With endless upgrades to be made and options to be considered for your home sound system, once item that it’s easy to overlook is a subwoofer. But these boxes can add a massive bassy punch to your system, and give a real shine to your home theater setup.
However, like a lot of audio components, subwoofers can be expensive. You can pay hundreds of dollars for a good-quality subwoofer, or even more if you’re looking at high-end options. But it is possible to save some cash on top subwoofer brands like Klipsch and Sony by finding great deals. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.
A subwoofer is an essential component of your sound system, but the good news is that you don’t have to shell out a fortune to get a good one from a trusted brand. That’s not to say that the absolute best subwoofers aren’t pricey, though; just know that there are a lot of options out there that are capable of fitting all but the tightest of budgets. Sony, Polk, Klipsch, JBL, and Dayton Audio are just a handful of brands that spring to mind which offer solid subwoofers at reasonable prices. Serious audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts can choose from high-end makers like MartinLogan, Paradigm, and SVS, to name only a few.
After setting your budget, there are a few things to consider when choosing a subwoofer. These bass-boosting speakers are fairly straightforward — their single job is to put out deep, heavy low audio tones — but you don’t want to rush into the first subwoofer deal that looks nice and meets your price limit. Pay attention to overall dimensions (the size of a subwoofer can be hard to glean from pictures alone) to make sure the one you’ve got your eye on will fit in the space you’ve set for it, and pay double attention to wattage and connection options. This is especially important if you’re setting up a more complex home theater system where the subwoofer will be integrated into a network of speakers and input/output devices connected to an A/V receiver.
It’s also important to consider subwoofer setup and placement. Is it wired or wireless, and will this determine whether you can place it where you want it? Does it feature an app to help with installation and managing calibration settings, and if so, does it do its job well? Reading professional and customer reviews can help you to get a picture of the end-user experience. Placement is particularly vital. Don’t be afraid to test out your subwoofer in different rooms, if possible, and to move it around and use it in different areas of the room for a few hours to figure out for yourself where it works and sounds best. The size, shape, windows, and furnishings of a room all affect the acoustics of the space, and sub-optimal subwoofer placement will hinder its performance.
Finally, if your system can support it, you should consider purchasing two subwoofers instead of one. Two subwoofers will almost always perform the job better than a single unit, no matter the acoustics of the room. A/V receivers feature numbered designations that indicate how many power channels they have for speakers and subwoofers. For example, a 7.2-channel receiver has enough channels for seven speakers (the minimum for true surround sound) and two subwoofers, whereas a 7.1-channel receiver can only support one sub. If you’re shopping for subwoofer deals but are also looking to buy an A/V receiver, we recommend going for one that can support dual subwoofers, even if you only plan to use a single subwoofer now.
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