);

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Subwoofers for Music Only

These top-rated subwoofers provide the best bass and sound for high-quality music.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Subwoofers for Music Only

These top-rated subwoofers provide the best bass and sound for high-quality music.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Whether you’re looking to jam out in the car or dance like no one’s watching at home, the right subwoofer takes music to the next level.

A subwoofer is designed specifically to take those bass frequencies that are low and can be lost with conventional speaker systems. If you want to really feel the music, this article will help get your groove back and make the next drive to a concert just as much of an ear experience.

Image

Product

Frequency

Sensitivity

Check Price

Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer

Klipsch R-120SW

29-120Hz

116 DB

SVS SB-3000 Subwoofer - 13-inch Driver, 800W RMS,...

SVS SB-3000

18-270Hz

125 DB

Sonos Sub - The Wireless Subwoofer for Deep Bass -...

Sonos SUBG1US1BLK

Down To 25Hz

N/A

Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Powered...

Rockford Fosgate P300-12

35-150Hz

N/A

BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing...

BIC America F12

25-200Hz

90dB

Audioengine S8 250W Powered Subwoofer, Built-in...

Audioengine S8

27-180Hz

88dB

Definitive Technology SuperCube 2000 Ultra-Compact...

Definitive Technology SuperCube 2000

20-200 Hz

N/A

Types of Subwoofer Speakers

  • Passive
    Subwoofers that lack a built-in crossover and amplifier are known as passive subwoofers. Most subwoofers on the market are active/powered, but depending on your speaker set up, the main speaker may be able to power a passive subwoofer. There won't be any other features that come with the passive subwoofer as it is meant to complement a full system rather than stand-alone.
  • Powered
    A powered (or active) subwoofer is one that does not require any external speakers to function as it has everything needed built-in. You can still connect other speakers to the same system, or if a bass boost is all you require; the powered subwoofer is all you need. A powered subwoofer may even come with a digital equalizer or other features within the same speaker cabinet for added functionality.
  • Enclosed
    An enclosed subwoofer is what most people think of when they think of a subwoofer. The speaker sits in a box that helps to keep any sound from being lost. There are a few different methods of enclosure for a speaker, but typically it will come in one of three styles: sealed, ported, or bandpass. Later in the article, the difference between the three will be expanded upon as they each offer different benefits and have different drawbacks.
  • Component
    A component subwoofer is one that comes as a speaker only. They are a little more challenging to install, but they do allow you to choose what type of enclosure and amplifier best fit for your situation; whether its in the home or in the car. This type of subwoofer is perfect for someone who wants a highly customized system that will allow for adjustments to be made.

Which are best for listening to music?

When looking for a subwoofer to enhance your music, you will generally want to look at a powered, enclosed subwoofer. While component subwoofers do offer more customizability, they do also require a separate installation of the speaker into an enclosure and a separate amplifier or power source.

The right powered subwoofer will have a customizable digital equalizer (or analog depending on age) that you can adjust depending on the type of music you are listening to. This will give you control over the bass.


Choosing a High-Quality Subwoofer for Music

Power Output/Volume/Sound Quality

The purpose of a subwoofer is to enhance the low-frequency tones that can get lost in full-range speakers. Since the quality of the low tones are being enhanced, you will notice that you can get a much clearer sound overall (even at higher volumes). The key to this is in the power a subwoofer is delivering to those bass tones and can be heard in all kinds of music but especially in rock, rap, hip hop, or R&B.

Frequency Response

Subwoofers are typically used to enhance sound between 20-200 Hz. However, it is generally recommended to limit that range to 100 Hz and below. By limiting the subwoofer to a lower Hz range, you are allowing the other speakers to pick up on the higher ranges that you might hear in pop, country, or opera songs.

Impedance

When setting up a subwoofer system either in the home or in the car, it is crucial to note the specifications for your chosen system around the amount of power the system requires. Connecting a subwoofer to an improperly powered amplifier can lead to overheating and destruction of either the speaker or amplifier. To learn more about impedance and get a detailed look at the kind of wiring options for subwoofer systems, you can read more here.

