Of course, there’s no need to turn it higher than necessary, just don’t get too carried away! Live it up with the best 8 inch subwoofer at home. Even when we pitted it against much more expensive models, it emerged as the top pick in our listening tests, and its measured performance is excellent for a model at this price. The Dayton Audio SUB-1200 is the best way we’ve found to add awesome (and affordable) bass to a stereo or home-theater system. It outperformed the Rogersound Speedwoofer 10S by 1.2 dB in the midbass but fell 4.2 dB short of the Speedwoofer 10S’s average in the low bass. The primary criteria that our panelists considered in our evaluations were: We conducted the listening tests for this guide in the same acoustically treated listening room I’ve used to test more than 150 subwoofers over the past 17 years. Yet it delivers a thrilling sense of shake and presence that can subjectively transform your living room into a battered submarine, an earthquake-ravaged building, or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Still, in the world of high-quality audio gear, things can get quite expensive, and I mean very expensive. KEF Kube 10b: This sleek subwoofer looks nice but is a little expensive for the output it offers. When played through the subwoofers and viewed on an audio spectrum analyzer, these tones show how loudly and clearly a subwoofer can play at several different frequencies in the bass range. It has a refine sound, not a muddy thumping sound like many lower-end subs. All of the listening sessions were blind, with a thin black drape hiding the subs’ identities. Leveraging a 10" spun copper Cerametallic™ woofer and high-efficiency Class-D amplifier, The Klipsch SPL-100 subwoofer delivers best-in-class low frequency output. The Q Acoustics 3020i is the best bookshelf speaker because it sounds better and offers better build quality than anything else in its price range. KEF T2: A flattish design makes this sub easy to hide, but it’s pricey and its output is relatively low. It has a 10-inch driver in a ported enclosure with a 100-watt internal amp, and comes in your choice of faux black walnut or brown walnut wood grain for the same price. Once equalized through SVS’s Bluetooth-connected iOS/Android control app, the SB-2000 Pro gave us some of the most precise and natural-sounding bass we’ve ever heard, with no low notes booming or distorting. A home audio system without a good subwoofer is like a rock band without a bass player: It just never sounds right. Even though the Polk Audio HTS 10 was the least expensive subwoofer we tested for this guide, it ranked second in our blind listening tests. The 10” model is more than enough to shake a room, so no need to go overboard. It’s an easy to setup sub that will connect to nearly any audio system. This subwoofer makes music sound terrific and will enhance any movie-watching experience. (A tuba would have to measure about 9 feet tall to play that low.) I measured its CEA-2010 output in three modes. Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO8 Amplified Car Subwoofer - 600 Watts Max Power, Low Profile, 8 Inch Subwoofer, Remote Subwoofer Control, Great For Vehicles That Need Bass But Have Limited Space, Black 4.2 out of 5 stars 478 The tuning modes complicated our listening tests, as I had to choose one mode that I thought would best suit each listener’s taste. We’d love to see a reworked, better-documented version. Since then, I’ve probably reviewed more home audio subwoofers than anyone in the world, for magazines including Sound & Vision and Home Theater as well as for websites such as Home Theater Review, SoundStage, and Lifewire. 3 “Organ” from the Boston Audio Society Test CD-1, which has notes that drop to 16 Hz. The Sonos multiroom music platform offers the best-sounding speakers, supports the widest variety of streaming services, and is easy to set up and use. Companies have ways to make great speakers for cheap, but they can’t make a great subwoofer for cheap. I keep a log of all my CEA-2010 results. The highest priced subwoofer doesn’t always mean it’s the best for your home theater. First is Wirecutter senior staff writer and headphone editor Lauren Dragan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in both music performance and audio production from Ithaca College, has spent several years in terrestrial radio, currently works as a professional voice actor in Los Angeles, and has helped me with countless blind listening tests for Wirecutter and Sound & Vision. It’s what makes our content ‘free’ to YOU. Despite the fact that the Polk Audio HTS 10 was the lowest priced subwoofer we tested (and it occasionally falls below the $300 minimum price we set for this guide), it was our panelists’ second-favorite. Learn more. You can choose a sealed mode that delivers a tight, punchy sound for music; a ported mode that delivers maximum deep-bass output for extra couch shaking during action movies; or one of several modes in between. The F12 is great for a home theater. And after the initial setup, synching requires just the click of a button. However, what really matters is the selection of a reputable brand, and Pyle is definitely one of them. The Sony SA-W2500 subwoofer will allow you to enjoy high quality bass without putting a dent in your wallet. Dayton Audio DSP-LF: This surprisingly inexpensive processor, when used with the $4.99 iWoofer Pro iOS app, adds automatic room equalization to any subwoofer. This sub will allow you to experience music and movies in a completely new way. This allows us to provide our viewers with free content by adding our affiliate links in the “Price Comparison” sections along with other links in our articles and product pages. Monoprice Monolith M10-S: One panelist ranked this sub first for its precise midbass tones, but the others said its lower tones weren’t well defined and that it didn’t blend well with the rest of the speakers. Is the Google Home the Voice-Controlled Speaker for You? A subwoofer adds extra bass (and, potentially, a higher maximum volume) to an existing set of speakers. It’s a high performing subwoofer that provides authentic, clear bass for any listening experience. 