Other than its wireless capabilities, the JBL sub has features found on most subwoofers, including level, variable crossover frequency (from 50 Hz – 150 Hz), a low-pass on-off switch to bypass the subwoofer's internal crossover, a two position phase control, low-level RCA inputs for a standard wired setup and Auto On/Standby operation. The JBL ES150PW features a down-firing bass port on the bottom of the enclosure.
What sets it apart is the wireless transmitter, which connects to the LFE or Sub Out jacks of a typical AV or stereo receiver. The transmitter sends the signal to the subwoofer placed as far as 75' away. The transmitter and subwoofer each have four selectable ID codes, or frequencies to prevent interference from other devices such as cordless phones or if you are using more than one wireless sub in your system. The small transmitter is a little larger than a deck of playing cards and can be placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall or the interior of an entertainment center.
Deep, full bass, used in soundtracks to heighten suspense or intrigue, sounded rich and resonant with the JBL subwoofer. One of the best examples is the Fox hit series '24' on DVD, a suspense-packed show about the continuing struggles of Counter Terrorism Agent Jack Bauer against terrorists determined to strike the US. The JBL sub easily handled the gunfire, explosions and other intense action scenes and the bass always sounded tight and well-controlled.
Bass was even better when two subwoofers were used in the system. In my recent review of the Infinity PS210W wireless subwoofer I tested both subwoofers simultaneously in my system. (Note: JBL and Infinity are both part of Harman International). Two subwoofers offer noticeably better performance than one sub and can reduce bass heaviness or boominess in a listening room by more evenly distributing bass throughout the room.
The JBL subwoofer was equally adept with music sources. Jennifer Warnes "Bird on a Wire' (Shout Records) begins with resounding bass that sounded excellent with the JBL sub. Lyle Lovett's 'She's Already Made Up Her Mind', a multichannel DTS CD (Curb Records) has some of the deepest bass I've heard and the JBL effortlessly reproduced the lowest notes in this track.
The JBL ES150PW has a suggested retail price of $599, but you can probably find it for less. It's a real value, especially if you're considering using multiple subwoofers in your system.
I give the JBL ES150PW a 4-star rating because of its wireless capabilities, bass performance and value.
- Amplifier: 300 watts (500 watts peak dynamic power)
- Woofer: 10-inch PolyPlas™ cone
- Inputs: L/R line level, LFE and wireless 2.4 GHz
- Low-Pass Frequency: Variable from 50 Hz to 150 Hz
- Frequency response: 27Hz - 150 Hz
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 13 ¼" x 18" x 16 1/8"
- Weight: 39 lbs.
- Finishes: Black or Cherry
- Price: $599