Cons: one of the worst subs in it's class, distortion issues.
The Bottom Line: While I think highly of Pioneer as a company, I don't feel that this product is able to live up to the standard that IS Pioneer.
There is no greater thrill in the world to me than getting into a vehicle and hearing one deep throaty bass hit after another. I love to hear the treble rolls, the bass vibration, and this doesn't mean I need to have super loud music, it just means that I love the quality and crispness that a top of the line audio system can truly provide.
My Qualifications in car audio Far too often I see individuals writing about products and giving them high ratings when in reality, they are horrible by comparison. A five star subwoofer to someone that has only experienced one subwoofer, didn't install it themselves really doesn't say much to me besides that this subwoofer is better than the factory system they had before.
To really grasp the quality of a subwoofer, you have to be able to compare it to other ones, because head to head comparisons can truly tell you which subs are going to give you the best performance for your dollar. And the only people that can truly help you with that, are the people that are involved in the industry on a daily basis.
As a second job to my full time job as a jet mechanic, I am a custom fabrication specialist for a car audio shop in town. This means that I put together custom applications for car audio setups. I plan out custom molded boxes that are created for the perfect form within a vehicle, taking into consideration air flow, heat, accessability, style/design, and of course peformance and quality sound production. I have installed thousands of speakers over the last few years, tried countless amplifier/speaker/wire/capacitor combinations, and have truly tested the limits of every setup that I install. Whenever I do an install, I do a 'cap test' which is when I run the system past it's limits to ensure that the setup I have created can handle the peak power and regular performance over a period of time. This helps to show where a system will breakdown and how well it's going to hold up.
Being in this industry, I have seen countless speakers brought back from cone failures, melting cones, blown cones, you name it, I've seen it. I know what holds up for the long term and what people bring back most often.
With that in mind... I would hope that you can read through my car audio reviews with the peace of mind that you are getting top notch knowledge from a competition tuned professional.
Pioneer TS-W301R Subwoofer I don't know why, but I have been seeing more and more of these subwoofers lately. I think it might have a lot to do with the pricing and the discounts that Pioneer has been giving lately, but regardless, I have seen them more and more in show vehicles. The speakers themselves are quite attractive, with a really nice blue surface, that would create an excellent show piece for you sound system if you have a show vehicle.
Since most people aren't all that worried about the aesthetics as much as the performance, it doesn't really matter how great the Pioneer speakers look, because they still have to be able to stand up to the test of time.
Setup Recommendations This speaker has a bit of an issue with rattle, so in order to remove as much distortion as possible, I would recommend building your box as far back in your vehicle as possible, so that the rear portion of your back seat is able to compensate for some of the rattle. Bringing your box into the middle of your trunk can create rattle in the wheel stowage, and on the sides can create a metal clanking noise, so if you can avoid those areas, that would be best for this particular speaker.
Because we are trying to create a crisp sound out of a somewhat rattle prone subwoofer, it is highly suggested that dynamat be applied too the entire trunk, including the rear of the back seat. This will eliminate the rattle virtually altogether, giving your sound system a quality sound that can generally only be achieved in home theater setups. Now make sure that you aid in the distortion issues by rubber coating the insides of the box, making sure that apply the spray on rubber coating under the outer carpeting on your particle board box, or between the fiberglass and your particle board, however you choose to design it.
Now, we're not going to port this box in the standard fashion, but we are going to add some holes. This will help with moving air into the box, while providing room for sound to exit. Take a drill bit, probably 3/8", but the size isn't all that important, as long as it is fairly small. Now drill 4 holes on the right and left side of the subwoofer, somewhat spread out. Make sure that the holes on the right and left sides are in similar locations to aid to air rotation. Now, place two holes on each of the sides of the box, ensuring they are in the same general location as well. These holes are going to be too small to increase distortion, while big enough to move air just enough.
Ensure that your box is NO BIGGER than manufacturer specifications, otherwise you could be setting yourself up for failure by giving these subs far too much box to play around in.
Side by Side comparison I think the most important aspect of speakers is the side by side comparison to other equal products. Unlike many other products there can be a fairly substantial difference from one product to the next that can hugely effect the overall performance within your vehicle.
Personally, I am not much of a Pioneer fan. They make quality products, however, I have never really found one that sticks out from the pack and really makes me excited about what I am seeing in front of me. This goes for their decks, speakers, amplifiers, everything. They just don't produce anything that I don't know of something that is better and around the same price range or cheaper.
