If you’re like me, you know a subwoofer can often be a blessing and a curse. You can crank up a sub in your car or at home, and on certain songs — wow, what a difference this low bass makes. I have been reviewing gear for two decades now, and I can tell you that a subwoofer adds tremendously to an artist like Chelsea Wolfe where the low range is more sublime. Yet, a sub can also ruin the experience, adding too many low tones to a song that needs a whisper.
One of my favorite artists is Algiers, an Icelandic artist who knows how to do subtle. His sleight-of-hand musical expressions fill the room…until they don’t. He has a way of lifting every atom and then crushing them to bits, especially on a song like “Unbound” off an earlier album in his career. Sometimes music is at its best when it’s silent, which sounds weird. Yet, the space between the notes makes you appreciate the music even more — perhaps an analogy of life itself. A constant hum and boom in music just gives us all a headache.
To get even more philosophical — music is a mental bonding. When there’s too much noise, we need to escape it. There has to be a subtle balance, something draws us in and unifies us, makes us feel communal. In his groundbreaking book called Four Thousand Weeks (which is how many of us have on this planet), Oliver Burkeman makes the point that the history of all music could be traced back to tribal times when choral singing and instruments defined people as a group and is what brought them together. Music can bind; it’s honey for our brains.
That’s why I like the Kali Audio WS-6.2 Subwoofer so much. It’s a musical expression, and it’s not trying to annoy us. Even with the volume cranked, the sub is there to accent, not overwhelm. It’s a studio subwoofer, so it’s all about being distinct and finely balanced, a way to make sure you can actually hear the music, not just pound the bass into a room with a hammer.
On another song by Algiers called “Breathe” the sub became part of his band, not a way to upstage it. Another favorite artist of mine called Bears Den also seemed more atmospheric and full in my office, listening with the sub cranked.
This model has 1000W Class D Power which can easily fill a room even if you barely notice it is doing that. The dual 6.5-inch speaker doesn’t thump along like a lesser product, but merely serve as an additive. Kali Audio mentions on their site how the sub won’t scoot, buzz, or rattle which is very true. It can even sit on a bookshelf or desk. Connection options abound here — I used old-school RCA cable connected to a Sony receiver, but you can also use quarter-inch cables which is probably more likely if you are in a studio setting with instruments.
I sat back and listened all day to music with this sub and two floorstanding speakers. I usually would have turned the sub down, but it says a lot that I kept hearing different low-range audio that made the music I love sound even better. It was fun to queue up a bunch of tracks I already know well and feel more engulfed in the sounds they intended.
As usual, we like to mention a ding about any product. I guess I will say the price of $499 is a bit high for my taste, but I also know a lower-end “office” sub would sound like crap on a desk. I really ended up liking this sub for what it does — improving my music.