Every audiophile and person who likes sounds of high quality want to receive maximum satisfaction from the home audio system. In order to improve your home audio system, you will need to get decent loudspeakers. Only with the best subwoofer you can reach the top sound quality.
The subwoofer market is full of various models and types. Depending on personal needs, you can find the most suitable unit. In this article, you have the Buyers Guide, which is full of answers to questions that may arise while buying a subwoofer. Then, to save your time with selecting a model, which fits various purposes, here are selected the wonderful subwoofers to each category. By checking their reviews, you will be able to get the best subwoofer for yourself.
Home Theater Subwoofers Comparison Table
|Driver size, inch.
|Dimensions (H” x W” x D”)
|SVS SB-3000 best overall
|15.6” x 15.2” x 17.8″
|Klipsch R-100SW under $500
|14.5″ x 12.5″ x 16.4″
|Klipsch R-12SW under $300
|16″ x 14″ x 18.5″
|Sony SACS9 under $200
|13.5″ x 11.6″ x 15.7″
|Polk Audio PSW10 best budget
|16.2″ x 14″ x 14.4″
|SVS SB-4000 hi-end
|17.8″ x 18.3″ x 20.9″
Best Home Theater Subwoofer Reviews
Best subwoofer under $1000 reviews
SVS SB-3000 – best overall
The SVS SB-3000 surprises in particular with the control of the reproduced bass, as well as its diversity. This is mainly due to the use of a high-performance woofer, specially designed for heavy-duty work, and an efficient class D amplifier. However, the closed-type enclosure has a great influence on the excellent impulse response, which, combined with the fast-reacting woofer, creates an explosive mixture. It is the best powered subwoofer for music that you can find. It is equipped with a 13-inch driver size and 800W RMS with 2500W peak power.
A powerful magnetic system based on two ferrite rings is additionally based on a specially designed internal reinforcement that connects the top, bottom, and sidewalls. The reinforcement designed in this way is not only to stiffen the box but also to ensure a perfect combination of the subwoofer with the housing by tightly integrating both elements.
The feed line is based on an above-average efficient switching power supply. The entire system is mounted on the rear panel, where there is a set of buttons to control all functions. The user can manually adjust the volume level, the phase from 0 to 180 degrees, and the cutoff frequency. The indicator informing about the achievement of the current adjustment range are LEDs installed in one row.
Due to remote control application, it is possible to control the subwoofer without leaving the listening position, which from the point of view of the user who wants to precisely set the desired parameters is a great help, because you can hear the difference immediately and you can react to changes in sound much faster.
As SVS SB-3000 is an active subwoofer, two basic types of connections are used: through low-level RCA sockets (including one for the LFE channel for a home theater receiver) or typical, high-level speaker terminals. In the case of low-level inputs, as the name suggests, the subwoofer input circuit accepts a low-voltage signal. The high-level inputs, on the other hand, accept only signals derived directly from the end stages of a given amplifier.
- Power (RMS), W: 800
- Driver size : 13″
- Frequency response: 18Hz-270Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 15.2″ x 15.6″ x 17.8″
- You can control the subwoofer with the help of a mobile app
- The housing is made of reliable materials to serve for many years
- Plenty of connectivity allows connecting various devices
- It does not have IP control for automatic preset selection of settings
Sonos Sub Gen 3 – best wireless
If you are looking for something that is worth 1000 dollars, then you can be interested in Sonos Sub Gen 3. This 3rd generation is a wireless subwoofer that deepens the bass. It is a 6-inch driver size model, which belongs to the category of best subwoofers.
The Sonos SUB Gen3 subwoofer will let you not only hear the difference but even feel it. It has been equipped with two drivers that dampen vibrations and eliminate vibrations. Thanks to this, the room will be filled with deep, more diverse bass, which will make the lower bands sound more accurate and fuller.
Perfect bass largely depends on the movement of air inside the unit, the smoother it is, the more bass you hear. The unusual design of the Sonos SUB Gen3 subwoofer does just that. The opening in the center allows the air to circulate better, allowing you to bring out the juicy bass from your favorite songs. What’s more, positioning them opposite to each other makes the sound free from distortions, such as grinding and murmurs.
