Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Review

When you need power in a smaller space, there aren’t a lot of options. It’s a constant struggle for audio enthusiasts with smaller cars. In my years as an audio engineer, I’ve also learned that smaller subwoofers often don’t sound great when compared to their larger counterparts. 

Thankfully, Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 8” low profile subwoofer has all of the things you need for amazing sound in your sedan. Don’t choose a subwoofer with terrible sound quality just to fit it into your car when you have other options.

In this Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Review, we’ll go over why this subwoofer sounds so good and why you should choose it over other subwoofers in its class. 

Highly Recommended
A durable low-profile subwoofer with amazing sound quality for its small footprint.
  • The Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 comes with mounting brackets, screws, and a wiring harness so you have everything you need to install the subwoofer in your car.
  • The enclosure for this subwoofer is made of aluminum, making it heavy and durable to use under your car’s seats.
  • On the side of this subwoofer, you’ll find control knobs for gain, phase, low pass crossover, and remove sub level so you can fine-tune every aspect of your sound

Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Review – Durable, Dependable Sub with Amazing Sound

Alpine Electronics is known for its high-quality sound and lasting products. The Alpine PWE-S8 subwoofer lives up to the name. Though this is the smallest of their cast aluminum-housed subwoofers, it still packs enough power to make your favorite songs sound amazing.

With a high range of sensitivity and enough power to reproduce even the finest details, you’ll hear brand new facets of your favorite music effortlessly.

What I Liked

  • Cast Aluminum Enclosure. This subwoofer and included amplifier are both housed within this cast aluminum enclosure. It is heavy but extremely durable for those bumpy roads and uses under your car’s seats. 
  • Low Profile. At only 3” tall, this Alpine Electronics subwoofer will fit perfectly in the smallest spaces.
  • Corded Bass Boost Controller. This subwoofer comes with a corded bass boost knob that allows you to change how much bass you’re getting on the fly. It even includes Velcro to mount the controller.
  • Built-In Amplifier. This subwoofer comes with a built-in amp, so you don’t have to purchase a second one if you don’t want to.
  • Dual Inputs. Connect to your system with both RCA and speaker-level inputs.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Price. Because of the aluminum enclosure, this subwoofer is much more expensive than similar subwoofers in the same class. It is still Alpine quality, but the aluminum enclosure increases the price. 
  • Short Power Cord. Some users have complained that the power cable on the Alpine PWE-S8 is too short to be useful, and you’ll need to have an extender for the harness that comes with the sub. 
  • Low Power. Compared to other subwoofers in its class, the PWE-S8 has less peak and RMS power capabilities.

Feature #1: Accessories Included

Some subwoofers require you to purchase the wiring harness separately, or else use one that you have on hand. With the Alpine Electronics PWE-S8, you don’t have to purchase any additional accessories to get the subwoofer mounted and wired in. 

Inside the box, you’ll get the subwoofer, mounting brackets, the bracket screws, a fuse, the input, and power wire harness, remote bass level control knob, and Velcro to secure cords. It is convenient and cost-effective to have all of the accessories that you need are included. You will not have to purchase additional hardware or harnesses unless you want to use a different one. 

However, it is worth noting that the power cord for this subwoofer is rather short. You may want to purchase an extender for this power cable if you plan on mounting it further back in your car.

Feature #2: Durable Aluminum Enclosure

This subwoofer does not come housed in plastic like so many of its contemporaries. Instead, the housing is made of aluminum. Aluminum casings are more durable, and useful for subwoofers that are going to be inside your car (particularly under your seats). While many people rightly believe that an aluminum enclosure would make the speakers sound awful, that is not the case here. 

The aluminum enclosure has a polypropylene barrier. The sub itself has a rubber surround. Together, these two materials offset the mechanical sounds that the aluminum enclosure would normally pick up. The result is a box that still sounds great but is heavy, durable, and not likely to be damaged by external trauma anytime soon. 

Feature #3: Multiple Control Modes

This subwoofer puts all of the options you need to control the way your music sounds right on the case. There are knobs on the enclosure’s side panel for Phase, Gain, Low Pass Crossover, and a Remote Sub Level.

There is also a wired bass control remote with a 15ft cable that you can hook into your sub. This allows you to adjust the bass from anywhere in your car. You can use the included Velcro strips to mount the cable and put the controller where you can easily reach it.

The range on the bass boost control is between 0 and -20dB, the same as the gain setting on the subwoofer itself. We’ll go into more detail about the specific ranges in the specification section of this review, but having the availability to customize your sound means you get to hear your music exactly how you want! 

Dual Inputs

The Alpine PWE-S8 Subwoofer has dual inputs. You can use RCA connectors or speaker-level connectors to use this subwoofer in your system. This means that no matter what input you are using – a head unit or factory stereo, or the connection from your phone or other media device, you will be able to use this subwoofer with your system. 

Make sure you know which inputs you are using in your car audio system before purchasing. While this subwoofer comes with all the cables and connections, it’s worth knowing if you’ll need a splitter or conversion kit to use this subwoofer.


What does this subwoofer have to offer in terms of specifications?

FeatureAlpine Electronics PWE-S8 Specification
Subwoofer Size8”
Enclosure TypeSealed
Dimensions 13.44 x 2.81 x 9.06”
Power Output120W RMS, 240W Peak
Frequency Response25 – 152Hz
Low Pass Crossover50 – 150Hz
Variable Phase Control0 – 180 Degrees
Input Sensitivity0.1 – 0.4V (RCA), 1.5 – 30V (Speaker Level)
Warranty1 year

But what do these specifications mean for you? Let’s take a look. 

