Anatomy Lesson: Inside Subwoofers
From cabinet to cone, here's how one Velodyne subwoofer rounds out your sound with thunderous bass.
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January 30, 2012 by EH Staff

Important Specs

Woofer Size. All other factors being equal, a larger cone moves more air. More air movement means that your subwoofer can play louder.

Excursion. Not all woofers of the same size have the same excursion. Greater excursion allows the cone to move more air. Greater air motion equates to greater bass energy to be reproduced, whether it is in level or lower frequency.

Frequency Response. This describes how evenly a subwoofer can reproduce its range of sounds. Subwoofers are typically designed to reproduce frequencies from below 20 Hz to above 100 Hz, producing this band with more accuracy and authority than smaller satellite speakers.

Distortion. More or deeper bass doesn’t mean very much if it is produced with large quantities of distortion. Typically this will show itself as “slow” bass,” “muddy bass,” “overhang,” or even hearing a higher frequency than is intended to be reproduced.

Maximum Output. Because a powered subwoofer (one with an amplifier built in) has been designed to have a driver, cabinet and amplifier that work in concert, specifications such as sensitivity, nominal impedance, and power handling are not very important. But the end result, the maximum output capability, is very important. Most times, this needs to be experienced first-hand.

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