Moreover, the unique appearance of the Sonos SUB Gen 3 is significantly different from standard subwoofers. The unique shape of the device will not only maximize the sound quality but also look beautiful and match the style of any interior.
Trueplay technology used in the Sonos SUB Gen3 subwoofer will make the sound dynamically tuned to the acoustics of the space in which the device is located. Tuning with this technology is very simple and is done using the Sonos app. The microphone on your mobile device detects how the sound waves are traveling around the room, bouncing off walls and furniture. The software then creates a combination of equalizer and filter settings and creates an individual acoustic profile of the room so that the music sounds exactly as its creator intended. Trueplay technology requires an iOS device.
The Sonos SUB Gen3 subwoofer is designed to best suit your needs. That is why this device allows you to get the same high-quality bass, both when placed vertically and when placed flat. Thanks to this, you can put the subwoofer on a shelf, floor, or hide, for example, under a sofa, so you save space and do not give up great sound.
- Power (RMS), W: N/A
- Driver size : 6″
- Frequency response: N/A
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 15.3″ x 15.8″ x 6.2″
- It is compact and does not require a lot of space
- The subwoofer can be controlled with a mobile app
- Even with the small build, there are no many unwanted vibrations
- Not many connectivity options
The Klipsch SPL-120 active subwoofer is designed to deliver inspiring bass when watching movies or listening to music, delivering clear and deep lows in your home audio system. Extremely light and at the same time rigid woofer cone construction made of copper provides an amazing reproduction of the lower part of the frequency range while maintaining a minimum level of distortion. The woofer is driven by a high-performance digital amplifier with a maximum power of 300W. With a driver size of 12 inches, it is able to maintain a more faithful and clearer sound with great detail.
The Klipsch SPL-120 active subwoofer allows you to adjust the bass to the speakers and the room in which the audio equipment is located – using the phase adjustment knob. The RCA line/LFE input makes it easy to connect the subwoofer to your home theater receiver.
Klipsch SPL-120 often becomes the best home theater subwoofer among customers. The solid, open MDF housing is covered with a brushed black veneer. A digital amplifier with a maximum power of 300W powers a 12-inch front-facing loudspeaker. It is covered with a translucent grille. Onboard, there are power, cut-off, phase, and automatic standby controls. The subwoofer is dedicated to medium and large rooms. Works well in a home theater or stereo system.
- Power (RMS), W: 300
- Driver size : 12″
- Frequency response: 24Hz-125Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 19.7″ x 14.7″ x 17.7″
- You will not spend much time installing the subwoofer
- It is made of reliable materials to remain in working order for many years
- This is an active subwoofer, which has a nice amplifier inside
- The volume knob is not very accurate
Best subwoofer under $500 reviews
Klipsch R-100SW – best under $500
A powerful home theater subwoofer in the Klipsch Reference series. The successor to the extremely popular R-10SW model. The solid, open MDF housing is covered with a black veneer. A digital amplifier with a maximum power of 300W (150W RMS) powers a 10-inch front-facing speaker. It is covered by a translucent grille.
There is power, cut-off, phase, and automatic standby control on board. The subwoofer is dedicated to small and medium-sized rooms. Works well in a home theater or stereo system. Perfect for use with the floor standing R-260, R610, or R-51M bookshelf speakers. If you already have some speakers from Klipsch, you will not have difficulties in connecting them together. R-100SW can also be used in pairs with other brands due to crossover features.
This is an active subwoofer, which does not require an additional amplifier. It does save not only your money but also space to install this model. On the rear side, you will find a variable cutoff frequency of 40 Hz to 120 Hz, as well as an electrical phase adjustment of 0-180. There is also a standby mode. It saves power when you do not use the subwoofer. In such a case, it will serve you for a longer time. Moreover, you do not need to worry about receiving sounds with delays after idle mode. Due to the proper trigger of incoming signals, you always receive high-quality sounds at the right time.
