Audioengine S8 Review: Is This Subwoofer Worth Buying?
In this Audioengine S8 review, we’ll be taking an in-depth look into Audioengine’s S8 subwoofer range by outlining the pros and cons of the product, our thoughts and opinions, and which alternatives are worth also considering.
Let’s get into it and take a comprehensive look at the Audioengine S8 subwoofers.
- 1 What is a Subwoofer?
- 2 Key Specifications of the Audioengine S8 Subwoofer
- 3 Core Features of the Audioengine S8
- 4 How Does the S8 Subwoofer Perform?
- 5 Pros of the Audioengine S8
- 6 Cons of the Audioengine S8
- 7 What Are the Best Alternatives to the Audioengine S8?
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Our Final Thoughts on the Audioengine S8 Subwoofer
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer, or simply ‘sub’, is an additional audio output that can be wired into most speaker systems that allow expansion of the low ends. By this, we mainly mean the bass. If you have a set up that is lacking in depth of bass, a subwoofer could be perfect for you, so long as your listening space is suitable.
They produce low-pitched audio frequencies that cannot be well produced by the smaller woofers housed in regular speakers.
Key Specifications of the Audioengine S8 Subwoofer
Before we get into the specifics of this product, let’s take a look at an overview of the specifications.
|Total Power||250W peak power total (125W RMS)|
|Frequency Response||27Hz-180Hz (+/-1.5dB)|
|Bluetooth||No (Wireless options available)|
|Other connections||1/8″ (3.5mm) mini-jack & RCA|
|Dimensions||11.25″ x 11.25″ x 11.25″|
|Latest price||Click here for the latest price|
Core Features of the Audioengine S8
Audioengine’s only subwoofer comes with an interesting list of features and options. Find out more about them below.
Much like the manufacturer’s home speaker range, the S8 is a versatile piece of kit that will seamlessly slot into most home setups.
Audioengine has been incredibly careful when designing the S8 to ensure it performs not just as a sub suitable for listening to music, but also when watching TV and movies or playing video games.
Another key theme that runs throughout Audioengine’s product range is connectivity. The ability to connect quickly and easily to their speakers is a real strength, whether it is via Bluetooth, AUX, or RCA cables.
The S8 does not come with wireless capabilities as standard but it is available as an additional extra. Whilst this may seem to be a negative, the nature of subs doesn’t require wireless connectivity in the vast majority of cases.
Subs tend to be placed on the floor and often out of sight. If you have speakers with built-in Bluetooth, having a wired sub will not affect you in any way.
Probably the most impressive aspect of the S8 is the quality of sound it produces. It delivers great low-end performance with super tight, smooth bass.
The subwoofer itself is 8” (hence the name), this is more than adequate for the vast majority of home listening. The custom woofer is down-firing and front-ported, meaning listeners will enjoy precise bass with minimal distortion, even when you crank the volume up.
Little expense has been spared building the S8. From the custom ¾” thick cabinet to the engineered isolation elastomer feet, we loved the feel of the S8. At 30lbs, you can literally feel the quality.
Ease of Use
This product was really easy to set up and use, always a bonus if you’ve not integrated a sub before. There are dual audio input options on the rear of the unit meaning setup is quick and simple. The sub even features an auto-off function and will turn itself off when not in use.
The Audioengine S8 comes with a 3-year warranty as standard. This is a great additional feature well worth considering when choosing your sub. The industry standard for warranties is around 2 years, so having longer is an added bonus.
Audioengine also prides itself on providing a superior level of service and support. This is more than evident by the level of detail on their website along with their array of setup guides, meaning any queries that may come up can be dealt with swiftly.
There is also the added bonus of the S8 coming with a 30 day audition period. If you are not totally satisfied with the product, you can return the item for free. Please note that this is only available when purchasing directly from the Audioengine website.
How Does the S8 Subwoofer Perform?
Given the quality of other Audioengine products that we have reviewed, we were expecting the S8 to live up to some pretty high standards. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.
The overall sound quality was just as good as we’ve come to expect from this brand. The deep rumble of the low ends really takes the whole listening experience to a higher level. Tones and sounds you were previously unaware of are suddenly present.
We found that its real beauty came to the fore when experimenting with the two adjustable dials on the back of the unit. Both overall volume and crossover levels are totally up to the listener, meaning you can create jarring ‘in your face’ bass or you can create a more subtle and delicate balance between the highs, mids, and lows.
When listening to music the added presence of the sub adds to the overall experience, so much so that when you turn the sub off and go back to listening with just your speakers it can be a bit of a shock.
Another important performance element is overall volume. The S8 exceeded our expectations when pushing it to its limit. Despite raising the volume level to way past normal listening levels, the S8 held its own with little distortion until right at the limit. Although this doesn’t affect day to day usability, its good to know the S8 is up to the challenge.
To get the best from it, this sub needs to sit on the floor and ideally in a corner. The downward-facing woofer can then release its bass notes optimally. The isolation feet really help here as they mean the sub will perform as well as it possibly can when resting on any surface.
The only negative we could find was that when turned right up the bass did tend to get a little ‘flabby’. Something to note, but nothing that would affect regular listening.
Pros of the Audioengine S8
There are plenty of good points to discuss in the S8. We’ve outlined many in this article and pulled them all together for you here.
This sub comes without wireless connectivity as standard but Audioengine has made sure that the option is there for those who want it. For an additional cost, users can purchase the W3, Audionengine’s premium wireless audio adaptor.
With this adaptor, you can connect the S8 to your other speakers wirelessly. The adaptor is plugged into the mains and the RCA inputs.
