Choosing the Right Subwoofer for Home Theater

Progress does not stand still. And increasingly in our homes, instead of TV, even very good, there are home cinemas that allow in a pleasant home environment to watch programs and films of the highest quality.

We know that any home theater set includes a subwoofer that reproduces sound special effects, such as thunder in a thunderstorm, explosions – low-frequency sounds. Of course, for comfortable viewing it is necessary that such sounds be transmitted without distortion, as close as possible to real sound.  If there is a subwoofer in your home theater system, then the low frequencies from the signal spectrum coming to the main speakers (front, rear and center in 5.1 system) will be deleted. Accordingly, the loudspeakers will not be overloaded with bass, and the sound of the entire system will be much cleaner.


Suppose that all the components of a standard home theater (TV, av-receiver, acoustics, player and other components), necessary for family viewing of movies, you have already purchased. And those who are puzzled by the question of good sounding of a home theater, we suggest to determine for yourself the main points that you need to pay attention to when choosing a subwoofer.


Many believe that located in a separate housing any system with a low-frequency head, which, coupled with small satellites, is a subwoofer. But this is not so. The meaning of the term “subwoofer” is “below the bass head”. That is, a subwoofer is a separate speaker system for playing back low frequencies of the audio range, reducing the lower boundary frequency to 20 Hz and lower. Some models give an even lower bass.

There are active and passive subwoofers. The first type includes models equipped with a built-in amplifier. Their advantage is the unloading of the main home theater amplifier. In this case, the subwoofer requires an additional power connection. The second type includes models that need to be connected to an external amplifier. There are several options for connecting a passive subwoofer. When the amplifier supplies a signal to the main speakers and to the subwoofer at the same time, the broadband output signal is transmitted to the subwoofer input. It uses an additional separation filter (crossover), which separates the high and low frequencies and produces filtered signals to the destination (low-frequency – to the sub, high- and mid-frequency to the main speakers).

Passive subwoofers have a number of disadvantages, resulting in their cost lower than that of active subwoofers. A serious drawback is, for example, the need for an accurate link of the subwoofer to the available speaker system. This is a very complex process. You can connect the subwoofer with a separate power amplifier and an electronic separation filter. Such a connection will reduce the non-linear distortions due to the fact that the signal is divided according to a special scheme. And besides, the main amplifier is released from the increased load.

Recently, practically on all active subwoofers, it is possible to adjust the frequency of the separation, so when using this model, the coordination procedure for the main components of the system becomes much easier. As a disadvantage, we can note the rather high cost of active subwoofers. Despite this, when choosing it is advisable to look specifically at the active ones that have an internal amplifier.

And now let’s talk a little about the negative aspects of the acquisition of the subwoofer, which can greatly complicate the integration of the subwoofer into the acoustic system.

The appearance of resonances

Solution: it is necessary to find such a place in a room where there are no resonances. For large rooms, a subwoofer with a bass reflex, for small ones – is suitable.

Poor quality of performance

Of course, the lower the subwoofer, the lower its quality. But there are sabas with such a performance that sound objectively worse than the model in this price category. Solution: consult the seller or ask a question on our forum.

Poor subwoofer setup

There are many options for connecting, so try to choose the most suitable option for you. Solution: the entire speaker system must be tuned by a specialist.

Incompatibility of components

Solution: consult the seller. He will advise the best option. If you are not an expert in this field, it is better to buy a home theater news message at once, which, often, technology sellers are assembled in advance from the most compatible components.

To include a subwoofer in the system is easy, it is much more difficult to adjust it later. To obtain the best result, it is necessary to take into account the dimensions of the room in which the system is installed. You must observe the proportions so that the speaker system and the subwoofer match each other. In the event that the amplifier does not have additional preliminary outputs with controlled loudness, do not buy a subwoofer.

If we talk further about the variety of models of subwoofers, then we note that there are many different designs and technologies for the production of subwoofers. For example, the material from which the sabas are made can be very different. For the production of cases used wood of various breeds, diffusers – Kevlar, cellulose. Cases can also be of a variety of geometric shapes. And so on.

An important factor is the size of the subwoofer. The length of the travel of the diffuser, and, consequently, part of the nonlinear distortions depends on the dimensions of the model case. There are no compact models with a thick and juicy bass. The same models, which in comparison with others are small in size, lose their volume and sound quality. The most important thing is that the quality of the subwoofer’s sound depends on all these production factors.

So, in fact, the choice of a subwoofer that has the necessary characteristics for your speaker system, stylish design, acceptable dimensions is not an easy task. Decide on your requirements, think over the pros and cons of different types of subwoofers. Remember that with the same technical characteristics of the model, can differ, for example, the dimensions, the material of which the body is made, and so on.

But watching a good movie on a home theater, with real sound justifies all efforts to select and configure the components of the system.

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