A subwoofer (or sub) is a loudspeaker designed to reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass and sub-bass, lower in frequency than those which can be (optimally) generated by a woofer. The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is about 20–200 Hz for consumer products, below 100 Hz for professional live sound, and below 80 Hz in THX-certified systems. Thus one or more subwoofers are important for high quality sound reproduction as they are responsible for the lowest two to three octaves of the ten that are audible. This very low-frequency (VLF) range reproduces the natural fundamental tones of the bass drum, electric bass, double bass, grand piano, contrabassoon, tuba, in addition to thunder, gunshots, explosions, etc.
Subwoofers are never used alone, as they are intended to substitute the VLF sounds of "main" loudspeakers that cover the higher frequency bands. VLF and higher frequency signals are sent separately to the subwoofer(s) and mains by a "crossover" network, typically using active electronics, including digital signal processing (DSP). Additionally, subwoofers are fed their own low frequency enhancement (LFE) signals that are reproduced at 10 dB higher than standard peak level.
Subwoofers can be positioned more favorably than the main speakers' woofers in the typical listening room acoustic, as the very low frequencies they reproduce are nearly omnidirectional and their direction largely indiscernible. However, much digitally recorded content contains lifelike binaural cues that human hearing may be able to detect in the VLF range, reproduced by a stereo crossover and two or more subwoofers. Subwoofers are not acceptable to all audiophiles, likely due to distortion artifacts produced by the subwoofer driver after the crossover and at frequencies above the crossover.While the term "subwoofer" technically only refers to the speaker driver, in common parlance, the term often refers to a subwoofer driver mounted in a speaker enclosure (cabinet), often with a built-in amplifier.
Subwoofers are made up of one or more woofers mounted in a loudspeaker enclosure—often made of wood—capable of withstanding air pressure while resisting deformation. Subwoofer enclosures come in a variety of designs, including bass reflex (with a port or vent), using a subwoofer and one or more passive radiator speakers in the enclosure, acoustic suspension (sealed enclosure), infinite baffle, horn-loaded, tapped horn, transmission line, bandpass or isobaric designs. Each design has unique trade-offs with respect to efficiency, low-frequency range, loudness, cabinet size, and cost. Passive subwoofers have a subwoofer driver and enclosure, but they are powered by an external amplifier. Active subwoofers include a built-in amplifier.The first home audio subwoofers were developed in the 1960s to add bass response to home stereo systems. Subwoofers came into greater popular consciousness in the 1970s with the introduction of Sensurround in movies such as Earthquake, which produced loud low-frequency sounds through large subwoofers. With the advent of the compact cassette and the compact disc in the 1980s, the reproduction of deep and loud bass was no longer limited by the ability of a phonograph record stylus to track a groove, and producers could add more low-frequency content to recordings. As well, during the 1990s, DVDs were increasingly recorded with "surround sound" processes that included a low-frequency effects (LFE) channel, which could be heard using the subwoofer in home-cinema (also called home theater) systems. During the 1990s, subwoofers also became increasingly popular in home stereo systems, custom car audio installations, and in PA systems. By the 2000s, subwoofers became almost universal in sound reinforcement systems in nightclubs and concert venues.
Unlike a system's main loudspeakers, subwoofers can be positioned more optimally in a listening room's acoustic. However subwoofers are not universally accepted by audiophiles amid complaints of difficulty "splicing" the sound with main speakers around the crossover frequency. This is largely due to the subwoofer driver's non-linearity producing harmonic and intermodulation distortion products well above the crossover frequency, and into the range where human hearing can "localize" them, wrecking the stereo "image".

View More On
  1. HCCA122

    Fs and you

    How does this parameter affect the sub in a ported box? What does it do and is a lower value best for achieving lower frequencies?
  2. HCCA122

    4th order band pass or ported?

