Subwoofer vs Speaker

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Updated November 9, 2022

Selecting the best speakers for your home audio setup can be a pain. From scouring lists of the best subwoofers, tweeters, woofers, and amps, there’s seemingly no end to the amount of information to look through. However, it can help save time and money if you start by understanding the basic concepts of each speaker type and then decide what you require. Understanding the key differences between speakers vs. subwoofers is a great place to begin.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Subwoofers and regular speakers are audio devices necessary for a complete surround sound system.
  • The main difference between subwoofers and conventional speakers is the frequency ranges each type generates.
  • Connecting your camera to your computer isn’t necessarily a complicated process, but you will need to invest in some equipment to make it happen.

If you finish this and want to keep learning, we have some more basic outline resources explaining things like subwoofers vs amplifiers and woofers vs tweeters.

Differences Between Subwoofers and Speakers

Understanding if your setup needs subwoofers isn’t an easy choice. But incorporating subwoofers increases an audio system’s wide range of sound, often taking it from good to great.

So, as most already know, subwoofers are a type of speaker. The difference lies in what frequency ranges each type specializes in.

Subwoofers produce sound waves that generate lower frequencies, around 20-200 Hz. Meanwhile, regular speakers cover a range of frequencies from 300 Hz – 20 kHz.

Deciding to go with a full surround sound system depends on your goals and listening preferences. But outside of frequency ranges, some of the main differences between regular speakers and subs are below.

Full Music and Sound Effects

The primary purpose of regular speakers is to create quality sound for dialogue and specific sound effects. However, regular speakers can’t reproduce the lowest frequencies necessary to provide a full range of sound like subwoofers can.

In most music and movies, it’s impossible to recreate the entire audio piece without something generating bass frequencies. Therefore, without a subwoofer, you aren’t getting the whole experience the way the creators intended. Just remember that when selecting a subwoofer, the cone shape is an essential point of consideration, so you’ll need to compare things like square vs round subwoofers.

Dialogue

Conventional speakers focus more on dialogue, which typically stays in the mid to high-frequency range. So if you enjoy the content for mainly just the dialogue and don’t care about an immersive experience, odds are you won’t have to invest in additional subwoofers. But if you’re goal is to achieve all-encompassing sound, you’ll need that subwoofer.

Warning

Never hook up a speaker to an amp with higher resistance. Doing so can ruin the amp and the speaker.

Sound Quality

If you only plan on buying one of the types of speakers, it should be a set of mid-range sound speakers. Listening to only low-frequency sounds would be pointless, and bass speakers are more used to accentuating rather than creating a listening experience on their own.

STAT: Subwoofers typically cost, on average, between $200-$300. (source)

However, although it’s important to prioritize mid-range speakers, there’s no clear winner in terms of sound quality, given that each type specializes in different frequency ranges.

Speaker vs Subwoofer FAQs

What does it mean when a speaker is full-range?

Full-range speakers are audio devices with multiple drivers, each producing a different frequency range. They are meant to cover the entire frequency range.

How do you get optimal sound quality from a subwoofer?

The best way to maximize your sub's sound is by ensuring its amplifier has enough power to produce enough volume and bass response.

What's the best room placement for subwoofers?

If you're dealing with one subwoofer, try the front of the room first. But if you have two or more subwoofers, begin by placing them along the wall midway through the room.
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