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Rating and Reviews: QSC KW181 Subwoofer

Reinforce your lows with the QSC KW181 subwoofer. This 18" sub boasts a 1000-watt class-D amplifier and powerful DSP options in a surprisingly small package.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Sound filled up Raley Field in Sacramento" submitted October 20, 2012

By Dan A in LOOMIS, CA
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Musical Background: I do not play music I am the sound guy
Music Style: Rock and a Pink Floyd tribute band
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Overall: I am the sound engineer for two local bands. We played at Raley Field in Sacramento and the two KW181's and two KW153's filled up the entire outfield from the stage set up at second base. Many people came up to me and complemented the quality of the sound from so far away. My other band, a Pink Floyd tribute band played at the new outdoor amphitheater in Folsom, CA. The KW181's set off car alarms in a parking lot about 100 feet away and 90 degrees from the stage. I am running the speakers through a DBX DriveRack PX on custom setting because the KW series is no on DBX's preset list. I am constantly complemented on the quality of the sound from these speakers. The covers are a little pricey but are high quality and well worth the price. I have had no warranty issues after 9 months of use. The wheels on the base units are great!
19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"These should win the Nobel Prize for PHYSICS IN MUSIC DELIVERY" submitted February 10, 2014

By DJ CHANCE in Bridgeport, CT
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Musical Background: Pro DJ Since 1985
Music Style: EDM,HIPHOP,RNB, DANCEHALL REGGAE,FREESTYLE,TOP 40
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Overall: these lil 80+ pound beasts should not be putting out the deep bass and SPL that they do for their size and both of them on a single Furman power strip..They replaced my much larger jbl 718xlf...they are much louder,more sensitive to your input and more portable (they fit under a table). Amazing power compression,maintained a hefty 132db for 6 hours straight and hit the 135db mark at limit at 50hz...except when used outdoors where they sunshine played a roll and they maintained 130db and peaked at 133db at 50hz after 4 hours! The built in casters have been a godsend (no more rock n roller cart for me). They have yet to rattle even when playing hard hitting reggae riddims.Get the QSC cases as they even cover the amplifier when being transported so if you're rolling over a wet surface the casters don't spray liquid on the amp unit. My entire DJ Crew has these as their subs and work an average 5 days a week each and no problems ever on any of them..The have a habit of singing La Roux when you're rolling into your gig though.. "I'll beeee Bulllleeet Proof!" and they so are..
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Boom Boom Pow!" submitted December 12, 2013

By Joel Velasco
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Musical Background: DJ
Music Style: Top 40, Hip Hop, R&B, 80's
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Sound: You can feel the bass! I play mostly Top 40, Hip Hop and R&B and the Feature: I wish the handles were turned the other way so that it's easier to lift/load onto my van. Ease of Use: Plug & play. Very user friendly panel. Value: A little pricey but worth it. Manufacturer Support: The sub was only a week old when I used it on my first gig. After one hour, the sub turned off. Needless to say, I was not happy. I called QSC the following day, and they had me bring it in. I needed it for Friday and they repaired the sub in two days! It turned out to be a mad module. The customer service is awesome & no one in the industry can match their warranty. The Wow Factor: Crowd pleaser! The clients and guests were very happy with the sound quality and clairty. Overall: Wow! I was a little hesitant and skeptical when I decided to plunk down $1500 for one speaker. I read reviews and watched as many reviews as possible on YouTube. I currently have the Yamaha DSR112s so I thought the logical choice was to purchase the matching DSR 118s. It's a good thing I checked the KWs out, and I'm so glad I went this route. You will not be disappointed! It did have a rocky start though. The sub was only a week old when I used it on my first gig. After one hour, the sub turned off. Needless to say, I was not happy. I called QSC the following day, and they had me bring it in. I needed it for Friday and they repaired the sub in two days! It turned out to be a bad module. Things happen but I cannot thank QSC enough. The customer service is awesome & no one in the industry can match their warranty. I highly recommend the KW181 and QSC for their outstanding customer service and warranty!
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"Great subwoofer I will definitely get another!" submitted November 11, 2012

By Aaron D
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Music Style: EDM, Hip-Hop
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Overall: I have used this sub for 2 gigs so far and was shocked on ow much better my setup sounds with this sub. I am currently running K10 tops with this sub and the K10's are holding up very well with this sub. I got some really good compliments on how well my setup sounded. I would definitely recommend this sub to anyone that is thinking about it. You will be very impressed with how this sub sounds!
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QSC KW181 Subwoofer Customer Review submitted February 2, 2011

