Proppa subbing, bubba!

Stop the presses. Hold your horses? Whatever works. On June 2nd, John Darko published his Bluesound Powernode video review. One of his discoveries prompted today's prompt. To wit, this €900 streaming integrated includes an app-based 50-200Hz low-pass filter option for its sub output which automatically inserts a mirror-imaged high pass into the speaker outputs.

Here then is that rarest of hifi not home-theater creatures. Under its DSP-based bass management, it allows us to run a subwoofer not just in add-on mode. We can also stress-relieve the monitor speakers and their amp by filtering out usual low-bass duties. The upshot is more expression and openness for the satellites. Now they stroke less. Without low bass demands, their voice coils also stay cooler so less resistive. That's superior dynamic range and less compression. The same relief applies to the amp driving them. It can be smaller and more modest. Its bass burdens off-line, too. That's a win/win. Suddenly the apparently modest 80 watts of switching power inside the Powernode behave far more Napoleonic. Its watts will be enough to serve up big unwavering SPL even under massive bass attacks. Watts up?

For John, a pair of  €1'500 KEF LS50 Meta with matching €1'500 KC62 sub plus €900 Bluesound Powernode run in hi/lo-pass mode integrated even better than KEF's own LS50 Wireless + KC62. That's quite the trick. This then was a real find. It deserves this unauthorized 'syndication'. Bluesound, go!

Regular readers know. I'm an enthusiastic proponent of high-passed subwoofer integration. The challenge in the high-end 2-channel market is that preamplifiers don't include the necessary provisions, Pál Nagy's icOn 4Pro SE excepted. Unless a subwoofer offers a quality high-pass option at the frequency we want—and its execution doesn't compromise our signal to the posh mains—we're stuck with a few €3K+ outboard crossover options from JL Audio, spl and Wilson Audio for analog; or Linn and TotalDAC for digital. In the lower end, there are affordable digital crossovers à la Behringer.

Now the Bluesound Powernode streaming integrated embeds an unexpectedly flexible filter option which doesn't seem all that well advertised yet. I call that cause for celebration and justification for regurgitating John Darko. At times, being repetitive is a good thing…