Subwoofer Guide

Reading this Ultimate Subwoofer Guide will give you some insight into the subject of looking for powerful bass.

The best subwoofer for new users is difficult to decide for people who are not familiar with music systems. However, here you don’t need to be concerned about it. This guide will give you fundamental information about subwoofers and the best way to select the right subwoofer. 

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a form of speaker designed to boost bass output and enhance bass. The sound is improved and more effectively. If it is not used, it causes the listener to be deprived of energy and power.

Adding a subwoofer (especially active) to the system can increase the sound system’s dynamic range and make the low-frequency sink deeper. In addition, it can make the mid-frequency more transparent, and the excellent quality will be more fluid and louder.

The audio system can replay the music’s top at a greater volume due to increasing bass-frequency power. Furthermore, because the primary speaker is not in charge of replaying low-frequency bass sounds, it can play loud music. Since the subwoofer cone in the primary speaker does not have to be moved around in the same way as previously, the midrange is more precise when used to play music.

Subwoofers are available in a variety of different configurations: active and passive. Let’s clarify the two.

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Passive Subwoofer

Passive subwoofers can be powered with an external amp. The amplifier needs to be powerful enough to provide bass-enhancing effects to the speaker of your subwoofer. The size of the speakers will decide the size of the amount of power required.

Active Subwoofer

Active units have the amplifier integrated into them. This means that it requires an AC energy source. In systems used for live performances and home theatre setup, the subwoofer will probably be in use.

Main Types of Subwoofer

Subwoofers play an essential role when enjoying music. They enhance the sound quality of your system and give you complete audio. There are a few kinds you can pick from to complement your existing audio system:

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Ported Subwoofers

If you are looking for a subwoofer, you will see a lot advertised as portable. This means they have an additional port or hole that lets air escape, usually through tubes. This can significantly increase the bass in the subwoofer.

This is because the extra escape air also has bass frequencies that don’t usually escape. This is why you might see these speakers is referred to as bass-reflex speakers. They produce a rich bass, deep sound.

Sealed Cabinet

A cabinet without a port (or passive radiator) is a sealed cabinet. In this type of cabinet, the bass is the only way out of the cabinet. This kind of box provides a smooth, even bass line which means you’ll get the same flow of sound. Sealed box woofers tend to be more low-frequency able in comparison to others. It is possible to transition from one note to the next in a short time and easy to follow.

Passive Radiator

Subwoofers can take the idea of a port-mounted speaker one step further by using the design of a passive radiator. They are able to replace the port with two passive radiators which aren’t connected to the amplifier. However, they allow sound to exit the speaker, similar to a port with a broader frequency range.

This kind of design can provide a large bass, wide-ranging sound for tiny speakers. These are excellent for those who are looking for car audio that has a massive bass frequency.

Subwoofers that have passive radiators are a common feature in the majority of Bluetooth speakers. With an active radiator, you could enjoy decent low-frequency rage, even with tiny woofers. This makes it possible to design smaller speakers that can produce great audio.

Front and Down Firing

The terms “front” and “down-firing” refer to the speakers’ position inside the subwoofer unit. Front-firing models typically have a speaker that is pointed towards the front. The sound will be radiated to the sides and the front of the speaker.

The sound is directed downwards towards the front and to the ground. This can be useful when speakers are elevated by stands or placed on shelves.

Bandpass Subwoofers

They are a more sophisticated design that allows for natural, clean bass sound within the specified frequency ranges. They let you select the bass levels that you would like to hear from the speaker with accuracy.

The speakers are made up of two chambers that are separated. Only one side of the split will have ports that release radiation coming from that cone most of the time.

This design is often utilized in professional live sound equipment, such as line array systems found in arenas with large spaces. This design is also employed in subwoofer cabinets that are designed to be used in-car audio.

Horn Loaded Subwoofers

Horn-loaded speakers generally sound louder than other speakers. They also sound more focused in the high-frequency bands. They achieve this by focusing sound that might otherwise leak and spread in various directions, then channeling it through a speaker for a longhorn.

This is why they are frequently employed in large spaces where sound must go farther and precisely target. They’re typically small and compact, despite the wide range of equipment and the sophistication needed.

What is a Crossover?

If you are buying a subwoofer, you might learn about a component known as the crossover. 

The crossover does not have to do with the sound system or speakers; however, the circuit determines what frequencies will be sent into the subwoofer. Frequencies between 80 and 100hz are often routed to subwoofers, while higher frequencies go to the remainder of the speakers.

How Do Subwoofers Work?

To make it easier to comprehend how subwoofer functions help you understand how it functions, we will look at the significant components of a subwoofer and the tasks each one is supposed to accomplish. In the next section, I’ll end by discussing powered and passive subwoofers and discuss enclosures for subwoofers.

Anatomy of a Subwoofer

The Basket

The basket is the casing that surrounds the subwoofer, which functions as a skeleton. Its primary function is to support the other components in place while offering structural support. It’s attached to the cabinet using special bolts.

