The Best Home Subwoofers of 2016
If you are looking to buy a home subwoofer then you are almost certainly a more discerning audio fan than the average person.
The truth is that as far as bass goes, many people don't quite know what they are missing. Whether it is music or movie sounds, everybody needs the deeper frequencies to get a full audio experience and impact, whether they realize it or not.
People will typically take three factors into account when weighing up which subwoofer to buy: power, brand, and price. I have sought to provide a range of choices that will suit a variety of requirements and budgets.
I hope that you enjoy reading my top 5 list of selections for the best home subwoofer 2016 and find it useful.
#1 Best Mid-Priced Subwoofer: The Polk Audio PSW505: Clear, Deep, and Thunderous!
Polk deservedly have an excellent reputation for producing well-built subwoofers and whether you use it for music or movie watching, the Polk Audio PSW505 is a single powered home subwoofer that delivers big performance and a chest-thumping bass sound that is clear, deep, and loud.
- With 300 watts continuous power amplification (460 watts dynamic) and huge hi-roll surrounds to support a true 12-inch long-throw woofer for precise, superior bass delivery. Adjustable low pass crossover, phase switch and volume control enables excellent blending with main speakers.
- The on/off switch can detect if there is a signal and automatically turn the subwoofer off when not in use for 15 minutes or so. Speaker inputs and outputs are pro-grade 5-way binding posts.
- The Polk is also magnetically shielded, so you can place the sub next to a TV or video monitor safely. Slot-load venting improves bass response and dramatically reduces turbulence, noise and distortion.
- Adjustable low pass crossover, phase switch and volume control allows perfect blending with any main speaker.
The PSW505 is capable of delivering both subtlety and strength as and when required and offers maximum valuefor money in the mid-price range.
Subwoofer Guide: What to Watch out For
Your chances of buying the best subwoofer for your needs are greatly improved if you understand the basics of what all the various specs mean - that way you can purchase the appropriate sub for your audio system and room.
Audio power comes from low frequencies, the bass, so the importance of subwoofers can never be underestimated. Below is a brief guide to what the most common specifications mean in practice.
- Power - The important thing to note about power is that generally speaking, the more power you have, the better. Having more power doesn't mean that you have to play the sub any louder (unless you want to), but it does mean that it will generally perform better than a lower powered unit at the same volume. Power is normally measured in watts, but there are a few additional complications when it comes to amplification.
- Size - In general, a bigger driver will deliver more bass. Subwoofer drivers are typically around 12 inches in size, although they can be bigger or smaller. The driver size is not the whole story however as power is also a factor. That means the smaller the driver, the more power it needs to deliver the same amount of bass.
- Placement - If volume is your main concern then putting the subwoofer against a wall or in a corner will give it a boost. It won't necessarily be good for sound quality however. The best way to do that is to sit in your favorite listening position and get someone else to try the sub out in different spots. You will be surprised how much the bass output will vary in tone and quality when it is coming from different locations. That's because low frequency sound waves are long and so can interact with the shape and acoustics of a room quite dramatically.
Affordable and Front-Firing: The Yamaha YST-SW216BL!
The Yamaha YST-SW216BL is an affordable 100 watt front-firing subwoofer that offers outstanding value. Its sophisticated design features include a 10 long-stroke cone driver with magnetic shielding to provide safety and versatility when it comes to placement.
Advanced Yamaha Active Servo Technology cancels out impedance for precise linear motion. Advanced YST also ensures superior performance and sound pressure.
Constructed from high-density MDF, the cabinet is solid enough to prevent resonance and maintain accuracy. The Yamaha YST-SW216BL has a frequency response of 25-180Hz.
The BIC America F12: Large Output For a Low Price!
The BIC America F12 is a front-firing subwoofer that uses a 475 watt amplifier designed by BASH Technology combined with a 12-inch injection molded long-throw woofer.
It is an outstanding home subwoofer for its price range and has a substantial output capability of up to 116dB, which is the approaching the level of a live rock band.
A patented BIC "Venturi" vent cancels out the port noise which can afflict some subwoofers, especially at higher volumes.
Other features include adjustable crossover and volume control, plus automatic signal sensing. The frequency response of the BIC America F12 is 25-200Hz.
Thrilling Bass For a Reasonable Price: The Sony SA-W3000/Z!
A step up from the Sony SA-W2500, the SA-W3000/Z Subwoofer has 180 watts of power at its disposal and is an exceptional home subwoofer for the price. Just crank up the bass and be prepared to be impressed.
The 12" Mica-reinforced woofer delivers low audio that is positively thrilling. Volume control allows you adjust sound levels to suit the room environment and seamlessly blend the sub with existing speakers.
As well as a speaker cabinet that is constructed to maximize output, the Advanced SAW Bass Reflex design provides optimum air flow for fuller audio in the lower frequencies.
An active subwoofer ensures that additional power is driven to the low frequency effects channel, delivering a fuller bass impact. The Sony's frequency response of 20-200Hz.
#1 Best Wireless Subwoofer: The MartinLogan Dynamo: Enables Placement Flexibility!!
The MartinLogan Dynamo range of subwoofers offers high-end bass audio performance and their Dynamo 700W model offers maximum value in the premium audio category. In short you get plenty of power and accurate delivery of dramatic detail.
Ideal for larger rooms, a built-in wireless receiver means that you have enormous flexibility when it comes to placement options for this subwoofer - you can put it just about anywhere and you won't have to worry about unsightly cables. (The incorporated wireless receiver - digital RF transmission - for use with the included SWT-2 MartinLogan Subwoofer Wireless Transmitter).
Featuring a high-current 500-watt RMS, 1,000-watt peak amplifier and 12-inch cone driver, this subwoofer delivers room-shaking bass that is tight and effortless, as well as deep. Although defaulted to a down-firing setup, the Dynamo 700W can easily be converted into a front-firing configuration, if and when required.