Speakercraft HRSi 8 Active Subwoofer review: Big Hearted Package

The Speakercraft brand has a legacy stretching back decades, and is one of the mainstays of the custom installation market. The new Speakercraft HRSi 8 active subwoofer range is the company’s latest offering. The tiny package incorporates 1 kW of Bob Carver’s Sunfire amplifier tech, as well as app-based setup and auto-eq.

The HRSi 8 was supplied to AVInside hot off the press – it arrived in our review environment just days after landing on local shores. Opening the box was a treat, breaking the seal, and sliding the fabric sock down the speaker’s gloss-black chassis was a pleasantly tactile experience.

The Speakercraft is a very small – basically 27cm cubed – package. A neat black fabric grille adorns the front. Two sets of RCAs (one input, one output), an IEC power socket, and USB socket and attachment point for a wireless receiver make up all the features at the rear. The finish is a gorgeous piano-black lacquer.

This little subwoofer couldn’t be easier to set up. Plug into a set of preamp outputs or LFE channel, connect power, and download the Substation app on your mobile device. The app finds the woofer immediately via Bluetooth (modern setup is like witchcraft compared to the clunky control systems of the past). Once the app is connected, you have control of volume, as well as the woofer’s ‘mode’ – a range of 3 presets.

It is also possible to open installer features via the app. This unlocks a vast array of adjustments, including a super-smart auto-eq system that uses the smartphone’s microphone. The results of running this setup procedure were encouraging in our test environment. However, results would perhaps be impacted by the quality of the mobile device’s microphone.

As impressive as the app is, the Speakercraft’s specs are even more so. 1 kW of power – in a tiny little box! Seemingly overkill. This massive power is typified more by the unit’s sound quality – tight, well controlled, and easy to integrate bass – rather than an earth-shattering bass-head foundation. This is still an 8-inch, after all.

Ultimately, the HRSi 8 impresses sonically more because it does very little wrong, rather than by drawing attention to itself. This is a good thing in our books – the woofer is easy to integrate into a system. However, those with larger rooms or a desire for more bass should look at larger models.

The upside of the HRSi 8’s small driver is exceptional sound quality, and a tiny footprint. While it is priced at a slight premium – similar to offerings from brands like Velodyne – the Speakercraft’s superb sonic performance, brilliant feature set, and cosmetic appeal justifies this price tag in our view.


The Good
The HRSi 8 has compact dimensions, beautiful build quality, and punchy, fast, tuneful bass. The app control is like witchcraft.

The Bad
The Speakercraft is priced at a premium to some competitors. The sub doesn’t have quite enough output for a large-ish room.

The Ugly
A stack of 4 off these per channel lacks WAF.

Price as reviewed: R17 590 inc VAT 

For more information visit www.elansystems.co.za

The Speakercraft HRSi 8 was supplied as a review sample by Elan Systems South Africa, and reviewed as part of a supplied review system. No promotional consideration was paid.

Speakercraft HRSi 8 Active Subwoofer

Manufacturer Specifications

Woofer: 8″ High-Excursion Fiberglass Cone

Amplifier Power (Peak): 1000 Watts

Communication Type: Bluetooth Low Energy

Signal Input: RCA Line Level with Buffered Outputs

Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 24-200Hz

Dimensions: 261.6 x 271.8 x 281.94mm

Weight: 10.2 Kg

Voltage: 100~240V Selectable

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