What Makes a Good Subwoofer?

What makes for a good sub? Is it a powerful driver? Is it the cabinet and the amplifier? The answer is a bit of all.

In this article, I’ll give you a detailed rundown of all characteristics that make a subwoofer good.

Subwoofer Placement

For a subwoofer to be considered good, it must have a linear driver, a powerful and accurate amplifier, and a high-quality cabinet. Unfortunately, a sub that has all these characteristics can get pretty expensive.

That doesn’t mean you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a sub just to enjoy bass. There are plenty of pretty cheap subs that can deliver amazing sound. Sure, there are some trade-offs like a bit muddy sound quality.

Still, even adding a basic sub to your sound setup will give your listening experience a lot of depth and color.

How Powerful Should A Good Subwoofer Be?

Amplified speakers start with an RMS rating of 50 watts per channel with an overall RMS rating of 250 to 500 watts.

The best subs on the market feature an RMS rating of 100 watts per channel and an overall RMS rating of 1000 watts. Remember that the higher the RMS rating, the more expensive the subwoofer.

So, if you’re on a tight budget, look for a sub with an RMS rating of at least 250 watts. And if you want to go all out, you can get a sub with an RMS rating of 1000 watts. Don’t forget that high-power woofers need a lot of power to work, so check if your amp can handle it before making the purchase.

Should it have Bass Boost?

In general, speakers and subwoofers should be capable of withstanding bass boosts. The only time where there is a risk of damaging the driver is if the sound pressure level is extremely high. This is why you should be careful about cranking the volume knob all the way up if you have bass boost enabled.

Are 100 watts enough?

The watt rating of a speaker serves as a rough estimate of how loud it can get. The higher the watt rating, the louder the subwoofer. But just because a sub is loud, that doesn’t mean it’s good. With that said, a 100-watt sub just can’t move as much air as a 1000-watt sub. If you want to really feel the music, you need power.

How To Tell If A Subwoofer Is Good?

Subwoofer

A good subwoofer has to be able to convey the power, weight, and impact of the music you’re listening to. Although the bass has to be powerful, it also has to sound clear and accurate. There are plenty of subs out there that can put out a lot of power but sound too boomy and muddy.

How Big A Subwoofer Should Be For Deep Bass?

The bigger the sub, the deeper the base. But how big should a good sub be to produce those ultra-low frequencies? A good subwoofer needs to have a driver that's 12-inches in diameter. You can also go for a 15-inch driver, but then you’ll lose on sound accuracy.

How Much Should I Spend On A Good Subwoofer?

If you want to get a good sub, you need at least $200. This much money will get you a sub that comes with a decent driver, enclosure, and a built-in amplifier. You can find subs for less, but they won’t sound as good.


If you don’t have a lot of space, you don’t have to go for a large sub. A compact one will do. The good thing about compact subs is that they’re usually pretty affordable.

What Size Subwoofer Should I Get?

Subwoofer sizes comparison

The best subwoofer size for your needs will be the one that fits the space you have available. If you have the space and the budget, I recommend you go for a 12-inch sub. If you’re on a tight budget, look for a 10-inch sub.

I don’t recommend you go for 15-inch and higher subs since they don’t have accurate sound output.

Does a Good Subwoofer Make A Difference?

The answer to this is pretty simple - YES. A good sub can reproduce sound frequencies that are as low as 20 Hz. This is the lowest frequency a human being can hear. With a good subwoofer, you’ll never miss a note, and you'll be able to feel the lowest notes from something like a fretless bass, kick drum, or pipe organ. 

How Easily Can I Damage A Good Subwoofer?

Smoking Subwoofer

Blowing a good sub can happen suddenly. It often doesn’t have to do anything with the woofer  itself but with the sound signal and how it interacts with the drivers. For instance, to get more kick from the sub, people enable a bass boost. However, the bass boost will turn up the sound signal which can put a lot of strain on the driver’s membrane and cause it to rupture. This is why you should be careful about turning the volume all the way up.

Another way you can damage a good sub with low frequencies. They can cause an excessive excursion of the voice coil, which can cause delamination and cracking. Low-frequency sound signal can also produce excessive current flow through the voice coil, which causes the voice coil to heat up and delaminate and deform.


Conclusion

Let’s sum up everything. A good sub needs to have a tight sound response,deep bass and has to be powerful.  This is why you should look for a subwoofer that has a 12-inch driver and can output anywhere from 500 to 1000 watts. Of course, the sub should also be in a high-quality enclosure built out of wood or a similar material.


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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