    Will two subs in a regular ported enclosure be louder than a single in a 4th order?
  3. Mission Shane

    2 dual 12in sub boxes

    Will this work? I have 2 sealed boxes. Both have the same JL 12in subs in them. If they fit, can i just stuff both boxes on the trunk together? I'm eventually going to get a custom box for all 4. But in the meantime will this work?
  4. Viktor Andersson

    Subwoofer barely moving

    Hi, i recently bought a new car audio system (subwoofer, amp, and a high to low level converter). Although after adjusting the amp gain to the max the subwoofer barely moves and underperforms. I know the amp isnt the problem because its supposed to deliver 1900 rms in 2 ohm and my subwoofer is...
  5. samuelostrom

    Sealed or ported?

    I have a 400WRMS 12 inch sub. Right now it's in a pretty small ported enclosure. I was about to build my own bigger ported enclosure but learned that if I'm a beginner, I shouldn't do that because you have to know what you're doing otherwise you can mess it up. Someone recommended just building...
  6. gagewill

    Subwoofer Popping at High Volume, Overpower Light Turns On

    I am rather new to car audio so excuse my lack of expert vocabulary. I installed a single 10 inch subwoofer box, and all new JL door speakers and dash tweeters into my 2020 Silverado 1500. Everything played great for awhile but I started to hear a popping / scratching sound when I turned the...
  7. H

    Subwoofer specs

    Hello, I have some subwoofers im looking at and heres the specs. By these specs can you tell how they will sound or loud they'll be? SA's have a 2.5 vc , HWY 4k has 4 inch vc and HWY2k 3 inch vc.
  8. T

    Newbie Radio and Subwoofer install

    Hi, guys! Hope everyone’s well. I’ve recently brought a caddy (2007) (just for a work van). Radio needs abit of an update. Therefore I’ve decided to upgrade and add a potential subwoofer. Now I’m very green at all this and was looking for some pointers so that I don’t destroy anything! Radio...
  9. Ethan5150

    Infinity BassLink install using rear speaker wires without losing rear speakers

    Hi folks, I'm sure someone has already answered this (probably multiple times) but I can't seem to find a solid answer. I'm looking at buying a car that I know does NOT have RCA outputs on the stock head unit. I don't want to replace the unit but I do want to install an Infinity BassLink...
  10. goblintown

    Can someone help identify this Sundown Audio sub?

    Purchased new around 3 years ago. It’s a 10” I know that much. Believe I paid around $800 for it at the shop. Never was able to install it so it’s just been sitting in storage. Seems like there’s a few that look almost identical and I can’t tell which this is. Trying to sell it since I’m...
  11. S

    Subwoofer has no sound, but amp has power.

    So, I have a 2009 Acura TL technology package and decided to put in an aftermarket 12" subwoofer but since I'm keeping the factory head unit, I bought a loc and wired it to my rear deck speakers L and R but when I play music the subwoofer doesn't have any sound, but it has power and has a good...
  12. Cataldo04

    Subwoofer issues

    I am using a line out convertor in my 2009 grand Cherokee and it worked perfectly for around two weeks and then suddenly stopped I have the amp hooked up to an eight inch kicker slim sub in a kicker wedge box I hooked the power and control up to a switch because for some reason the amp would not...
  13. C

    Sub wiring via rear speakers vs RCA

    Hi Everyone, I have an active JL Audio sub (ACS112LG-TW1) wired via rear speakers in my VW Tiguan. The original head unit did not have the RCA connectors, therefore, wiring via the rear speakers was the easiest option. This setup seems to have the drawback that it often requires adjusting the...
  14. A

    COMPLETED Massive audio 15" dmx stage 2

    My first sub was a 15 in massive audio dmx stage 2. I am unsure what happened to it. I am wanting another 1 for my new car and cannot find 1 for sale anywhere. So if anyone knows of 1 I would love to buy it.
  15. HughBushor

    HELP My Amplifer Went into protect mode and I can no longer hear my sub

    I will be the first to admit I am not familiar with any of this but I had bought a 1200 watt 12” bundle from skar over a year ago and had the intentions of putting it in with a buddy long story short a year later I decided to get it done by a professional because we made no progress, $400 later...
  16. roskata

    Bose Gj66950

    Hello guys, recently i bought and installed a mazda 6spare tire subwoofer to my Toyota avensis t25 wagon. So I bought it very cheap around 25euro...and it works. In my opinion it works even really well. But what is the problem? My CD can volume from 0 to 63, but the bass from the back is even...
  17. A

    COMPLETED Phoenix Gold Cyclone 12 in Rotary Subwoofer *RARE* Working!

