What Is a Subwoofer and What Does a Subwoofer Do?

What does a subwoofer do? Well, it produces sounds just like a speaker, but it does more than your average speaker. To understand how it works, you should know first what a subwoofer is.

A subwoofer is a complete amplifier or woofer that can play low-pitched sound frequencies called sub-bass and bass. It has a normal frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz for consumer items, less than 100 Hz for specialized live sound, and less than 80 Hz in a THX-approved system.

A subwoofer enhances the low-frequency range of your ordinary loudspeakers, covering higher frequencies.

A subwoofer consists of one, two, or more woofers mounted in the amplifier enclosure. Often crafted using wood, it can withstand air pressure and resist deformation. A subwoofer enclosure is available in different designs, which include the bass reflex with either a vent or port.

A passive subwoofer comes with an enclosure and a subwoofer driver. Unlike the active subwoofer with a built-in amplifier, a passive subwoofer should have an external amplifier for its power supply needs.

The Parts of a Subwoofer

The woofer is the primary part of a subwoofer, which is sometimes called the cabinet or the driver. A subwoofer is typically active and with dedicated amplifiers. Other parts, like the stuffing and the cabinet, will depend on the intended application.

The speaker size is usually between 20 and 53 centimeters or 8 and 21 inches. Odd sizes are great for specialized uses. Smaller drivers are present in desktop PC multimedia systems, while the bigger drivers are ideal in clubs and other entertainment venues.

The voice coil has magnets that make the diaphragm move and produce a sound. The suspension keeps the diaphragm intact and controls its movement. A big frame, known as the basket, houses all the subwoofer parts. It stays mounted on the cabinet or enclosure.

The cabinet may come with an amplifier that serves as one of its internal or external parts. A passive subwoofer sometimes has crossover filters, but most subwoofers use equalizers for better sound control. These components may range from ordinary and utilitarian to the complex and with more options.

How a Subwoofer Works

A subwoofer is a great accessory, especially for the movie and music lovers. If you install one for your car stereo or home theater system, it will reproduce even the deepest bass frequencies. A subwoofer uses a bigger woofer and a built-in amplifier that controls the signal to give cleaner and deeper bass sounds.

It usually has a built-in amplifier, so you need to connect it to the electrical outlet. A subwoofer is available in two types: active and passive. A passive subwoofer does not require a dedicated source of power. Instead, it uses the power coming from the amplifier of the receiver.

You should connect it to a preamplifier or an audio receiver. The receiver will send signals called LFE or low-frequency effects via the electrical current to your subwoofer. Then, your subwoofer will amplify the current and convert it to sound using the magnetic coil, causing the driver’s cone to vibrate. The vibration results in a low-frequency sound that will blend instantly with the air.

Higher frequency signals are directional, but low frequencies are not. Therefore, you will gain more flexibility if you use a subwoofer instead of the placement-sensitive speakers. You can move the subwoofer all over the room depending on its layout. You may try putting the subwoofer in different positions to find the right location and enjoy good sound quality.

Tips for Installing a Subwoofer to Your Home Theater or Car

Subwoofer installation and placement may depend on your purpose. Is the unit for your home theater system or for your car? Putting the subwoofer in the right place is extremely important, especially when it is for your home theater system. Finding the right position for your loudspeaker will help avoid uneven bass sounds or dead spots all over the room. The same also applies for using a subwoofer to your car stereo system. Read the car subwoofers reviews for more.

For Your Home Theater System

Generally, a subwoofer should not stay in the middle of your room because the low-pitched sounds are more audible when the loudspeaker is near the wall. That is the usual case, but each room may have a different sound profile.

Every home theater room is different, so you should try putting the subwoofer in different positions until you get the best results. You can move the couch or recliner aside to position the loud speaker and help you find its best position. Come down on the ground in one of the four corners of your room, then start moving from side to side.

Listen to the low-pitched sounds from your subwoofer while you move from one side to another. Once you have found the perfect placement of your loudspeaker, keep the unit in place to get consistent excellent sound quality. 

