BGW Systems Inc.
By Mark Farmer
Bgw system Inc. began in 1971, manufacturing high end pro-audio
amplifiers and over the years these amplifiers have been installed
in some of the most prestigious theaters, convention centers,
hotels, and studios. Although I had never heard nor seen any
of BGWs products, I was quite excited to have one of their new
M2200 Subwoofers to try out.
The BGW M2200 subwoofer is a engineering achievement and first
sight of this enclosure will definitely turn heads. This box is
a monster as far as sub enclosures are concerned, weighing in
at 376 pounds and offering it to customers for about $5000.00
cost. This may sound like an exorbitant amount of money for just
a sub box. However, this is not an ordinary subwoofer enclosure.
Throughout the years of installation experience a subwoofer/amplifier
package was built beginning with the Grand Touring Amplifier(GTA).
This is one of their largest amplifiers thus, creating a portable
enclosure with four 15 sub drivers, a GTA amp, and a highly effective
electronic crossover. This one piece design creates less wire
resistance, better speaker dampening, which all transfers more
efficient power to the speakers. They also included a highly effective
crossover. With these features in one package, BGW has created
a plug it in and play subwoofer system.
The M2200 subwoofer is constructed of 1 medium density fiberboard
composite(MDF) with a piece of 2 MDF supporting the four 15
drivers and a row of four sizable ports. On the exterior, a black
textured finish and metal corners complete the package. Two large
metal handles on each side provide a spot for two strong people
to lift this beast. Heavy duty 14 gauge waffle grilles protect
the speaker cones from damage. According to a BGW representative,
a caster plate is now available for the 2200 Subwoofer Touring
Looking to the rear, all that is seen of the giant Grand Touring
Amplifier(GTA) are two large 70 CFM fans. This amp is rated to
deliver up to 2800 watts peak, and 1900 watts of continuous power.
Frequency response is measures from 25Hz-180Hz with maximum output
at one meter, reaching 130dB of sound pressure level above 40Hz
and below 40Hz the box will punch out 120dB of SPL .
The built in Linkwitz-Riley 24dB per octave crossover also contains
the Switch-Set group of selectable frequencies. This panel consists
of two pairs of 10 position linear slide switches and each set
of switches must be set the same according to the manual, which
allows all four drivers to receive the same frequencies information.
The crossover points available are 63Hz, 71Hz, 80Hz, 89Hz, 100Hz,
112Hz, 125Hz, 140Hz, 160Hz, and 180Hz. Inputs to the crossover
panel are two balanced female XLR connectors, which are electronically
summed to mono. A nice feature is a polarity reverse switch exchanging
XLR pin 2 and pin 3. Amplifier sensitivity control is made by
adjusting a lockable potentiometer shaft with a screwdriver. An
input limiting device senses high voltage to the inputs which
protects the speakers from being over driven. A clipping eliminator
circuit limits the amount of current reaching the speakers. A
29Hz filter protects the speakers from bottoming out. Initial
turn on thump is remedied by a two and a half second time delay
circuit. Two yellow LEDs indicate output status from the crossover.
A green Standby LED and a red Power LED alert the user of
the position of the 3 way power switch.
For permanent installations a barrier strip provides some necessary
hookup provisions. A high pass output delivers the frequencies
above the crossover point. Remote turn on provisions are accessible
also for permanent installations.
Power hookup comes from a recessed male four pin, 30 amp connector,
which allows for 100-120 volt or 220-240 volt operation. An adapter
was provided to plug the M2200 into a standard wall outlet. Power
related wiring questions are thoroughly covered in the manual.
Four fuses protect the internal and external electronic parts
from destruction. Other protection comes in the form of a one
year warranty covering the complete M2200 Subwoofer.
Upon receiving the literature for this sub and doing some reading
I was very excited to see and use the piece. At a recent corporate
industrial show, the sub was set up to be used on one side the
sound system. A pair of Electro Voice Delta-Max were placed on
the other side. These manifold/ported designed cabinets contain
two 18 speakers each. Nevertheless, the exterior size of the
two EV boxes almost matched the size of the M2200. Power hookup
and signal input were quick and easy. Using the input potentiometer
I matched up the gain with the amplifiers sending signal to the
other set of subs. I began with a crossover point of 89Hz on the
M2200, which was a good starting point. The EV speakers were crossed
over with a Delta-Max unit, pre-set from the factory. I also wired
the system in mono to alleviate major differences between sides.
At first listen, there was a definite noticeable difference between
the two sides. There was more warmth and much lower frequencies
emanating from the BGW subwoofer. Bringing up the volume of familiar
music caused things in the room to resonate and vibrate. I stepped
from side to side to find out where all the low end was being
produced. The image of higher mid bass came from the EV boxes,
and the boom shaking the room was produced by the BGW box. After
lowering the volume, I sat within a foot of each set of subs to
listen more intently. Once again I heard thicker tones and an
overall better bass being dispersed from the BGW M2200 Subwoofer.
A remark about this comparison is although the amplifier power
routed to each side was similar, the box designs are very different.
My comparison was to see how different each of these types of
boxes sound and to see how four 18 drivers would compare to just
four 15 speakers.
Also, I did notice some flexing from the front speaker mounting
board at super high volumes with intense music played.
Overall, the BGW Systems Inc. M2200 Subwoofer is one impressive
package. With the Grand Touring Amplifier, a switchable crossover,
and four 15 speakers this is a hard to beat system, without having
to purchase these pieces individually. A variety of applications
exist in the live sound market for this sub box. Permanent installations
could also benefit by adding or upgrading a M2200 to an existing
sound system. This sub system has a simplicity which is the essence
of good product design. Although this simplicity does not take
away from the immense bass to exit this enclosure. So, if you
are thinking about adding a pair of M2200 Subwoofers to your inventory,
just hope your other speakers can keep up.
BGW M2200 Subwoofer
+Ease of Operation(Plug-it-in-and Play)
+Built in 2800 watt amplifier
+Built in switchable crossover
+Beautiful bass tones
+Shake the room low end
-No sub frequency crossover outputs
An exceptionally built, well designed product,
with the low end extension and power to match.
Mark Farmer is a Live Sound Engineer with Live Technologies in Columbus Ohio,
and a regular contributor to Pro Audio Review. He can be reached via the Internet