- Power (RMS), W: 150
- Driver size : 10″
- Frequency response: 32Hz-120Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 14.5″ x 12.5″ x 16.4″
- Plenty of various settings to adjust on the rear side
- Reinforced MDF construction reduces unwanted vibrations
- At quiet moments, you can hear unwanted hum sounds
Polk Audio HTS 12
Polk Audio HTS 12 subwoofer is a great proposition for lovers of expressive bass. This is a top-class device that makes listening to your favorite music a pure pleasure. Having solid and modern equipment, you can be sure that our bodies will experience shivers of excitement.
Perfect sound will tightly fill the entire room, making you feel like in a cinema hall. Polk Audio HTS 12 is designed on the basis of innovative technologies. That is why they are functional and reliable at the same time. Devices from this manufacturer are perfect for creating your own music system. It will be one hundred percent tailored to individual needs.
Polk HTS 12 extends the possibilities of home theater and listening to music by adding deep bass. It features a 12-inch long stroke transducer and patented Power Port technology. Highly efficient 400 W class D amplifier for full power control. It delivers deep and accurate bass in movies and music. The great feature of its build is a floor-facing patented power port. It greatly reduces sound distortion.
HTS 12 model is distinguished by a unique structure that enhances the melody and expressiveness of the bass. The device also provides easy power control. Built-in control functions such as volume level, low pass filter, and 0/180 phase shift, which you can find on the rear side of the subwoofer.
- Power (RMS), W: 200
- Driver size : 12″
- Frequency response: 22Hz-180Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 16″ x 14″ x 16″
- Due to its sizes, you receive wonderful and clear sounds
- You will not spend a lot of time to install and start using the subwoofer
- Plenty of setting options on the read side
- At high volumes, the bass could be better
Best subwoofer under $300 reviews
Klipsch R-12SW – best under $300
Ever since 1946, Klipsch has remained true to its founder’s vision – to uncompromisingly create audio components of the highest quality. One of the first American loudspeaker companies, Klipsch remains the brand of choice for audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts around the world. Among various models, you can consider Klipsch R-12SW as your future best subwoofer for home theater.
The solid, open MDF housing is covered with a brushed black veneer. A digital amplifier with a maximum power of 400W (200W RMS) powers a 12-inch front-facing loudspeaker. It is covered with a translucent grille. Onboard, there are power, cut-off, phase, and automatic standby controls. The subwoofer is dedicated to medium and large rooms. Works well in a home theater or stereo system.
A high-quality digital amplifier drives a woofer with an ultra-fast response – the perfect combination to reproduce dynamic and powerful bass with very low distortion. On the rear side, you can find connectivity with crossover features. It has great compatibility with other devices, which makes it easy to install on your audio system. You simply plug in all the needed cables. Manage crossover if needed, and you receive wonderful and high-quality sounds.
The subwoofer is constructed from high-strength, vibration-reducing MDF, which minimizes distortion while improving sonic accuracy. The housing finish is scratch-resistant, and the wood-like appearance greatly enhances the exclusive subwoofer design.
- Power (RMS), W: 400
- Driver size : 12″
- Frequency response: 29Hz-120Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 16″ x 14″ x 18.5″
- Simple and convenient square shape allows you easily to put subwoofer wherever you want
- The subwoofer has automatic turn-off features to improve life durability
- LFE is not included in this model
BIC America F12
There are plenty of manufacturers on the market. If you prefer to use models from long-standing brands, BIC America is what you may like. It offers various loudspeakers for domestic and professional purposes. Among various models, BIC American F12 is a popular unit among budget models of this brand.
It is a subwoofer of an ordinary shape. A rectangular design easily fits different interiors. As it weighs just 42.7lbs, you will not have difficulties in placing this model in your room. The unit is made of MDF board with black laminate. With rubber feet on the bottom, you can be sure of the stability of the subwoofer at various volume levels. They reduce vibrations during the performance and sliding effect. Moreover, you will not hear much sound distortion, which may often happen in the subwoofer due to vibrations.
BIC America F12 offers 475W of maximum power output with a 12-driver. As it is a front-firing model, you will be satisfied with explosions and other loud audio effects in movies. You will simply feel the air hitting you, delivering a better listening experience.
