At one time, subwoofers that had any pretentions to good performance were big and ugly. Later, as engineers got to grips with designing robust drivers that could withstand high levels of electronic equalisation, they became small and a little less ugly. Yes, there were sub-woofers that paid lip service to styling, but generally their performance was compromised. The PV1D, although elegant and stylish, owes its curved shape to sound engineering principles, those of a pressure vessel, from which the initials in the name derive. From a simple bubble to a sophisticated deep sea diving bell, a spherical form is the ideal shape to accommodate pressure differences between the inside and outside of the enclosure; and there can be considerable pressures generated inside compact subwoofers.
The intrinsic strength of the form enables a relatively thin wall construction to the aluminium enclosure, maximising the internal volume. Twin drivers operate back to back to minimise pressure differences throughout the internal volume, which increases the spherical form’s ability to withstand vibration and reduce coloration.
The PV1D is based on the earlier PV1, but has a digital processing upgrade that lets you fine-tune the sub with a number of EQ options.
Controlled via an OLED display plus a touchbutton interface on the central band of the enclosure, the DSP optimises the PV1D’s overall performance and allows for a degree of user-adjustable equalisation to suit different applications.
For example, should you want to use the PV1D in a 2.1 configuration, it provides pre-selected EQ modes to help integrate it with any one of six different types of B&W speaker. This is of course useful with any brand of speaker!
The PV1D’s drive units (2 x 20cm) and amplification (400W) have been looked at and modified, and the result is a sub with all the speed and agility of its predecessor plus considerable additional bass extension.
The DSP system helps extend the sub’s low-end capability, using dynamic bass EQ to monitor the amount of low-end boost delivered to ensure both the amplifier and drive units remain in their ‘comfort zone’, and also offers user-adjustable equalisation to suit different applications.
In addition, you can connect the PV1D to a Windows computer using its RS-232 socket and a cable supplied. This enables the use of B&W’s SubApp – available as a free download from the company’s PV1D support page – to get deeper into the subwoofer’s settings and configure it from the listening position. There are no speaker level inputs as per the previous model, this using just the line level signal from “sub out” or “pre-out”.