Besides popcorn or a cold beer, subwoofers are the perfect companion to your home music and movie-going experiences.
Without one, you’re missing out on everything you’re meant to hear. Traditional loudspeakers can only go so low, meaning a subwoofer can add deep, rich bass to your sound tableau.
Long story short, it might shake your floors. But, it’ll be worth it.
If you played your favorite song or TV show through a subwoofer (with no other speakers), all you’d hear is a muffled “wump, wump, wump” similar to a dinosaur or elephant walking.
Without a subwoofer, you’re missing all of the deep, resonant sound frequencies that are a natural part of any audio, whether it’s a richly sophisticated classical symphony or the explosive action of a Hollywood blockbuster.
The difference in subwoofers is in the details. Let’s take wired vs. wireless by example.
A wired subwoofer needs to be directly connected to your A/V receiver with a signal cable (usually an RCA-type cable). This is essentially a speaker cable, but specifically for subwoofers. A wired subwoofer can be powered, or passive -- if it’s powered, it means it has its own onboard amplifier, in which case you’ll also need to plug it into a wall outlet for power. A passive sub gets all of its power and signal from the receiver over a single cable.
A wireless subwoofer gets its signal wirelessly from the A/V receiver (or sometimes the TV or soundbar), but it always needs its own power source. So even though we call it a “wireless” subwoofer, there’s still at least one cable to work with. Because wireless subs always have built-in amps, there aren’t any passive wireless subwoofers.
Subwoofers are built in one of two ways: Some subs are down-firing, which means the sound is directed out of the bottom of the speaker, while side-firing units project the sound out of one side of the unit.
Placement is everything when choosing between down or side-firing. For example, you wouldn’t want a subwoofer pounding sound into a wall. In that instance, a down-firing sub is perfect when placed in the center of the room. But, if you live in an apartment or condo, a side-firing sub might be a better fit in the literal sense.
So what else should you consider when picking the perfect subwoofer? Keep reading.
Room size: It may go without saying, but let’s just say it: Bigger rooms require bigger sound. To really get the full effect of a subwoofer’s low-end boom in a large room, you may have to consider buying more than one subwoofer.
Power: Yes, Klipsch subs are known for “pissing off the neighbors.” You don’t necessarily have to abide by that mantra, especially if your space is an apartment or condo. Much like a high-end sports car can go really fast, that doesn’t mean you have to break the sound barrier to appreciate its finer qualities. The same thing goes for subwoofers. A model rated for up to 1,000 watts can certainly deliver ear-splitting volume, but the design, materials, and craftsmanship that allow it to do so also sound amazing at low volumes as well.
Current setup: It’s important to figure out if a new subwoofer is compatible with your existing equipment. For instance, if you already have a soundbar and don’t use an A/V receiver, the soundbar will need to support a wireless subwoofer (generally from the same brand). If your soundbar doesn’t support either of these options, you’ll probably need to get one that does or switch to an A/V receiver. Long story short: double check the compatibility of any subwoofer before you commit.
To get you started on your quest for the right subwoofer, we’ve taken the liberty of pulling together some helpful suggestions:
Tiny but mighty, this sub is incredibly versatile. With a maximum of 600 watts of power, in a small footprint, side-firing design, you can connect the C-308ASWI through your choice of line-level RCA, balanced line-level XLR wired connections, or use it wirelessly with the compatible WA-3 Wireless Transmitter. There are also high-level speaker terminals for even greater flexibility.
R-10SWI Wireless Subwoofer:
For the convenience of wireless and the option of wired, this subwoofer offers high-quality, rich bass at an affordable price. Standing just over 1-foot tall, with a maximum 300 watts of power, this sub comes with everything you need, including a dedicated, pre-paired wireless transmitter.
With a 10-inch driver, and 450 watts of peak power, this wired subwoofer is the perfect balance of price, features, and performance for those who don’t need a wireless sub, yet still, want a no-compromises speaker for low-frequency sound.
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