On the front side of the loudspeaker, you will not find any LED indicators that will disturb you when the lights are out. On the backside, you will find Dolby Digital/DTS and Pro Logic inputs together with power control.
- Power (RMS), W: 150
- Driver size : 12″
- Frequency response: 25Hz-200Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 21″ x 19″ x 22″
- It has power save mode when you do not use a subwoofer
- Accurate volume and crossover knobs simplify adjusting needed parameters
- It may get hot after working for a long time without breaks
BIC Acoustech PL-200 II
If you are looking for a reliable model to become your best home subwoofer, BIC Acoustech PL-200 II is a wonderful option. It belongs to one of the most popular and oldest model lines, which has a 12-inch driver made in the shape of metalized polymer cones. It has a high rigid, and resisting bending deformations build, which provides great durability due to its injection molding method. If you take a look at the bottom side, you will find four rubber feet. They ensure that your subwoofer will not slide away due to vibrations. Moreover, they decrease the amount of sound distortion. It is necessary to mention that it is a powered subwoofer. It means that you do not need to buy an additional amplifier to run it.
PL-200 II reaches up to 1000W in peak, which with a bass reflex provides wonderful sound. The acoustic design is reached due to the BASH scheme. It increases the quality of sounds you receive. On the rear side, you will find all the needed connectivity for crossover. It can be tuned in the range of 30-90Hz. With a screw terminal and line LFE, you can easily install and start using this subwoofer. If you do not want to turn on the subwoofer manually, there is an automatic option. When it receives signals, it begins to deliver sounds.
- Power (RMS), W: 250
- Driver size : 12″
- Frequency response: 22Hz-200Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 17.2″ x 14.8″ x 19.5″
- The built-in amplifier delivers powerful sounds
- At very high volumes, it does not have many distortions
- The power cord can be removed and replaced
- The quality of low basses at high volumes is not impressive
Best subwoofer under $200 reviews
Sony SACS9 – best under $200
Sony is a longstanding brand on the market. It produces a great variety of products, including subwoofers. By getting a low-cost model, you can still be satisfied with the quality. Sony SACS9 is a popular budget model of this manufacturer. It has a simple design of a black box, which you can place even on the table. It makes this subwoofer good not only for movies and music but also for video games. The overall build has Mica Reinforced Cellular or MRC fiber. It copes with high speed and pressure to deliver the same high-quality sounds with fewer vibrations.
It is a powered or active subwoofer that also saves your money on buying an additional amplifier. Sony SACS9 has a 10-inch driver size, which is powered with 115W output delivers a decent quality of sound. It is compatible with high-resolution audio systems. Besides, it is a 9.84 inactive subwoofer for thumping bass. Its core diaphragm has enough room to move, which uses more air to produce high-quality sounds at very low frequencies.
On the rear side, it has various settings. With two pairs of RCA outputs/inputs, you can easily connect this model. There is also a Line-in to connect standard headphones or devices with a 1/4 inch jack. While buying Sony SACS9, you receive RCA and manual, which helps to receive the maximum of the subwoofer.
- Power (RMS), W: 115
- Driver size : 10″
- Frequency response: 28Hz-200Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 13.5″ x 11.6″ x 15.7″
- The subwoofer is compact and does not require a lot of space
- Dark design easily fits various interiors
- As it does not have rubber feet on the bottom, it may vibrate at high volume levels
The Yamaha NS-SW050 subwoofer unlocks you the easy way to the rich bass of your sound system.
Whether your room has a classic or minimalistic design, the matte black subwoofer with gentle curves will perfectly match your home theater system or other devices. It’s also smaller than SVS SB-3000 from this list and makes 13.4 x 11.5 x 11.5 inches.
By featuring the twisted flare port, this subwoofer eliminates extraneous noise in the input signal. As a result, every audiophile will enjoy clear, realistic, and impactful low-frequency reproduction. As you tweak the frequencies, do not go higher than 7, as the sub will start distorting at this or higher points.
The Yamaha NS-SW050 features Active Servo Technology II and Advanced Negative Impedance Converter, which drive the speaker cone with tighter control to preserve better linearity.
