How to Choose the Right Subwoofers: 6 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Subwoofers play back the low-frequency content in music, movies and games that most conventional speakers cannot. Combining a large-diameter driver with a powerful amplifier, subwoofers have the singular task of providing visceral impact. Variables such as room size, installation issues and the bass capability of your main speakers all factor into which subwoofer is right for your system.


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    Room Size: Bass is largely a function of air compression. If you select a subwoofer that is too small for your listening space, bass output will seem anemic. Additionally, you run the risk of damaging the subwoofer by increasing its output beyond its reasonable capabilities. As your room increases in size, so too should your subwoofer. Remember that adjoining spaces to your listening room are areas that your subwoofer attempts to pressurize. For that reason, if you have a big room or an open floorplan, choose the largest subwoofer your budget and aesthetic needs can accommodate.
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    Sealed Versus Ported: Most commercially available subwoofers are ported, or vented, designs. Ported enclosures allow for increased bass output from smaller amplifiers, making them a favorite choice for less-expensive designs. Ported enclosures are usually larger than their sealed cousins all else being equal. Sealed subwoofers use and require more powerful amplifiers and sturdier drivers, with matching price points. The key advantage to sealed designs is they enable compact enclosures without sacrificing bass output. Sealed designs typically incorporate electronics designed to control the movement of the driver to maximize output with minimal distortion.
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    Amplifier Power: Powered subwoofers have internal amplifiers. These amplifiers are chosen to match the driver and cabinet used in the overall design. This is why choosing a subwoofer solely based on amplifier power might not be necessary. Small subwoofers, especially sealed designs, require heavy amplification to make up for the lack of air space inside the enclosure. Additionally, big power helps smaller subwoofer drivers move further, increasing bass response. Choose a subwoofer based on actual performance specifications, reflected in Hertz or "Hz." The lower the initial figure, the better.
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    In-Wall Subwoofers: In-wall subwoofers mount into proprietary enclosures installed in between studs or venting into a basement or crawlspace. These require separate amplification. Most in-wall subwoofer manufacturers make amplifiers designed to match their in-wall offerings. A favorite of the design-conscious, in-wall subwoofers typically provide less overall output than a comparable stand-alone subwoofer. The advantage is the speaker hides neatly in the wall behind a paintable grille, largely out-of-sight. In-wall subwoofers require drywall removal to install, or during the room construction process after the studs are installed but before the drywall phase.
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    Wired Versus Wireless: Wireless subwoofers solve many installation issues facing homeowners. A small transmitter connects to the "SUB" output of your home theater receiver. The signal traverses the spaces using a wireless connection to the amplified subwoofer across the room. Major manufacturers offer these designs, so there won't necessarily be a large performance dropoff. As with other wireless products, you may encounter interference from microwave ovens or other wireless devices near the frequency range of the subwoofer.
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    Placement and Multiple Subwoofers: Placement is critical to ensure maximum bass quality from your subwoofer. A tried-and-true method is placing the subwoofer at your main listening position, using a long RCA cable and AC extension cord. Crawl around the perimeter of the space, listening for the deepest and highest-quality bass. Mark this location with a piece of tape. Locate the subwoofer in this location. The same quality you experienced during your room crawl is now present at your sweet spot. Multiple subwoofers in opposing corners smooth bass response across the room, solving annoying peaks and valleys in response. This helps ensure everyone receives solid bass at any seat.

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Categories: TV and Home Audio

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