Owner's Manual
Owner’s Manual
and Warranty
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Power Amplifier
Figure 5
Power Amplifier
Limited Warranty...........2
Owner’s Manual............2
Garantie limitée.............6
Manuel d’utilisation .......6
Garantie .....................10
Garantía limitada.........15
Manual de
instrucciones ..............15
Garantia limitada.........20
Manual do utilizador....20
Garanzia limitata .........24
Manuale di istruzioni ...24
Beperkte garantie .......28
Handleiding ................29
εγγύηση ....................32
Οδηγίες Χρήσεως ....33
Руководство по
эксплуатации ............38
Bruksanvisning ...........43
Begränsad garanti ......45
Bruksanvisning ...........45
Omistajan kasikirja ......47
where the equipment can be serviced.
You can call B&W in the UK or visit our
web site to get the contact details of
your local distributor.
Limited Warranty
Dear customer,
Welcome to B&W.
This product has been designed and
manufactured to the highest quality
standards. However, if something does go
wrong with this product, B&W
Loudspeakers and its national distributors
warrant free of charge labour (exclusion
may apply) and replacement parts in any
country served by an official B&W
This limited warranty is valid for a period of
five years from the date of purchase or two
years for electronics including amplified
The warranty is limited to the repair of
the equipment. Neither transportation,
nor any other costs, nor any risk for
removal, transportation and installation
of products is covered by this warranty.
This warranty is only valid for the
original owner. It is not transferable.
This warranty will not be applicable in
cases other than defects in materials
and/or workmanship at the time of
purchase and will not be applicable:
for damages caused by incorrect
installation, connection or packing,
for damages caused by any use other
than correct use described in the user
manual, negligence, modifications, or
use of parts that are not made or
authorised by B&W,
for damages caused by faulty or
unsuitable ancillary equipment,
for damages caused by accidents,
lightning, water, fire heat, war, public
disturbances or any other cause
beyond the reasonable control of B&W
and its appointed distributors,
for products whose serial number has
been altered, deleted, removed or
made illegible,
if repairs or modifications have been
executed by an unauthorised person.
This guarantee complements any
national/regional law obligations of
dealers or national distributors and
does not affect your statutory rights as
a customer.
How to claim repairs under
Should service be required, please follow
the following procedure:
If the equipment is being used in the
country of purchase, you should
contact the B&W authorised dealer
from whom the equipment was
If the equipment is being used outside
the country of purchase, you should
contact B&W national distributor in the
country of residence who will advise
Grounding or Polarisation – The
appliance is not required to be
grounded. Ensure the plug is fully
inserted into the wall outlet or
extension cord receptacle to prevent
blade or pin exposure. Some versions
of the product are equipped with a
power cord fitted with a polarised
alternating line plug (a plug having one
blade wider than the other). This plug
will fit onto the power outlet only one
way. This is a safety feature. If you are
unable to insert the plug fully into the
outlet, try reversing the plug. If the plug
should still fail to fit, contact your
electrician to replace your obsolete
outlet. Do not defeat the safety
purpose of the polarised plug. When
using an extension power-supply cord
or a power-supply cord other than that
supplied with the appliance, it should
be fitted with the appropriate mouldedon plugs and carry safety approval
appropriate to the country of use.
Power Cord Protection – Power-supply
cords should be routed so that they
are not likely to be walked on or
pinched by items placed on or against
them, paying particular attention to
cords at plugs, convenience
receptacles and the point where they
exit from the appliance.
Overloading – Do not overload wall
outlets, extension cords or integral
convenience receptacles, as this can
result in a risk of fire or electric shock.
To validate your warranty, you will need to
produce this warranty booklet completed
and stamped by your dealer on the date of
purchase. Alternatively, you will need the
original sales invoice or other proof of
ownership and date of purchase.
Owner’s manual
Terms and Conditions
dealer or local power company.
To reduce the risk of electric shock, do not
remove the back panel and do not expose
the apparatus to rain or moisture. No userserviceable parts inside. Refer servicing to
qualified personnel.