Consider that this device comes without a subwoofer coaxial cable to pass audio and video signals, so you will have to get one if you don’t have any.
The product description says that the Yamaha NS-SW050 has 100 watts of dynamic power. But in fact, it’s 50 watts. So, it is suitable for smaller rooms or apartments.
There is no auto-off feature, so you should turn the device off manually when you no longer use it. At the same time, this is an active subwoofer, meaning that you do not have to select and connect an amplifier to the speaker.
The Yamaha NS-SW050 subwoofer is a great device for smaller rooms. It delivers tight lower frequencies and will satisfy the needs of an average person.
- Power (RMS), W: 50
- Driver size : 8″
- Frequency response: 28Hz-200Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 13.4″ x 11.5″ x 11.5″
- Performs excellent at low notes
- Sleek and compact design
- Twisted flare port for a realistic bass reproduction
- Active Servo Technology II for advanced linearity
- A perfect choice for a small room
- Active subwoofer for ease of use
- Starts distorting at 7 bass level
- No subwoofer coaxial cable included
- 50 watts instead of the announced 100 watts
- No auto shut-off feature
Best subwoofer under $100 reviews
Polk Audio PSW10 – best budget
To receive decent sound quality does not always require spending a lot of money. If you want to receive a nice subwoofer to enjoy good sounds, you may consider Polk Audio PSW10. At first glance, it is a compact subwoofer, which does not require a lot of space to place in a room. However, it delivers a nice sound quality. It has a 10-inch driver size with 100W of power output. Such combination not only provides decent quality sound but also copes with low frequencies and delivers deep and accurate bass.
The front side of PSW10 is actually silver, but due to a dark meshed grille, it easily fits various interiors. Mover, the build protects drivers from dust and increases the overall durability of the subwoofer. The housing is made of MDF plywood. It increases sound quality and reduces overall vibrations.
The rear side has plenty of settings to adjust. With two gold-plated RCA line inputs and speaker level inputs/outputs, you can easily connect PSW10 to your audio system. There is also a low pass filter and phase switch, which are easy to adjust. The volume knob is very accurate, which makes subwoofer adjusting simple. The same goes for the crossover knob. It allows users to have an 80-160Hz crossover and 40-160Hz frequency response.
- Power (RMS), W: 100
- Driver size : 10″
- Frequency response: 40Hz-160Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 16.2″ x 14″ x 14.4″
- Due to the three-way power switch, the unit saves power while standing in the idle mode
- This model has an automatic shut off the system when power voltage is not stable and can cause damage
- Small design and square shape easily fits different places
- Unfortunately, it does not have LFE
Acoustic Audio PSW-6
Ideal for small rooms, the Acoustic Audio PSW-6 subwoofer is a great choice to ensure you get quality sound in your small space. The 6.5-inch long-throw subwoofer and its integrated digital control amplifier produce 250 watts of dynamic power. This makes it ideal for watching sporting events or Netflix binging on the couch, especially when integrated with a larger home theater system. Ultimately, the PSW-6 adds full-bodied bass that is just soft enough not to disturb the neighbors, with low level and speakerphone inputs for easy connection.
It is a down-firing subwoofer. It means that you do not need to worry about objects in front of the model. You still will be receiving wonderful sound quality. On the bottom side, it also has rubber feet. They not only increase the stability of the subwoofer but also reduce the sliding effect due to vibrations. The housing is made of MDF plywood, which also increases sound delivery and vibration reduction.
On the rear side, it has all the necessary settings. You can manage the crossover parameters between 50-150Hz and 180-0 degree Phase switch. If you do not plan to use the subwoofer all the time, it has an auto on/off option. While the unit is idle, it will not consume power and will serve you for a longer time.