    Please note that I have this for sale for $1199 on eBay under the same user name. The reason it is listed for more there is due to their fees and so that you can see my feedback for selling since this account is new here. It doesn't matter to me if the sale is through eBay in order to help...
  18. 9

    Passender Verstärker zu Pioneer TS-A300B

    Hallo! Hat jemand eine Empfehlung welchen Verstärker ich mir für meinen Pioneer TS-A300B kaufen soll? Oder zumindest was für Specs er mindestens haben sollte. Ich kenne mich in dem Bereich nicht sehr gut aus. Vielen Dank im voraus!
  19. E

    Mg marvel r bose amp wiring help

    Hi. I will be trying to hook up an amp and subwoofer in the Mg marvel r with the Bose sound system. Does anyone happen to know which color the +- on left and right rear speaker is?
  20. D

    TRF VLSW122D2 Subwoofer

    Hello guys, I want to buy the TRF VLSW122D2 Subwoofer (12" , 250W RMS) . Is there anyone who owns this sub ? If yes could you please tell me your opinion about it ? Does it perform good? Also, i want you to send me the manual of the sub ,if you have it, cause i want to make a box and need the...
  21. M

    Should I use the double power input my amp brought?

    So first off I’m extremely new to anything in the electrical/sound world and all I’ve done is off intuition and very small amounts of verification from a friend who works with sound equipment occasionally. Now on to the main topic. I used to have a 1500W Machete amp powering a Machete M12v2D2...
  22. D

    Will the sub perform good?

    Hello guys, I want to buy a TRF M600.4AB amplifier (4 channels, 600 watt RMS max, max RMS power 4ohm 80W*4, max RMS power bridged 4ohm 300W*2) and a TRF VLSW123D2 Subwoofer (12'', 350 watt RMS, dual 2ohm voice coil) for my car. And i want to connect the "2 voice coils" of the sub in series (so...
  23. Charger1995

    Need help finishing subs install

    This is my first time wiring subs and not hooking them into the head unit directly. I powered and grounded both subs(in separate boxes) from the same source. I wired the high input positive/negative left/right together from both subs and then to each rear speaker. But only the sub on the drivers...
  24. R

    (1) Sundown ZV6 2-OHM 12" 2500W RMS - Suggestions on Automotive Electrical Help and Amplifier Recommendation Needed

    I currently own a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier that I am currently building a subwoofer install in. My complete and current installs: New Kenwood KDC-BT378U radio with built-in speaker amp, All new door and deck speakers. (COMPLETE) Big 3 Kit, Mechman 270 AMP Alternator, (1) Sundown ZV6 12" 2-OHM...
  25. T

    Should i get this amp/these subs & run 'em at 8 ohm???

    Hey all, I'm getting a 2017 Ram 1500 crew cab and I want to put a couple 12" subs under the back seats. I was thinking of running them into a monoblock doing 8ohms, for extra accuracy & detail (as opposed to 4ohm or 2ohm.) I'm not a Basshead so absurd SPL isn't what i'm looking for... I was...
  26. S

    Speakers work but no bass

    Hi, I have an F10 BMW with the HK sound system. The speakers and subwoofers have been upgraded to the bavsound ones. The bass no longer works at all. It hasn’t worked for the past month. I had one of the subs replaced and the bass still doesn’t work. Any idea on what it could be? I was thinking...
  27. D

    Help identifying what kind of amp this is.

