If you aren’t familiar with the powers of a subwoofer, you just aren’t getting the full audio experience. A room filled with speakers can be nice. However, the subwoofer is the piece that puts the boom into your home theater room. It also puts you in the middle of the action, in the front row, and really creates a full, theater-like setup.
The subwoofer is also that one component in the audio setup that typically sticks out like a sore thumb. It sits next to your AV rack, your couch or somewhere else that’s sort of in the way. However, you can pack that audio punch into a much smaller cabinet.
These days, just about every audio manufacturer makes some sort of compact subwoofer option. If you’re paying attention to anything in technology, you’d know that bigger is not always better—especially when it comes to audio. The compact subwoofer is a growing category that can put that punch into your sound without cluttering your living space.
Want a peek at some of the smallest subwoofer options out there today? Check out our roundup of Killer Compact Subwoofers.
Definitive Technology SuperCube 4000
This compact option packs in an 8-inch driver and a pair of 8-inch Ultra Low Bass Radiators. It also has a 56-bit Digital Signal Processor preamp stage, a 1,200-watt digital tracking power amplifier, and tweaking options via a convenient remote. However, the real hook on Definitive’s smallest SuperCube (besides that size) is that is can be connected wirelessly, if you want to buy the optional SCW-100 wireless kit for an extra $149. That way, you can place the sub wherever you need a little extra bass.
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For More Information: Definitive Technology
The teeniest of Golden Ear’s ForceField line is also its most affordable. Despite the diminutive size, however, this little unit packs in a 1,000-watt digital amp, an 8-inch long-throw active driver, and a down-firing Quadratic Planar Infrasonic radiator that measures 9.62-by-11.38 inches. Other features include a direct-coupled low-level input and speaker-level inputs with high-passed speaker-level outputs.
For More Information: Golden Ear
This is what HSU calls a hybrid subwoofer. We call it pretty cool. The 200-watt sub has hybrid tuning with a variable Q for adjusting the bass levels, as well as sealed operating modes and a 10-inch down-firing woofer. It also has a little something called Variable Tuning Frequency port technology (VTF), which means that each of the two ports on the back of the enclosure can use the air generated from the long-throw woofer to boost your bass levels.
For More Information: HSU
Mirage made this sub look a lot like its big brother, the S10. However, it’s a little smaller and a lot more affordable. That said, it still packs plenty of punch via an 8-inch woofer with patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround and a 200-watt BASH amplifier. Other features include a frequency response of 26-120Hz (:±3dB), a bass reflex design with a rear-firing port, low-level and stereo high-level inputs, spike feet and rubber bumpers.
For More Information: Mirage
Inside this 11-inch cube, there’s an 8-inch driver waiting to shake your room. It’s a sealed system, which means that it doesn’t have any holes or ports. Instead, it’s nestling 110 watts inside, along with a dedicated DSP (digital signal processing) engine. Other features include an LFE input, speaker-level inputs with a high-pass speaker-level output, a phase control, and even a USB port.
For More Information: NHT Super8
This small sub is nice and shiny on the outside, but it’s what’s inside that really matters. In this case, that’s a long-throw front-firing woofer and two long-throw side-mounted passive radiators. The SW6.5 promises 200 watts RMS power and up to 800 watts of peak power, via that 6.5-inch active driver and two 6.5-inch passive radiators. It also features automatic power via a 12-volt trigger or audio signal sensing, and a built-in Cat 5 balun.
For More Information: Niles
Paradigm has quite the lenghty sub selection. This 8-incher is one of our favorites, packing in a built-in amplifier that can be set to auto on, standby or soft clipping, all to crank out 300 watts of peak power (or 100 watts RMS). It has a dual-ported design, a phase control switch and two line-level inputs. It also comes with four adhesive feet to protect your door—and the sub!
For More Information: Paradigm Cinema Sub
This powered sub packs a lot into an ultra-compact cabinet. Designed to go behind furniture or in some other out-of-the-way spot, it has an 8-inch woofer, a 150-watt RMS amplifier, a frequency response of 38-250Hz, a phase switch, and an adjustable low-pass crossover. Other features include inputs for left- and right-line level, speaker-level spring terminals, and an unfiltered LFE line level.
For More Information: Polk PSW111
One of the newer subs on our list is this compact option. It’s got an 8-inch woofer with a polypropylene cone that’s backed by a 125-watt amplifier. Featuring a slotted port design, the unit has front-mounted volume and crossover controls for easy access. Other features include a frequency response of 35-150 Hz (:±3dB) and a rear-mounted phase switch, as well as line-level/LFE and speaker-level inputs.
For More Information: PSB SubSeries 125
This compact unit is one of the priciest on our list, with two (!) 6.5-inch woofers packed into a sealed extruded aluminum enclosure. Those drivers promise up to 1.8 inches of “throw,” as well as tight, well defined bass. Other features include a 1,400-watt built-in amp. new cardioid surround on the drivers, line-level unbalanced inputs, line-level outputs with high-pass or full range switch, a 12-volt DC input for remote turn on, 106dB of output, and a frequency response of 30Hz-100Hz.
For More Information: Sunfire Atmos XT
Last year, SVS made the PB-1000—and also made it affordable. It has a front-firing 10-inch driver and a 3.5-inch high-flow port with inner/outer port flares, as well as a frequency response of 19-270Hz (+/- 3dB) and an integrated SVS Sledge STA-300D amplifier. Rated at 300 watts (700 watts peak dynamic), the amp also allows control of the subwoofer at all levels, if you’re at all into tweaking your sound.
For More Information: SVS PB-1000
It’s a few years old, but the MicroVee can still rock the room, the house, and possibly the block. This compact enclosure packs in a 6.5-inch aluminum cone woofer, dual 6.5-inch side-firing passive radiators, and a 1,000-watt amplifier. Other features include a volume level control, a low-pass crossover from 50Hz to 200Hz, speaker-level inputs and outputs, a 0/180 degrees phase switch, and both RCA and mini-jack connections.
For More Information: Velodyne MicroVee
David Mrazik says
Missing from this list is the Jamo Sub 800. I seen this little gem at an expo in Raleigh last year. It’s 8 inch cube and sports 1 6.5 inch driver and 2 6.5 inch radiators and 800 Watts. It can produce around 40 Hz which is impressive for something that can just about fit in your hand. Not sure how it’ll sound in a large room, but most definitely worth a try in a living room surround sound system. Most impressive is the Golden Ear Force Field series mentioned earlier in this article. I had the pleasure of a personal demo middle of last year and that woofer looked like it as going to bust out of its cabinet. Also knowing it can produce a low note down to around 14 Hz makes me want to own one. I hope to use one at my next system install.
grant clauser says
Yes, Jamo stuff is great. I’ve used some before myself. Good catch.
couldnt agree more. I actually own the jamo 800. have it turned up about 40 percent of its power. according to my neighbor above me i was “shaking her floor” with it while playing battlefield so now i keep it around 30-40 percent of its power so i wont wake the neighbors. couldnt be more pleased with the size and punch that baby kicks.
Zack Worrell says
the Cambridge Minx x201. I have two of them. Amazing performance in less than 11′ squared. Sealed unit two radiator one driver.
Robert graham says
I have five Difinity speakers ,the bass in these speakers is so good you could actually live without a sub