Home Theater Subwoofers and Bass Speakers

Reproducing deep bass is a task many home theater subwoofers don’t do very well. This is because the deepest bass takes an incredible amount of power and pressure to achieve high SPL levels.226xNxDayton-T1503A-15-Subwoofer.jpg.pagespeed.ic.IhdcCe_RlX

Often the most expensive part of a high end loudspeaker is directly caused by it’s ability to produce deep bass. And this is why many consumers are forced to use a sub woofer and some small monitor speakers instead of large floor standing speakers.

But not all home theater subwoofers are designed to do the same thing either. You would think they may all be similar, but many sub woofer speaker systems are not designed to produce extremely deep bass.

Other bass speakers are built only for extremely deep bass and cannot play a signal accurately above 70 or 80Hz. These same bass systems may play very well down to 15 to 18Hz instead. These considerations should be understood before purchasing your sub woofer system.

There are a few things to consider when planning out your needs in a sub-woofer.

1. How deep is the bass you need to produce? If you are not concerned with the very lowest octaves there are better choices available than the largest sub-woofer you can find.

2. What level of in room SPL (sound pressure level) would you like to achieve?

3. How much does pitch definition, distortion level, and transient response concern you?

4. Are you only after the deepest bass notes, say below 50hz?

5. Or do you only want bass to make your music and movies feel and sound as realistic as possible?

Some home theater subwoofers are very good at reproducing the very deepest octaves from 15 Hz to 50 Hz. However, they often are not designed to deliver much above those frequencies. At least not very accurately. These are great home theater subwoofers but they are purpose built. Usually, with very high SPL in mind to support only the very lowest octaves. These are great if you are using main speakers with good bass response, say down to 35 or 40 Hz.

Many subwoofers are capable of being very musical, with excellent pitch definition and transient response. But they struggle to produce the deepest octaves and slam of the other sub described above.

It is possible to get a sub-woofer to achieve both but doing so effectively is less common than you might think.

A better approach is to decide which is more important to you.

1. Deepest bass, impact, slam are very good for Home Theater.

2. Pitch definition, transient response, and articulation are excellent for music.

Of course both of these factors are great to have for movies and music. If this is your goal get ready to spend some money. Most commercial subs simply do not do both really well.

We have split Subwoofers into several categories:

• Budget Sub-woofers: Usually best to just order a DIY kit from Parts Express. Parts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply).

SB Acoustics 10inch sub woofer driver picture

These kits typically include everything you need. Much better value than buying an assembled sub-woofer retail.

If you do not intend to build a sub-woofer and just want to buy one try the link to the right. I use Parts Express for lots of Home theater and speaker related products. They are fast and reliable in my experience.

• Mid-line Sub-woofers: Same as above. Probably much better and cheaper to just buy a sub kit and put it together. Parts Express is the best place I can think of to get them.

• Musical Sub-woofers: Generally speaking, these do not use high excursion drivers and may add multiple drivers to increase output. They may have better slam than a budget or mid-line sub. But usually, costs are significantly higher.

• High Output Sub-woofers: these would have high SPL and go quite low. A good example of this would be the Velodyne DD12 and DD15. In some systems these can be quite musical. In others, not so much…

• Extremely Deep Output Sub-woofers: These would be more purpose built probably DIY subwoofers. Extremely Deep bass. Think: multiple 18 inch high excursion drivers.

Before buying your subwoofer be sure that it will match well with the stereo speakers or surround sound speakers that you will be using them with.

For other articles start here and learn what else could benefit your search for subwoofers.

Read more about Home Theater

Read about Surround Sound Speakers
Return to Best Home Theater System from: Home Theater Subwoofers
Return to Home Speaker from: Home theater subwoofers

Parts Express: Your #1 Speaker Building Resource