This is the first of a series of articles all about subwoofers from our friends at Aperion Audio

Why do I Need a Subwoofer?

Contributed by | Aperion Audio

Subwoofers are Awesome!

But why? Well, there are many reasons:

  • Engineers feel liberated, they are finally able to design speakers that are bass specialists without the compromises imposed by the main speakers, without the impositions that bass requirements demand.
  • Now that subwoofers have allowed the main speakers to shrink to tiny proportions, wives appreciate having their living rooms back. Plus, since sub bass is non-directional, they can be hidden away and out of sight.
  • Audiophiles are grateful to have a fix for those bass problems that were once grudgingly tolerated.
  • Those who delight in illusion marvel at how their tiny little speakers can magically seem to produce such a huge sound.

How can subwoofers make so many people so happy? Well… by fooling Mother Nature. It just so happens that you, like all humans, are not equipped to tell where pure bass tones come from. Thanks, physics! When wavelengths are a lot longer than the distance between your ears, the kind of information you need to locate sound just isn’t there. Fortunately, the miracle that is your ear (and the processing behind it) has come up with an ingenious solution. Get this – when a low bass note arrives, your ear first determines which of the higher frequency sounds (overtones) are associated with it, figures out where they came from, then “positions” the bass at the overtones’ location. Yep, your brain automatically performs this sonic switcheroo all the time.

Naturally, it was just a matter of time until some clever engineer-type figured out how to exploit all this. “Let’s just put the bass-making speaker over there” he reasoned “and the little speaker that reproduces its overtones over here, and it will sound like all that bass is coming from this little speaker!” It worked, and EUREKA — the subwoofer was born.

How Subwoofers Help

Since subwoofers became widely accepted in the 70’s, they have evolved to the point where they can arguably be considered the most important advancement in home audio in the last 30 years. Check out the ways subwoofers help:

  • Speakers used to be big so that they could efficiently reproduce bass. But now that subwoofers have freed your main speakers from this demanding chore, they can be nice and small – allowing you limitless placement flexibility around the room or even in the ceiling!
  • What determines the overall sound quality of your audio system? You might be surprised that the quality of the speakers themselves rival the importance of where you put them. Speaker placement is that important. But the optimal locations for the bass are often at odds with the demands of good stereo, clean, full midrange, and the ease of living with your speakers when they’re not working. Now the subwoofer can be put in formerly forbidden places, like a corner, where it can make better bass nicely tucked out of the way. Meanwhile, the now-small main speakers are much easier to place where they belong.
  • Here’s an astounding piece of audio trivia: a speaker can theoretically deliver 64 times more bass energy in one room placement than in another! This used to mean that a speaker needed to be in a specified place to keep its bass in balance with the rest of the sound. Now you can get good tonal balance – regardless of room placement – simply by turning the knob on the back of the subwoofer.
  • The main speakers aren’t the only things that have been shrunk – even subwoofers themselves have reduced in size over the years. Since they come with their own amplifier, it’s easy to add electronic equalization to compensate for an undersized box.
  • Subwoofers make your main speakers sound even better. Let’s explore a few examples. Since small speaker enclosures have less surface area, there’s less material that can vibrate with sound. Which means less resonance. Which means you’re hearing your music, and not the wood in your speaker buzzing. Another is that the problematic electronics needed to shape the woofer’s output can be replaced by cheap and effective filters in the amplifier that do a better job.
  • Small speakers look a lot better in your living room. Ask the people you live with.

In Conclusion

If you haven’t guessed by now, we love subwoofers. Hopefully you’re convinced that you need one. Your next question is probably, “what do I look for?” Stay tuned and we'll answer that one here in the near future.  Good luck exploring the wonderful world of sub bass.

 

Aperion Audio

We are dedicated audio enthusiasts committed to helping you create the sound experience of your life, at a price that won't break the bank.

 

 

Aperion Audio

Aperion Audio

We are dedicated audio enthusiasts committed to helping you create the sound experience of your life, at a price that won't break the bank.

Other Articles

The Science of Sound and Anatomy of a Speaker
Have you ever wondered how speakers work? It main seem complicated on the surface, but actually speakers utilize a couple of fairly simple concepts to achieve sound reproduction.
Speaker Stands Vs. Wall Mounts
Placing speakers can be a difficult task, not only do you need to balance visual aesthetics with optimal sound performance, but there are different guidelines for placing each speaker in a surround sound set up.
Choosing Your Surround Speakers
Positioning the surround speakers is crucial in order to enjoy the immersive sound that home theater is known for. But, deciding which configuration and what type of speaker to use can be daunting.
More about Aperion Audio

Comments (0)

This post does not have any comments. Be the first to leave a comment below.


Post A Comment

You must be logged in before you can post a comment. Login now.

Featured Product

VMP’s new ERVR Series of Vertical Equipment

VMP's new ERVR Series of Vertical Equipment

VMP's new ERVR Series of Vertical Equipment Racks are available in 1U, 2U, and 4U configurations, and are now shipping. For installation applications that lack the space for conventional floor or wall cabinets, such as in smaller security IT rooms and offices, this innovative compact solution provides plenty of versatility. The series accommodates rack equipment of any depth; equipment can be wall mounted vertically or under a desk horizontally; standard 10-32 threading; fold out design reduces packaging and shipping; steel construction; load capacity - 150 lbs.; black finish; ER-VR4U: 4U; ER-VR2U: 2U; ER-VR1U: 1U The versatile ERVR series gives you a flexible, reliable and affordable solution for all of your limited space installations requiring up to a 150 lb. weight capacity. Simple in design but rugged in construction, it's tough enough for even your most challenging applications.