- Power (RMS), W: 150
- Driver size : 6.5″
- Frequency response: 30Hz-250Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 10.1″ x 9.3″ x 11.1″
- You receive a helpful manual to easy install subwoofer
- It has 6-foot dual RCA inputs/outputs what allows it to connect with multiple devices
- Even with small sizes, you receive loud and high-quality sounds
- It does not have LFE connectivity
Best High-End subwoofer
The SB-4000 is a closed-enclosure subwoofer with impressive performance. So far seen in much more expensive models. It will bring a new quality to your home audio system. It will work both as a low-frequency effect loudspeaker in a home theater and as bass support in stereo listening. Maintaining uncompromising and unusual appearance, SVS engineers have built an extremely powerful subwoofer characterized by strong and deep bass. The modern and elegant design makes it easy to match any room.
The 13.5-inch long-excursion driver generates an amazing 1200W of continuous power and 4200W of peak power. At the same time, maintaining unmatched precision of reproduction and full control over the sound. The Sledge STA-1200D amplifier, working in class D, is supported by discrete MOSFET transistors and an advanced DSP processor from Analogue Devices. Through a dedicated application, we have full control over the operation of the subwoofer and allows for fine-tuning and saving settings to your preferences.
The application developed especially for this model enables remote control of all subwoofer and DSP functions. It controls the volume, graphic equalizer, low pass filter, phase, polarity, room acoustics correction, user customization, and system settings.
The housing is made of MDF 2 inch faceplate. The subwoofer veneer is offered in two color versions: piano black and black ash that easily fit various interiors.
- Power (RMS), W: 1200
- Driver size : 13.5″
- Frequency response: 19Hz-310Hz
- Dimensions (H x W x D) : 17.8″ x 18.3″ x 20.9″
- The subwoofer can be controlled remotely with a mobile app
- It has a stylish LED display that does not disturb users while watching movies
- The unit is made of reliable materials to deliver high-quality sounds and serve for many years
- Bass at very low frequencies could be better
Subwoofers driver size explained
Subwoofers are available in countless sizes, types, and materials, as well as for many different frequency ranges and purposes. In general, the larger it is, the better the ability of the subwoofer to drop low in the audio spectrum. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Common diameters for subwoofers vary from 6 to 11 inches for home use and often 15 to 18 inches for professional systems. In any case, it is wise to choose a subwoofer with a speaker larger than that of the main speakers, or at least equivalent.
In subwoofers, the amplifier provides power in the form of alternating current. In these alternating currents, the audio signal with its various frequencies is coded to a certain extent. The output power output in watts per speaker channel is decisive for the amplifier. You may come across the indication “Watt-RMS” (RMS stands for Root Mean Square). This is an average power value in the relevant frequency range. On the other hand, the excessive PMPO value (Peak Music Power Output) of an amplifier is often misleading.
The (passive) subwoofers, on the other hand, act as consumers of the power. They convert the electrical current received into sound and generate what is known as sound pressure, which is measured in decibels. The alternating current sets a voice coil in motion, which is connected to the loudspeaker membrane. The membrane, in turn, pushes the air. This is how the sound waves are created.
You should not go that far, instead, for sound quality. Only supply as much amplifier power as long as the voice coil of the chassis is still in the air gap of the magnet. If the coil/membrane deflects further, the supplied amplifier power is no longer converted into acoustic power (compression), and audible distortion occurs.
Powered subwoofer crossover explained
A crossover is a separator filter, which means that a signal enters, then separation is operated, and two signals exit. In conventional passive speakers with a woofer and tweeter, a crossover of this type is often integrated to ensure that the woofer (large speaker) and the treble process the midrange and bass by the tweeter (small speaker).
For passive subwoofers, this is usually the same thing but with a slight difference. The crossover of a subwoofer takes the bass and sends it directly to the subwoofer. The midrange and treble are then redirected to the satellite speakers. This is why you sometimes see that the subwoofers and the speakers are connected together.
However, this system is not very efficient, as part of the power is lost in the production of heat and for the operation of the crossover. In addition, you cannot adjust the balance between bass and treble, and you cannot determine the cutoff frequency, as it is set by default. Your subwoofer will thus process anything below 120 Hz.
The crossover frequency is the crossover frequency of your receiver. The low tones are “taken” from the speakers and sent to the sub. The ear can no longer locate sounds below 100 Hz, so the sub, which is usually somewhere in the room, should be operated below this frequency. The higher the crossover frequency, the more your sub sings along, and you can locate it precisely. It is possible to adjust the sound characteristics using switches.
