B&W is finally shipping their new in-cabinet subwoofer they previewed almost a year ago.  Subwoofers can sometimes be a real challenge.  Without deep bass you do not get the full effect of a great movie soundtrack.  If your main speakers for music are not physically large, a subwoofer is needed to get the bass extension that keeps the music from sounding thin and tinny.  The challenge is, a good subwoofer is usually a large black box that may not look that great in the environment we need to place it in.  Many times the best place to hide a subwoofer is in a cabinet.  This has its own set of challenges.  Bass, below a certain frequency, is omnidirectional, which means you cannot detect where it is coming from.  If we properly vent a cabinet and pad the doors so they do not rattle, positioning a subwoofer inside a cabinet offered a pretty good compromise.

We always wished someone would design a subwoofer that was just made to go inside a cabinet.  It would need to vent out of the cabinet and use some kind of push/pull woofer configuration to minimize cabinet resonance.  Well, our friends at B&W have done just this! The ISW-3 uses dual drivers with a vented cabinet.  The cabinet is designed so it can be placed either vertically or horizontally.  The vent, which looks just like a floor HVAC register, can be painted to match your décor.

The separate amp, notice all of the controls are front and center!

The separate amp, notice all of the controls are front and center!

The amplifier for the sub is a separate component, which has three advantages compared to placing a subwoofer in a cabinet.   First of all, we only have to get a speaker wire to the cabinet; there is no need for electrical power at the subwoofer.  Secondly, there is nothing in the cabinet that produces heat. Finally, it’s always been pretty inconvenient to adjust a subwoofer sitting in a cabinet with its controls located on the back. With the separate amp, all adjustments are right on the front of the amplifier!

Not only is the ISW-3 a great problem solver, it’s a pretty awesome subwoofer.  The cabinet is actually fairly large.  This combined with the dual 6” drivers equals really fast deep bass.  This is no one note boom-box, it’s a very serious musical subwoofer capable of subtle nuances of bass and shaking the walls with an action movie soundtrack.

If you have wanted great bass a room where you could just not fit a subwoofer, the ISW-3 may be the perfect fit for you.  The ISW-3 is $995.  The companion amp, which can drive two of these, is also $995.  B&W ISW-3 page