When setting up a home theater system, you want to be sure that you have everything you need to recreate that theater sound quality in your home. Missing even one key part can derail your whole experience.
As I set about to put together my home theater, I realized that to get the right foundation for the sound I wanted to recreate meant finding the best home theater subwoofer. That set me on a path to researching and studying the top subwoofers on the market to find the one that would rattle my walls with a deep bassline.
You need An excellent Subwoofer - Here's why
Your home theater can have any number of speakers that you want, but there are specific ones you need to give you the basic effects of a theater. You need a center, left, and right speaker and surround sound speakers that bring sound to you from all around the room. Finally, you must have at least one subwoofer.
The subwoofer gives you the bass in a soundtrack. If you watch a movie without subwoofers, it will sound flat. You will also miss out on those low tones that rumble your whole body, such as the exhaust of a car as it speeds away.
Having the right subwoofer will make a massive difference in your overall sound. It can take your system from boring to brilliant. It makes sounds more realistic and brings you the total surround sound you crave.
Before I had my home theater system set up, I could watch movies just fine, but after I installed my system, I could feel the difference. That was because of the subwoofers. They bring the film to life and draw you into the action on the screen. If you’re like me and love action films, you need to choose your subwoofers carefully.
Charactericts of the Best Home Theater Subwoofers
Subwoofers have a fairly simple design. It may seem like something so uncomplicated would not have much variance, and you could just buy whatever you find. The reality is the simplicity of them is deceptive. The details matter.
I wish I had known this before buying my first subwoofer because I, too, thought any old subwoofer would do. Now that I have a quality one, though, I can hear and feel the difference.
To find a quality subwoofer, you need to discover what quality means when it comes to this type of speaker.
Quality is tricky because it can be subjective. I feel, though, in a subwoofer, quality means it delivers clear tones and deep bass. To find this, look for the following attributes.
You want to look for a speaker that delivers on the lowest frequencies. These are those that you can barely hear, but you feel them roll through your body. A subwoofer that can do this is magic.
The trouble with frequency is that the number reported by manufacturers isn’t always the best because they test them in an anechoic chamber, which is a chamber that absorbs sound. As you probably know, bass needs to be able to spread out for an accurate idea of the sound.
What you can do is choose size carefully. The reason a subwoofer doesn’t work well in an anechoic chamber is that bass waves are long and need space to move. A larger subwoofer will produce a deeper sound.
However, if you go too large, you may get too much bass, which may not blend well with your other speakers. That’s almost as bad as not having enough bass.
On the other hand, limited space produces a clipped sound that doesn’t reach its full potential. A smaller speaker can give a good boom of bass if it has the right amount of power coming to it. So, if you opt for a smaller speaker, then make sure it has a higher power rating.
You also want frequency accuracy, which is where the sound is clean. You shouldn’t hear thuds or any warping with a high-quality subwoofer.
You wouldn’t want a speaker that tends to lose part of its sound, right? You want a speaker that can maintain the volume throughout whatever is playing.
Lower quality subwoofers often drop volume at low frequencies. You need one that maintains volume no matter the frequency.
It also needs to blend well with your other speakers. The ideal system produces a whole sound where you hear everything at once in harmony. You should never hear the subwoofer standing out.
Another sign that it isn’t blending as it should is if it doesn’t have clean starts and stops. It needs to start quickly and stop fast enough to provide detail without bleeding. You don’t want a subwoofer that can’t keep pace with the action in the movie or television show.
Finally, high quality means that it performs with no distortion when the volume rises naturally in a soundtrack. It needs to have energy from start to finish, even with those deepest tones.
5 Subwoofers to Consider for a Rocking Home Theater
Here is a look at five subwoofers on the market that all make exceptional choices for the best subwoofer for home theater use.
Polk Audio PSW10
The PSW10 from Polk Audio is a 10-inch subwoofer that can run on up to 100 watts. The design is specific to home theater systems to allow it to fit right in with your other speakers. It has a high current amp and a low-pass filter.
This little subwoofer can do a fantastic job that you might not expect in such a small package. It is excellent at blowing similar speakers out of the water when it comes to rumbling bass sounds that are clear and distinct.
The NS-SW050BL from Yamaha is an 8-inch 100-watt subwoofer. It features a twisted flare port, which helps produce bass that is tighter and clearer. Coming from the powerhouse Yamaha, which is known for producing products that help create beautiful music, it features advanced Yamaha Active Servo Technology II, which also tightens the bass and optimizes the overall performance for stability and accuracy.
With its unidirectional bass sound, this subwoofer provides all-around performance that will keep a room thumping. It performs at the same level as previous models Yamaha has now taken off the market, making it an ideal addition to your home theater if you prefer Yamaha products.
Bose Bass Module 700
If you are in the market for a wireless subwoofer, then look no further than the Bose Bass Module 700. This compact subwoofer lets you feel the rumble, which you might not expect with its small size. As a wireless model, you get the ease of installation without unsightly wires.
Performance excellence comes from a range of low tones that let you feel the bass and clarity that eliminates distortion. It provides dynamic and vibrant bass that rivals any movie theater.
Polk Audio PSW111
If you want something small with a big sound, try the PSW111 subwoofer from Polk Audio. Measuring in at 8-inches, this little speaker can shake the house with rumbling bass. Polk Audio created a unique design of the speaker to deliver top-notch sound.
Pump up the volume without losing clarity, and expect to get richness even in the lowest notes. It also blends nicely with existing speakers for a modern home theater look.
This front-firing subwoofer from Klipsch features 300 watts of power to provide a punch. The 10-inch speaker has a built-in all-digital amplifier and provides you with a sound blend that gives you the perfect level of bass for watching movies.
This unit puts out clean and tight sounds that can get the job done as well as larger subwoofers. If you need something small but don’t want to sacrifice on boom, then this may be a good option for you.
The Bottom Line
Considering everything about how to choose the best home theater subwoofer and the reviews of the products, the top choice for me is the Bose Bass Module 700. While wireless may not be for everyone, this subwoofer knocked it out of the park when looking at overall quality.
It provides clear sounds, no distortion issues, and bass that will rumble. It is the closest you can get to an actual movie theater sound in your own home.
The only downside is the price, which runs expensive, especially for a subwoofer. However, this is a case of getting what you pay for, and I assure you this subwoofer is worth the money for the experience it delivers