Explanation of Graphical
The lightning flash within an
equilateral triangle is intended
to alert you to the presence of
uninsulated “dangerous
voltage” within the product’s
enclosure that may be of
sufficient magnitude to
constitute an electric shock to
The exclamation point within
an equilateral triangle is
intended to alert you to the
presence of important
operating and maintenance
(servicing) instructions in the
literature accompanying the
Read Instructions – All the safety and
operating instructions should be read
before the appliance is operated.
Retain Instructions – The safety and
operating instructions should be
retained for future reference.
Heed Warnings – All warnings on the
appliance and in the operating
instructions should be adhered to.
Follow Instructions – All operating and
use instructions should be followed.
Installation – Install in accordance with
the manufacturer's instructions.
Power Sources – This product should
be operated only from the type of
power source indicated by the marking
situated on the rear panel. If you are
not sure of the type of power supply to
your home, consult your product
10 Ventilation – The amplifier panel at the
rear of the product forms part of the
cooling mechanism and must not be
obscured by placing the product on a
bed, sofa, rug, or other similar surface.
Do not cover the amplifier panel with
any items such as tablecloths,
newspapers, etc. Ensure the heat sink
fins are aligned vertically to ensure
proper cooling. There should be a clear
gap of at least 50mm (2-in) between
the back of the product and any wall
or partition. If the product is placed in
a built-in installation, such as a rack,
bookcase or cabinet, proper provision
for air to circulate must be provided,
either by a) 12mm (1/2-in) clear gap
round the top, sides and bottom of the
product venting into the room or b) two
ducts of 150 sq cm (24 sq in) minimum
cross section from the room leading to
slots 300mm (12-in) wide x 50mm
(2-in) deep at top and bottom of the
compartment, in line with the gap
behind the product.
11 Heat – The product should be situated
away from heat sources such as
radiators, heat registers, stoves, or
other products (including amplifiers)
that produce heat. No naked flame
sources, such as lighted candles,
should be placed on the apparatus.
12 Wall or Ceiling Mounting – The product
should be mounted to a wall or ceiling
only as recommended by the
13 Water and Moisture – To reduce the
risk of fire or electric shock, do not
expose the product to rain or
excessive moisture such as in a sauna
or bathroom. Do not use this product
near water – for example, near a
bathtub, washbowl, kitchen sink,
laundry tub, in a wet basement, or
near a swimming pool and the like.
14 Object and Liquid Entry – Never push
objects of any kind into this product
through openings, as they may touch
dangerous voltage points or short out
parts that could result in a fire or
electric shock. Never spill liquid of any
kind on the product. Do not place any
object containing liquid on top of the
15 Cleaning – Unplug the product from
the wall outlet before cleaning. The
cabinet of the subwoofer may be
cleaned by dusting with a dry cloth. If
you wish to use an aerosol cleaning
spray, do not spray directly on the
cabinet; spray onto the cloth. Remove
the grille first so that the cloth does not
become stained, but be careful not to
disturb the drive unit. The grille itself
may be cleaned using a soft brush.
16 Attachments – Do not use attachments
not recommended by the product
manufacturer, as they may cause
17 Accessories – Do not place this
product on an unstable cart, stand,
tripod, bracket or table. The product
may fall, causing serious injury to a
child or adult, and serious damage to
the product. Use only with a cart,
stand, tripod, bracket or table
recommended by the manufacturer or
sold with the product. Any mounting of
the product should follow the
manufacturer’s instructions and should
use a mounting accessory
recommended by the manufacturer.
18 Moving the appliance – A product and
cart combination should be moved
with care. Quick stops,
excessive force and
uneven surfaces may
cause the product and
cart combination to
overturn. Check that there are no
cables under the carpet that may be
damaged by the spike feet. Do not
walk the product on the spike feet as
this may cause them to become
detached from the cabinet and cause
damage. Take care not to impale
yourself with the spike feet.
19 Non-use Periods – The power cord of
the appliance should be unplugged
from the outlet during lightning storms
or when the apparatus is left unused
for a long period of time.
20 Servicing – Do not attempt to service
this product yourself, as opening or
removing covers may expose you to
dangerous voltage or other hazards.
