What is a subwoofer?
The subwoofer's job is to produce the very low tones of your audio system's
dynamic range. A true subwoofer will be able to reproduce a 20 Hz test
tone, which will be felt more than it will be heard (making it great for
home-theater applications), but 30 Hz will do very well in most listening
environments and for most music. Most subwoofers today are "powered,"
meaning that they contain a built-in amplifier and a crossover network
that lets you adjust the sub's upper frequency response so as to more
effectively blend in with your main speakers.
Subwoofer performance is greatly affected by placement. Placement can
vary from room to room. So where you place the subwoofer and where you
sit are critical to getting the most from it.
Do I need a subwoofer?
Unquestionably, every music and home theater system needs a subwoofer.
Without a quality subwoofer you are missing exciting sound effects that
modern digital technology has brought to today's music and movies. In
the case of the new digital home theater formats and digital television,
there is a specific, discrete output dedicated just to a subwoofer. When
you set up your Dolby Digital receiver you can be reproducing up to six
channels of bass through your subwoofer.
What should I look for in a subwoofer?
Setting aside for the moment your specific room size and tastes, or any
unusual circumstances, let's discuss what makes a good subwoofer. A good
subwoofer should have low distortion to create realism, good low frequency
extension for authoritative bass you can feel, and ample output to ensure
plenty of dynamic impact and excitement. The most elusive subwoofer quality
is low distortion to achieve accurate bass tones. Unfortunately, most
subwoofers have a distortion rate of 25% to 30% which translates into
a severe lack of detail and clarity. These subwoofers sound muddy, boomy
and lack realism in home theater and accuracy in music systems. Choose
a subwoofer low in distortion. Few subwoofer manufacturers illustrate
distortion figures, so listening to a good music recording with deep bass
content will be important. A subwoofer with low distortion will be able
to unlock the important element of bass in today's entertainment.
The Shop by Category section on our website should help in assuring that
you select a large enough woofer for your room. However, bear in mind
that selecting a larger subwoofer than the minimum recommendation will
increase low frequency extension, dynamics, output and the fun factor.
One last thing to consider is the experience and reputation of the manufacturer
as it relates to subwoofer design and production. A subwoofer is a very
specialized product, highly dependent on the very precise matching of
all its components. As you might imagine, manufacturers who specialize
in subwoofers hold an advantage over those who produce a very wide variety
of products. Some advanced technologies may provide better performance
for the money and will offer a distinct advantage over other designs.
Which subwoofer is right for me?
A subwoofer's ability to offer good low distortion with ample output for
the room (volume), and yet still offer very good definition (low distortion),
can make or break a home theater and music system. Choosing the proper
subwoofer for your individual room size is critical to creating a truly
enjoyable home theater and music experience. Though there are individual
considerations, the Shop by Category section will help you take the guesswork
out of selecting the ideal subwoofer in your price range for your room.
Click here to see all
the Subwoofers available at Abt.
Click here to see all the Speakers
available at Abt.