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Features
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Mobile Dj
Music Style: all Kinds
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Sound: sound just like a sbu should it punches as a dj it is one of the best Subs and whenever it riches it limit it automatically reset itself which is cool. I really encourage real dj's to get it. Feature: the included a metal screw on stand Ease of Use: it is by far one of the easiest set up I have ever done Quality: very well made and has wheels. Value: yes but they should beat it down Manufacturer Support: No I have not but I heard they are local so can just go to any of their reps
17 of 18 people (94.44%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Good Quality, louder than anticipated." submitted November 29, 2011

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Professional DJ
Music Style: All / Dance
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Sound: Best sub that I have heard yet, I set it up to do a sound test and before the sub even clipped, I was rattling the neighbor's windows over 40 feet away. Good sound, I bought 2 total, waiting for the second one to come in. Feature: nice plastic type coating over the wood to protect cabinet. Ease of Use: plug and play, powered sub Quality: bought it under scratch and dent, however could not find a scratch on the whole thing, lucky me. Maybe it was because the box was damaged a little bit more than usual Value: Good value, in my case it was a great value for scratch and dent which was $300 off what the retail price was. retail value is a little high Manufacturer Support: N/A have yet to contact QSC Overall: great product, I would buy another, and I already have. I am excited to hear the two subs together. I used to use a B-52 ACT18 powered sub 1200 watt, and this 1000 watt is 30 pounds lighter as well as louder.
12 of 13 people (92.31%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Another Happy Customer" submitted June 13, 2012

By Jason N in Las Vegas, NV
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Musical Background: I take a beating for a living, I am a sound engineer, and tech. I have been playing piano/synths, bass, and faking the drums.
Music Style: rock, tronic, synth rock, experimental, shoegaze, dub step
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Overall: I am a sound engineer and tech. at a casino in Vegas, but a hardcore musician at heart. I made the decision on the QSC Active 18's because of product and price.. The main reason why I chose QSC, is I have torn down the K12's for maintenance, and like the way the product is put together, the abuse dj's have done to these things in 108 to 110 degree temperatures, inside another enclosure throughout the whole summer months is jaw dropping. Seemingly the toyota corolla of small pa speakers... Of COURSE sound! LOL The clarity of the amp and speaker combo is amazing for what they are priced at and again the abuse they take. So I figured what the heck, I need subs that can push air. When I unboxed the units, I was happy to see a tight box with a rhino lined protective coating, real casters that roll on carpet, and concrete, light enough to be able to handle by myself, yet heavy enough they punch, and stay quiet! Now for ZZounds... I was shocked zzounds approved my order, I have rough (real) rough credit, and zzounds took a chance on me, and once they approved my order, BAM! these things were at my house two days later, unbelievable... So I am happy all the way around, they function like a company should, I am a happy musician, and I am happy with the product as an end user... so cool... ( yes, after re-reading my review, it does look fake, or that I am an outside sales guy, but I'm not, just a fairly normal HAPPY customer!!!)
21 of 23 people (91.3%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Awesome Subwoofer!" submitted July 1, 2012

By DJ Crisis in Houston, TX
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Musical Background: Club and Mobile DJ for 13 years.
Music Style: Hip Hop, Reggae, Electronic Dance Music
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Overall: I DJ at a restaurant that hires for Reverse Happy Hours and I have to bring my own system. It's a pretty big space to cover, (about 1500 sqft) and this sub packs a lot of power. I play Hip Hop and House Music and the dance floor packs up more just because my audience can "Feel" the music now because of this sub. Ive been telling my other friends to buy it, so that we can couple them up.
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"BOOOOM!!!" submitted August 15, 2011

By a customer from verizon.net
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Musical Background: Dj
Music Style: Electro, House, Reggae, Hiphop
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Sound: Awesome I mean I wouldn't suggest to go blast an old dj Magic Mike cd or anything but it hits all of the frequencies I've needed. Feature: A handle on each side and and wheels...good enough for me Quality: Seem like it can last for a long time with proper care and if you get the cover also. Value: seemed kind of high but well worth it once I heard it for myself Manufacturer Support: Havn't need to contact them except to register for the warranty. Overall: I'll be satified for a long time, and I replace it with the same before anything. I wass looking at the ksub but I'm glad I went this route I like the wheels and the weight the most, and of course the sound.
8 of 9 people (88.89%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Small Footprint big pwer" submitted September 8, 2012

