10 Best Subwoofers | March 2017

We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Booming bass and crisp, clear sound will make your home theater sound better than ever. Our comprehensive selection includes subwoofers in every price range that will add a greater resonance and dimension to your music, movie or gaming experiences. Skip to the best subwoofer on Amazon.
10 Best Subwoofers | March 2017


Overall Rank: 5
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 4
Best High-End
★★★★
Overall Rank: 8
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
The patented "Venturi" vent on the BIC America F12 eliminates port noise to ensure a consistently rich sound, and its 475W peak amplifier enables thunderous movie experiences. This woofer has inputs for both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS.
9
The Yamaha YST-SW216 has a front-firing, magnetically-shielded 10" subwoofer with a long-stroke driver and a frequency response range from 25-180Hz. That means it can hit even the lowest notes and hold them for long periods of time.
8
The Pioneer SW-8MK2 features crossover controls that allow for easy sound personalization, so you can perfectly tune your woofer for a music, movie, or game experience. You really can't beat its sound and build quality for the price.
7
The Fluance DB150 brightens up rooms with a retro look, and kicks out a nice crisp bass sound that is perfectly matched to smaller rooms. If you really like low rumbling bass, though, it's not the best choice. Its case comes in either a walnut or mahogany finish.
  • 2-year parts and labor warranty
  • magnetic interference shielding
  • pointed feet can damage floors
Brand Fluance
Model DB150-MA
Weight 46.2 pounds
6
If you hate the look of wires, or just don't want to deal with the hassle of hiding them, get the Bluetooth-capable ELAC S10EQ. It can be controlled via the ELAC Sub app and an integrated 12-band equalizer will automatically adjust the sound to your room's characteristics.
  • also has a full manual equalizer
  • packs a crisp bass punch
  • housing isn't very elegant
Brand Elac
Model DS10EQ1-BK
Weight 34.5 pounds
5
If you are searching for an affordable option that looks as good as it sounds, the Audioengine S8 should be your go-to choice. Its 8" woofer produces enough bass for small to medium-sized rooms, and the white enclosure with inverted pyramid feet looks really stylish.
  • down-firing sub for 360 degree sound
  • rca mini-jack and lfe inputs
  • wide frequency response range
Brand Audioengine
Model S8W-115V
Weight 34.1 pounds
4
The SVS SB2000 is available in a black ash or a piano gloss finish, so you shouldn't have any problem matching it to your current speaker setup. The 12" speaker has 1,100W of peak power for high-volume, distortion-free sound, but only draws 0.5W when on standby mode.
  • completely sealed enclosure
  • nuanced bass tones
  • ideal for large rooms
Brand SVS
Model SB-2000 - Black Ash
Weight 47.5 pounds
3
With a sleek housing, dual inward-facing force-cancelling speakers, and wireless connectivity, the Sonos SUB gives your home entertainment area a clean and tidy look. It produces exceptionally deep bass tones with absolutely no cabinet rattle.
  • vertical or horizontal positioning
  • big sound from a compact unit
  • only works with sonos systems
Brand Sonos
Model SUBG1US1BLK
Weight 39 pounds
2
The Polk Audio PSW505 features handsome real wood veneer sheets on the exterior, offers a theater-quality audio experience, and is actually quite affordable. It has slotted venting for optimized bass response, and a long throw driver.
  • produces distortion-free bass
  • good for both music and movies
  • auto on-off energy-saving circuit
Brand Polk Audio
Model AM8505-A
Weight 46.6 pounds
1
If you hate your neighbors and love to feel stomach rumbling, teeth rattling bass, the Klipsch R-12SW is definitely for you. Its digital amp sends 400W of power to its front-facing sub while an integrated low-pass crossover perfectly blends the bass into your sound system.
  • lfe and line inputs
  • bass hits extremely hard
  • can produce very low frequencies
Brand Klipsch
Model R-12SW
Weight 37.4 pounds

The Various Uses For A Subwoofer

Subwoofers are used to deliver bass in audio applications such as music and sound effects. They have the ability to accurately reproduce low-frequency sounds, typically in the 20 to 200 Hertz range. Subwoofers usually contain one or two woofers, which are the devices capable of turning a low audio signal into a sound, housed inside of a loudspeaker.

