Quad Subwoofers – Are Four Subs Worth It?
Spend any time researching subwoofers and you’ll quickly find that “more is better” is a common theme. We’ve talked about how dual subwoofers are great (and better than one or three subwoofers). But we haven’t talked much about four subwoofers. For some, four subs are the holy grail. The pinnacle of the Mount Everest of bass. What is the deal? What do quad subs do for your home theater and are they worth the extra cost of two additional subwoofers?
Advantages of Dual Subwoofers
As a quick recap, the reason to own two subwoofers is that, when properly placed and set up, they provide more consistent bass throughout your room. This makes it easier for your room correction program to EQ their response making every seat much better for bass. When adding two more subwoofers, surely everything gets even better? Well…
If you follow our article on dual subwoofer setup, you’ll pretty much know how to set up quad subwoofers. Basically mirrored placement around the room. In an enclosed, rectangular room, the most popular options are the four corners. Place your four, identical subwoofers in each of these corners and you’ll be good to go. What was more even bass is now even more evener bass!
But Is It Worth It?
Quad subs sound great to the enthusiast, but is it worth the cost of buying two additional subwoofers? Honestly, in most home theaters, not really. While it will be true that the bass will be more consistent throughout the room, the question is what exactly does that do for you? In a small theater with one or maybe two rows of seats, not a lot. In such theaters, people really only care about one or two seats. The dual subwoofers were already creating pretty consistent bass for those seats.
Who Needs Quad Subs?
This is one of those questions where the answer is, “If you have to ask, it isn’t you.” There are two types of people that talk about adding four subwoofers and how much the extra subwoofers were worth to them. First is the hardcore enthusiast who just wanted “all” the bass and will stop at nothing to ensure they don’t think they wasted their money.
The second type is someone with a large theater and many seats. In such a room, where the consistency of the bass is very important, quad subwoofers will absolutely be worth the price of the additional subs. In a small room, the seats to the sides of the couch are already compromised. They are much closer to speakers on one side of the room which is not great for your surround sound imaging. Plus, anyone sitting in the side seats many times has non-optimal viewing angles. Put all that together, and quad subs in such rooms don’t make sense.
In that larger room, where many seats would be considered “optimal” for sound and viewing, you want the bass to be as good for one seat as for any of the others. Quad subwoofers (or even six or eight subs) would even out the bass throughout the room and totally be worth the extra cost.
What About Non-Rectangular Rooms?
Whenever we are talking about placing subwoofers, we always hope that you have an enclosed, rectangular room. But that isn’t always the case. Many “home theaters” are housed within larger rooms. Open-concept living rooms, large multipurpose basements, etc. In these spaces, predicting how bass waves will interact is very difficult. Quad subs (or even an odd number of subwoofers) might be worth experimenting with. The downside is that you need something like Room EQ Wizard (REW) and the associated hardware. You’ll also need the (admittedly free) MSO software. MSO or Multi-Subwoofer Optimizer will help you dial in many subwoofers in such a space. It is not as easy as setting up dual (or quad) subs in a rectangular room, but it’ll help you get the best bass out of more than two subwoofers.
While using REW and MSO with three or more subs in any room will help you dial in the bass, many times it is not worth the equipment, money, and time investment. In large rooms, getting fully pressurized bass is often not wanted or recommended. In smaller rooms, using a single subwoofer and the subwoofer crawl method is many times sufficient. It may only provide good bass for one seat, but the extra cost of quad subs (or some other number of subwoofers) just isn’t worth it.
Do you have quad subs? How do you like them? Let us know in the comments below!