Sensitivity

Speaker sensitivity is the measure of the decibel level a speaker produces at one watt of power when standing one meter from the speaker. You will want to find a speaker with a sensitivity rating above 84 dB or ideally 92dB or higher. It should be noted that for each additional three decibels of sound, double the wattage is necessary. So, if you are the type to blast heavy metal, you will want an amplifier that can provide some substantial wattage.

Enclosure Type

Depending on what kind of bass experience you are looking for, you may want to consider a different enclosure type for your subwoofer. Sealed box enclosures require more power than other enclosures but offer the most accurate bass levels of any of the enclosure types. This means they will not have drastic level differences between the bass and the rest of the music.

Ported boxes have an additional vent on the enclosure and deliver deeper, richer bass tones than sealed enclosures. They do require more space than sealed enclosures, but rock, heavy metal, rap or electronic music will be right at home with heavier bass levels.

Placement

When considering a subwoofer system for music in your car or home, there are a few things you will need to consider about the space you have. For a car, your options on where to place subwoofers will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, so it is best to consult with a professional for installation.

In the home, you will want to know the size and shape of the room as well as where you will likely be when listening to music. For larger spaces, you will need a more powerful unit, and for a smaller space, you will want to consider a more power-efficient unit.

Placing your subwoofer near a wall or a corner of the room facing out will allow for a stronger bass push as it is focused in one direction.

Voice coils

Particularly for car subwoofers, you will want to note whether your subwoofer has single or dual voice coils. The main difference between single and dual voice coils are the ability to wire different ohm levels to the speaker.

A single-coil will only take one signal, so you must make sure your amplifier is set to that level, while a dual will allow two different levels. This will allow for more flexibility in the volume level when playing music through your subwoofer.

Wired or Wireless

Depending on the level of control you need with your music, a wired or wireless subwoofer may be right for you. You can find a great breakdown of the pros and cons here, but the biggest difference you will find is control versus convenience.

A wired subwoofer means that it is not limited to digital components or equalizers. You can have more control over what is going on and adjust the analog set up as necessary.

Wireless speakers are more mobile (especially if it has a battery power source), so you can enjoy music in more areas if you choose to move the speaker. They can also be connected to wirelessly by many devices using Bluetooth, with the only requirement being a power source for the speaker, either a battery or outlet.

Cone Size & Subwoofer Dimensions

When considering a subwoofer, bigger is better when it comes to music. A larger cone (the speaker itself, not the enclosure) will give you a broader range for bass enhancement as well a clearer sound as there is simply more area for the sound to be projected from.

Obviously, with a larger cone, that means a larger enclosure, and depending on the space you have in your car or home that may be difficult to accommodate. When looking at measurements, it is not as simple as a 12" is bigger than an 18" as that measurement is just for the speaker and not the full surface area of the cone.

Extra Features

Subwoofers come in all shapes and sizes, and that impacts the cost. For both home and the car, you can find subwoofers that have different exterior treatments like wood paneling, different colors, and patterns.

Other additional features you can find are more internal and are related to either increasing the lifespan of your device (various cooling options) or increasing volume/clarity (different materials), so be sure to decide what is important to you when looking through the bells and whistles.

Durability/Warranty

In the home, the biggest key to keeping your subwoofer ready for the next dance party is the materials used in the enclosure. Subwoofers are designed to have open space inside, so finding a material that is strong while thin (typically wood) is ideal. You will also want to make sure that wherever you place the speaker is not somewhere heavily trafficked.


7 Best Music Subwoofers Reviewed

1. Klipsch R-120SW

Best Mid-range Subwoofer for music

Frequency Response/ Range

29-120Hz

Sensitivity

116 dB

Mounting Depth

N/A

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

200/400 watt

Impedance

N/A

Warranty

Yes, 2 years Limited

Coming in with a 12” front-firing speaker, the Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer has a slick spun-copper speaker in a black textured wood grain vinyl enclosure sure to catch an eye and an ear. We have rated it the best mid-range subwoofer for music.

This speaker is wired and requires a separate cord if you wish to connect with a larger speaker system. Klipsch designed this for the home, and this sub can fit neatly in a variety of areas at only 16.5” x 14” x 19.2”.

