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What is a subwoofer and how does it work?

A subwoofer is a device with an amplifier that makes a deep bass sound, and it’s often used to extend the low-frequency range of loudspeakers by introducing sounds that cannot be produced effectively in small speakers because of their size or shape. What is a subwoofer? How does it work? Why should you buy one? Are there different types of subwoofers? What are some popular subwoofer brands? Keep reading.

What is a subwoofer again?

A subwoofer is a device with an amplifier that makes a deep bass sound. It usually has its enclosure, and it’s often used to extend the low-frequency range of loudspeakers by introducing sounds that cannot be produced effectively in small speakers because of their size or shape (e.g., square-wave buzzes).

How does a subwoofer work?

A subwoofer usually has an amplifier, a speaker driver, and sometimes additional passive radiators. When the input signal is below the crossover set by the highpass filter of your main speakers (usually 80-120 Hz), it’s sent to this low-frequency device (the “sub”) which then reproduces those very sounds as audible bass frequencies.

Why should you buy a subwoofer?

A subwoofer is perfect for people who want to improve their listening experience by adding deep bass sounds. It works well with almost any type of music, including classical and rock/pop concerts.

Also, it’s a device that you need in your home theater or sound system to enjoy the whole experience. A good sub will make it feel like the action on-screen has just jumped off the screen and into your living room, giving you added realism when playing games or watching movies.

Passive vs. Active subwoofers

A passive subwoofer doesn’t have its power supply but needs an amplifier. Passive subs are typically used in a home theater system with many speakers from the AV receiver or soundbar’s built-in amp.

An active subwoofer is powered by its amplifier, which means fewer cables to connect (only one cable for audio), and sometimes it provides better sound quality than a passive model as the amp is made for that exact subwoofer. Active models also often include user controls like volume control and crossover frequency adjustments on the face of the box so you can customize your listening experience quickly and easily. Think of an active subwoofer as a plug-and-play device. Here’s an in-depth article about passive vs. active subwoofers.

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what is a subwoofer - types of subwoofers
Front-facing subwoofer/woofer with Tweeter

Types of subwoofers

There are a few types of subwoofers, such as down-firing and front-firing.

A down-firing subwoofer is placed on the floor near the bottom of your main speakers (usually with spikes) to prevent damage from vibrations traveling through furniture in contact with sensitive surfaces like wood or carpets. This placement also helps keep its sound waves away from wall and ceiling reflections that can negatively affect bass response in an untreated room.

Front-facing subs give you options for positions because they’re not constrained by surface contact concerns when sitting upright alongside other equipment on shelves, stands, or atop speaker cabinets. You’ll want at least three feet between them and any reflecting surfaces so that reflections don’t cancel direct sounds.

What are the average prices for subwoofers?

The average price for a subwoofer is between $100 and $2000, with some of the more expensive models costing as much as $6000.

What are the sizes for subwoofers?

Some popular subs come in different sizes (e.g., 8″, 12″, 15″, or 18″), which affects their output power and sensitivity to low-frequency levels. For example, larger subs’ membranes will move less at lower frequencies than smaller ones do, but they tend to be able to produce louder sounds overall due to having more prominent voice coils that can handle more current without overheating.

This also means they’ll reproduce deeper lows when crossed over at higher settings above 100 Hz – typically around 80-120 Hz depending on your speakers. Larger subs will also tend to have a wider frequency range, so they’ll be more versatile. You should always measure your space and check the size of your speakers before making a purchase decision.

What is the average power output in watts for a subwoofer?

Subwoofers typically produce anywhere from 100-1000 Watts, with higher wattage subs usually being less sensitive (they need more significant input signals) than lower-rated models that perform better at low frequencies for their size because they’re not forced to move as far when reproducing bass notes.

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The amount of power you require depends on how loud you want it to go without distortion and what kind of music or movies you like listening to – if there’s no limit, then 1000W may be enough but 500W could work well too.

Where should you place a subwoofer?

Subwoofer placement is very important. Your subwoofer will need to be placed relatively close to your main speakers for the low-frequency sounds they’re producing (typically below 200 Hz) to be heard. You’ll also want it as close as possible so that direct bass waves are not affected by any surface contact, creating unwanted vibration and resulting in a loss of sound quality.

A clear path with few objects or obstacles is typically best when positioning a single subwoofer stand upright on its backside – this allows air space above it so vibrations don’t affect the soundwaves before they reach the front face of your speaker cabinet where they can escape from the port opening beneath them.

Wrap up

Subs are an essential part of home theater or audio setups because they help bring out lower tones which can be lost when watching movies/listening to music without one.

Some popular brands of subs are Sony, Yamaha, and Klipsch. Subs can either be passive or active, depending on their design. Passive ones have no amplification circuitry built into them, while active subs feature some type of amplifier system inside.

Place your subs where there’s plenty of space around them to keep vibrations at bay – this will stop any loss of quality or unwanted noise interfering with what you’re listening to/watching on screen.

Do I need to burn-in my subwoofer?

In regards to the query “Do I need to burn-in my subwoofer?”, it is important to note that subwoofers generally do not necessitate a burn-in period. Consequently, you can begin enjoying the enhanced audio experience provided by your subwoofer right away, without the need for any additional wait time or conditioning.

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Where should you put a subwoofer for the best sound?

The placement of a subwoofer plays a crucial role in achieving the best sound quality. To ensure optimal performance, it is recommended to position the subwoofer relatively close to the main speakers. This proximity allows the low-frequency sounds, typically below 200 Hz, to be heard effectively.

In addition to proximity, it is important to minimize any surface contact that may interfere with the direct bass waves produced by the subwoofer. By placing the subwoofer on its backside, with a clear path and few objects or obstacles around it, vibrations can be minimized. This preservation of sound integrity ensures that the bass reaches the front face of the speaker cabinet without any unwanted disturbance.

If the subwoofer’s low pass filter is set below 100Hz, it can be placed anywhere in the room without drawing attention to itself. This means that the subwoofer can be positioned away from the main speakers, still maintaining its functionality without impacting the overall sound quality.

However, if the low pass filter is set above 100Hz, Their article suggests placing the subwoofer between the left and right main speakers. This positioning ensures a seamless blend of the low-frequency sounds with the rest of the audio emanating from the main speakers.

For further optimization, Their article introduces the concept of “the subwoofer crawl” method. This technique involves placing the subwoofer on the couch and crawling around the room to identify the spot where the bass sounds best. By subjectively fine-tuning the subwoofer placement based on personal preference and the room’s acoustics, an optimal sound experience can be achieved.

Additionally, Utilizing a DSP room calibration processor, a calibrated measurement mic, and the Room EQ Wizard app. These tools enable a more precise analysis of the room’s acoustic characteristics and facilitate necessary adjustments to achieve the best possible sound quality.