What Does a Subwoofer Do With a Soundbar?

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Updated September 12, 2022

Finding the best speakers for your home theatre can be a long, expensive, but often rewarding journey. Because of the amount of work it takes to put together a remarkable surround sound system, many look to the best soundbars as an alternative. But when it comes to soundbars, there’s a wide range of audio formats, some coming with channels for extra surround sound speakers. To help sort out the implications of these different formats, we’ll look into what a subwoofer does with a soundbar.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Adding a subwoofer to a soundbar setup powers low-pitched audio frequencies that enhance the entertainment experience.
  • Some sound setups have built-in subwoofer speakers, while others have a channel where users can connect an external unit.
  • Subwoofers are an optional sound feature and aren’t necessary for every audio setup.

We also have a lot more helpful soundbar-related resources. For those who’ve just purchased one, feel free to look into our guide on how to sync a soundbar with a TV.

Insider Tip

For the best sound quality, place the subwoofer on a mount or stand at ear level.

What Does a Subwoofer Do For a Soundbar?

Soundbars are an excellent middle-ground for anyone looking to beef up their audio for movies, games, and music but also desiring to save space and money. When purchasing a soundbar, one of the largest questions is whether or not to get one with a channel to support a subwoofer.

So, what is a subwoofer? A subwoofer is a speaker designed to play bass frequencies, typically between 20 – 200 Hz. Their capability to handle bass sounds makes them great for forming an immersive sound experience, especially when it comes to thunderous action movies or booming music scores. They also let users create a dimensional sound experience if the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos.

Ultimately, choosing a setup with a subwoofer is very much a personal preference and isn’t essential to achieving adequate sound quality. So while a subwoofer can enhance audio experiences, sometimes a standalone soundbar without the extra low-frequency audio is all you need.

Warning

If you want a soundbar with a subwoofer channel, buy one with a sound format with a “1” as its second number, for example, 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1. If the second number is zero (i.e., 2.0), it doesn’t support a subwoofer.

And suppose you already own a subwoofer but are facing issues. Fear not! For this, we have an article that explains many common reasons why a subwoofer isn’t working. We also have a great sound setup guide that explains the best subwoofer placement for a soundbar.

Types of Subwoofer Soundbars

Some soundbars have built-in subwoofers, while others just have a channel, allowing people to connect to the separate subwoofer. Either option costs more than a standalone soundbar, but built-in models tend to have a higher price range.

STAT: Most soundbars come with two or three main built-in speaker drivers. (source)

What Does a Subwoofer Do With a Soundbar FAQs

Is it wrong to put a subwoofer on a shelf?

Placing a subwoofer on a shelf isn't a good idea unless it's sturdily mounted. Subwoofers vibrate and shake, making it possible for the speaker to fall or the shelf to come loose.

How far should the subwoofer be from the soundbar?

Putting the subwoofer about four or five feet away from the soundbar reduces the possibility of interference.

Are wireless subwoofers any good?

Wireless subwoofers are great from a convenience standpoint because you have more freedom of placement.
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