By Brad C in Bellingham, WA
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Musical Background: Keyboard Player for The Memphis Rain Band
Music Style: Jazz, folk, Classical, Rock, Blues.....whatever Classically trained
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Overall: I bought this pa for our band. We chose the kw153 for tops because of the wider frequency range which can be very important in live sound. Originally I tried getting by with just one sub and it did an ok job, but nothing to write home about, just not quite enough umph. So I bought another one to go with it and WOW. I have been playing in bands since 1979 and have had many pa systems and done many gigs. The use of this system generates praises from the listeners out in the audience which is not something I am used to. Most people have no idea about sound or sound quality, What is impressive about the system is that you can feel the base. I have heard from several listeners at our gigs that they think it's cool that they can feel the bass. This system moves some air and that is what I wanted. It does not have to be loud to feel it. It is 1000 watts rms not peak, it is 2000 watts peak and that is some serious beef. In our market with a pair of kw181 with a pair of kw153's we have the best pa going. We actually have other bands wanting to rent the system from us for their gigs. The sound of the bass is tight focused and very punchy. It's not mushy and boingy like so many subs out there. Connectivity is more than we need and the built in wheels are a definite must. It's a small package with a big bang. It's expensive yes but in my experience you get what you pay for and in pro audio it does not pay to go cheap if you care about good sound. QSC has not made any compromises in this sub. It is worth every penny. I have owned lots of subs and none of them come close to this. Don't take my word for it, go listen to one of these and you will know right away how different they are. They really stand out from the rest. in this price range.
7 of 8 people (87.5%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Best powered subwoofer , no competition !" submitted May 25, 2014

By Kenneth T in Atlanta, GA
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Musical Background: Lifetime musician
Music Style: All types
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Overall: This sub has the everything you ask for.... Power, size, weight, casters, kick and super low response. Got one and thanks to zzounds play as you pay, had to get another! Had the JBL's first, constant fan running was annoying. These QSC's have no fan running unless you really push them hard, then it engages the super quiet fan. Thanks QSC!
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"Awesome!!!" submitted January 15, 2013

By A. Z. Entertainment Dj Drew in Longview, TX
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Musical Background: 2yrs
Music Style: every style
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Overall: buy the matching kw181 and k12s and your set. best investment i've ever made.Thank You zzounds for making this an easy purchase!!
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"QSC KW 181 Powered Sub" submitted July 19, 2012

By Brad C in Bellingham, WA
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Musical Background: DJ/Keyboard Player for Memphis Rain/Studio Musician
Music Style: Rock/Jazz
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Overall: I bought one of these for our band to go with a pair of KW 153's. I thought one would do but no. I had to buy another one. Now this PA is moving some air. It's small, and it has a huge sound. It's plenty loud for small to medium venues, anything larger and we hire the job out. The real high light of this PA is the sound quality. We play in the Bellingham WA area and I am convinced we have the best sounding PA going right now. We have other bands wanting to rent it from us for their gigs. It's a killer PA
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"The best single 18" powered sub on the market." submitted February 7, 2014

By Christopher McCoy in Charleston, SC
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Musical Background: Dj
Music Style: All genres
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Overall: I've used them all, I previously had a JBL PRX728s double 18". The JBL is untouchable, but was way too big for the average gig. I bought the Yamaha DXS15 as a downsize but I was not impressed with it after a year. It was good for weddings, but just not loud enough for club use. So I bought the QSC, which weighs a similar amount as the Yamaha, but is WAY louder. QSC KW181 is the king of portable subwoofers.
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"Great Sound" submitted April 15, 2014

By Phillip C in Augusta, GA
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Musical Background: Mobile DJ
Music Style: All genres
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Sound: packs a punch, good base response Feature: excellent features Ease of Use: very easy Quality: very sturdy, wheels are very smooth Value: a bit pricey but Manufacturer Support: excellent The Wow Factor: 2 thumbs up Overall: It's a compact Cerwin Vega, earthquake - I am very happy with my purchase --- especially right now -- free/rebate for speaker cover
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"qsc 181 powered sub" submitted April 3, 2014

