Extra oomph in all the right places.
One of the hardest things to do in life, is describe sound, so much so that words such as "wide, stage, depth, resolution" all get used, but quite often are used to describe something completely different.
What's even harder, is to describe subwoofers.
So without any use whatsoever of wide, stage, depth or resolution (well maybe depth) let's try and let you know how good this sub really is... (And it's really good!)
So, with most subwoofers I have always used the old "if it's heavy, it's probably good" and it seems to have done me well so far (with one exception in the 90s when I bought a sub from a market and it sounded horrific) and this sub is no exception, it tops the scales just over 13kg, of which I'd hazard a guess at a 11kg speaker and the other into construction materials, it's a really solid build, and the finish quality is really good.
Connection to the HT-A7000 is as simple as plugging it into the mains and powering on, that's it. The A7000 will detect it and connect to it fully automatically, it's really, really simple.
Ok, that's all well and good, easy connection, good build quality.... But how does it sound....
Now, subwoofers tend to come in 3 distinct categories.
1 ones that sound punchy
2 ones that hit great sounding low frequencies
3 ones that sound like a giant blowing raspberries
Number 3 is not good, probably best left to people's bad car installs whereas numbers 1 & 2 are good, sometimes you get subs that are both 1&2, these can have the potential to be excellent, the SA-SW5 is one of these.
For setting up and checking subwoofers I generally use two listening methods.
Firstly I play the Jurassic park T-Rex escape scene.
In this scene you can check bass levels on many particular events, the foot steps of the approaching T-Rex, the thunder, and the roar.
On the footsteps, bad subs will show a distinct warble effect after each pound as the sound tapers off, this subwoofer did not, it provided a great initial thud, followed by a perfect fall off as the sound tapers, great sounding. The thunder in bad subs will sound good, but you will get "empty" spots where the frequency is just beyond the response frequency of the sub, again this does not happen with this subwoofer, the sharp bang of the thunder coming from the A7000 is perfectly followed by a deep boom from the sub while the distant rolling bass and echoes are perfectly rendered from the subwoofer.
Lastly, the T-Rex roar.
Just because on a fully kitted out 5.1 or 7.1 system it sounds awesome, and yes, it really does on the SA-SW5.
The second way I test subwoofers, is by playing a hi-res version of the popular dance song "Smack my (female dog) up" by the Prodigy.
This song has so many elements that rely on good subwoofer set ups it's really unreal, the initial kick at 42 seconds is followed by so many elements that are deep and bassy that it's a really great way to check the capabilities of a good subwoofer.
Each element, each kick, pad and synth sounds perfect to my ears. Each kick has punch, each synth has great depth, it's an overall exceptional experience.
Which is how I'd sum up the SA-SW5 as a whole, it provides an exceptional experience, which in itself adds to the brilliant audio from the host A7000.
For some the A7000 holds quite enough punch as it is, but for that extra bit of excellence, I would thoroughly recommend this unit.
This review was collected as part of a promotion