Don’t get too hung up on the hand truck you see in the image below. It gives, I fear, the impression that GoldenEar’s new ForceField 30 subwoofer ($900, all prices USD) is heftier than it actually is. In reality, I’m still recovering from pretty brutal surgery and have only just recently been cleared to lift 35 pounds—and nary an ounce more.
On the one hand, that puts the new 31.5-pound sub right in the safe zone for things I can hoist; on the other, by the time you add 5.64 pounds of corrugated cardboard, foam, and literature to the equation, the whole kit and caboodle is just a weensy bit heavier than I can safely tote. Hence the mechanical aid.
Pop the top on the box, and you can’t help noticing that the packaging is unapologetically straightforward, with an emphasis on protection over presentation. I know at first glance the padding looks like flakey, fragile expanded polystyrene, but it’s actually a few thick layers of super-soft expanded polyethylene, with a little cavity cut out for the three-prong power cord on top and a sculpted recess that perfectly fits the top of the sub underneath. Atop that, you’ll find a bag with a quick-start guide and instruction manual, both of which cover the ForceField 30 and its bigger sibling, the ForceField 40.
Pull the top end cap off, and you can see that it’s not the only thing protecting the ForceField 30. In addition to the fact that there’s a good bit of air around the sub (perfect for making sure that superficial dings to the shipping box don’t mar the cabinet), there’s also a cloth wrapping as well as a plastic wrapping.
After I snapped this photo, I repositioned the top end cap and flipped the entire box over and lifted it off, per the instructions. Honestly, if I weren’t so worried about undoing some surgical repairs, I probably would have just lifted the ForceField 30 right out of the box. And once it was out of the box, I found lifting it to be a breeze—a point that will carry a little more weight in a minute.
Turning the ForceField 30 around to look at its back panel, you can see that there are some substantial differences between this and the subwoofer it replaces—the original ForceField 3—that can’t be chalked up entirely to the cabinet. For one thing, the new model lacks speaker-level inputs and outputs. On the other hand, the ForceField 30 boasts stereo line-level inputs instead of the single LFE input of its forebear.
Looking at the cabinet from the front, you get a better sense of the new industrial design, which draws inspiration from GoldenEar’s popular BRX bookshelf speaker. That perforated metal grille over the sub’s 8″ long-throw woofer doesn’t come off, by the way. At least not readily. Poking and prodding it a bit, I think removing it might require unscrewing two screws behind the GoldenEar nameplate, which itself is easy to overlook given its black-on-black design.
Frankly, I’m not overly eager to test that hypothesis. The ForceField 30 is not mine; I am merely its temporary caretaker until I finish my evaluation. Just know that you’re not going to pull the grille off with a tug. Then again, you’re also not going to send the grille flying across the room when you inevitably stub your toe on the sub.
There’s one last angle worth looking at and discussing here. Flip the ForceField 30 on its side, and you can see the grille over the sub’s 9″ × 11″ down-firing passive radiator. Needless to say, since it’s on the bottom, there needs to be a good bit of space between the grille and the floor—you might have shag carpeting, after all. I don’t know your life, and neither does GoldenEar.
It bears mentioning, though, that I knocked a tootsie off the subwoofer twice as I was moving it into my listening room and tweaking its positioning. No worries there, as it’s easy enough to get the rubber hemisphere back onto its screw and twist that screw back into the bottom of the sub. I mention it only because any subwoofer installed in any room is going to need a bit of positional adjustment, so you’ll need to fully lift the ForceField 30 instead of scootching it.
The good news is, it’s light enough that even a convalescent like me can pick it up pretty easily.
. . . Dennis Burger