Although wired, the R-190SW has an all-digital amplifier that powers the speaker for efficient and accurate sounds. The speaker also allows for customizable bass levels to adjust depending on the music or levels of the other speakers in the system.

What sets this speaker apart in terms of quality and design is the spun-copper woofer cones that are lightweight yet rigid to allow for minimal cone breakup and distortion.

This subwoofer fits well into any apartment or bedroom space. If you have a desk, bookshelf, or coffee table, this speaker could fit into most spaces. If you are looking to fill a room with music on a budget, this subwoofer fits the bill, and most components you may need like cables and wires are easily found for a small price.

Pros

  • Made for style and substance
  • Ideal for smaller spaces
  • Customizable bass levels

Cons

  • Not suitable for large or open spaces
  • Design may not fit your aesthetic

2. SVS SB-3000

Top of the Range

Frequency Response/ Range

18-270Hz

Sensitivity

125 dB

Mounting Depth

N/A

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

800/2,500 watt

Impedance

N/A

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

While at the top end of most budgets, the SVS SB-3000 comes packed with a whole lot of power in a slick cube design. The speaker itself in this subwoofer is a 13-inch SVS driver made with an aluminum vented cone that allows for the metal to stay stiff but keep a mass ratio ideal for music. This is all sealed into the enclosure with an injection-molded extreme excursion surround.

The top of the range subwoofer is capable of frequencies between 18-270 Hz which means there is a lot of room for customization when it comes to your bass level. This wired speaker also has several controls to adjust and tune, so your tunes come out as crisp and clear as the artist intended.

While there is a lot of customization to be done on the speaker itself, the SVS smartphone app allows you control from a distance. The app is excellent for adjusting crossover frequencies, tweaking the equalizer settings, changing the room gain, and more.

The speaker is a little heavier than some others of similar size but at 15.2” x 17.8” x 15.6” this speaker can neatly be placed in many areas in the home without adjustment. With a smaller cone, it is still ideal for apartments and most large rooms, thanks to the power boost allowed with the amplifier.

Pros

  • Lots of customization options
  • Fits well into most spaces
  • Has an app to control the speaker

Cons

  • More expensive than other speakers

3. Sonos SUBG1US1BLK

Best Wireless Subwoofer for Music

Frequency Response/ Range

Down to 25Hz

Sensitivity

N/A

Mounting Depth

N/A

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

N/A

Impedance

N/A

Warranty

Yes, 2 years

With a sleek minimalist design, the Sonos Sub is a welcome addition to a music-loving home that wants to get away from the wire jungle lurking behind the electronics. The Sonos sub only requires a power outlet and the Sonos app to get up and running. Within the app, you can stream music from your phone from a variety of sources and enjoy bass with no rattle or vibration thanks to two force canceling speakers face-to-face in the speaker itself.

One drawback of the Sonos Sub is that if you want to connect with more speakers in a system, they must be Sonos devices as well, such as the Beam, Playbar, Playbase, or side speakers. Sonos is well known for their quality and the ease of installation with no wires and just an app required does make it appealing.

You can move the sub easily, so if you want to listen to music outside, it's only a quick trip, and you are good to go right from the app. The sub a sleek black square with rounded edges with the speakers facing inside, so you may want to consider positioning this a little further from the wall or corner than other subs.

Please note that unlike many subwoofer companies, Sonos does not release many specs like impedance and sensitivity.

Pros

  • Wireless and able to be moved
  • Sleek, minimalistic look
  • Has an app to control the speaker

Cons

  • Can only connect with other Sonos devices
  • Sonos doesn’t publish as many specs as other brands

4. Rockford Fosgate P300-12

Best Subwoofer for Rock Music

Frequency Response/ Range

35-150Hz

Sensitivity

N/A

Mounting Depth

18 inches

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

300/600 watts

Impedance

N/A

Warranty

Yes, 1 year

If you are looking for the best subwoofer for rock music, the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch is ready to go. The system only needs power, ground, and signal run into it, and it will be all set to start pumping out the best of Van Halen.