For Your Car Stereo System

Putting a subwoofer to your car stereo is not as easy as placing it inside a room. The complexity behind finding the right subwoofer placement in a car stereo installation is due to various vehicle configurations.

However, the best bass response in this case normally comes from the speaker positioned far within the car and pointed near the back. This kind of installation and placement is not always possible, but the best sound quality is also obtainable if you put the speaker in the trunk.

When you put the subwoofer in the trunk, push it as far as you can. Then, keep the speaker grill facing upward and pointed to the back side of your car. Pointing the speaker upward will result in good bass sound quality, especially in a hatchback. You can also use a subwoofer for the stereo system of your truck. Just point it downward to gain the best bass sound quality.

How To Install A Subwoofer YouTube Video

Your car audio and home theater systems do not essentially need a subwoofer, but without it, the sounds are perhaps tinny or hollow. What does a subwoofer do to them? Well, it will make the less audible sounds in your favorite horror movies and pop songs clearer and louder. Investing in a subwoofer is certainly a great idea. Just look for the most recommended unit or brand to get the best value for your money.

48 thoughts on “What Is a Subwoofer and What Does a Subwoofer Do?”

  1. Author has kept superb unknown ideas, that will help most of music lover. It is not only includes huge ideas but also user friendly with figure-out post. If anybody read this article will reinforce to get this. Thanks a million for this post.

    Reply
  2. Thanks you very much for post, This the best guide post for car audio sound system include
    details. It is a very effective and helpful share for beginners. Author keeps all think at this share.

    Reply
  3. Author has kept superb unknown ideas, that will help most of music lover. It is not only includes huge ideas but also user friendly with figure-out post. If anybody read this article will reinforce to get this. Thanks a million for this post.

    Reply
  4. My subwoofer needs repair. It has a cracked speaker. Any idea where I can get it repaired? It is connected to my receiver, not in my car.

    Reply
  5. It’s interesting to find out just what a subwoofer does. I got my first sub when I was 17. I don’t think it was installed correctly because it made an awful squeaking noise sometimes! On my new car, I didn’t get a sub. It had a pretty nice one built in.

    Reply
  6. Subwoofers always sounded better in my boyfriend’s SUV. I had one in the trunk of my Camry, and it didn’t sound that great… I heard that it sounds better in an SUV… is there any truth to this?

    Reply
  7. I recommend getting a sub with the amp built in. To me, the bass sounds smoother in all of the built ones that I’ve had. Not really sure why. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

    Reply
  8. Been wanting to get a sub for my home theater room… good suggestion on moving it around till you find the best spot.

    Reply
  9. We may be thinking aloud what’s the difference between woofer and subwoofer. In this post, this has been broken down, now I can hold say what difference are. Well the subwoofer sounds better😃😃

    Reply
  10. What an educative post! Knowing that a subwoofer helps to make music more clearer and louder is just a quite meaning stating how does a subwoofer work

    Reply
  11. You are wondering how a subwoofer works, it doesn’t need a dedicated power source, the one from the amplifier is enough. Isnt that economical? It worth investing into I swear😃😃

    Reply
  12. It is very important to know how a subwoofer works and where you can actually use it. Woofer is a good accessory for your car.

    Reply
  13. You sir has a very informative post from cars to speakers? To be precise how a subwoofer works. This seems trivial but hey I enjoy it regardless. It reminds me when I was having an electronic class back then.

    Reply
  14. This is a valuable post at least I can say the difference between woofer and subwoofer. I used to mix them up before now but it quite clear now.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for listing how a subwoofer works. I’m sure you can get quality sound for movies and music at the highest level.

    Reply
  16. This is a reasonable post and it has really points out the difference between woofer and subwoofer to my satisfaction. I wish to get a video display of this content. Thanks for this good and educative post.

    Reply
  17. Just learned that subwoofer is a complete amplifier that can play low-pitched sound frequencies called sub-bass and bass and has normal frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz for consumer items, less than 100 Hz for specialized live sound. This is educative.

