Home Subwoofer Buying Guide

Subwoofers are used to enhance the bass output of an audio system. A sound system without a subwoofer usually produces a sound that lacks power and depth. 

Thanks to the subwoofers in the cinema, you get those goosebumps and emotions while watching a movie. Imagine that the sound wasn’t so intense. The film definitely wouldn’t have such an impact on you. 

The same applies to clubs and concerts. Standing in a hyped crowd and enjoying your favorite drink while watching an artist perform wouldn’t be the same if the bass wasn’t literally shaking your body. 

So, everyone who wants to feel the sound while listening to music or watching movies needs a subwoofer.

Because of the wide range of subwoofers available on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with information. Every manufacturer claims their product is the best, so as a newbie, you may not know what exactly to look for in a subwoofer. 

If your home audio system lacks bass, but you’re unsure which subwoofer to get, keep reading. We’ll go over all the key factors you should consider before buying a subwoofer, regardless of the brand.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is nothing more than how much Hz a subwoofer can output. Most humans can hear sounds from 20 Hz - 20kHz. 

Generally, you don’t need a sub that can output ultra-low frequencies. Getting a subwoofer with a frequency response from 300Hz-200Hz is more than enough for home use. 

Because frequency response directly correlates with size, let’s jump on to what size a subwoofer should be. 

Does Size Matter?

subwoofer size comparison

The answer lies somewhere between yes and no. 

The unit will need to be larger than the standard 6’’ speakers to move around a large amount of air. Moreover, a larger surface area brings more depth to the sound. How low the sound goes is dictated by the subwoofer's frequency response. 

However, this doesn’t mean you should opt for large subwoofers like those used in theaters. Theaters have a large open space, a professional setting, and a powerful audio system. So, a large subwoofer will only be a waste of money if you don’t have the room or the professional equipment. 

The best thing would be to look for a subwoofer that fits your home and current speaker setup. If you don’t have much space for a large subwoofer, you can achieve the same effect by buying multiple smaller ones.

Sealed Or Ported Home Subwoofer

Sealed or Ported Subwoofer

As opposed to what you may think, you don’t have to stress out about sealed vs. ported subs. You can come across these two types of subs, and there is no definite answer to which one is better. 

They both have clear and powerful bass that hits hard. Which one to choose mostly depends on what you’ll be using the subwoofer for. 

Here’s a quick explanation of sealed and ported subs, as well as their pros and cons. 

Sealed Subs

Sealed subs are just what their name suggests. They are sealed so that air doesn’t move around in them. The compressed air inside the cabinet is what creates the low frequencies.

Pros

  • Simple structure
  • Clear and deep bass
  • Great sensitivity and efficiency
  • Best for acoustic genres
  • Fantastic transient response
  • Relatively small size

Cons

  • Low frequencies are higher
  • Needs a larger cabinet to achieve lower frequencies
  • Requires more power

Ported Subs

Ported subs come with a bass reflex enclosure. This enclosure is basically an air vent that helps in producing low-frequency output. They usually have only one port, but they can have more.

Pros

  • Clear and deep bass
  • Achieves low frequencies with less power
  • A design with more ports allows you to adjust the output
  • Great sensitivity and efficiency
  • Best for electronic, rock, and hip-hop genres

Cons

  • Size

Box Material

You have three options when it comes to the box material: plastic, wood, and metal. 

The box material should be acoustically dead, so most people usually choose MDF wood. This is not just because of the great acoustic characteristics of wood but also because it has a relatively good price-to-quality ratio. 

Don’t let the popularity of wood fool you. Plastic and metal can also make excellent box material.

Low-end subs usually have a plastic box. However, plastic subwoofers that are well made and of good quality can be way better than wooden ones. 

Metal subs are the least popular because they resonate with the sound. At least cheap ones do. Subs made from cast aluminum or those that have thick walls and dampening material will be just as good as wooden ones. If not even better.


Conclusion

Choosing a subwoofer for your home can be a tough decision. So, make sure you have the key factors in mind when looking for the right one for you. 

We hope this article has been an excellent introduction to subwoofers and that you now feel more confident about buying one.


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


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