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You’ll have to make many decisions when finding the best speakers for a car or home audio system. One of these necessary decisions that come when buying the best subwoofer is the speaker shape. Unfortunately, which shape is best is not always evident immediately, so below, we’ll compare the difference between square vs round subwoofers.
For those still learning the basics of home audio, we have an essential guide explaining subwoofers vs speakers. And those looking for wireless options can read our guide to the top-rated Bluetooth speakers for under $300.
If you want more control over the subwoofer sound, you can buy and hook up an equalizer to a home theatre system.
The main thing to remember is that the shape refers to the speaker driver, not the enclosure. Subwoofers speakers come in several forms, but the most common are square and round.
Of course, the speaker shape isn’t the only thing that determines the overall quality; for example, there are other speaker specs like shallow vs regular mount subwoofers. However, the shape can significantly impact things like volume and price.
Overall volume is determined by the amount of air a speaker can push. So, it logically flows that whichever speaker moves larger volumes of air will be louder — all things being equal.
Square subwoofers have a more surface area. The more surface area, the more air can push; the more air, the more volume. So, therefore, if you take, for example, a 12-inch round speaker and a 12-inch square speaker, the square cone will produce a louder sound.
The volume difference makes square ports popular among those looking to crank their speakers to the max. However, the loudest possible unit isn’t always necessary for home theatres.
Similar to the reasoning for volume, the larger the speaker, the deeper the frequencies; this means a more pronounced bass sound. Again, this doesn’t mean that every square speaker produces deeper bass than every round speaker.
Although the square port has a volume advantage, the round subwoofer holds an advantage in sound quality. A round design tends to have a high-quality sound because they are easier to control and its smaller surface area excels at producing higher frequencies. So, a round shape leads to a more accurate sound that is less likely to suffer from distortion.
Round designs are often less durable than square or hexagon subwoofers.
For more information on factors affecting bass sound quality, we have an article outlining the differences between high-level and low-level bass inputs.
Round subwoofers have been around for a while and have greater availability. For that reason, on average, they’re cheaper than the square options.
STAT: Using a square sub increases the overall surface area from 20-25%. (source)