The Low Down
In my review, I’ve already sung the praises of that stylish and compact Spin System, but the Dual 6.5-inch woofer SpinSub takes it to the next level.
First of all, it’s quite attractive with its heathered fabric and sized perfectly to fit into the bottom of the SpinStand. Then, with Andover’s patented IsoGroove Isolation Technology, you don’t have to worry about vibrations affecting the turntable playback.
Auto Signal Sensing makes sure the sub kicks in quickly, and the adjustable low-pass filter and adjustable level control allows it to blend in nicely no matter where you place it.
While it’s not the hardest-hitting sub I’ve ever heard, it doesn’t need to be. It’s mainly designed to fill in the lower frequency range when using the SpinBase, and it does that in spades. We’re not talking about a room-rattling home theater system here.
The SpinBase actually does a pretty good job of supplying bass on its own, especially for music that isn’t bass-heavy, to begin with, like Jazz or Acoustic tracks. That said, a quick A-B between the SpinBase with and without the SpinSub reveals the richness missing when depending solely on the former.
The combo provided the Spin System with gravitas and rumble it didn’t have before, especially on songs with a nice dose of bass drum. In addition, it made the Spin System funky! I loved the way it brought the rhythm home and made the system sound a lot larger than it did before.
If you already have the SpinBase and feel a little more bottom end is in order, the SpinSub is a no-brainer, especially if you have the SpinStand. The stand allows you to have a full-range audio system with a minimal footprint!
A note for owners of the first-gen SpinBase (without the subwoofer output): If you wish to upgrade to the new model with the sub-out, Andover has an upgrade program to exchange the old model for a new one at 1/2 price. (offer exp. 9/1/21). Email them at email@example.com to set it up.
Disclaimer: The SpinSub was sent to us by the manufacturer in exchange for an honest review.
About the reviewer: My opinion comes from 25 years of experience with Hi-Fi gear, ranging from Customer Service to Sales to extensive listening in professional and personal settings. I have listened to hundreds of speakers, amps, and headphones, so I can provide a nuanced impression of the product both on its own and in comparison to the rest of the market. I will not review a product I haven’t listened to for many hours, and I will provide picture proof of my work.
The Andover Audio SpinSub is a relatively compact subwoofer designed to use along with their SpinBase turntable speaker. I loved the SpinBase when I reviewed it back in 2019, and I ultimately named it a 2019 Product Of The Year.
The only real knock on the SpinBase was its slight lack of low-end punch, but to me, it did a good enough job for its size. At the end of the day, it didn’t blunt my overall enjoyment.
The SpinBase didn’t have a sub out when I reviewed it, so it would’ve been quite difficult to add additional low-end.
However, Andover now has a “new and improved” version of the Spinbase with a 3.5mm line/sub output, so you can plug in a subwoofer if desired. The SpinSub has a 3.5mm input to accept a signal from the speaker, and it also comes with a heavy-duty braided cable to connect the two. Hookup is simple.
It also comes with an RCA to 3.5mm adapter, just in case you want to connect to a receiver or preamp with an RCA output. That’s a nice touch.
The lack of a sub output on the original SpinSub does cause a dilemma, but Andover has thought of that. They have a trade-in program to send your 1st gen SpinBase and get a new one at 1/2 price. However, you have to send the old one back before 9/1/21 to take advantage (Click here for more details).
The SpinSub feels really solid, and the grey heathered fabric surrounding the subwoofer looks good. There’s an MDF panel with the Andover logo pressed in on the top, and on the bottom, there is another MDF panel with four rubber feet.
The rubber feet mean you can place the SpinSub on the floor if you like, but I was impressed at how well it slots into the bottom of the SpinStand. That reduces the footprint of the system immensely. You can put the complete system in an area about the size of a table placemat.
That said, if you want to use the bottom shelf of the stand for record storage, you can place the sub off to the side, which is cool too.
Inside the SpinSub is a 100W Class D Amplifier with dual (side-firing) 6.5-inch woofers. In addition, there’s both a low pass control knob (to filter bass from the speaker level signals) and a sub-level knob (overall sub volume) on the back so you can properly blend the sub’s bass output with the SpinBase’s output.
Out of the box, both knobs are set to the center position, which Andover says should work with the SpinBase, but they also note that will depend on placement and user preference.
That was the case with my setup, as I felt both the 80hz low pass setting and center sub level were too high for my placement (next to the wall). So I trimmed both down for a better blend.
Like many powered subwoofers, the SpinSub has auto signal sensing where it will turn on and start playing once it picks up a signal from the preamp or powered speaker like the SpinBase.
Unlike some subs, which are slow to sense a signal, often taking thirty seconds or more to come on, the SpinSub came on almost instantaneously, which I liked.
Once up and running, Andover’s IsoGroove technology (also used in the SpinBase) ensures the vibration from the subwoofer doesn’t disturb the turntable playback, which is remarkable.
I gave the SpinStand itself a light tap, which caused the turntable to skip, but neither the SpinBase nor SpinSub caused any skipping, which was some sorcery. I don’t know how IsoGroove works, but I know for a fact it does!
Listening To The Andover Audio SpinSub
For my sound tests, I listened to a few records played on the SpinBase/SpinDeck turntable combo, plus some tracks streamed via Bluetooth to the SpinBase.
The hallmark of a good powered sub (especially one made for a music system) is tight, quick bass with good extension. It shouldn’t draw undue attention to itself.
This is the opposite of what most people want in a subwoofer. Most people crave boomy, thumpy, room-shaking bass, a desire conditioned by rattling car systems, or explosive home theater demos at a local electronics store. I’m guilty of conducting such demos as a salesman in the 90s.
That said, there is something to an earth-shaking sub that makes you jump out of your seat when watching a movie. I can dig it. That’s part of the reason I have separate home theater and music setups in my living room.
But when using a sub in a hi-fi setup, it shouldn’t be immediately apparent what the sub is doing. That’s why as I said earlier, I had to adjust the out-of-the-box low-pass filter setting (80hz) to about 50hz and the sub-level to about quarter volume. At the initial settings, I found the SpinSub to be boomy and out of control. It drew way too much attention to itself.
Once I made the adjustments, I found the dual 6.5 woofers did a decent job of matching the speed of the smaller drivers in the SpinBase. When listening to “My Moon My Man” by Feist, there’s a driving bassline that really makes the song. It gets your head nodding and makes you want to move.
With the SpinBase alone, the rhythm didn’t move me quite as much, but with it on, all of a sudden, the system sounded larger, and I nodded my head a lot more. The music was just more enjoyable. On the next song from Feist, “The Park,” the Acoustic guitar was filled in a lot more, and the sub gave me the impression I was hearing the whole instrument. I loved what this sub was doing.
On some of the quicker songs, I felt that the SpinSub lagged behind the SpinBase ever so slightly, and on songs with really deep bass parts, it didn’t quite reach down as deep as you would get with a larger sub. But that’s to be expected when you’re purchasing a compact sub. Basically, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which is fill in the SpinBase sound with finesse.
The Wrap Up
Is the SpinSub the most accurate and deep subwoofer out there? No. But when you factor in the design and reasonable price, there is no better sub to purchase for the Andover Spin System.
I love how it matches the SpinBase/SpinDeck/SpinStand combo both sonically and aesthetically. The way it integrates into the stand without making the records skip is genius. If you have the Andover Spin Components or want to purchase them, this Sub is a no-brainer. It will add a richness and depth that rounds the Andover system out nicely.
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My hunger for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.