All About Subwoofers
Learn how to put boom in your room with specs and pics on 47 different subwoofers.
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December 06, 2006 by EH Staff

To truly experience all of the train crashes, explosions and numerous background noises from rainstorms to thundering hooves, you need a speaker capable of providing deep bass. This is the only thing subwoofers do—and they’re designed to do it well.

A subwoofer’s main purpose is to move air. The bigger the driver size, the more air it will move. Woofers range in size from about 5 to 18 inches in diameter, with the majority falling in the 12-inch category. That’s why many subwoofers look like big black cubes. But today’s “subs” are getting hip new designs, from spherical and rounded models to slim in-wall, on-wall and even in-floor versions.

Some of the subwoofer enclosures are ported, meaning they have a hole on the side or the bottom for the intake of air. The port helps add a thump to the bass. Subwoofers can be either active (with their own internal amplifiers) or passive (without internal amps). Power can be rated in the amount of continuous power (designated RMS) or in terms of dynamic power (the amount by which the amplifier can exceed its continuous power rating). Subwoofers also employ magnets or voice coils (wires attached to the cones through which a magnetic field is produced).

Since bass is nondirectional, a subwoofer can be placed anywhere in a room. It is often placed in a corner, under a coffee table or behind a piece of furniture. In a home theater setup, only one sub is normally necessary. If you have stepped up to Lucasfilm’s certified Home THX components, however, two subwoofers are required.

Subwoofers Featured in this Slideshow

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