This sealed subwoofer features a "closed-loop" design between the woofer, amplifier, and enclosure to keep everything together. There is a built-in adjustable bass boost equalizer as well as a remote bass level control.

To keep the speaker in top shape and avoid waste, there is an intelligent auto turn on/off function and thermal and over-voltage protection. On top of all that protection, the enclosure is made of 5/8" MDF that not only allows for excellent sound quality and volume but also can stand up to the test of time along with your car as the exterior is made to be scratch and scuff resistant.

The speaker is a 12” cone inside a 15”x 19.8”x 18” enclosure that can sit neatly in nearly any trunk or cargo space. Since it is designed for vehicles, you can be sure that you will get a consistent and comfortable level of audio throughout the car.

Pros

  • All in one
  • Quick install
  • Resistant exterior

Cons

  • No remote

5. BIC America F12

Best Subwoofer for Music Under $300

Frequency Response/ Range

25-200Hz

Sensitivity

90dB

Mounting Depth

22”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

150/475 watts

Impedance

8 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

The BIC America F12 is modeled after the same type of speakers used by movie theater sound engineers for the last 50 years, and now it comes in a 12" front-firing speaker to play crisp, clear music at home. The Formula line of speakers has been in production since 1973, and this twelfth iteration is a step in the right direction.

This subwoofer can go up to 116dB, which is right around a live musical performance while allowing adjustable crossover and volume. This is a wired, powered speaker that has inputs for both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS.

To enhance the listening experience and remove some of the noise heard in other subwoofers due to their design, the patented BIC "Venturi" vent does not back down from the challenge of loud or fast music that is heavy on the bass. Other features of the America F12 include an auto on/off, magnetic shielding and gold-plated terminals.

This subwoofer under $300 comes with a built-in amplifier, so all you need is a source input and a power outlet to start rocking out. The subwoofer is great for apartments or smaller rooms but may have some trouble filling larger spaces due to the cone size.

Pros

  • All in one
  • BIC “Venturi” vent

Cons

  • Heavier than others of similar size

6. Audioengine S8

Best Subwoofer for Metal Music

Frequency Response/ Range

27-180Hz

Sensitivity

88dB

Mounting Depth

11.25”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

125/250 watts

Impedance

10 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 3 years

If you are looking to bang your head to some metal without banging your head on the wall because of a lousy subwoofer, the Audioengine S8 is ready to rock. The eight-inch down-firing subwoofer neatly fits in nearly any space you would want it to at only 11.2" x 11.2" x 11.2", making it the second-smallest subwoofer reviewed.

The subwoofer is also a quick set up with just a power cable and an input cable, and the music is playing from any source with a 3.5mm mini-jack or RCA audio output, covering many devices. If you want a wireless option, there is a wireless adapter available separately to cut set up time down even further.

This subwoofer has a simple look and layout but still allows for crossover and volume control on the speaker itself. A steel frame and rubber speaker-surround make this a durable subwoofer that can take a bump or two, and the auto-sleep standby feature makes sure that it does not waste power or stay on longer than needed.

The S8 can also be connected to other speakers within a system and comes in a black or white design. You can easily use the S8 in an apartment, room, or even take it outside with its quick set up and small size.

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Can be made wireless

Cons

  • No remote
  • Not ideal for large or open spaces

7. Definitive Technology SuperCube 2000

Best Small & Compact Subwoofer for playing Music

Frequency Response/ Range

20-200 Hz

Sensitivity

N/A

Mounting Depth

10.8”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

650 watts (peak)

Impedance

8 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 3 years electronics, 5 years cabinet/drivers

Weighing in at just under 24 pounds, the Definitive Technology SuperCube 2000 is the smallest subwoofer reviewed, but that does not mean it lacks power. The speaker itself is a 7.5” woofer powered by a 650-watt amplifier and accompanied by two 7.5” bass radiators.

The speaker features a single LFE input that works with the RCA output of a receiver. With a small, simple high-gloss black lacquer finish, this speaker can find a home nearly anywhere in your home you want music. Included with the speaker are four carpet spikes so you can also talk the subwoofer out of the way on the floor if desired or even behind furniture.