A subwoofer’s housing can handle the air pressure produced by low-frequency signals, without distorting the resulting audio. There are two main categories of subwoofers, namely passive and active. Passive subwoofers retrieve power from an external amplifier, while active ones have an in-unit amplifier.

In a home entertainment room, subwoofers can boost the main speaker's bass capabilities. Most loudspeakers made for home use cannot accurately reproduce low-frequency sounds like pipe organ music or large bass drums, but these often appear in the scoring of movies and television shows. A subwoofer can aid standard speakers, and prevent low-frequency sounds from harming them. Models made for home use are typically small because people want to store them in a cabinet and out of sight.

Unlike home subwoofers, which are made small enough to hide, car subwoofers are designed to go in the trunk due to the space limitations of a vehicle. The confined space of a car is also what makes a subwoofer especially important for drivers who like to listen to bass-heavy music because the pressure of the low-frequency sound can cause damage to the interior of the vehicle. Subwoofers can help absorb some of that pressure. In terms of commercial use, movie theaters often have permanent subwoofers. There are several models designed with the high audio quality demands of a movie theater in mind. These usually reduce outside noise interference for an immersive listening experience.

Historic Moments Of The Subwoofer

El Cerrito, CA native, Raymon Dones, received the first subwoofer patent in 1964. His model not only reproduced low-frequency sounds without distortion, but it also offered a surround sound effect so listeners could not determine from which part of a room the audio was coming. This subwoofer was called the Octavium and was utilized by famous musicians like the Grateful Dead and the Pointer Sisters.

Physicist Arnold Nudell and airline pilot Cary Christie developed a second primitive subwoofer in 1966. The duo’s creation was a separate bass speaker designed to work in conjunction with the Servo Static 1 loudspeaker, made by New Technology Enterprises. Christie and Nudell marketed their subwoofer at $1,795. This price was significantly higher than that of any model available at the time, which earned the creators criticism in some publications. Christie and Nudell ultimately managed to find investors to make more units. Christie and Nudell formed the company Infinity and named their subwoofer the SS-1.

The 1960s saw the emergence of several influential subwoofers. Ken Kreisel and Jonas Miller of the Miller & Kreisel Sound Corporation in Los Angeles received several complaints from customers about their popular electrostatic speakers failing to produce quality bass sound. The pair designed a woofer that could reproduce frequencies that were too low for the speaker. Steely Dan was the first band to use a subwoofer in the recording of an album.

Recording engineer Roger Nichols offered up a subwoofer he designed for the band’s recording of the Pretzel Logic album. Audiences who watched the 1974 film “Earthquake” in theaters experienced the low-frequency sounds of the film through the revolutionary Sensurround system, which included large subwoofers and 500-watt amplifiers. The dramatic and quality sound of the film is one of the things that made it a box office hit.

Three Iconic Bass Players

John Entwistle of the iconic rock band The Who transformed the image of the bass guitar from a background item to a flashy, star player of any group. He captivated fans with his bass solo in the 1965 song “My Generation” and earned the nickname “Thunderfingers.” Entwistle built his first bass guitar and had it fretted to imitate a Hofner violin bass. The result was a nine-inch fingerboard with nearly zero frets. He attached the control knobs with glue and used a drum material for the scratch plate.

Bootsy Collins played bass for James Brown in the 1970s and has since then worked with Snoop Dogg and Parliament-Funkadelic, to name a few. Collins was known for his trademark Space Bass, which had a mahogany body, maple neck, mirror pick guard and white finish. The guitar can be seen on the cover of the album “Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band.”

Collins still plays a version of the Space Bass, but his current model is star-shaped. Traben Bass Company of Clearwater, Florida developed a signature Collins guitar called the “Bootzilla” and several other companies also designed instruments in honor of the artist.

Carol Kaye is a session musician who has worked on albums with several famous artists including Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. She has played bass in over 10,000 songs, some of which became huge hits like Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” as well as Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On.” Kaye is known for effortlessly switching between genres.



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Last updated: 03/25/2017 | Authorship Information

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