This is a great option for those who don’t want to be running cables from speaker to speaker, be it because they’re at opposite ends of the room or just to keep your listening space tidy.
The sub itself weighs 30lbs, heavy by anyone’s standards! Luckily, subs don’t exactly have to be portable. They do, however, have to look inconspicuous when plugged in. The S8 has the feel and performance of a bigger unit, housed in the much smaller and more compact one. The result of which is a sub that can easily be tucked away and out of sight.
The S8 is a top-quality subwoofer, its components both internally and externally are constructed using premium materials and it shows. The quality of sound produced is excellent whether listening to music or watching films.
Other examples of the S8’s stand out qualities can be seen when turning the volume right up. You have to really push this sub before any real distortion majorly affects the listening experience. As we mentioned, it also has brilliant adjustability functions meaning you can create that real bone-shaking bass if that’s how you like to listen.
Given its sub-$1000 price point, the S8 represents good value for money and is considered by many to be one of the best options within this price bracket.
This is often an overlooked element of subwoofers. The engineering works well with its downward-facing woofer and front-facing ports helping the S8 to use its size efficiently. Due to this efficiency, the S8 is actually relatively small, meaning it can be tucked away easily without compromising performance.
At AllsoundLab, we’re big fans of Audioengine. This is mainly down to the superior quality of their products but another feature we love is their comprehensive 3-year warranty.
Like all Audioengine products, the S8 comes with this warranty as standard and you will be covered for the full 3 years. This means that should your sub break down through no fault of your own then you will be entitled to a full refund or replacement product.
The Audioengine customer service has a reputation for being very good and there are various instruction manuals and configuration guides available to view on their website.
Cons of the Audioengine S8
Of course, very few products are perfect. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the S8’s notable downsides.
By this, we mean that the sub has the tendency to produce ‘slow’ bass that sometimes lingers longer than it should. It should be mentioned here that we are really splitting hairs as the issue can be mitigated by setting the lows to the correct level – it just takes a little time to get 100% right.
The Audioengine S8 is by no means the cheapest subwoofer on the market. It sits in a price bracket where consumers expect quality. The S8 definitely delivers here but there are several slightly cheaper options that perform almost just as well.
Wireless Connectivity Does Not Come as Standard
One of the real standout features of other Audioengine products has been the excellent array of connection options. Whilst the S8 does come with the option of including a wireless adaptor, it would have been even better had this have come as standard.
What Are the Best Alternatives to the Audioengine S8?
When buying an expensive product such as a brand new subwoofer, you want to make sure that you are getting the best product at the best price. Here, we’ll take a look at four alternatives to the S8 that we think you should be considering.
Delivering 400 watts and with a 12” front-facing woofer, the R-12SW is a much more ‘in your face’ option. If you like your bass to rumble loud and proud, the Klipsch is worth checking out.
The sub itself is built to a good standard, the use of premium materials is obvious throughout. Add to this the brushed black polymer veneer cabinet and the satin painted plinth and you’ve got a real competitor to the S8. This sub sits a few dollars below the S8’s price point too.
Monoprice 60-Watt Powered Subwoofer
The Monoprice 60-Watt Subwoofer represents great value for money. If you’re looking at the S8 but just window shopping, consider trying this budget beast.
At 60 watts, the power isn’t anywhere near what the S8 produces, but don’t let this fool you. The Monoprice stacks up well against its higher-priced competitors in most areas.
For example, if you’re strictly using a sub to boost your low ends when casually listening to music or watching a movie with the family, you’re not going to notice too much difference. If, however, you decide to really crank it and compare it side by side with the S8, that’s when the differences will show.
Sonos’ industry-leading hardware is familiar to most. In fact, if you’ve already got Sonos in your house then chances are you won’t even be considering anything else. With its sleek looks and seamless connectivity, the Sonos Sub Wireless Subwoofer is a welcome addition to the family.
The product itself functions well as you’d expect from such an established brand but make no mistake, this is almost a money-no-object option as you’ll need to replace the rest of your speaker system if you don’t have Sonos already.
Yamaha 10″ 100W Powered Subwoofer
Another big brand offering here but this time at the other end of the pricing spectrum. Sitting in between the Klipsch and the Monoprice, Yamaha’s 10” sub brings good power at a great price to the party.
The 100 watts it produces is more than enough for everyday listening and will improve the experience of watching films in your front room no end. Add to that the reputation of a well-known brand and you’ve got a solid subwoofer option.
Answer: No. Audioengine pride themselves on their connectivity and whilst this is an issue with some leading brands, there is none here. Simply plug the S8 into your existing system using the cables supplied in the box and away you go.
You can even plug the S8 directly into your television without the need for surround sound. This is a great way to simply boost your bass if you’re happy with your TV’s speakers.
Answer: Yes. The S8 comes with an auto-off feature that means you don’t have to worry about turning off the sub every time you use it. This is especially good as it helps cut down on unnecessary power use.
Answer: It’s just as easy to plug the S8 into other Audioengine products as it is to plug into any other system. Simply connect everything up via the RCA ports and you’re good to go.
Our Final Thoughts on the Audioengine S8 Subwoofer
The Audioengine S8 Subwoofer is yet another fine piece of audio equipment from Audioengine. Overall we were very happy with both the build and sound quality. We loved how adjustable the tones were when searching for the perfect balance but also enjoyed playing around and pushing it as loud as it could go.
For the price, we think it’s pretty hard to beat. There are, as we outlined, several alternatives to consider but overall the cheaper models don’t really compete. If you have the budget and are willing to spend it, you won’t regret getting one.
We loved reviewing this sub and can’t wait to try out some more Audioengine gear in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out our other speaker reviews as well as features on headphones, turntables, and many more.