The base itself is designed with braces to cut down on any audio loss due to internal rattling, which makes it a great compliment to an existing audio system. The device was designed with precision audio in mind to keep basslines as true to the artist’s intention as possible.

Though small, you will feel the bass rumble in your favorite songs wherever you decide to place this subwoofer. Unfortunately, there is no wireless option for this subwoofer unless you invest in a third-party adapter or look at upgrading to another model from Definitive Technology.

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Easy to move around
  • Precision audio

Cons

  • No remote or wireless options

How Subwoofers Work

A subwoofer is a specialized speaker that looks only for the lowest frequencies from an audio source. With an amplifier and a larger woofer, the subwoofer can produce deeper bass tones than full-range speakers.

Sealed vs Ported Enclosures

Sealed enclosures can be better at more accurately reproducing low frequencies as the air inside the enclosure helps to absorb some of the vibrations. Ported enclosures allow for louder and heavier bass. For music, a sealed enclosure is a bit more faithful to the true sound and so a better overall experience than ported.

Passive vs Powered Subwoofers

Passive subwoofers do not have a dedicated amplifier and will require an external power source. Powered subwoofers have a built-in amplifier and are much more plug-and-play friendly for installation. Unless you really need customization, powered subwoofers are a better choice for playing music.

Wired vs Wireless Subwoofers

The big difference between wired and wireless is the connection between the source and the subwoofer. You will get a cleaner and more consistent connection with a wired subwoofer, making it a more authentic audio experience.

Front-firing vs Down-firing

A subwoofer’s driver will generally either face down toward the floor of the cabinet, allowing the music to vibrate out in all directions or face the "front" of the cabinet and give a more focused sound. For music, a front-firing subwoofer will offer slightly cleaner audio though it is close.


Subwoofer Sizes

There is a wide variety of sizes when it comes to subwoofer cones, and that size impacts the volume and clarity of the sound. A larger cone will allow for more volume and clarity over larger spaces. It is not quite a linear scale for how large a cone is and how much area can be covered, so look below for a quick guide.

Size in Inches

Coverage Area

6.5

Car, small room

8

Small room

10

Small/medium room

12

Medium room

15

Medium/large room

18

Large room


Subwoofer Installation

When looking to install a subwoofer in a car, you will likely want something like the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch as it is a quick install in the trunk. Hook up the power, ground, and source, and you are all set. For setups that would go in the doors or other places, you will want to consult a professional as that will require some modification to the car.

Installing a subwoofer in the home is usually much more straightforward. If you use any of the home choices listed above, you should just need to connect the power. Then either use an app or cable to hook up the subwoofer to the source.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better 2ohm or 4ohm subs?

2ohm is louder, but 4ohm consumes less power and lasts longer, so this is up to personal preference.

Where is the optimal place to store subwoofers in the home?

It is typically recommended that you place your subwoofer along the front wall of the room that you’ll be using it in.  Some people recommend putting it in the corner. For the best music setup, you may need to use a little trial and error.

Where is the optimal place to store subwoofers in the car?

The trunk or the cab of your car or truck is the ideal location, as it will help to move the sound forward towards you.

How do I take care of the distortion coming from my subs?

Make sure that you do not run more power through the amplifier than it can handle. This guide can help you.

What are the benefits of using multiple subwoofers?

You can achieve better coverage by using multiple subwoofers, especially in larger spaces or when used for events/parties.

Which shape is best? Round, square, or triangular?

I typically prefer subwoofers that are square, as it can draw in more air.

Where is a good place to buy these products?

Amazon is a great place to buy music subwoofers, as they have fast shipping and top customer service. You can also purchase them through the manufacturer or in-store.


Conclusion

If you are looking for a home subwoofer, the SVS SB-3000 offers the most bang (and bass) for the buck, but you are spending more bucks on getting there. The SVS has a vast range and can cover a large area with quality sound, as well as having customization and an app for management.

For a car subwoofer, the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch will keep you rocking out and forgetting all about traffic for your commute.

Last Updated on

Top