Because subwoofers create plenty of heat, this basket was made with vents specifically along the sides that let the components inside breathe. The hollow design of the basket allows it to be suspended by the moving parts in the center for precise to and from movement while reproducing the low frequency.

Surround

The following element will be the surrounding. It is either foam or rubber; the surround is a spherical component connected by the diaphragm and cone with the basket. It also helps keep the cone at a precise center to prevent any strain upon the voice coil.

It’s a particular component. It’s made to withstand the heaviest variations when the cone moves both forward and backward while producing those powerful bass sounds. Because it has to keep its original shape even after being overworked, using an enclosure composed of a mix made of synthetic material is typically superior as it will endure the extreme excursions and last for longer.

Cone/Diaphragm

The cone is an additional component of the subwoofer and is a crucial component. It is usually placed in a straight line in the surround and will cause the air to vibrate to produce the sound. Because this is the most vital component in subwoofers, it has to be planned carefully to prevent any imperfections in the design.

In addition, the subwoofer has been constructed to operate at low frequencies at high sound pressures that play sound in extremely high decibels. The cone must have a high degree of rigidity and negligible mass. So, it should be constructed of specific materials like organic fiber, plastic, or even metal

Dust Cap

A dust cap is typically a tiny piece attached to the middle of the cone to shield it from dust. Depending on the type of your subwoofer, the dust cap may either protrude slightly from the center or bulge outwards towards the cone.

Spider

Another vital element that plays an essential role in the subwoofer’s efficiency is your spider. The spider is situated just below the cone assembly. The spider is typically connected with the coil connected to it. It and then extends out to join the basket. The reason it’s referred to as the spider is because of its corrugated appearance. It is constructed out of a particular fabric treated with resin to strengthen it to ensure its strength.

In a subwoofer, the woofer’s spider has two major duties. Its primary function is to track the downward and upward movement of the cone while keeping the voice coil in the magnet gap. However, its secondary function is to stop dust from entering the voice coil or within the magnetic gap through which the voice coil is moved up and down.

Tinsel Leads

The final components that make the suspension system comprise those tinsel lead. These are wires that go through the vocal coil to ports for the speaker’s leads. They’re generally flexible and durable, meaning that they aren’t damaged by the high frequency vibrating of the diaphragm while the subwoofer pumps out the bass.

Voice Coil

In the middle of the subwoofer is its voice coil. It comprises a copper wire wound around a cylinder, known by the name of the first. When the amplifier sends signals to the subwoofer, an electric current is pushed throughout the vocal coil, creating an electric field that pulls and pushes the coil against the gap in magnetic.

Through alternating the current and the voice coil moves upwards and downwards to create sounds. In contrast, we’ve stated that the subwoofer can handle low frequencies without difficulty. You must understand that the wires made of copper wound around the cylinder are joined with an adhesive. Because subwoofers generate considerable heat when operating at high power, this intense heat could cause the adhesive to overheat, which causes the wires to break.

Magnet

The last element includes the magnet. The most popular myth regarding magnets is that the more powerful magnet is greater the subwoofer’s performance. While this may be the case at times but it’s not always the case because magnets are built with different technologies that impact their sizes. The magnet isn’t a standalone device also. It’s typically covered with the top and backplate, which assists in directing magnetism to the coil of the vocal when current is applied.

After I’ve explained the two subwoofer systems and how they function, I’m going to move on to go over passive and powered subwoofers and provide information about the various kinds of closures for subwoofers.

Features to Look for in a Subwoofer

Power

Verify your RMS’s power. If you are checking the power of your subwoofer, ensure that your amplifier is capable of handling this power. Almost all subwoofers are powered. They also use different types of amp structures. Certain subs come with ridiculous power ratings. These numbers can cause concern, but the reality is that you likely require lesser power than you believe. 

Eight” subs for small rooms can work well with 150 watts, while massive 15″ subs that are suitable for larger rooms do not require more than 500 watts to pump out the full bass you’ll need. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy an amp with more power as long as it’s within your budget.

Sensitivity

Subwoofers have a more excellent sensitivity rating. They require less power to create the equivalent amount of sound than models with a smaller sensitivity rating.

Enclosure

The enclosure determines the type of sound that the subwoofer produces it is installed in. The kind of enclosure in which a sub is housed can significantly impact In general, sealed boxes offer you the deepest and precise sound, whereas ported and bandpass enclosures give greater volume.

Number of Voice Coils

There are dual and single voice coils. Dual voice coils give you greater flexibility in wiring audio systems. Although most subwoofers use one voice coil, the dual-voice coil (DVC) subwoofers feature two different voice coils with separate connections, each placed on a single-cylinder connected to a cone.

Impedance 

Subwoofers are classified at 4 Ohms impedance 2 ohms 8-ohm, and double voice coil subwoofers are now popular. If you’ve decided to purchase an appropriate subwoofer, make sure you choose amplifiers that match the sub’s impedance and power rating. There’s a variety of amps to choose from, and you shouldn’t be able to find one that brings out the best from the subwoofer you’ve selected.

