W
Peak Power Handling: 1500W
Dimensions Mounting Depth: 141mm (5.6'')
Mounting Diameter: 226mm (8.875'')
Displacement: 0.04 cu. Ft.
Added Volume: 0.06 cu. ft. (Reverse Mount, Magnet Out)
Frequency Response: 28Hz - 200Hz
Material: Oversized Hairline-Textured Mica Poly Dustcap w/ Kevlar Reinforced Pulp Paper Cone Design: 2-Piece Parabolic
Surround Material: Injected Molded Santoprene
Design: High Amplitude Multi-Roll H.A.M.R Surround Design (Patent Pending)
Spider Material: Conex
Design: 10 Segment High-Roll Progressive
Voice Coil Material: 180 degrees High Temp Wire on Sprial-Cut Aluminum Bobbin
Design: 6-Layer Dual Voice Coil
Motor Structure Pole Geometry: FEA Optimized Underhung Design w/ Dual-Sided Compound Radius Pole Geometry
Configuration: Dual Flared Design w/ Integrated Backplate Venting
Frame Material: 18GA High Strength Steel
Design: Alpine-Designed 5 Leg Structure w/ Integrated Radial Voice Coil Vents
Terminals Layout: One Sided Design: 8ga. Push Terminals
Tinsel Leads Design: Reinforced-Layer Spider Integration
Gasket Design: Concealed Mount Gasket System
The Alpine SWS-10D4 shipped in an attractive box with traditional alpine styling. It was printed with pictures of the sub, and some of it's specs. Opening the box showed protective packaging that included your typical cutout cardboard. Taking the subwoofer out of the cardboard and lifting it to take off the protective plastic bag, it had good heft to it.
I must say that I was impressed with the quality of the sub. Alpine is definitely making a statement with this model at such an aggressive price point. I had to keep reminding myself that MSRP is only $129.95!!!!
The quality of the materials was very good. The magnet was rather massive, with a wide vent hole down the center. The basket was stamped, rather than cast, but was expected at this point. And with a power heading of 500 watts RMS, the handling and use at a stamped basket is plenty sufficient. The spring loaded push terminals were of good quality, as well as the spider with sewing in tinsel leads. I also liked the ribbed surround, and rubber cover over the basket to give a clean lack once installed. It all came together to give a high quality looking product that also appeared to be a rather beastly looking subwoofer that would yield good performance. Also included was a user manual, and a couple wires for more simple wiring options for the dual voice coils.
So lets see how this all came together with the listening tests. I chose to go with the ported option in a 1.0 cu ft enclosure for more output. Fergie: Fergalicious has good output with low end extension. The bass was clean, and I was impressed at how well controlled the cone movement was, with the ribbed surround giving good excursion. Justin Timerlake: Sexyback, provided good output and played with very good authority, just as well as Fergalicious. The Alpine SWS-10D4 also provided very good impact and punch. Dead Or Alive: Lover Come Back To Me provided very good impact again, and the driver sounded only a tad muddy in trying to keep up with the quick beats. Finally turning to my old album Techmaster PB: Activate, and Time To Jam sounded very good. The SWS-10D4 not only played with very good authority for a 10 inch driver, it also had very good extension. The specs say it will play down to 28Hz, and I would tend to agree that it seemed fairly accurate. It did a very good job making my rear view mirror dance...always a good test. While the sound was not perfect, it did sound better and provide more output than a $129.95 10 inch subwoofer should.
Alpine usually does not surprise me. I have been using their products for 20 years, so I know to expect very high quality from them. But the Alpine SWS-10D4 surprised me with it's performance at it's price point. It definitely sounded like a much more expensive subwoofer. If you are either a bass head, or just looking for good quality bass at a cheap price, the answer is easy. Check out the Alpine SWS-10D4. You'll get a big bang, or boom, for your buck. At it's price point, products would typically earn our Value award, but based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the Alpine SWS-10D4 has earned our Recommended Award (in fact, it's performance had come closer to the performance of some Highly Recommended award winners at over twice its price, than it should have at it's price point). It actually came close to earning our Highly Recommended Award, which is more typical of around a $300 price point. Excellent job Alpine! For more info and complete specs, check out their website at: Reference gear used included Kenwood Excelon DNX-9980HD Multimedia receiver, Alpine Type-X SPX-13PRO component speaker system, German Maestro MS 654010 component speaker system, Zed Audio Leviathan III 6 channel full range class D amplifier, JL Audio XD600/6 channel full range class D amplifier, Vide Audio Black Death Bass 1 Class GH subwoofer amp, AudioControl DQXS Digital Electronic Crossover/Equalizer.