modern orange subwoofer speaker

Guide to Buying a Cheap Subwoofer

Knowledge Base

If you are a music lover, you know what kind of difference powerful bass can make to your listening experience. Being able to hear the full range of sound makes every genre from classical to pop sound richer and fill your house better. Standard home theater and stereo speakers lack the deepest base because the vibration would interfere with the other sounds. That’s where a dedicated subwoofer comes into play.

Fortunately for anyone who just spent a small fortune on speakers and a home theater receiver, adding a standalone subwoofer does not have to be expensive. See our tips for shopping for a subwoofer on a budget below.

What to Know When Buying a Cheap Subwoofer

Choosing the right subwoofer for your home theatre or external speakers can offer you real quality listening experience. This guide will help you select the best unit for a surge of low-frequency punch. Here are some crucial factors to consider when shopping.

The Subwoofer Size

Size is an important consideration when you want to buy a subwoofer; the larger the surface area, the lower and deeper the unit’s response. Thus, a 15-inch sub will offer you deep, rumbling surround sound.

Your Current Home Theatre

You may be tempted to go for the most critical unit available, but it’s not always the best since it must blend with your current home theatre or other external speakers. If your system features compact satellite or bookshelf speakers, an 8” or 10” unit will match out perfectly. On the other hand, if you have prominent floor standing speakers, a 12” sub would pair nicely.

Size of the Driver

If your driver is too big, it may not keep up with rapid drumbeats. On the other hand, if the driver is too small, you may not feel the tremble of your favorite action movie. An 8” would be a practical and economical size that will faithfully reproduce booming sound output.

Size of the Room

Also, the size of the room in which you want to place a subwoofer matters a lot. A large living area would work well with a large unit to move air and produce more bass, while a small room will require a smaller subwoofer for tight, clean, and crisp bass so that you don’t overwhelm your space.

How Much Power Do You Need?

When you’re shopping for a subwoofer, pay attention to the unit’s continuous power or RMS rating. Two main groups of subwoofers are in the market – passive and powered subwoofers.

Passive subs are powered by an external amp, while the powered units have their power source. A quality subwoofer that will offer you real heart-thumping bass can go as low as 20Hz, while the crossover frequency should be about 100Hz.

You should also check the amplifier wattage since the higher the wattage, the more powerful and effective the bass. If you want to make the earth move, you can go for a high wattage amp if your budget allows.

In addition to this feature, a powerful down-firing subwoofer can shake your living space, and if you have neighbors downstairs, your unit can be a source of the disturbance. A down-firing sub will radiate the bass downwards on the floor, while a front-firing unit will radiate bass from the side or the front.

As much as you enjoy earth shaking booming bass, ensure that your choice will not be a source of disturbance to your neighbors. Therefore, make sure that you consider the mounting and the sound radiation construction of your unit.

Seal vs. Ported: Which One Sounds Better?

The enclosure is the cabinet that houses a subwoofer and can either be sealed or ported. The design can dramatically affect the performance of a unit. The sealed enclosure is also known as the acoustic suspension and doesn’t move air giving it quick and tight bass.

On the other hand, ported enclosures or bass reflex feature a built-in outlet that allows air to move and extends the bass response for low rattling output. Ported units are more power-efficient but not as accurate as the sealed enclosure types.

Also, the ported boxes are more significant than the sealed enclosures. However, neither is better than the other – your choice will depend mainly on the application. For instance, if you want to listen to audio tracks with acoustic genres like jazz and classical music, we’d recommend an acoustic suspension for clean, hard-hitting bass.

Besides, if you prefer rock, hip-hop and also need to listen to movie soundtracks, a bass reflex unit would be an excellent choice.

When Should You Consider a Wireless Subwoofer?

The inclusion of a wireless remote subwoofer makes your life more convenient. When you connect your sub to a home theatre system, you expect cables running from one part of the room to another. Tangling wires and cables are not an exciting sight and can be a source of hazard to you and your family.

Today, more and more subwoofer companies are opting for units that feature remote control functions that allow you to adjust the settings without leaving the comfort of your seat. Additionally, a wireless unit will receive a signal via a transmitter that connects to the receiver.

Also, there’s a wireless kit that is available in the market right now that can convert any subwoofer unit into a wireless unit. Make sure that you get a power protection device that will enhance the durability of your sub.

Custom Sound

Subwoofers that feature pre-set sound can be very useful as they customize the unit’s bass frequency response and output depending on what you’re listening to. Some subs will allow you to indicate where you can place them, like in a corner, cabinet, mid-wall, etc.

High-end units will feature built-in microphones that sample your surroundings and adjust the output to match the room acoustics.

Tailoring Your Subwoofer for a Balanced Chest Thumbing Bass in Your Living Room

At the end of the day, as much as you have factored in all the features of a quality subwoofer to meet your entertainment needs, it’s important to see how the unit will integrate with your home theatre system or external speakers.

To achieve a bass distribution in your living room or other space where you want to enhance the sound, you can have a dual-sub setup to reproduce the lowest tones. A home theater receiver features an RCA output that allows you to connect a subwoofer. Some receivers feature two subwoofer outputs where you can add a second unit to your system.

Some subwoofers feature cool technological advancements that allow you to shape your unit’s sound to match the room’s acoustics. Such subs come with onboard digital signal processing controls with room-correction software to tailor the sound to get an aggressively booming performance.

Other units in this category of best cheap subwoofers feature a simple, effective way of dialing into your sub through an app on your mobile device. A sub with a built-in microphone captures a near-field measurement of your subwoofer and compares the sound from different parts of your living room to automatically provide you a smooth EQ curve for low rumbling bass output.

These beneficial features we have discussed in this guide will help you purchase a subwoofer that will indeed offer you the performance you desire. 

Final Words

Before you begin shopping for a subwoofer, you need to establish how much power you need. Bass is the bedrock upon which crisp, clean, and surround sound manifests for any entertainment unit. It’s the bass that rocks you up and grabs you right in the gut. A lot goes into building a bass system, so finding the right package for you can be daunting. You also need to find the perfect place to place your subwoofer.

However, this guide will give you insight into the best ten cheap subwoofers that are a budget buy and at the same time offer you high-quality features. According to your entertainment needs, these subwoofers will provide you with a full, crisp performance every time.