Home Theater Subwoofers

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Home Theater Subwoofers

Everything You Need To Know About Subwoofers1.0 Overview of Home Theater Subwoofers2.0 Types of Subwoofers3.0 Room Correction For subwoofers 1.0 Overview of Home Theater SubwoofersSubwoofers are speakers designed specifically and exclusively to reproduce the lowest register of audio in home theater and audiophile systems. Often using large drivers sealed in a square-shaped box, subwoofers originally were designed to augment the lackluster bass performance of floor-standing speakers. Getting subs to integrate with audiophile speakers in the early days was without question a challenge but, when done properly, the results added tremendous impact to the overall sound.Today, subwoofers get a lot more respect, because in 5.1 surround, the “point 1” channel is the LFE or subwoofer channel, meaning that even with most good surround sound formats, ranging from Dolby Digital to DTS to today’s best lossless formats like DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD, your subwoofer is getting discrete audio mixed and mastered only for your woofer. The significance of this for audio and movies is that the mixing engineer can determine exactly where the most bass-demanding effects or instruments can go; the best place for them to go in the mix is the subwoofer. It allows your main speakers to do what they do best and do it more clearly, while not sucking the life out of your amplifiers, which are trying to power a gigantic explosion or the dynamics of a tympani drum. Most modern subwoofers today are powered with digital or powerful class AB amplifiers, allowing them to do their job of reproducing bass from around 140 Hertz to subsonic levels of below 20 Hertz.2.0 Types of SubwoofersThere are two main categories of subwoofers: passive and active. Passive subwoofers are woofers generally lacking internal amplification, which means they require one channel of amplification and sometimes an external crossover component. Passive subwoofers were more popular in the late 1980s and 1990s, but with the advent of class-D digital amps, specifically with Bob Carver’s Sunfire True Subwoofer, the size of powered subwoofers shrank and the power, volumes and depths that even a small subwoofer could reach drastically increased. Today, it,s hard to find a passive subwoofer in the market, as most of those currently available in the marketplace are active.3.0 Room Correction For Active SubwoofersOne of the most important developments, along with the application of digital (class D) internal amplifiers, for powered or active subwoofers is the advent of automated room correction for subwoofers. Increasingly active subwoofers had more and more set-up options that, without question, confused the heck out of consumers who didn’t know how to set parameters such as phase, let alone how to physically place a subwoofer to get the best performance and most seamless integration with their main speakers.Today’s most feature-rich subwoofers come with room correction software and a calibration microphone which, with the flip of a switch or two, can easily optimize the settings and even the placement of a subwoofer in a music or home theater system. The audible difference between a subwoofer optimized for a room vs. one just plunked on the floor and turned on is not subtle. The room has a major effect on a subwoofer and placement can make a gigantic difference. Setting levels, phase and polarity can also make a notable improvement that can be heard by mainstream consumers.

Home Theater Subwoofers

I started with a roughly 10-hour listening session in which I auditioned all of the subwoofers in the same acoustically treated listening room I’ve used to test more than 100 other subwoofers over the past 14 years. I have run countless tests and measurements in this room, had many manufacturers set up their subwoofers in it, and, at one point, even had a scientist from Harman International come over to run tests in my room using as many as four separate subwoofers. I know this room’s characteristics (and how they affect speaker performance) extremely well.

Home Theater Subwoofers

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Each of the subwoofers went into my room’s “subwoofer sweet spot,” the place where I’ve found most subs sound their best from my favorite listening chair. I connected the subwoofers to my Denon AVR-2809ci home theater receiver and used a surround-sound system made up of Sunfire CRM-2, CRM-2C, and CRM-BIP speakers. I used a crossover point of 100 hertz, what you might use with a small set of speakers; this also gave us a little more bass from the subs and a little less from the speakers, making the test tougher on the subs.