By Telis Shepherd in Richmond, VA
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Musical Background: I've been spinnin wax over 20 years
Music Style: I cover all genres
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Overall: You heard the rest. now hear the best! This beast is the best subwoofer I've ever heard! People say that they cost 2 much, but rest assure, you will be more than happy. Looking to buy another in another month! ZZ Sounds is also the best... thanks guys!!!
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"If i was 10yrs. Younger i would get two more KW181" submitted February 13, 2014

By Love George in Miami, FL
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Musical Background: Dj for 35 yrs
Music Style: All
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Overall: A guy came to and ask what kind of spekre are these i can hear them 3 blocks away At this i only had 1 KW181 with 2 K8 out side. I almost gave up on them i did't know how to set them up. But i had virus so now i own 2 love thwm
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"Best Subwoofer Period! " submitted January 14, 2014

By Derek T in Fort Myers, FL
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Musical Background: Playing music professionally for 10 years. I play guitar, bass, sing, and DJ.
Music Style: Rock, pop, jazz, country
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Overall: This is by far the most versatile and best sounding sub in its class. The size and portability make it feel like a 10" sub but the sound and frequency response rivals that of any 18" sub on the market. We use it for both live wedding band and DJ applications week in and week out and it never fails. The sound is always spot on. Thanks to the balance and tightness I've noticed way fewer problems with bass traps and rumble in certain rooms as well.
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"QSC forever!!" submitted November 11, 2012

By James P in North Charleston, SC
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Musical Background: Sound company
Music Style: All kinds
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Overall: If you are thinking about getting this sub don't hesitate any longer, this beast is amazing!!! I've had may sub brands this one is truly the best.
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"Excellent sub!" submitted January 14, 2014

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Overall: it is in fact a bit heavy, but with good quality comes weight. Have absoloutely no complaints. not enough sound has never been an issue.
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"No other way to explain it turns me on!!!" submitted November 3, 2012

By a customer from yahoo.com in Las Vegas , NV
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Musical Background: 3 years mobile DJ
Music Style: Hip Hop, Island Reggae, R&B , house, mainstream,dub step, oldies, riddim reggae,disco,
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Sound: Smooth and definitely gonna bring down the house you can feel it in your bones!! Feature: N/a Ease of Use: It's as easy as 123 and hit play..... Quality: The product is built very strong in a wooden cabinet, also it is easy to maneuver around with casters that come with it. Like a hot knife thru butter!! Value: Yes and no .. Manufacturer Support: Not yet!! The Wow Factor: I wouldn't change anything it looks and sounds sexy..... Overall: I had an old 15" Samson that was 500 watts that I had gotten from a cousin that dj's and I use the mackie th15a thumps as my tops. These two and the kw181 Match well for a small to medium venue. But when I started to use the kw181...... It was like night and day not only because of more power but the smoothness of the bass even in outdoors it was still sounded crisp and clean like it was in side a a venue. I was glad I went with my gut feeling to buy this sub the other alternative was the k sub but I did my homework and this was the better one. IT hits so hard it turns me on!!!!! But I do have to say it sure is pricy......that is he only reason I haven't bought the matching tops yet I'm hopping their is a 12 payment play soon for them!!!!!
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"Great Sub !!" submitted March 4, 2012

By Steve S in Uniontown, PA
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Musical Background: 20 years
Music Style: New Country .
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Overall: I have two of these Subs ....They do a really great job .....we use them in a Rocking Country Band .... We have played to as many as 300 in a mid sized club TURNED UP TO 60 % and these subs done the trick !! Also we have Played shows outside and they done well ...they are not a long throw sub ......but dont let these subs fool you . they cover very well . Our setup is this ...We use 2 k 12s as side fills ...and the KW 181s and the KW 153s as our mains ...It is a great system ....
2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Best BANG for the BUCKS" submitted June 6, 2013

By DINDIYAL SINGH in WETHERSFIELD, CT
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Musical Background: JAM @ HOME
Music Style: HIP HOP, REGGAE,SOCA,CHUTNEY
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Sound: Raggae is Jamaican music known for heavy BASS..this speaker handle with ease without clipping and it really pound..1000watt clean power..I call it the Beast. Ease of Use: plug and play Quality: well built superb engineering...added wheel is a plus handle with ease..I just roll it to my SUV myself and wife lift it in vehicle...easy handeling Value: At first glance it's pricy...compare to others it blew the competation..the best bank for the bucks. Manufacturer Support: yes, very professional...and good advice The Wow Factor: the design... finishing touch on the wood..attractive blue led light in front and a monster at the Back... Overall: I set my gain at 2 '0' clock and it kick hard and clean.I can feel it inside and it make the floor trimble..lots of complements at end of night..this put my 2 jbl jrx 118 sp sub to shame..and it lighter and well built.
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"It's a must have" submitted March 11, 2014