3. This sub delivers tight, deep bass for music or movies. It’s punchy and precise enough to reproduce the chest-thumping, upper-bass snap of kick drum and thumb-slapped electric bass, yet it also maintains its composure (and shakes the couch) when asked to reproduce ultra-deep bass tones such as the submarine engine and depth-charge sound effects in U-571. In sealed max headroom mode, they were 118.1 dB and 106.9 dB. The Vizio Elevate sounds great and is full featured, making it the best choice for anyone who wants an advanced, high-performance soundbar system. It’s also has a lower power output at just 100 watts. To save you the effort, we’ve rounded up the best stereo amplifiers that are worth your money. The subwoofer has a built-in wireless receiver, so you can pair it with Rogersound’s inexpensive wireless transmitter for even easier setup and positioning of the subwoofer. The more discerning movie or music fan will appreciate the inclusion of tuning modes that optimize this subwoofer’s sound to taste. For the listening tests, I used several of the toughest bass test tracks I know of, including Holly Cole’s “Train Song,” Olive’s “Falling,” Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” and the recording of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The stores offer a wide range of small subwoofers, but if you find it difficult to decide, then keep reading. In our listening tests, the panelists praised it for its ability to blend with the other speakers, with Lauren noting that “it sounds like an extension of the rest of the system” and Ron commenting that “it has a clean transition from the upper-bass notes down to the low pipe organ tones.” Ultimately, Lauren placed the Speedwoofer 10S in a tie with the Klipsch SPL-120 for first place, but she immediately named the Speedwoofer 10S as her number one choice when she heard the prices. If this is important for you and your home theater, seek out specific wireless subwoofers like the MartinLogan Dynamo. But it’s sold only direct through the Rogersound Labs website. From a measurement standpoint, the HTS 10’s output is about the same as that of our budget subwoofer pick, the Dayton Audio SUB-1200, which is considerably less expensive (although in our opinion much less attractive). 5.1 channel audio (e.g. Although we think the stock black-ash finish looks good (especially for a device you’re probably going to hide), the SB-1000 is also available in gloss black or gloss white for a $100 premium. Its punchy, well-defined sound makes it better for music than for action movies, but it’ll do a respectable job with anything you play through it. Lauren and Ron both ranked the HTS 10 highly, but they described it differently. The PM6007 boasts trademark Marantz styling and is a solidly built, nicely-finished integrated amplifier with traditional hi-fi appeal. The VTF-2 MK5 is large and powerful, and it offers more tuning options to tailor the sound to your taste and room. Measuring 16⅝ by 15⅛ by 16⅛ inches (HWD), it’s reasonably sized, and the radiused edges, port-damping cone, and corner-cut grille make it look sleek and modern. Paradigm Defiance X10: This sub is similar in several ways to the MartinLogan Dynamo 600X, but its measured output was a few decibels lower, and it’s pricier. The Speedwoofer 10S puts out about the same amount of midbass as the SUB-1200, but when you get into the really low, couch-shaking deep-bass frequencies, the Speedwoofer 10S practically tosses the SUB-1200 out of the room, delivering a whopping 10 dB more output (which is double the perceived volume) at 20 Hz. For Ron Cyger’s test, I added “Findango,” a tune from his album in which most of the bass playing is in the upright bass’s lowest range. This What Fi-Fi Award-winner is our MVP, and one of the best stereo amps you can buy for around $1000. Although none of them raved about the sound in comparison with that of the larger, ported models we tested, none of them disliked the SB-1000’s sound, and they thought that, for music, the added punch of its sealed design was pleasing. The VTF-2 MK5 offers line-level RCA stereo inputs and speaker-cable inputs, so it can work with any surround-sound receiver and with any stereo receiver or preamp. Like the Speedwoofer 10S, this model is sold only direct through the manufacturer’s website. It will feel like you’re front row at a live concert! Looking for a full home theater experience? Check out the dimensions below. Passive Subwoofers – These are powered by an external amplifier in much the same way as the other speakers in your sound system. Brent Butterworth is a senior staff writer covering audio and musical instruments at Wirecutter. 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