Passive vs. powered home theater subwoofers
Purchasing a subwoofer entails the need to delve into information about the technical characteristics of individual devices, but one of the most important issues remains the type of subwoofer. There are two variants on sale: active and passive subwoofer.
Both types of subwoofers can be found on sale, and both types of devices find their buyers. The active subwoofer is immediately ready for use, and the passive one still needs to be combined with a suitable amplifier.
Active subwoofer – it will be a universal choice. This is a better solution as it is fully complete. An active subwoofer is a popular choice for many applications. It is most often used as a subwoofer for home theater.
- Ready to install and use immediately after purchase
- Compact dimensions
- High popularity, wide selection
- Higher price. An active subwoofer can be noticeably more expensive than a passive one
Passive subwoofer – a good solution for people who have a solid amplifier with good parameters or for those who already have a subwoofer from the previous music set and plan to use it again.
- A good choice when you already have the rest of the kit and the amplifier
- Low purchase price
- Larger dimensions
- The need to independently select the amplifier
Front-firing vs. down-firing subwoofers
The down fire principle is certainly the most widely used technology when it comes to subwoofers. Seen from the outside, you can actually only see a closed housing block, mostly rectangular or square. The energy comes from somewhere completely different, namely from the underside of the housing. This is where the already mentioned membrane sits, usually also with the dust protection cap described. The bass is radiated downwards and uses the reflection from the floor to distribute the signal as evenly as possible in the room, which can also reduce so-called room modes – i.e., positions in the room at which the bass drops. In addition, down fire subwoofers can be made flatter with further modifications, such as the increased use of drivers, in order to make the setup more individual.
In contrast to the down fire principle, front fire subwoofers work like conventional loudspeakers with a membrane pointing to the front or to the side. The bass is thus conducted directly to the ear via the shortest route without reflection, and more space is also required for the signal output. The result is precise and crisp bass. In addition, other factors such as the type of housing can generally improve the bass in both fronts and down fire subwoofers.
Ported vs. sealed subwoofers
The main differences between these subwoofers come from their construction. Sealed subwoofers are completely closed. Ported subwoofers, on the other hand, have a small opening strategically cut into the front. Bass radiator subwoofers actually have features of both and try to bridge the sound gap.
Acoustic suspension, also known as “sealed” or “closed”, subwoofers are one of the most widely used subwoofers on the market today for both home theater and automotive use.
- Usually smaller than the ported versions
- Richer sound in the lower octaves
- Smoother temporary reactions
- Almost completely unaffected by external factors such as moisture
- Quieter than ported models
- Poor efficiency
- A powerful external amplifier is probably a must
Ported subwoofers work similarly to the sealed versions. However, these subwoofers have an open, ventilated slot that works with vibrations to create window-shaking bass tones. Like the sealed subwoofers, the ported subwoofers have a single active driver and a single cone. These subwoofers have an enormous impact thanks to the ventilation opening, which allows the membrane more freedom from vibration.
- Pack a bass punch
- Requires less electricity and equipment
- The distortion is reduced
- Sound can escape through the vent
- More sensitive to moisture and other factors
- Requires solid, precise construction
Using more than one home subwoofer
Getting proper bass responses from a subwoofer is one of the most important aspects of a good sound system’s performance. However, it is also one of the most difficult to achieve. Bass that sounds resonant, bloated, over-resonant, and/or flabby can completely spoil the listening experience. It does not matter how good your speakers are. On the other hand, tight, well-defined, and evenly distributed bass dramatically improves listening to the audio, stereo, and home theater.
It can be a bit tricky to have a single subwoofer covering and/or adjacent rooms evenly with sound. However, by adding a few more subwoofers, you can influence the quality and output of your audio system.
While a subwoofer can produce enough bass for an average-sized room, purchasing additional subwoofers can reduce the occurrence of resonances in the room and improve the overall bass quality throughout the room. The bottom line is that it is not about adding more bass; it is about improving the quality of the bass and distributing it more evenly in the different zones.