Subwoofers are definitely one of the more exciting components of a home theater. From bass-hungry songs to loud explosive movies, they not only play the low notes – they make us feel them. In order to produce low-end frequencies subwoofer enclosures are typically large and that can make them tough to place in your home. But there are a few manufacturers that steer clear of the typical subwoofer design which requires a large cabinet. Pinnacle Speakers is one of them.
Pinnacle’s Baby Boomer Plus may not look very intimidating from the outside, but compare its performance with many larger subwoofers and it might just put them to shame. So what drives this little subwoofer? Unlike most subwoofers that use a single woofer to produce low frequencies, the Baby Boomer Plus uses dual 8″ fibercone woofers in a bipole configuration (meaning that the woofers always play in-phase with each other). This allows the subwoofer to produce maximum bass using a very small enclosure. Each woofer features a 40 ounce magnet, a 2″ voice coil and a rubber surround. The subwoofer’s power is supplied by a powerful 800 watt (peak) amplifier. The 10″ cube is certainly small but weights a hefty 30 pounds. Sitting on top of four solid brass isolation cones the Baby Boomer Plus is finished in an elegant high gloss piano black and looks very stylish.
The rear panel houses volume and crossover adjustment knobs, a phase switch, a crossover bypass switch and a power switch. The crossover bypass switch allows you to turn off the low pass filter in the subwoofer and use your receiver’s filter. If you choose to use the subwoofer’s variable crossover it can be adjusted from 50 – 150 Hz. Dual RCA line-in connectors allow you to connect receivers that have a subwoofer output jack as well as receivers that don’t have a subwoofer output. High-level binding posts are also available for connecting your front left and right speakers through the subwoofer. The subwoofer has an auto on/off circuit so you can leave the power switch in the on position unless you won’t be using it for extended periods of time.
I connected the subwoofer to our Onkyo TX-SR701 receiver using a coaxial cable, running it from the receiver’s subwoofer out to the Baby Boomer’s line-in. The subwoofer’s crossover was turned off so that I could use the receiver’s crossover controls and the phase switch was left in the 0 degrees position.
I scanned through my music CD collection looking for a CD that had a clean defined bass line and decided that Lenny Kravitz 5 album was a good place to start. The electronic sounding bass line in “Black Velveteen” gave the Baby Boomer Plus a good chance to show me what it has. With the volume about a third way up, the nonstop bass line of the song was reproduced cleanly with authority. No less impressive was the Baby Boomer’s performance listening to “Fly Away” and “Little Girl’s Eyes”. I was so satisfied with the Baby Boomer I ended up listening to almost all the tracks on 5.
Tracks like “Thriller”, “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album also sent the Baby Boomer Plus to impressive depths. I turned the volume right up for “Billie Jean” – this subwoofer can play loud and clear. Songs from other albums like Norah Jones’ Feels Like Home and Jewel’s Pieces of You were also reproduced with good accuracy and bass definition.
Next I proceeded onto watching a few DVD titles. The Bourne Identity, the latest addition to my DVD library, quickly became one of my favorites after watching it at the movies for the first time. I generally only watch a few scenes from each movie during my equipment tests, but I could simply not take my eyes off the screen and ended up watching the whole movie. I turned the volume up slightly on the subwoofer for movie watching. The movie begins aboard a fishing vessel during an intense thunderstorm. Right away the scene gave the Baby Boomer Plus a chance to belt out some low frequencies, creating a convincingly realistic storm. In a later part of the movie when Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) fires a rifle at an oil tank, the subwoofer once again reached deep into the low end producing a realistic sounding and powerful explosion. How could this little sub deliver such deep and powerful bass? I’m not sure, but it did so without ever sounding boomy or unrealistic. The Bourne Identity proved to be a good test for the Baby Boomer Plus which it handled very appropriately.
A fight scene in Chapter one of Kill Bill Volume 1 also engaged the subwoofer in some of the action. The sounds of The Bride (Uma Thurman) hitting the ground and furniture falling to the floor gave the Baby Boomer Plus an opportunity reach low – with a controlled, well-defined bass. Just as powerful was the long fight scene in a club when The Bride finally confronts O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu). The sounds of bodies being tossed around the club and weapons slicing through the air filled the room with a rumble that shook the room from time to time.
Throughout my test session, my eyes kept gravitating towards the subwoofer because I had a hard time believing how loud and powerful it sounded being this small. Its dual woofer (bipole) configuration and powerful amplifier really do make it sound much bigger than it is. It is an exciting addition to any small to medium sized home theaters and will certainly bring your music listening and watching experiences to a powerful new level. And at $1000 it won’t put too much of a hole in your pocket either.
Baby Boomer Plus Subwoofer
Two 8” heavyweight fibercone woofers with rubber surrounds, 2” voice coils and 40-ounce magnets.
Low end frequency response: -3 dB @ 27 Hz
Variable low pass filter: fourth order from 50 – 150 Hz
System: acoustic syspension / bipole configuration
Amplifier power: 800 watts (peak)
Dimensions(WxHxD): 9-7/8” x 9-7/8” x 9-7/8”
Weight: 30 lbs