    Reply
  18. Is good to know the difference between woofer and subwoofer, also to know how a subwoofer works and what are its main features.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for sharing your incredible ideas. It is an appreciated and pretty tip for all those music lovers. What a Fatal post for those who want to upgrade exist subwoofer with new one.

    Reply
  20. I love this article, Preach it more and keep giving Amazing Information. I like your style of making things so easier for us to always read articles, looking to add similar articles to our website.

    Reply
  21. This is informative for people who don’t know the purpose of a subwoofer. Just like me i know it is nice to have one when playing something but i don’t actually know how it works.

    Reply
  22. I just understood that a subwoofer doesn’t always have to be with a special woofer, because even a normal woofer can be built into a subwoofer, by adding a low pass filter amplifier. Useful articles to find out part of a subwoofer.

    Reply
  23. Wow, I never knew there are difference between woofer and subwoofer. Subwoofer is better to me cause it plays low pitch sound. For quality output, i choose this

    Reply
  24. Thanks now I know what to answer every time I am asked is a subwoofer a speaker?To be honest I do not even know this until now. I guess a car stereo is enough for me.

    Reply
  25. Is a subwoofer a speaker, nope. It’s a powerful speaker that gives you better frequency, consist of more than one woofer for your comfort

    Reply
  26. the purpose of subwoofer is to give quality sounds..I know nothing about subwoofers really..the parts..how it works and all that..your article shed more light on that..also,I don’t know how to install it in my car to get the best sound..thanks for the tips.. So helpful

    Reply
  27. This article lets us understand the purpose of the subwoofer. It also gives us an idea what are the different types of the subwoofer.

    Reply
  28. Until today I didn’t have a clear idea what the purpose of subwoofer is. Thanks for making this point crystal clear 🙂

    Reply
  29. This great article should settle the age old question – is a subwoofer a speaker? I feel quite informed after reading this!

    Reply
  30. The information on the parts of a subwoofer was quite informative. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this 🙂

    Reply
  31. Anyone with wondering what does a subwoofer do in a car should find this piece extremely helpful. I am particularly impressed by how well researched the article is.

    Reply
  32. I now have a clear idea of the difference between woofer and subwoofer. I will never mix up the two again 🙂

    Reply
  33. Many people can’t tell the difference between woofer and subwoofer. This article does a good job of making the distinction very clear!

    Reply
  34. What a great and detailed guide on how a subwoofer works. It is a bit too technical for me but very informative all the same 🙂

    Reply
  35. Thanks for comprehensively answering ‘what does a subwoofer do in a car.’ I couldn’t point to a better explanation of the same!

    Reply
  36. I had no idea that parts of a subwoofer were so complicated. Your article provides a great lesson in the working of subwoofers.

    Reply
  37. It’s clear from the write-up that purpose of subwoofer is very vital. It indeed does enhance your listening experience immensely.

    Reply
  38. Most people don’t know how a subwoofer works, they rather just use it. This article is a good one to expose you to the secret.

    Reply
  39. This article makes it easier by adding in parts of a subwoofer for easier reading and understanding. It’s not as complex sounding and confusing anymore. However, it would be loads better if there’s also an illustration.

    Reply
  40. I have heard about subwoofers but I didn’t know the purpose of subwoofer. So now I know i need a subwoofer for my system, it would really be a blast having one.

    Reply
  41. I have heard about subwoofers but i never really knew the purpose of subwoofer. Going by this article, I think I will be needing a subwoofer for my system, it would really be a blast.

    Reply
  42. Nice sharing for how to do the install a subwoofer, amplifier and enclosure on the car or vehicle right location to perfect setting. It is a very helpful post for those who want to fix a subwoofer on their rider location.

    Reply
  43. What a great article to share. A great contribution especially for someone looking forward to buying a car subwoofer, amplifier and enclosure. If anybody wants to install a new one, this is the most effective share, that will be very helpful for the best choice. Thanks a lot for the post.

    Reply

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