Refer all servicing to qualified service
21 Damage Requiring Service – Unplug
this product from the wall outlet and
refer servicing to qualified personnel
under the following conditions:
a When the power-supply cord or
plug has been damaged.
ensure that the technology is put to
maximum effect.
b If liquid has been spilled or objects
have fallen into the appliance.
This subwoofer has been designed for
Home Theatre installations and to augment
the bass performance of full-range
speakers in 2-channel audio use. Adding
the subwoofer to your system not only
extends the bass to lower frequencies, it
improves the midrange clarity by reducing
the low-frequency demands on your
existing speakers.
c If the product has been exposed to
rain or water.
d If the product does not operate
normally by following the operating
instructions. Adjust only those
controls that are covered by the
operating instructions, as an
improper adjustment of other
controls may result in damage and
will often require extensive work by
a qualified technician to restore the
product to its normal operation.
e If the product has been dropped, or
damaged in any way.
When the product exhibits a distinct
change in performance – this
indicates a need for service.
22 Replacement Parts – When
replacement parts are required, be
sure the service technician has used
replacement parts specified by the
manufacturer or have the same
characteristics as the original part.
Unauthorised substitutions may result
in fire, electric shock or other hazards.
Please read through this manual fully before
using the subwoofer. All sound installations
require some planning and experimentation
if you are to get the best out of the
products used and this manual will guide
you in this process.
As the subwoofer is connected to the
electricity power supply, it is important that
you familiarise yourself with the safety
instructions and heed all warnings.
Keep this manual in a safe place for future
B&W products are distributed to over
60 countries worldwide and we maintain an
international network of carefully chosen
and dedicated distributors. If you have a
problem, which your dealer cannot resolve,
our distributors will be more than willing to
assist you.
(figure 1)
23 Mains Fuses – For continued
protection against fire hazard, use
fuses only of the correct type and
rating. The amplifier is designed to
operate with nominal mains supplies in
the range 100V to 230V AC, but
different types of fuse are used,
dependent on the mains voltage. The
correct fuse specification for each
voltage range is marked on the
24 Safety Check – Upon completion of
any service or repairs to this product,
ask the service technician to perform
safety checks to determine that the
product is in proper operating
The easiest way to unpack the subwoofer
and avoid damage is as follows:
Open the carton flaps right back and
invert the carton and contents.
Lift the carton away from the product.
We recommend that you retain the
packaging for future use.
In addition to this manual, the carton
should contain:
1 Subwoofer
1 Accessory pack containing:
4 Rubber feet
4 Spike feet
4 Lock nuts
25 Magnetic Fields – the product creates
a stray static magnetic field. Do not
place any object that may be damaged
by this magnetic field (eg cathode ray
tube televisions or computer monitors,
audio and video tapes and swipe
cards) within 0.5m (2 feet) of the
appliance. The appliance may cause
distortion of cathode ray tube images
beyond this distance.
1 International warranty document
Thank you for purchasing a B&W ASW
Active Subwoofer.
Since its foundation in 1966, the continuing
philosophy of B&W has been the quest for
perfect sound reproduction. Inspired by the
company’s founder, the late John Bowers,
this quest has entailed not only high
investment in audio technology and
innovation but also an abiding appreciation
of music and the demands of film sound to
A tour of the subwoofer
(figure 2)
Power/Standby indicator
VOLUME control
MODE On/Auto/Standby switch
Equalisation switch
LOW-PASS FILTER defeat switch
Phase switch
11 POWER on/off switch
12 Fuse holders
13 Power input socket
Positioning the subwoofer
Electrical connections
Because the subwoofer produces only lowfrequency sounds, positioning is less critical
in some respects compared to full-range
speakers. Directional information is much
less precise and you have more choice
where to place the speakers to good effect.
This said, best results are obtained if the
subwoofer is placed between the satellite
speakers or in the vicinity of one of them. If
you use two subwoofers, it is best to put
one near each satellite speaker.
Disconnect all sound system equipment
from the power supply until the signal
connections have been made and checked.
This avoids the risk of damage whilst
connections are made or broken.
Placing the subwoofer behind the listeners,
even in surround sound installations,
generally gives inferior imaging, but may be
an acceptable compromise if domestic
considerations dictate.
As with all speakers, the proximity of room
boundaries affects the sound. Bass is
generally increased as more surfaces come
into close proximity with the speakers.