By Harold London Jr in Denver, CO
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Musical Background: DJ FOR 27 YEARS
Music Style: HOUSE MUSIC
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Overall: very very happy
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"BEST BANG 4 DE BUCKS 2" submitted June 18, 2013

By DINDIYAL SINGH in WETHERSFIELD, CT
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Music Style: Rock , hip hop, raggae. soca and chutney ....
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Sound: Can't get enough.... Feature: excellent features... Ease of Use: PLUG and PLAY... Quality: well built...... Value: like I said at first glance it's pricy......but this is money well spent you will not regret Manufacturer Support: yes..easy to reach and was very professional.. The Wow Factor: if one rock me then then 2 will blew me away Overall: UPDATES.I am happy to inform you that I have just added one more sub to the system on 6/17/2013..from ZZsound on 6/17/2013..customer service is 2nd to NONE
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"BOOOM BOOM POW" submitted September 6, 2013

By Vince Chatman in Jackson, MS
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Mobile DJ
Music Style: All type
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Overall: WOW WOW WOW.....this is it.....hooked this bad bout up and had my entire house rocking...OMG....well work it.....Im a mobile DJ and I only need one of these....WOW WOW WOW...
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"No brainer...had to add another one....Game Changer......WOW WOW WOW" submitted November 25, 2013

By DJ HEAT in JACKSON, MS
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Mobile DJ
Music Style: All
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Overall: purchased kw181 4 months about and was blown away and well as the competition. Ordered another last week to match then added 2 EV 15 top's and I must say this setup is a game changer.....class all by myself....Love it love it.......LOVE it.....wow
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"Game Changer" submitted October 1, 2013

By Vince chatman in jackson, MS
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Mobile DJ
Music Style: All types
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Overall: Monster of a Sub......Head & Shoulders above any other sub ive had or heard.....simply AWESOME...
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A temporary customer reference number is assigned to each customer only while they are shopping on zZounds.com. If you call our customer service department for assistance, this number makes it easier for us to answer any questions you have about products, services or purchases.
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1. zZounds offers the industry‘s most musician-friendly payment plans

zZounds offers a variety of Play as You Pay installment plans that allow you to get the gear you want today. While our competitors might offer house credit cards that require you to fill out an application and pass a credit check, our payment plans are easy to get, simple to use, and, best of all, accrue zero interest. Unlike those house credit cards that can leave you vulnerable to exorbitant interest charges once the promotional period ends, we never have and never will charge interest when you take advantage of one of the zZounds Play as You Pay plans.

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2. zZounds guarantees the lowest price

Seen it for less somewhere else? Get it for less at zZounds. Simply click the “Seen it for less?” link on any product page and as long as we‘re not losing money, we‘ll beat any legitimate competitor‘s lowest price, usually within two hours. Want our best price even faster? Call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll provide you with a lower price on the phone. Also, if you purchase from us and later find the product for less elsewhere, call or email us within 45 days, and we‘ll refund you the difference.

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3. zZounds gets you your gear fast

At zZounds, you‘ll get your gear fast and, usually, with free delivery. Because we have warehouses in New Jersey, Nevada and Mississippi, nearly 95 percent of Americans reside within our two-day shipping zones. Combine this with the fact that many of our best-selling products qualify for free two-day delivery and you get expedited shipping without the additional cost.

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4. zZounds makes returns super easy

Buy it, try it, like it, or return it to us for a full refund. It‘s just that simple. If you‘re not in love with what you bought, return it to zZounds within 45 days, and we‘ll promptly arrange for an exchange or a refund. No hassles. No hidden charges. And if a product‘s defective or damaged, call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll email you a prepaid shipping label so you can easily return it to us at zero cost to you.

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5. zZounds delivers top-rated customer service

zZounds has received multiple Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum awards, placing us in the top 0.7 percent of Bizrate‘s network of 5,200 retailers. Our success in meeting the needs of our customers -- since 1996, we‘ve satisfied over 1,000,000 people -- is due in large part to the fact that zZounds only hires experienced musicians to answer your calls and emails, and they are never paid a commission.

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A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

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