Choosing a SUBWOOFER

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Choosing a SUBWOOFER

What sort of price range should one aim for when choosing a subwoofer in comparison with the value of one's speakers? If my speakers are worth £800, would a decent £200 subwoofer give satisfaction? At the other extreme, if I bought a subwoover costing £1,000 would I get an excellent, if not optimum, result or a bad one?

Adrian

RE: Choosing a SUBWOOFER

I would wholeheartedly recommend the Mirage Omni S10 (or even the smaller S8) subwoofer. It produces excellent, realistic sound even at low frequency. Moreover, the control panel is located at the front, not at the back of the unit. The quality is better than, say Energy or Velodyne. But Infinity ranks close.

The mirage S10 cost about $500.00 and the S8 about 300.00, but you can get better deals at eBay (or perhaps even at Amazon). But beware, should you get the S10, be mindful of its dimensions (its about 40lbs and about 16depth X 16height X 15width).

Dave.

 

 

David A. Hollingsworth

RE: Home

The price/quality of your main speakers is only relevant insofar as it indicates how much you might be prepared to pay, and what quality of sound you might demand. 

Because of the frequency range they operate in, there isn't that much of an issue of 'matching' the sound of your existing speakers.  

But a poor subwoofer will spoil the sound of anything you listen to.

A subwoofer is designed to generate more bass than an 'ordinary' (woofer + tweeter) speaker.  You get more bass by moving more air. And you move more air by having a bigger drive units (eg, a 10" cone rather than a 8" one). A bigger drive unit also enables lower frequencies, so the deeper the bass you want, the bigger the speaker you need.

But just having a bigger drive unit is only part of the design - the cone has got to move in a controlled way, or it'll sound dreadful. 

Bigger drive units are harder to control than smaller ones, and tend to require more expensive components (bigger/stronger magnets, more complex cone design), and require more power (amplification). Bigger drive units also need bigger speaker housings, which are harder to make rigid than smaller ones.

On the other hand, the bigger the drive unit, the bigger the surface area, so the more air it can move for the same cone movement (excursion), so there's less chance of distortion.

So it's matter of balancing the lowest frequency you want to achieve, the complexity of achieving it with a given speaker size without distortion, and the required amplification to achieve a given loudness (since most subwoofers are active and include their own amps).  The lower & louder you want, the more expensive it will be.

And yes - all of the above inevitably over-simplifies things and misses stuff out (eg, enclosure design is an important aspect).  Have a look at the Wikipedia article on subwoofers for more information.

Fwiw, the subwoofer I have has two 8" drive units, which have c.100 sq.inches of surface area - ie, not that much less than a single 12" drive unit (which has c.113 sq.inches) - so they can move quite a lot of air. And the integrated 250W amplifier provides plenty of power.

Whilst two 8" speakers won't generate quite as low frequencies as a single 12" unit, it goes quite low enough for my listening needs, as I want to listen to music, rather than ground-shaking explosions on movie soundtracks.

It's also easier to find somewhere to 'hide' something with two 8" speakers side-by-side, than it is a box with one huge 12" speaker.

Oh, and the fact that it cost under £200, reduced to clear from over £700, may also have played a part in my purchasing decision ;-)

The price of 'ordinary' speakers seems to have stayed relatively stable in absolute terms for a long time, so I would think you could get an excellent subwoofer for under £1000, and a perfectly good one for half that.

Or you could always try building your own :-)

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Choosing a SUBWOOFER

Thank you for taking so much trouble over your answer.

Adrian

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