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The Basics of Subwoofers

If you're serious about your music, then you need a subwoofer. A subwoofer takes away the heavy lifting of the bass sounds from your speaker system, improving the bass sound quality and overall experience. But like any other piece of equipment, subwoofers require proper care and maintenance to extend their lifespan. In this blog post, we'll discuss the best practices for maintaining your subwoofer so you can enjoy great music for years to come!


Difference between front-firing and down-firing subwoofers?

The difference between them lies in how they're built. Front-firing subwoofers project the sound to the side of the unit, which means they create vibrations in the air. Down-firing subwoofers project the sound from the bottom of the speaker, so the bass sounds bounce off the floor.

It doesn't create a difference in sound, and in fact, is a choice mostly based on personal preference, your budget, and your living space. For example, if you live in an apartment building, a front-firing subwoofer might be a better choice, otherwise, the sound would disturb your downstairs neighbors.

subwoofer front firing

Best Subwoofer Placement

When placed properly, you should feel like the bass is all around you, because the bass is omnidirectional. If you can pinpoint where it's coming from by listening for it, your subwoofer is not in the best location. Here are some options to try, any of them might be the best solution for you.

First, try placing your subwoofer at the front of the room. This is the most common placement and will usually result in the sound from the subwoofer blending well with the main speakers. Try both sides of the front and listen for which yields the best sound.

If the front doesn't give you the sound quality you want, try placing your subwoofer in a corner. This reduces the potential for acoustic dead spots in the room. Placed in the corner, you should be able to listen to the bass from any spot in the room.

If these two suggestions are not for you, there's one more technique to try. The Subwoofer Crawl. This can help determine the best placement for your unit. Get someone to help you move it if it's heavy.

  • First, loop a soundtrack with a repeating bass line, and choose the one you're familiar with.
  • Place your subwoofer as close to the main listening position as possible and listen to the quality of the bass.
  • Move the unit to each spot within your floor space and evaluate the quality of the bass.
  • Choose the location that provides the best sound and place your subwoofer there.
  • To evaluate the bass, keep your head at knee level, effectively crawling around the room to choose the best place for your unit.
subwoofer placement

How Bass Tones Interact With Your Room

When you listen to music from a speaker, it's not just the speaker you're hearing. You're hearing the interaction between the speaker, the room, and the furniture. Even where you're sitting plays a part in how you hear the sound. Everything impacts your listening experience, including the room acoustics, room dimensions, and room layout.

Moving a subwoofer even an inch or two in any direction can have a considerable impact on the quality of the bass from your favorite listening position. Many factors can impact your listening experience, and the quality of the bass, in particular, may have little to do with your sound system.

subwoofer in room

The advantages of more than one subwoofer

For the casual music listener, or for somebody who intends to simply enjoy the sound from a movie, one subwoofer might be enough. But to be able to fully appreciate the quality of a radio recording, at least two are necessary.

Single Subwoofer

Even to the casual listener, using just one subwoofer reduces or eliminates low-frequency output levels, which means you lose out on the deep bass sound. You only listen to the bass over 50 or 100 hertz.

True stereo recordings are usually classical and other proper acoustic recordings made with pairs of microphones. Most "stereo" pop and jazz recordings are really just multi-miked mono, with each mono mic "panned" someplace between left and right. Pop recordings rarely have low-frequency interchannel phase differences, although they usually have bass information panned one way or another that also should be reproduced through stereo subwoofers if you demand the most accurate reproduction.

Two or More Subwoofers

There are several advantages to having two subwoofers or more, especially if you're concerned with the quality of the audio you listen to.

  • Better bass quality. The more subwoofers you have, the deeper the bass.
  • Wider listening area. With multiple subwoofers, you'll be able to get the same quality of bass from every spot in the room, ensuring that everyone can hear it clearly
  • Greater headroom. Multiple subwoofers are capable of working together to create a seamless sound over the entire room.
  • It gives you much more flexibility when it comes to placing your subwoofers.
  • You can control the subwoofer output.

There are some disadvantages to having more than one subwoofer.

  • It's harder to find a location where all of your subwoofers will provide great bass quality. And even a few inches can make a world of difference in the sound. It takes time and effort to figure out where to place one unit within your available floor space, never mind two subwoofers or more.
  • Most subwoofers are expensive. A subwoofer is a considerable investment, and not every budget can stretch to more than one.
  • Your units being placed in the wrong spot can have a very big impact on the quality of the sound, which is the whole point of having subwoofers in the first place.
multiple subwoofers

A subwoofer allows you to feel the sound in a way that floor standing speakers just can't replicate. Bass is an important part of the experience of listening to music or the audio from an action movie. With a subwoofer, you can listen to a song the way the artist intended it to be heard, or fully appreciate the audio from your favorite action movie.

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