Is A Bad Subwoofer Better Than No Subwoofer?

We are not here to judge, so we won’t ask how you ended up in this situation. You’ve got a choice – bad subwoofer or no subwoofer. We’ve been there. We bought something without doing our research and ended up with an underperforming product and no money to replace it. Our system was a hand-me-down and the sub was the weak link. Maybe it was an all-in-one system and the sub is the only piece that isn’t up to par. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got a bad subwoofer and you know it. Should you use it or just go without? Let’s discuss!

As Always, Try it Out

If you already have the sub, then it costs you nothing to try it out. Your experience will tell you more than any of our theorizing. Run your room correction and hope for the best. You’ll want to listen for any distortion. This might sound like buzzing, clanging, or chuffing noises. That last one would be the air being pushed in and out of the port. None of these sounds are actually bass. They are just noises that your bad subwoofer is making that will make your content sound worse.

If you can pick your “subwoofer” up with one hand, it probably isn’t very good

What If You Are Thinking of Buying?

What if you are in a different situation? You are on the market for a subwoofer but don’t have a lot of cash. Should you save your money or purchase an underperforming subwoofer right now? You probably already know what we are going to say, but we’ll say it anyway.

There are deals to be had. SVS and other online retailers sell B-stock all the time. They also have sales. If you are looking at a bad subwoofer only because of the price, take some time and you’ll probably be able to find a deal sooner than you think.

The reality is that most bad subwoofers do more harm than good in a system. That distortion we talked about above? That’s a hallmark of bad subs. They make noise that may sound similar to bass, but it isn’t the actual bass that is called for in your content. You may even convince yourself that it is not that bad, but it is. When you buy a “real” subwoofer, you’ll realize it and probably end up online trying to get other people to do the same.

Wrap Up

Bad subwoofers don’t just add noise to your system. That noise can obfuscate other sounds. Can’t understand what is being said in some scenes? That could be your bad sub. Do explosions and deep bass sound weird? That’s your bad sub. Weird clanging noises and rattles? Also your bad sub. While we think having a subwoofer is important, a bad one can make everything sound so much worse. With so many reasonable options out there and deals to be had, it makes sense to us to wait until you can find the subwoofer you deserve.

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