Ask the Editors: Should I Have My Definitive Technology PowerField 1500 Sub Repaired?

powerfield 1500

Q: I have a Definitive Technology PowerField 1500 subwoofer. It’s at least 17 years old, but what a fantastic sub! Unfortunately, it’s not power on at all, so I called DefTech, and they quoted around $300 to repair it, including parts and shipping. All the speakers in my AV room are from Definitive Technology, but to replace the sub would cost a fortune. Do you think the PowerField 1500 is worth repairing, or would you recommend buying a new sub? I don’t want to spend more than $450.

– David Claus

A: I asked my Definitive Technology contact what he recommends, and the unequivocal answer was to repair it for $300. According to brand director Skylar Gray, “Used prices for this sub are much more than that. Also, even the SuperCube 8000 wouldn’t really replace this unit, and it retails for $1500. A $300 repair is the best option.”

According to an owner’s manual I found, the PowerField 1500 subwoofer has a 15″ polymer-laminated cone diaphragm. The built-in power amp is rated at 250 watts RMS, and frequency response is specified from 15 to 125 Hz (no ±dB tolerance given). However, some posts on AVS Forum seem to indicate that the low frequencies roll off significantly well above 15 Hz.

I can’t find a 15″ sub anywhere near $450. In that price range, you’re looking at 10″ and 12″ models, most with less low-frequency extension. For example, the Emotiva BasX S12 ($399, reviewed here) has a 300W amp and a frequency response from 25 Hz to 150 Hz (±3 dB). The only models from SVS near that price point are the PB-1000 and SB-1000 (both $499.99 in black ash, more in other finishes). Both have a 300W amp, and the PB-1000 has a lower specified frequency extension from 19 to 270 Hz, compared with 24 to 260 Hz (both ±3 dB) for the SB-1000. Interestingly, the PB-1000 has a smaller driver—10″ compared with 12″ in the SB-1000.

Otherwise, you’ll be spending quite a bit more. Based on our reviews of 12″ subs under $1000, I can recommend the ELAC S12EQ ($699.98), which has a 500W amp, a specified frequency response from 28 to 150 Hz, and a DSP smartphone app that really helps tune the sub to your room. Another recommended sub with a DSP app is the KEF Kube 12b ($699.99) with a 300W amp and a frequency response from 22 to 140 Hz (±3 dB). Then there’s the SVS PC-2000 ($799.99) with a 500W amp and a frequency response from 16 to 260 Hz (±3 dB). The cabinet is a cylinder rather than a rectilinear box.

If the repair is only $300—including shipping—I think that’s the best way to go. Otherwise, the only way to get close to the bass extension of the PowerField 1500 for less than $1000 is to replace it with an SVS PB-1000 or PC-2000, which will cost a lot more than $300.

Of course, many AVS Forum members have strong opinions about subwoofers, and I encourage them to post comments about how they would answer your question.

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