What Is a Subwoofer?

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Updated June 27, 2022

Many speakers serve a specific purpose, and the subwoofer is the best speaker for providing the lowest frequency ranges of the sound spectrum. As a result, owning a subwoofer significantly increases the sound quality of any home theatre system. But before you purchase one, it’s essential to understand what is a subwoofer speaker. Additionally, you might find that you bought the wrong one, especially if your subwoofer sounds weaker than you like.


  • Subwoofers push out the frequencies that produce a deep bass sound and are necessary for most home audio systems.
  • Subwoofers cover frequencies from 20-200Hz on the audio spectrum.
  • A subwoofer is a must-have for those looking to take advantage of a surround sound system’s full cinematic sound quality. And, they go great with excellent soundbars.

Below, we’ll answer this question. And if you want to read more about at-home stereo systems, check out our article on what is surround sound.

Subwoofers Explained

The difference between subwoofers and other speakers is that it focuses explicitly on delivering low-pitched audio frequencies. A true subwoofer’s frequency range is between 20-200Hz. This bass response pairs with mid-range and tweeter speakers to create a complete sound that enhances any audio response.

Insider Tip

When running tests for your subwoofers, many audio experts say that classical music is a good choice because of its wide range of instruments.

There are two main types of subwoofers: active and passive. Passive subwoofers are wired to and powered by an external amplifier, while active subwoofers come with a built-in amplifier. Most subwoofers are active due to the amount of power required to create the air pressure necessary to form the sound waves for deep bass notes.

How Does a Subwoofer Work?

Like any dynamic range speaker, a subwoofer consists of a motor made of a voice coil, magnet, and diaphragm that convert the motor’s movement into soundwaves. Subwoofers are wider in diameter than other speakers because this makes it easier to produce those deep bass notes.

When Should You Use a Subwoofer?

Subwoofers are best when they’re part of a full-range surround sound speaker set. Paired with a quality mix of regular speakers, they can bring to life many music genres and films that have intense action sequences. So, purchasing a subwoofer is an excellent buy for anyone looking for an immersive sound experience.


If you have pets, do all you can to cover any speaker wires you have running across the floor. A teething pet chewing on a live electrical wire is a situation everyone should try to avoid.


How to choose the best subwoofer?

If you plan to buy a passive subwoofer, look for a speaker with an impedance that matches the connecting amplifier. It would help if you also considered the frequency range and sensitivity specs. These are the best ways to evaluate what’s best for you.

What is the best place for a subwoofer?

You might have to test out a few different listening positions to find what works best. If you want to increase the bass effect, consider putting your subwoofer in a corner.

How do you test a subwoofer?

First, find the right location for your subwoofer. Then, play songs that cover a range of frequencies, including bass guitar and other instruments. As you listen, adjust the sound settings slightly until you get a clear, crisp sound.

STAT: If you choose to place your subwoofer next to a wall to increase the bass response, leave at least 6 inches of space. (source)

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