To the power cubed,

Adam Rayner auditions a subwoofer that scales up nicely

Wharfedale is one of the UK speaker brands that has been in my awareness for longer than most as it makes stuff that is generally better VFM than just about anyone. And that keen value continues today with this particular line of subs, the PowerCube. This woofer comes in 8in, 10in and 12in flavours and I reckon it’d be brilliant if it also came in a 15in or an 18in, as Wharfedale has packed some lovely stuff in here, but the price is kept low, despite recent increases in the cost of electronics from China.

The SPC-10 reviewed here costs a mere £300 and you get 215W of amplification (don’t forget the 15) and a 10in driver in its box.

It’s boundary-loaded to the deck via a small space underneath, where the unit is held off the floor with spikes. These come with neat and tough plastic end-feet if you don’t want to pierce a wooden floor. The cabinet, despite the series name, is roughly trapezoidal and can be served up in any of seven different finishes.

On the top are a pair of flat knobs, for gain and shelving/crossover, inset within a panel, and they light up when used or when your hand kind of tickles the front of the enclosure. This means you can fumble in the dark and it lights up, only to dim itself after.

I hooked the SPC-10 up to my system and played a wide selection of tunes, spun Prince Caspian on BD and used it for a slice of X Factor (sorry) and other TV films in stereo.

Enigma variations

My findings were a bit puzzling at first. The Wharfedale specs are utterly righteous, quoting the +/-3dB frequencies. These are the limits of its frequency extension. At 35Hz it’s -3dB, which is half as loud. It will make audible bass below this point, yet it is so weak by the time you get down to the really deep stuff that it might as well be irrelevant.

So, while a real, musical treat on multichannel recordings and soundtracks, the heavy subsonics in Prince Caspian just went ‘burrrrrp’. Any real texture in the deep fear-register was lost. I have no issue with the Wharfedale’s scale, though, as it kept up bizarrely well otherwise – and despite my room being more suited to a pair of the SPC-12s.

But I found the dearth of ultimate low-frequency extension a bit lacking for home cinema. The SPC-10’s affordability, though, can’t be ignored.


Highs: Easy to set up; affordable; has some real ability;  front panel illumination
Lows: Less muscular than some
Performance: 3/5
Design: 4/5
Features: 4/5
Overall: 3/5


Drive Unit: 1 x 10in cone, long-throw design
Enclosure: Sealed. Down firing, on spikes to boundary-load to the floor
Frequency Response: 35Hz-120Hz +/-3dB
On board power: 215W RMS ‘balanced drive’ Class D amp
Dimensions: 352(w) x 382(h) x 305(d)mm
Weight: 11.4Kg
Connections: Single phono LFE input, plus stereo phono input and output and speaker level input