There is one product that I think is SUBSTANTIALLY better in quality, but only costs $50 in comparison to the $60-$70 that I see the Pioneer sub priced at. Audiobahn, which I feel is one of the best companies in the car audio world, has a speaker called the DUB200. This is an 800 watt peak power sub that just delivers a much better quality, distortion free sound. Plus the Audiobahn is a far better looking subwoofer, even with how nice the Pioneer TS-W301R looks. Pioneer just can't compete with the aesthetics of the rim that is placed on the top of the Audiobahn subwoofer, in order to resemble "DUBs", hence the model number.
But if you are dead set on Pioneer, this is actually a good subwoofer, that is attractive, while producing high quality sound.
Sound Quality Overall these speakers are fairly high quality, especially taking their price into consideration. They have high quality bass hits, and an excellent frequency range. The 800 watts of peak power, ensure that these speakers have the possibility of hitting hard, without getting out of control. Too often people try to go way bigger than they realistically need for their application, but this is a great all around setup for any vehicle.
My biggest issue with these speakers would be their distortion. They have far more distortion than most other products in their price point. This can create a somewhat rattling noise, however this is fairly rare.
Durability Pioneer makes some high quality subwoofers that are sure to last over the long haul. I have seen some pretty incredible abuse of these subwoofers throughout the years, including some in competition and they always hold up to the rigors that their owners put them against.
Where to purchase While a great deal of shops carry the Kicker product line, many only carry so many different varieties of speaker in their shops at a time. It's far cheaper for them to buy 100 of a particular speaker style than it is to try and carry 4 speakers of 25 different styles. So a lot of times you will find yourself trying to order speakers through the shop itself, paying a premium in the process. Generally your local shops are going to be substantially more expensive anyway.
The best method of purchasing subwoofers is to go online and purchase them through a company such as crutchfield.com if you are inexperienced and are going to attempt to install them yourself. They will give you all of the product information that you need to adequately install the products that you purchase with relative ease. The experts that they have are also extremely knowledgeable and can guide you through any issues that you might have with trying to put together 'your' perfect system. Plus rather than trying to force you into something bigger and better, they will generally get you exactly what you are looking for by listening to your needs.
If you are more experienced with car audio, then I suggest going through the MUCH MUCH cheaper onlinecarstereo.com, which features car audio equipment at half the prices of crutchfield. Just keep in mind that the large majority of what they sell is lower end power. So make sure that you read reviews on products that you don't know much about or you could end up with a low quality cone, that could end up costing you more in the long run after you have to replace it.
Product Details # Nominal Power: 150W # Max Music Power: 800W # Nominal Impedance: 4 ohm # Sensitivity: 91dB/W # Frequency Response: 20-4500Hz # Magnet Weight: 25 oz. # Displacement: 0.060cu.ft / 1.69 liters # Cutout Hole: 11" Dia. # Mounting Depth: 5 3/4" # IMPP Composite Cone: reduce distortion, reproduces rich bass sound # Large Strontium Magnet: produces loud & tight bass # 4-Layer, Long Voice Coil Design: high power and long excursion capability # Extended Pole Yoke # Extended Excursion Design # Large Binding Post # Best Tuned Parameters: CAD computer simulations were used to achieve powerful bass performance, superb sound quality and extreme reliability
Final Thoughts The Pioneer TS-W301R is nothing special in my book. It's a high quality subwoofer, that has moderate sound quality. This is something that is easily matched by a large deal of subwoofer manufacturer's on the market these days, including Audiobahn, Lanzar, Polk, and many others. I think even with the lower price point, these speakers need to be reworked and tested against the Audiobahn Dub series of subwoofer. I think if Pioneer spent as much time on quality control, then they wouldn't have to spend as much on marketing, because they would have worldwide appeal like Rockford Fosgate.
Amount Paid (US$): 70
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Clacky McSnackins (alaskacobalt)
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Check out the cone on this beauty! The updated Pioneer TS-W series subwoofer features one of the most unique cones in the industry. The patented blue IMPP (injection molded polypropylene) composite cone and dual layer urethane rubber surround combine to deliver powerful and distortion-free bass. These new subwoofers also feature an IMPP dust cap with 3D Pioneer logo for great looks and increased rigidity. From the 4-layer voice coil to the strontium magnet assembly, construction and materials are top-notch. The TS-W series is designed to reproduce incredibly accurate bass in small sealed enclosures.