Home Theater Subwoofers

Subwoofer Reviews No audiophile system nor home theater system is complete without at least one subwoofer, also known as a LFE or point one channel. Setting up a subwoofer used to require a lot of guess work, but modern subwoofers tend to feature internal amps, EQ systems, and room correction software. With all these settings, it’s easy to set up your subwoofer to integrate with your floorstanding speakers or your bookshelf speakers. Look below for a complete list of reviews of the best subwoofers from brands like Revel, Bowers & Wilkins, Paradigm, SVS, Wilson Audio, and many others.

Home Theater Subwoofers

A favorite among home theater fans and serious audiophiles as well, the Plus Series build quality and performance approaches the Ultra Series and is on par with the best subwoofers in the world. Designed to handle the most demanding low frequency content with ease, SVS Plus Series Subwoofers are engineered to exceed expectations.

Home Theater Subwoofers

I wrote my first review of a subwoofer in 1991; since then, I have, to the best of my knowledge, reviewed more home audio subwoofers than anyone in the world. I did so for magazines including Sound & Vision and Home Theater and websites such as Home Theater Review and About.com Stereos. I’ve been the most active and outspoken advocate of the CEA-2010 subwoofer measurement standard and wrote an online manual for it. In my work for the above publications, I have conducted at least seven multiple-listener subwoofer comparison tests, so I have not only my own impressions to guide me, but also the impressions of other listeners, too. This page on my website provides a more extensive list of my audio credentials.

Home Theater Subwoofers

After my listening session, I deleted three subwoofers from the test because it was clear they were underperformers. Then I brought Geoff and Lauren in for different testing sessions. For them, the test was blind. I hung a thin black drape to prevent them from seeing which sub was playing and didn’t share the subwoofers’ identities until they’d given me their opinion and ranking of each sub. They used music of their own choosing, and each of them also watched a bass-heavy action movie scene (the opening of Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones or the brontosaurus chase scene from King Kong).

Home Theater Subwoofers

Featuring award-winning technology from the Ultra Series, the 2000 Series subwoofers are the best-selling SVS models for their rare combination of effortless power, quickness, intelligent processing, and innovative driver design, all at a price that is within reach of any audio enthusiast. This potent recipe is redefining expectations for subwoofers in every class.

Sealed vs. ported subwoofers: The two most common types of subwoofers are sealed-box and ported (or bass reflex) designs. Some enthusiasts strongly favor one over the other, but most companies make both types, and both can deliver excellent results if skillfully and carefully designed. All of our top picks here are ported, because ported designs deliver the most deep-bass output for a certain size and cost; a sealed sub at these kinds of prices would be unlikely to deliver satisfactory deep-bass performance.

Home theater receivers use an RCA output for the subwoofer connection — that's the “.1” in a 7.1 system. Many receivers have two sub outs (“7.2-channel”), giving you the ability to add a second subwoofer to your system. Using two subs will improve bass distribution in a room that has multiple seating locations, giving everyone great performance. Two subwoofers also provide more impactful dynamics and greater system headroom. Here's a link to find a home theater receiver with dual subwoofer outputs.

The 9723 has a 12-inch woofer, an amp rated at 150 watts of continuous power, and a price lower than many less capable 8-inch subwoofers. Curved sides and conical feet make it look relatively nice for a subwoofer, although at 17 by 17.25 by 17.5 inches, it might be a little too big for some spaces. It’s also easy to connect to most audio systems. You can connect it between your amp and your speakers, between your computer and your powered computer speakers, or to the subwoofer output of a home theater system. Simply put, it can make an ordinary set of small speakers sound like a set of big speakers, which makes the 9723 perhaps the wisest investment if you’re looking to upgrade the sound of a small audio system.

The SVS 1000 Series changed the game by bringing legitimate, world-class subwoofer performance to a new level of affordability. Compact and commanding with astonishing power, the 1000 Series outperform subwoofers twice the price and are well-equipped to serve as the sonic foundation of any music or home theater system.

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