Unlike full-range speakers, however, you
can always restore the correct overall
system balance by adjusting the volume
level of the subwoofer. The more boost you
get from the room, the less hard the
speaker has to work; but there is a down
side. Corner positions often excite more
low-frequency room resonances, making
the bass more uneven with frequency.
There is no substitute for experiment as all
rooms behave differently, so try the
subwoofer in a variety of positions before
making a final decision. A piece of music
with a bass line ascending or descending
the musical scale is useful for assessing the
smoothness of the bass response. Listen
for exaggerated or quiet notes. Having a
separate subwoofer does enable you to
optimise for room resonances
independently from siting the satellite
speakers for best imaging.
If the subwoofer is to be used in a confined
space (eg in custom furniture), the space
must be ventilated to allow sufficient air to
circulate and cool the unit. Ask your dealer
for advice.
The subwoofer is supplied with four spike
feet. The spikes pierce through carpet pile,
giving a firm support directly to the floor
surface without crushing the pile.
If the unit is to be placed on a vulnerable
surface, such as a wooden floor, either
place a protective disc under each spike or
fit the four rubber feet in place of the
When fitting either the rubber feet or the
spike feet, first screw the lock nuts fully
onto the thread and then screw the feet
fully onto the threaded inserts in the base
of the cabinet. If the unit rocks, loosen the
relevant two opposing feet until the support
is firm, then re-tighten the lock nuts to the
Check that there are no cables under the
carpet that may be damaged by the spike
Do not walk the product on the spike feet
as this may cause them to become
detached from the cabinet and cause
Take care not to impale yourself with the
spike feet when moving the product.
The function of the subwoofer is to receive
signals from the amplification chain and,
where necessary for 2-channel audio, split
the signal into low bass and higher
frequencies and feed the latter back out to
the satellite speakers. Left and right
channel inputs may be combined into a
single mono low bass feed to the
subwoofer drive unit if required.
The subwoofer will input and output linelevel signals via the RCA Phono sockets
located on the back panel.
Use the following table to select the correct
wiring method for your installation:
Application: Home Theatre
The subwoofer may be used with any
decoder that has a line-level subwoofer
output (normally from an RCA Phono
socket). Most decoders with integral power
amplifiers still output the subwoofer or
Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) signal at line
Decoder with one or more subwoofers
– fig. 3
Application: 2-channel audio
Separate pre- & power amplifiers:
One or more subwoofers with output
combined into a single mono signal –
fig. 4
Two subwoofers with separate left and
right signal – fig. 5
The subwoofer is not suitable for use with
2-channel integrated pre/power amplifiers.
Using more than one subwoofer
Using more than one unit in a single
installation can improve performance in the
following ways:
Maintain stereo separation to the
lowest frequencies.
Cope with larger listening rooms.
Enable greater maximum sound output
– often useful for effectively
reproducing special effects in Home
Theatre applications.
Smooth out the effects of lowfrequency room resonances.
If you are using two subwoofers for
2-channel audio, separation is improved if
each channel has its own subwoofer,
providing each one is placed close to the
relevant satellite speaker. Only use the
mono connection of figure 4 if you cannot
place each subwoofer close to its satellite
to discover something has been wrongly
connected. Make sure that:
The phasing is correct – there should
be no positive to negative connections
to the satellite speakers. If something
is out of phase you may get a fuzzy
sound with an imprecise and floating
image, a lack of bass or a combination
of the two.
There are no left to right mix-ups – this
can result, for example, in the
orchestra being the wrong way round
or, more disastrously, sounds on your
Home Theatre going in the opposite
direction to the action on the screen.
Switching on and off
We recommend that you switch the
subwoofer on before any power amplifiers
receiving signals from the subwoofer.
Similarly, when switching off, switch the
subwoofer off last.
The MODE standby/auto/on switch (4) does
not isolate the amplifier completely from the
power supply. It maintains a low-power
input to an auxiliary sensing circuit.
The switch (4) operates as follows:
With the switch in this position, the
amplifier remains permanently on, and the
light (1) glows green.
