Home Theater Review

 

Subwoofer Reviews

No audiophile system nor home theater system is complete without at least one subwoofer, also known as a LFE or point one channel. Setting up a subwoofer used to require a lot of guess work, but modern subwoofers tend to feature internal amps, EQ systems, and room correction software. With all these settings, it's easy to set up your subwoofer to integrate with your floorstanding speakers or your bookshelf speakers. Look below for a complete list of reviews of the best subwoofers from brands like Revel, Bowers & Wilkins, Paradigm, JL Audio, Wilson Audio, and many others.

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Episode Landscape Speaker Kit and Burial Subwoofer

Episode Landscape Speaker Kit and Burial Subwoofer

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

I was recently introduced to Episode Speakers by Sean Killebrew, who reviewed the company's in-wall speakers and had good things to say about them. When I was asked if I wanted to dig up my backyard to run wires and... Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The HomeTheaterReview.com staff has discussed all the products reviewed over the year and decided which ones rated the best. Check out our list of the best of 2013. Read More

 
RBH SX-1212P/R Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

RBH SX-1212P/R Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Andrew Robinson takes a look at the RBH SX-1212P/R subwoofer, putting the subwoofer to the test. Robinson's evaluation encompasses music and movie performance as he determines if the SX-1212P/R's performance justifies its price. Read More

 
SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer Reviewed

SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer Reviewed

By Sean Killebrew

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

SVS is known for their subwoofers, and for good reason. HomeTheaterReview.com reviewer Sean Killebrew acquaints himself with the SVS SB13-Ultra and tests just what this subwoofer can do. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The Home Theater Review staff has looked over all of the year's impressive offerings - of which there were many - and narrowed it down to what they believe to be the best of 2012. Read More

 
Outlaw Audio M8 Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

Outlaw Audio M8 Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Outlaw Audio's M8 subwoofer found its way into Andrew Robinson's system for review. Robinson put the speaker to the test to find out how much thump you get for your buck. Here's what he found out. Read More

 
REL Acoustics Ltd. T-7 Subwoofer Reviewed

REL Acoustics Ltd. T-7 Subwoofer Reviewed

By Terry London

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Many companies can falter when trying to bring some of the quality of their reference products to the more affordable ones. Terry London evaluates the REL Acoustics Ltd T-7 subwoofer to find out if that is the case here. Read More

 
Bowers & Wilkins DB-1 Subwoofer Reviewed

Bowers & Wilkins DB-1 Subwoofer Reviewed

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

The Bowers & Wilkins DB-1 subwoofer is a force to be reckoned with. Packed with setup options and room equalization features, the DB-1 should meet the demands of any room. However, reviewer Brian Kahn did find some caveats to that upside. Read More

 
Paradigm Monitor SUB 12, Perfect Bass Kit and PT-2 Wireless Transmitter Reviewed

Paradigm Monitor SUB 12, Perfect Bass Kit and PT-2 Wireless Transmitter Reviewed

By Sean Killebrew

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Sean Killebrew found the Paradigm Monitor SUB 12 to be an exemplary subwoofer on its own, but when he paired it with the Perfect Bass Kit, things took a dramatic turn. Read on to find out more. Read More

 
miniDSP 2x4 Digital Signal Processor Reviewed

miniDSP 2x4 Digital Signal Processor Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The miniDSP 2x4 digital signal processor is a product that will surprise you. It surprised reviewer Andrew Robinson, delivering an impressive amount of performance given its modest asking price. Read More

 

Everything You Need To Know About Subwoofers

1.0 Overview of Home Theater Subwoofers
2.0 Types of Subwoofers
3.0 Room Correction For subwoofers



1.0 Overview of Home Theater Subwoofers
Subwoofers are speakers designed specifically and exclusively to reproduce the lowest register of audio in home theater and audiophile systems. Often using large drivers sealed in a square-shaped box, subwoofers originally were designed to augment the lackluster bass performance of floor-standing speakers. Getting subs to integrate with audiophile speakers in the early days was without question a challenge but, when done properly, the results added tremendous impact to the overall sound.

Today, subwoofers get a lot more respect, because in 5.1 surround, the "point 1" channel is the LFE or subwoofer channel, meaning that even with most good surround sound formats, ranging from Dolby Digital to DTS to today's best lossless formats like DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD, your subwoofer is getting discrete audio mixed and mastered only for your woofer. The significance of this for audio and movies is that the mixing engineer can determine exactly where the most bass-demanding effects or instruments can go; the best place for them to go in the mix is the subwoofer. It allows your main speakers to do what they do best and do it more clearly, while not sucking the life out of your amplifiers, which are trying to power a gigantic explosion or the dynamics of a tympani drum. Most modern subwoofers today are powered with digital or powerful class AB amplifiers, allowing them to do their job of reproducing bass from around 140 Hertz to subsonic levels of below 20 Hertz.

2.0 Types of Subwoofers
There are two main categories of subwoofers: passive and active. Passive subwoofers are woofers generally lacking internal amplification, which means they require one channel of amplification and sometimes an external crossover component. Passive subwoofers were more popular in the late 1980s and 1990s, but with the advent of class-D digital amps, specifically with Bob Carver's Sunfire True Subwoofer, the size of powered subwoofers shrank and the power, volumes and depths that even a small subwoofer could reach drastically increased. Today, it,s hard to find a passive subwoofer in the market, as most of those currently available in the marketplace are active.

3.0 Room Correction For Active Subwoofers
One of the most important developments, along with the application of digital (class D) internal amplifiers, for powered or active subwoofers is the advent of automated room correction for subwoofers. Increasingly active subwoofers had more and more set-up options that, without question, confused the heck out of consumers who didn't know how to set parameters such as phase, let alone how to physically place a subwoofer to get the best performance and most seamless integration with their main speakers.

Today's most feature-rich subwoofers come with room correction software and a calibration microphone which, with the flip of a switch or two, can easily optimize the settings and even the placement of a subwoofer in a music or home theater system. The audible difference between a subwoofer optimized for a room vs. one just plunked on the floor and turned on is not subtle. The room has a major effect on a subwoofer and placement can make a gigantic difference. Setting levels, phase and polarity can also make a notable improvement that can be heard by mainstream consumers.