Subwoofer Size

The size of the subwoofer can mean a lot. An 8” subwoofer is the smallest option available, and it’s usually the same size as the factory speaker on your car. However, even the smallest subwoofer is a vast improvement. Usually, 8” subs offer the depth of sound and a small increase to bass. The benefit is that an 8” sub won’t take up much space in your car. 


What your enclosure is made of can have a huge effect on what your subwoofer sounds like. While the PWE-S8 has an aluminum enclosure, it still sounds great due to the coating, insulation, and the surround material (which we will talk about later). Aluminum is heavy, but it is also extremely durable. For your under-seat subwoofer, an aluminum enclosure can help your sub last longer.

Enclosure Type

There are two types of enclosures for subwoofers: sealed and ported. A sealed enclosure takes up less space, so it is generally used for smaller subs (including the low-profile PWE-S8).

These enclosures have a smaller frequency response, allowing them to enhance the sound of your music without requiring the same space as a ported box. The bass sounds tight and controlled, and it helps to keep the cone’s movement under control as well.


A subwoofer’s surround helps protect the cone and other parts of the subwoofer as they flex and move during use. As such, you want a surround that is made of durable and flexible material. Rubber is a popular option (as in this subwoofer). This surround helps with the longevity of the subwoofer. The rubber will help the subwoofer last longer, protecting it from moving too much during use.


The dimensions of the subwoofer are very useful when you’re determining where you’re going to put it. These dimensions indicate the size of the subwoofer enclosure itself. The low profile of this subwoofer (The PWE-S8 is only 3” high) makes it a perfect candidate for under-seat installation. It has a small footprint but big sound.

Power Output

There are two different measures of power output when it comes to subwoofers. RMS power is what you’ll be using most of the time. This is the constant power output of the subwoofer. For the Alpine PWE-S8, it’s 120 watts RMS power, so it can consistently handle 120W. 

On the other hand, Peak Power is a representation of how much power the subwoofer can handle in short bursts. For the Alpine PWE-S8, this is 240 watts. This means that for short amounts of time, this sub can handle 240 watts of power occasionally for short periods before the sub will get damaged. This means that you can push the sub further on occasion. 

Frequency Response

The frequency response of the Alpine PWE-S8 is between 25 and 152Hz. This wider range means that the system can respond to any frequency between these two numbers, producing a clean, deep sound. For sound enthusiasts, this means that you will get a more detailed sound on your favorite tracks.

Low Pass Crossover 

Low Pass crossover allows you to determine the high and low end of your subwoofer’s capabilities. When you set a higher number, your system will be able to accurately and recreate sounds it receives that are below that level. Using this feature allows you to adjust which parts of your favorite songs you want to emphasize. On the Alpine PWE-S8, the Low Pass Crossover is between 50 and 150Hz. 

Variable Phase Control

A phase control dial means that you can add a power delay to your audio signal. Why would you do this? The short answer is that your subwoofer integrates better with other parts of your audio system and creates a more harmonious sound overall. The variable control dial allows you to change this delay and balance the subwoofer with the rest of your car audio.

Input Sensitivity

The input sensitivity of the Alpine PWE-S8 is between 0.1 – 0.4V for the RCA inputs and 1.5 – 30V for the speaker-level inputs. The higher input sensitivity, the less distortion or interference your audio signal will have. The range on this subwoofer means clearer sound.


A warranty is a guarantee that a product will work for a certain amount of time. If it doesn’t, the company will replace it at no additional charge. The Alpine PWE-S8 has a one-year parts and labor warranty directly from Alpine. This means that if it fails during normal use during the first year, you can report it to Alpine and they will send you a new one free of charge.

What the Customers are Saying

When it comes to Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Subwoofer Reviews, most customers react positively to the PWE-S8. For the most part, people have loved this subwoofer. Many people love the sound and appreciate the quality that Alpine Electronics is known for. 

However, some customers have noted that this subwoofer does not have as deep bass as they expected or wanted. They state that this subwoofer is not made for heavy rock music, as the bass does not shake their car the way they’d like. Others have had problems with longevity, citing that their subwoofer only lasted for a matter of months. 

For more information, check out this in-depth video review and installation video featuring the Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 subwoofer.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great depth of sound with enough bass to keep you going, consider the Alpine PWE-S8 Subwoofer. This sub offers great sound quality for its small size. However, due to the aluminum enclosure, it can be heavy and a bit more expensive. 

Highly Recommended
A durable low-profile subwoofer with amazing sound quality for its small footprint.
  • The Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 comes with mounting brackets, screws, and a wiring harness so you have everything you need to install the subwoofer in your car.
  • The enclosure for this subwoofer is made of aluminum, making it heavy and durable to use under your car’s seats.
  • On the side of this subwoofer, you’ll find control knobs for gain, phase, low pass crossover, and remove sub level so you can fine-tune every aspect of your sound

If you’re looking for a similar sound in a small profile, check out the Rockville RW8CA 8” 600 Watt Low Profile Subwoofer. It’s a less expensive subwoofer that sounds great as well!

Make also sure to check out our detailed review of the Best Under Seat Subwoofers.

Article Name
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Review