Subwoofers

When Is A Bigger Subwoofer Better?


In my last article (here), I discussed why a bigger subwoofer was of no benefit to most people in many cases. In most situations, you pay more for a larger subwoofer that you just turn down. Sure, it’s cool to brag that you have so much extra headroom “in case” you need it. Spoiler alert – you won’t! But when is a bigger subwoofer better? Let’s discuss!

So A Bigger Subwoofer Is Better?

I know my last article was a browbeating to keep you from buying the biggest subwoofer that you could find. But there are some legitimate situations where I would suggest a bigger subwoofer is better. Let’s go!

Reason 1 – Placement

We all don’t have dedicated rooms where we can place multiple subwoofers. In this case, if two smaller, quality subwoofers are off the table due to placement issues, a larger one could fit the bill. But, as I said earlier, you can turn down a good subwoofer, but not the other way around. So if a single, smaller sub is likely to underperform, go big! 

Reason 2 – Budget

If you have a fixed budget and don’t plan to or can’t upgrade to dual subwoofers in the future, then a single big subwoofer is better. For example, a single SVS SB2000 Pro is $1100, while a pair of SVS PB1000 Pro’s are $1600. SVS will offer you a discount by buying two, but it still doesn’t compare to the price of a single SB2000.

On top of that, if your option is two subwoofers that are each too small for your room, or one “big” subwoofer that is appropriate for your room size, the answer is always the larger sub. In this case, I can get behind a bigger, single subwoofer. 

Reason 3 – Room Size

Ok, so this is a no-brainer. A big subwoofer is needed if you have a massive or open concept room. While you won’t be able to pressurize a space that large (nor would you enjoy it), extra large subs in an extra large room make sense. So, in this case, you probably need the largest subwoofer (or two) you can find.

Not For The Feint Of Heart

Big ‘ole subwoofers are a lifestyle choice, folks. While they may be needed for their performance, there are some serious drawbacks. First, they tend to be expensive. A well-made subwoofer with adequate power and extension is not cheap. Many newcomers to home theater and AV tend to initially try and go as cheap as possible. This leads to spending more money upgrading to finally get to the endgame. Remember, buy once, cry once. If you need big subwoofers on a budget, go used!

Secondly, the size is no joke. Reading that your new subwoofer is a 20x20x20″ cube seems pretty reasonable…on paper. Make a cardboard box the same size, and you will quickly realize how monolithic that sub really is. You must commit to knowing there is no easy way to hide it. Make peace with the fact that your new subwoofer will be a room feature!

Lastly, they are HEAVY! I hope your home theater is on the main level. A large subwoofer’s weight adds up quickly with good bracing and a larger cone and magnet. My “little” Monolith M-10 V2 10″ subwoofer weighs in at 73lbs! The 16″ version? A svelte 172lbs! I hope you have a good chiropractor on speed dial!

Our Take

Yes, I will admit, there are times when a larger subwoofer is the best (or only) choice for your space. Performance is the name of the game with subwoofers, and if you need (and will use) the output of a large subwoofer, go for it.

Tell us about your experiences. Did you get a huge subwoofer? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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