On first switching the subwoofer to Auto,
the amplifier becomes fully active and the
light (1) glows green. After a period of
about 5 minutes without an input signal,
the amplifier automatically reverts to
standby mode, and the light glows red.
When an input signal is detected, the
amplifier automatically becomes fully active
and the light glows green.
In this position, the amplifier is in
permanent standby, and the light glows
If the subwoofer is to be out of use for an
extended period of time, we recommend
you isolate it from the power supply, either
by using the POWER switch (11) or by
removing the plug from the power socket.
Setting the controls
There are 5 controls to consider:
The VOLUME control (2)
control (3)
The PHASE switch (7)
The LOW-PASS FILTER switch (6)
The EQ (equalisation) switch (5)
The optimum settings depend on the other
equipment used with the subwoofer. If
using more than one subwoofer, ensure the
controls on each one are set the same.
Double-check the connections
Use with home theatre decoders
Before auditioning the sound quality of your
new installation and fine-tuning it, doublecheck the connections. All too often, users
complain that they cannot get a decent
sound however they set the controls, only
The B&W ASW Active Subwoofer is not a
THX® licensed component, but may be
used with a THX® controller if desired.
Set the decoder VOLUME control to
the half way (12 o’clock) position.
The setting of the LOW-PASS
FREQUENCY control is irrelevant.
Set the PHASE switch initially to 0˚.
Set the LOW-PASS FILTER switch
to OUT.
Set the EQ switch initially to position A.
See also the section “Fine tuning”.
If you have a THX® controller, ensure that
the subwoofer function is enabled. When
so configured it incorporates all the filtering
and level setting required for the subwoofer
in all modes. For level calibration, the
internal test noise and channel level
controls in the THX® controller should be
used. In all cases the levels should be set
to obtain 75dB SPL (C-weighted) at the
listening position from the controller’s
internal noise test signal.
With other decoders, configure the front
and surround speakers to “large” or “small”
as appropriate before setting the levels.
Use the internal noise test signal and
volume controls of the decoder to set the
levels of all the speakers. Only change the
VOLUME control on the subwoofer if there
is not enough range in the decoder to
achieve the correct levels.
Inexpensive sound level meters are readily
available from electronics stores and should
be used to calibrate the levels. Refer to
your decoder manual for further details on
how to set the levels.
Use for 2-channel audio
Set the VOLUME control initially to the
half way (12 o’clock) position.
initially to 80Hz.
Set the LOW-PASS FILTER switch
to IN.
Set the EQ switch initially to position A.
Set the PHASE switch initially to 0˚.
See also the section “Fine tuning”.
There are two settings of the EQ switch.
Position B is optimised to allow the
subwoofer to provide the highest listening
levels, while position A gives greater bass
extension coupled with a tighter sound.
2-channel audio
The optimum settings of the PHASE switch
and the LOW-PASS FREQUENCY control
are inter-related and also dependent on the
low-frequency cut-off characteristic of the
satellite speakers and the relative positions
of all the speakers in the installation.
Set the system up in the preferred position
and play some programme with a steady
bass content. The optimum setting for the
several variables; the bass performance
and power handling of the satellite
speakers, the number of subwoofers used
and their position relative to the satellite
speakers. The range 80 – 90Hz is a good
starting point for the LOW-PASS frequency.
Unless two subwoofers are used to
preserve separate right and left channel
information and are sited close to the
relevant satellite speakers, using a higher
cut-off frequency may compromise the
stereo image and should only be
considered if the bass performance of the
satellite speakers is particularly limited.
At each setting of the cut-off frequency,
listen with the phase switch in both
positions. The correct one is that which
gives the fullest bass and that will depend
on the bass characteristics of your satellite
speakers and the relative distances of the
subwoofer(s) and the satellite speakers to
the listeners. When using more than one
subwoofer, ensure that each one has its
cut-off frequency and phase switch set the
same way.
Set the loudness of the subwoofer relative
to the satellite systems to your liking. Use a
wide variety of programme material to get
an average setting. One that sounds
impressive on one piece may sound
overpowering on another. Listen at realistic
levels as the perception of balance varies
with sound level.
Home theatre
The situation with home theatre is
somewhat different from 2-channel audio.
