Subwoofers. The bass. The loudness. The glory. The most obnoxious component in your system, and also, one of the most necessary.
If you’ve read my article about speakers, you’re up to speed. If you haven’t (and don’t know anything about speakers or subwoofers), read it here.
Subwoofers reproduce the lowest frequencies of the audio spectrum, AKA bass. They are essential to both SQ and SPL systems, but for different reasons. Let’s take a look now…
For SQ systems: Effectively reproduce the lowest frequencies making the music sound full and powerful. Instruments that play lower frequencies such as organs, drums and synthesizers will sound more realistic and powerful with a subwoofer installed.
For SPL systems: Because subwoofers are loud, they are the preferred speaker to make a whole lotta noise.
Also, because our ears are less sensitive to lower frequencies we need the extra bass for the system to sound balanced.
So, what do I have to look for to find a great woofer? I’ll tell you!
Just like with every other part in a stereo system, power handling is important for subwoofers as well. Earlier, in my article about speakers, I talked about how you can send more power to them to increase their volume, but decrease the distortion. The same is true of subwoofers, but be careful! Since lower frequency distortion is harder to perceive, it’s easy to overdo it, and blow your subwoofers. Anyway, with that said, it is smart to buy an amp that can put out exactly what your subwoofers are designed to take, but take it easy!
Subwoofers come in many sizes, but the most common are 8″, 10″, 12″, and 15″. This is probably also noted in metric for the european brands. As you can imagine, the bigger woofers are the ones that will play louder and play lower. Of course, the smaller ones are more musical, more precise, and sound “tighter”. What size you decide on usually has to do with your own preferences, as well as installation considerations. Remember! 18″ subwoofers don’t just fit anywhere!
Voice coil info:
SVC: Single voice coil
This means that the speaker has only one voice coil. In other words, only one input.
DVC: Dual voice coil
This means that the speaker has two voice coils, or two inputs.
Ummmmmmm, ok. Why does it matter?
I could go into details here, but I know you don’t really care. Basically, it boils down to this: With a DVC subwoofer, there are more installation options. Look at it this way, a DVC “looks” like two subwoofers to your amplifier. With some nifty wiring…