Home Subwoofers Review

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Why Buy a Home Subwoofer?

A powered subwoofer is one of the best ways to beef up the sound quality of your home entertainment center. A packaged home theater system usually comes with a passive subwoofer, a speaker that gets its power from the central amplifier. But a powered subwoofer has its own built-in amplifier that delivers more power to the woofer, resulting in deeper bass and more volume.

Powered subwoofers come in many different sizes, anywhere from 8-inch subs all the way up to 15 inches. A 15-inch woofer can oversaturate your sound with low-end and an 8-inch woofer won’t have enough. The most practical subwoofer sizes for your home entertainment center are 10-inch and 12-inch. These two sizes can easily fit under your end table or next to your entertainment center without looking bulky or out of place. They also deliver the perfect amount of bass for both music and movies, making them the most versatile out of the subwoofer sizes.

As you begin to build your home theater, our top-ranked subwoofers are a great place to start – the BIC Acoustech PL-200, BIC America F-12 and Premier Acoustic PA-120. These subwoofer speakers feature great frequency response and enough power to drive the bass throughout your home entertainment room. You can also check out our articles on home subwoofers to learn more about these ground-pounding speakers.

Subwoofers: What to Look For

When choosing a powered subwoofer for your home sound system, you want to get the best value in terms of features and sound quality for the best price. We reviewed entry-level subs that deliver big sounds with small price tags. Here are the categories we considered when evaluating subwoofer speakers:

Performance
It's important to understand the technical aspects of each home theater subwoofer. You should look at frequency response, crossover frequency and power output to know which unit is right for you. In smaller spaces, you won't need a speaker with large power and volume settings. Look for a subwoofer with 225-watts of RMS continuous power which should be more than enough to drive the bass throughout your home entertainment center.

Sound Quality
All the home subwoofers we reviewed have great sound quality, so in deciding which is best for your needs, consider what you will be using the speaker for. A speaker that reaches below 30Hz at its low frequency is typically great for movies and games, as it will be able to hit the low-frequency effects. For music, bass players usually stay in the 40-60Hz range, but some musicians will take their bass guitars into the higher frequencies. If you're an audiophile, you'll want a sub that can reach above 150Hz. The best subwoofers deliver a full range of low frequencies that make music and movie soundtracks powerful and precise.

Design
When evaluating design, you should take into account the available finishes and the aesthetics of the cabinet. More than that, though, you want a low-frequency speaker that can handle the sounds you expect it to produce. A sturdy build will help protect the amplifier, and an efficient amp will deliver big sounds without getting too hot. Next, look at the size and placement of the woofer. Large woofers move more air, creating a thumping effect, but there's more vibration space, so the sounds are less crisp. Finally, a sub's port placement helps determine how physical the device is. Ports help to move air and make the speaker more efficient, and as an added bonus, they offer another source for chest-pounding sound.

Features
When looking for a subwoofer, the more input and output options available, the better. You want your sound system to take both RCA and sub in/LFE inputs so you can connect to any audio/video receiver. Be sure to find a sub that's also ready to connect to devices that will be released in the near future. As you build your home theater, you may decide you want more than one sub, or you might need your sub's amp to power other speakers. Speaker-level outputs allow for more customization. In addition to connectivity, you'll want a subwoofer that offers plenty of user control. This control comes from adjustable volume and crossover, as well as phase switching. Also look for signal-sensing, automatic on/off controls.

Help & Support
Audio equipment is a big investment that should be covered by an extensive warranty to protect you against manufacturer's defects. You'll also want to make sure the manufacturer offers sufficient support resources. Look for available online manuals, FAQs and user forums. The best companies offer several methods for contacting technical support, such as email, telephone and live chat support.

The best home subwoofers can turn your living room into a concert hall or movie theater. We'll help you decide which sub offers the right combination of design and performance for your living space.

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Electronics » Home Audio » Home Subwoofers Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
BIC Acoustech BIC America Premier Acoustic MartinLogan Dynamo Velodyne Impact Polk Audio Theater Solutions JBL ES Infinity Primus Yamaha YST
BIC Acoustech BIC America Premier Acoustic MartinLogan Dynamo Velodyne Impact Polk Audio Theater Solutions JBL ES Infinity Primus Yamaha YST
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Lowest Price
Visit BIC Acoustech PL-200
$328.99
Visit BIC America F-12
$151.84
Visit Premier Acoustic PA-120
$299.00
Visit MartinLogan Dynamo 500
$495.00
Visit Velodyne Impact 12
$379.95
Visit Polk Audio PSW125
$300.00
Visit Theater Solutions Sub12F
$167.98
Visit JBL ES 150P
$159.99
Visit Infinity Primus PS312BK
$499.95
Visit Yamaha YST SW315
$270.98
Ratings
10.00
8.75
8.45
7.60
7.20
7.08
6.90
6.88
6.75
5.35
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
7.50
8.75
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
8.75
8.75
7.50
7.50
7.50
7.50
5.63
8.75
9.38
6.88
6.88
7.50
8.75
6.25
6.88
6.88
6.25
8.75
6.88
8.13
4.38
7.50
9.38
2.50
7.50
7.50
6.25
6.25
5.00
9.38
4.38
5.00
5.00
6.25
4.38
4.38
5.00
9.38
5.63
 
Performance
Low Frequency Response (+/- 3dB) (Hertz) 22 25 25 29 29 32 25 27 25 20
High Frequency Response (+/- 3dB) (Hertz) 200 200 180 200 140 225 150 150 150 160
RMS Continuous Power (Watt) 250 150 250 120 165 150 250 300 400 240
Dynamic Peak Power (Watt) 1000 475 1000 360 275 300 500 500 700 270
Adjustable Crossover Frequency (Hertz) 40 - 200 40 - 180 80 - 120 50 - 200 50 - 200 60 - 110 25 - 150 50 - 150 50 - 150 40 - 140
Maximum Output Level (Decibel) 110 116    100 118   110 100  
Sound Quality
Musical Fidelity (Percentage) 100 75 75 85 70 75 60 75 60 70
Home Theater (Percentage) 100 90 90 80 70 60 70 75 70 60
Design
Amplifier Type BASH BASH Class A Class AB Class D Class AB   Class D Class D PWM
Woofer Size (inches) 12 12 12 Class AB 12 12 12 10 12 10
Woofer Placement Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Front Firing Down Firing
Port Placement Rear Firing Rear Firing Rear Firing Rear Firing Down Firing Down Firing Front Firing Down Firing Rear Firing Side Firing
Available Finishes 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 1 1
Removable Grill
 
Features
Variable Phase Control Switch Switch Dial Switch Switch Switch Switch Switch Switch Switch
Adjustable Crossover
Volume Control
Signal-Sensing Auto On/Off
 
LED Power Mode Indicator
 
Gold-Plated Terminals
 
      
Speaker-Level Inputs
 
Speaker-Level Outputs
 
  
Sub In/LFE Line Input
Help & Support
Speaker Warranty 8 years 5 years 5 years 3 years 5 years 5 years 2 years 5 years 5 years 2 years
Amp Warranty 5 years 5 years 2 years 3 years   3 years     2 years
Electronics Warranty   5 years   3 years 3 years    1 years 2 years 2 years
Email Support
Phone Support
 
FAQs Page