The subwoofer (LFE) signal is a separate
channel rather than an extension of the
signal to the satellite speakers. The LOWPASS filter is switched out, because the
decoder provides all the filtering for any
speakers set to “small”. However, the
position of the phase switch must still be
assessed. Normally the phase will be set to
0˚, but if the subwoofer is positioned at a
distance significantly different from the
other speakers, or the power amplifier
driving the other speakers happens to
invert the signal, the 180˚ position may be
preferable. Listen with the switch in both
positions and choose the one that gives the
fullest sound. If there is little difference,
leave the switch at 0˚.
distances from the subwoofer(s) and
satellite speakers to the listeners
appreciably, reassess the phase switch
setting. You should also check the level
setting of the subwoofer (using either the
decoder output levels or the volume control
on the subwoofer amplifier as appropriate),
but only after setting the phase correctly.
Taking care of the subwoofer
The cabinet of the subwoofer may be
cleaned by dusting with a dry cloth. If you
wish to use an aerosol cleaning spray, do
not spray directly on the cabinet; spray
onto the cloth. Remove the grille first so
that the cloth does not become stained,
but be careful not to disturb the drive unit.
The grille itself may be cleaned using a soft
Do not use the subwoofer as a table. When
in use, objects left on top of the subwoofer
are liable to rattle. In particular, avoid the
risk of liquids being spilled (eg from drinks
or vases of flowers).
If the system is taken out of use for a long
period, disconnect the subwoofer from the
power supply.
Note: The subwoofer will automatically
shut down if driven excessively. If this
occurs, re-set the subwoofer by turning it
off then on again, using the power on/off
switch on the amplifier panel.
Decoders normally have a calibrated noise
signal that can be used to set the relative
levels of all the speakers, making the task
somewhat more straightforward than for
2-channel audio. However, do not be afraid
to alter the settings to your personal
preference. It is all too easy to get carried
away with the capabilities of the subwoofer,
especially with some special low-frequency
effects. Often a more realistic portrayal, and
one more satisfying in the long term, is to
be had by setting the subwoofer level lower
that the standard calibration level.
All applications
If you get problems with lumpy bass – if
certain bass notes are exaggerated more
than others – then you probably have a
room interface problem and it is worth
experimenting with the placement of the
subwoofer. What may seem like small
changes in position – 15cm (6in) or so –
can have a profound effect on the sound.
Try raising the subwoofer clear of the floor
as well as lateral movement. The use of
multiple subwoofers can smooth the effects
of room resonances, as each subwoofer
will tend to excite resonances at different
frequencies. If you alter the relative
Active closed-box subwoofer system
Active closed-box subwoofer system
Drive units
300mm (12 in) paper/Kevlar® cone long-throw
380mm (15 in) paper/Kevlar® cone long-throw
System frequency range
-6dB at 15Hz and 40/140Hz adjustable (EQ at A) -6dB at 14Hz and 40/140Hz adjustable (EQ at A)
System frequency response
-3dB 20Hz – 31/110Hz adjustable (EQ at A)
±3dB 18Hz – 31/110Hz adjustable (EQ at A)
Power output:
Input impedance:
Signal / noise:
Power output:
Input impedance:
Signal / noise:
1000W continuous
Input level
Low-pass filter frequency
Low-pass filter bypass
Bass roll-off alignment
Auto sense on/standby
Phase switch
Line In (RCA Phono)
Line Out (RCA Phono)
Link Out (RCA Phono)
1000W continuous
Input level
Low-pass filter frequency
Low-pass filter bypass
Bass roll-off alignment
Auto sense on/standby
Phase switch
Line In (RCA Phono)
Line Out (RCA Phono)
Link Out (RCA Phono)
Low-Pass Filter
Active 2nd-order, variable cut-off frequency
Active 2nd-order, variable cut-off frequency
High-Pass Filter
Active 3rd-order -6dB at 80Hz
Active 3rd-order -6dB at 80Hz
Net Weight
35kg (77 lb)
529mm (20.8 in) not including feet
476mm (18.7 in)
351mm (13.8 in)
including grille and controls
45kg (99 lb)
529mm (20.8 in) not including feet
562mm (22.1 in)
522mm (20.6 in)
including grille and controls
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