Subwoofers: What is it and Types of Subwoofers?

What is subwoofer

What is a subwoofer

You have heard this name all around whenever you search about speaker sets or home theatre setups. The name subwoofer comes all around, what does it actually mean and what is its purpose? In this article, we are going to know about subwoofers.

In simple words, a subwoofer is a type of speaker that is dedicated to delivering bass. That’s it? You see not all speakers can deliver quality low-frequency sounds. It became a huge issue when instruments like bass guitar, kick drum, or pipe organ was in the song. The effect was insignificant when they were played in normal speakers, that’s why subwoofers are used, to emphasize lower-level frequencies and enhance the overall quality of the audio. 

If you are someone who will listen to bass-heavy songs, EDM, or hip hop then subwoofers are perfect for you. But what if you don’t listen to those? Do you still need one? Absolutely! 

Many movies, TV shows, and songs have some kind of low-frequency sounds going around. The problem with normal speakers is that in the name of emphasizing low-frequency sounds, the speaker just increases the volume, which at one point becomes irritating. As the volume increases, the quality of the audio also decreases, and noise increases. A subwoofer is a solution for this, a dedicated speaker to deliver low-frequency sounds.

Also Read: What gauge speaker wire to use for subwoofers and home theatres

There are mainly two types of a subwoofer: Passive and active or powered

Passive and active subwoofers

Passive: The classification is really simple, passive subwoofers need an external amplifier to power up. The subwoofer needs more power to fire up low-frequency sounds, so the amplifier should receive enough power for the subwoofer to produce quality audio. 

Powered/ Active subwoofer: This is what we can call a self-contained subwoofer, both the speaker and amplifier are in the box or enclosure or whatever you would like to call it. The subwoofer and the amplifier are matched to deliver optimal performance.

Also Read: 8+ Best Underseat Subwoofers you should Buy-in 2021

What is a free air subwoofer though?

You can guess a little bit from the name but still, if you are not able to, free air subwoofers are just subwoofers that don’t have a sub box. Which means it is open and has nobody. This is somewhat similar to a passive subwoofer as it does not come with an amplifier so you need to get an external amplifier.


Many people think subwoofers are not important but little do they know how much value a subwoofer provides, whether you listen to bass-rich songs or not. The subwoofer enhances the level of accuracy and detail in the audio we are listening to. Subwoofers should be a must whenever someone buys a speaker system.

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