    I know it’s a 2 channel amp but there is no brand name on it and I don’t know how many watts it is. I need to know what kind of amp I have if anyone can help.
  28. C

    2011 F250 Crew Cab

    I’m removing the factory sub and amp behind the seat of my F250 and was going to install my two 12” subs I already have from another truck but while calling around for a behind seat enclosure I’ve had several people say that I would better sound and bass for a behind the seat setup running 4 8”...
  29. C

    Amp has power but no sound

    Trying to troubleshoot an issue with my subwoofer/amp setup. I recently had to replace an old amp and bought a jbl amp that matches my subwoofer. The new amp worked fine for 2 months then sound became intermittent. I went to a shop and the tech found that my loc was no longer working, but...
  30. R

    Car Subwoofer ear pressure

    Hi everyone, A couple months ago I bought a 200W JBL BassPro Nano under seat subwoofer for my car. The sound seems good, but I think I tested the volume a bit too much in the beginning, which caused me to have to see a doctor with tinnitus-like symptoms. Now I am trying to play the subwoofer...
  31. I

    Subwoofer help (I give up)

    I hate asking for help in forums, Kuz I always feel like I'm embarrassing myself, but I'm perplexed as to why my system is sounding so bad. I installed my kicker speakers and amp with no issue, and they sound great. But after finishing the box for my kicker L7 sub and installing it I was very...
  32. G


    Hello I have a 2018 Chevy Silverado ltz crew cab, and was looking to add a subwoofer and amp or a powered sub. The problem Is I don’t know anything about matching watts or anything! I replaced the front door speakers with JL audio C1-650 2 way component speakers and put the tweeters in the dash...
  33. mrpep

    design help for 2 SKAR SDR 15"s in a ported tuned to 33hz.

    So According to Skar I need 3.75 c/ft. each sub and that's 7.5 c/ft. for both. The sub displacement is .875 each so 1.75 for both. So 9.25 c/ft. box, am I correct? I am also looking for 32 / 33hz. I have a box design of : 38w x 26d x 16h = 9.15 c/ft. Now I need a port. Can someone help me...
  34. nictowey

    Need Some Advice on my Setup

    Hi Everyone! I came here to see if anyone that's more knowledgeable than me could help with this issue. I am currently running 2 Alpine Type R's on a Polk Audio D1000.1 amp. I had this installed at a car stereo shop and had them tune the amp, however I have blown 2 sets of them already so 4...
  35. nictowey

    Need Some Advice on My Setup

    Hi Everyone! I came here to see if anyone that's more knowledgeable than me could help with this issue. I am currently running 2 Alpine Type R's on a Polk Audio D1000.1 amp. I had this installed at a car stereo shop and had them tune the amp, however I have blown 2 sets of them already so 4...
  36. R

    Upgrading Electrical For First Time?

    I just purchased a 2000 Chevrolet cavalier LS 4DR. I am going to be purchasing (2) Sundown X 12 2 ohms (1500 watts a piece) and (1) Crescendo Bass Clef 6000W Amp In the next coming weeks. I will be custom building my box. I was wondering what electrical upgrades I will need to power this system...
  37. J

    Help with simple 12V, Ground, & Remote Wire Connections

    I have no idea how I am supposed to put my wires in here (third pic) with that metal thing that seems to be in the way. Is there a certain connector or adapter I need? If so please help and tell me what I need to get? This is the only help I need. Thank you.
  38. MilitiaRobbo

    Diodes on Head Unit’s Negative?

    Hey Everyone, Robbo here, from Australia. I have been facing a hiss sound with my Nissan Patrol for months. I have taken it to multiple car audio installers and their complete failures owe me nearly $1,500AUD in labour fee’s. To test the theory of it being a faulty head-unit, I took it out of...
  39. L

    truck subwoofer build

    (New to audio stuff) Currently have: Blaupunkt 3000w mono Kicker CompC 44TCWC104 (preinstalled 10" in a 0.66cf box, ported) ~$240 all in and I can feel good bass, just wanting to go bigger My buddy has this same sub and same amp just double the size of a ported box in a SUV and his rattles hairs...
  40. Terrum

    Looking to hit hard @ ~28hz (Can I get better than a HO112-W6V3/12W6V3-D4 or 15W0V3-4?)

    Unfortunately I don't have the knowledge nor the tools to build my own box so I splashed out on the overpriced JL Audio HO112-W6V3 about 6 months ago, and it's been by far the best quality prefab subwoofer I've managed to get my car to output with its stock alternator (~90amps). Although the...