Size of the Woofer

Don’t only think about the dimensions that the subwoofer is. You must also think about the power, frequency, and enclosure design. If you want the unit to blast loud and low-pitched music and have space to play for the best subwoofer that you can. Don’t undervalue the tiny subwoofer. If it is set up correctly and fitted with the correct enclosure, the subwoofer will perform better than larger ones.

Cabinet and Finish

Most subs are constructed from some wooden product (MDF is the most popular). Though some manufacturers claim subs don’t require the strongest cabinet available, it isn’t the norm. Choosing the sub with solid, well-braced cabinets is recommended to limit the risk of sympathetic vibrations within the audible range. 

Remember that subwoofers are generally well-designed components that can require a lot of room in your space. If the subwoofer will be exposed and in view, make sure you think about its finish and incorporate it into the surroundings.

Frequency

The frequency range should be limited to 160 Hz. In practice, the higher limit for frequency is higher. However, the average value at the stated number does not exceed 200 Hz and is considered an ordinary indicator.

The cutoff frequency parameter determines the maximum frequency range that the signal is suppressed effectively. It is ideal to choose the range of the model that includes the possibility of adjusting this indicator. Products with strict boundaries, the adjustment for which isn’t allowed, must be identified by the cutoff frequency that is declared between 160 and 200 Hz.

Placement of Subwoofer

1. Make sure not to place the subwoofer too close to the wall behind the speaker, and avoid placing the subwoofer on the corner.

If you are using a subwoofer, it is recommended to give it plenty of space so that its low-frequency power can be dispersed equally. Placing it on the wall at the back is the norm of many who put equipment there that affects the reflection of the bass’s energy differently. It is simpler to store energy in the corners, and it can be challenging to put the subwoofer in this area to receive clear and shocking low-frequency sounds.

Then, where could the subwoofer best be placed? In general, putting half or one-third of the size of the speaker on the wall while using the wall to create even diffusion is likely to produce a significant impact. Of course, there’s no universally accepted method. Every spatial feature is unique, and you must test more.

2. The crossover frequency and volume must not be adjusted to a too high level at first.

When I started using the subwoofer, it was easy to overshoot your low-frequency component and make the crossover too high. In the end, the low-frequency sounds are booming, but the detail is difficult to perceive and can be a bit heavy. Some people feel uncomfortable after listening for an extended period.

Good bass is like it’s got enough volume, speed, lightness and is not overly too giddy. If you believe that the shock is adequate when you add a subwoofer, however, the low-frequency isn’t evident or pronounced; it could signify something is off. 

Pay focus on whether the bass is there, and you must carefully examine whether the volume and distribution that the lower frequency is distributed have been adjustable. It’s way too much.

3. Adjust

The low frequency has a longer length and is more connected to space than the high and middle frequency. When the subwoofer is turned at an angle, you can detect the sound changing. It is possible to play at different angles to alter the position, frequency of crossover settings, phase shifts, etc.

What can I do if my subwoofer does not have enough volume, regardless of where it is installed? Perhaps placing it between one’s toes and behind the seats can solve the majority of issues. It is daring to believe, do it and then observe the result to find out.

Combining it with other speakers

Once you’ve got the kinds of subwoofers narrowed down, all you have to do is integrate them with other components of your audio system. If you require more information and assistance in selecting the right system, check out the blog on Virtuoso Central. There are a lot of posts about everything you need to buy, choose the best system of speakers.

Pros and Cons of a Subwoofer

Pros

  • You can play the songs as loud as you like with no deformation
  • Accurately reproduces every note on the spectrum of low frequency
  • Reduces the load on the main power amplifier, letting SET amps power the main right and left speakers and a mighty dedicated solid-state sub amp specifically for bass.

Cons

  • You could easily harm the subwoofer because the enclosure will not allow heat escape. 
  • You’ll be aware of any distortions in the sound since it will be evident in the higher bass note.
  • A large subwoofer demands more space. They are also cumbersome to transport.
  • All the furniture in the room, if not secured, will shake and be thrown off shelves

Choosing a Car Subwoofer

Along with the different types of subwoofers, certain factors should be considered when choosing the kind of subwoofers designed for automobiles. Cars are small spaces with bizarre internal designs and the additional noise of an engine and road noises. Take into consideration the position and the kind of subwoofer before making the purchase.

Because of this, active units that are powered by electricity tend to perform better in vehicles. This is due to them allowing greater control and power, vital when driving. Subwoofers for cars typically be available in both eight and 10-inch models. A more prominent speaker isn’t necessarily better as it could distort within an interior of a smaller car. Subwoofers with 10 inches are best reserved for larger cars and family vehicles.

Conclusion

Understanding the function of a subwoofer is crucial since it provides you with an understanding of what to look for when purchasing a subwoofer. This guide has gone over every part in detail so that you can comprehend their role. Also, I’ve spoken briefly about the differences between powered and passive subwoofers and the three kinds of enclosures for subwoofers.