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Does a Surround Sound Need a Subwoofer?

Does your surround sound need a subwoofer? You might be thinking that you already have excellent surround sound. However, what you do not know is that you can make that even better. How? By using a subwoofer.

A surround sound does not require a subwoofer but it can make your audio experience so much better. So, even if you do not need one for the surround sound in your home theater, you should consider adding a subwoofer.

Also read: Can You Use a Subwoofer as a Speaker?

surround sound need a subwoofer

If you are skeptical about getting a subwoofer for your surround sound, then you should know a few things about the benefits that it can provide. 

Does Your Surround Sound Need A Subwoofer

A subwoofer is not necessary for surround sound. But the role it plays in your audio system is still essential. For this reason, adding a subwoofer to other speakers makes sense.

What is even better is that adding a subwoofer is not just about better bass. The reality is that an excellent sub can produce soundstage depth and improved spaciousness.

When your subwoofer matches your surround sound perfectly, it will enhance the sound quality of your home theater dramatically.

Getting the right subwoofer will make a big difference in terms of improving your sound system’s electronics. 

Apart from being effective in terms of improving audio quality, a subwoofer is also a convenient sound system.

It serves as a vital part of a home theater. With this sound equipment, you can hear even the lowest frequency sound that the human ear can capture.

Moreover, it is essential to note that a subwoofer is different from regular speakers such as your surround sound.

The reason is that they are specially made to produce low-frequency tones. They can even reproduce sound at a frequency of 20Hz or so.

Do you still not think your surround sound need a subwoofer to give you the best home theater experience? Let’s keep looking into it here.

A subwoofer should be a part of the surround sound in your home theater as it produces a sound that no other speakers can make.

For instance, they can reproduce low-frequency sounds that you cannot even hear. However, you will feel the vibration of those sounds booming in your home’s entertainment area. 

Your surround sound will work just fine on its own. But, you will expose yourself to sounds of poor quality.

That includes bass that is either too low or too high. That means that you will not experience watching your favorite movie with audio balance and fullness. 

But with a subwoofer, every audio you will place will have fullness, making it powerful, rich, and 3D. 

Without the low-frequency sound that your subwoofer makes, you will be a passive viewer of a movie or a passive listener of a song.

On the contrary, well-created bass and low-frequency sound will make you feel involved with every scene you are watching. 

What Makes a Subwoofer Worth Buying?

When you are watching a movie, you do not just focus on the crystal clear images that the screen makes. When will surround sound need a subwoofer? Any time you want to tell the difference in the movie or music from decent to incredible.

Instead, you also focus on the sound that is circulating all around you. What makes the experience even better is the deep bass that vibrates around you.

Thanks to subwoofers, you can enjoy such a great audio experience.

Below are the characteristics that make subwoofers a must-have:

Front and down-firing

A subwoofer has a speaker mounted in it. For this reason, it can radiate the sound from one side to another and on the front of the subwoofer’s enclosure.

In addition, this equipment also boasts a speaker that radiates downward, facing your home theater’s floor. This speaker positioning allows the soundwaves to bounce off, surrounding you with solid bass and treble.

Additional ports

Some subwoofers feature an additional port on their enclosures. These ports push more air out. As a result, the equipment can increase bass response more efficiently than sealed enclosures.

Such a type of design is more commonly known as the bass reflex.

Crossovers

The crossover is described as the electronic circuit that routes every frequency in the subwoofer. It connects all these frequencies to a particular point in the equipment.

On the other hand, the main, enter, and the surround speakers reproduce all the frequencies above that point.

Moreover, a primary crossover point would measure between 80Hz and 100Hz.

Passive radiator

Apart from speakers, some subwoofers also use a passive radiator rather than a port. The function of the passive radiator is to increase the sub’s preciseness and efficiency.

Passive radiators can come in the form of either speaker without voice coils or a flat diaphragm.

The deep bass frequencies that a subwoofer produces are non-directional. For this reason, the human ear will have a hard time pointing out where the sound’s direction is.

Thanks to the non-directional characteristics that extremely low-frequencies have, you can place your subwoofer anywhere in your room.

This way, you will find the best spot for the equipment depending on the size of the room, the type of the room, furniture, and wall construction. 

Tips for Installing a Subwoofer on Your Surround Sound

Watching a movie or listening to your favorite song sounds like a fun experience. However, you will find that sometimes, installing a subwoofer in your home theater is a tricky challenge.

To help you avoid such a problem, here are some tips for installing a subwoofer:

Try using a wireless transmitter.

Sometimes, you will find a wire connection as a non-practical way of installing a subwoofer to your surround sound. The reason is that placing cables all around the home theater is a tedious task.

For this reason, you should opt-in to using an excellent wireless transmitter. Such allows you to send signals from your receiver to any equipment in the room.

Set up the controls

At most times, subwoofers have two knobs that you can use. One for adjusting the volume, and the other is for the crossover frequency.

The crossover frequency produces the high notes produced by the show or music you are streaming.

So, you need to pick a setting that will allow your subwoofer to produce the correct frequencies.

If you set the frequency too high, it will sound disturbingly pitchy. But if you set it too low, it would sound like there is a hole between the subwoofer and the speaker.

So, you need to get the crossover frequency just right.

Find the right location for your subwoofer.

Placing your subwoofer in a good location will further improve its quality. If you place it in a corner, the sound it produces will become boomy.

But if you place it somewhere with huge space, you will not boost the bass note, which sometimes makes it muted.

Fortunately, the human ear will not be able to hear where the bass originates. For this reason, you will have a lot of choices in terms of where you need to put your subwoofer.

Combine sounds

If you are an audiophile who cares so much about the bass sounds in all the areas of your home theater, the easy solution is to purchase two subwoofers. True enough, such may sound expensive.

But if you have enough budget to improve your home theater further, then it is a solution worth considering.

Place one subwoofer in the front left corner of your home theater. Meanwhile, place the other one on the front right.

Such will result in smoother, more solid, and more consistent bass that will never change even if you move from one seat to another.

This way, you will have an optimal audio experience through your surround sound and your subwoofer. 

Sources

  1. Steve Guttenberg, You Already Have Great Speakers. Do You Really Need A Subwoofer?, Cnet.Com, https://www.cnet.com/news/you-already-have-great-speakers-do-you-really-need-a-subwoofer/
  2. Kramer Kane, Home Theater Subwoofers Buying Guide, Crutchfield, https://www.crutchfield.com/S-SOANvl2cJqn/learn/home-subwoofers-buying-guide.html/
  3. Robert Silva, Subwoofers – What You Need To Know, Lifewire, https://www.lifewire.com/subwoofers-information-1845744/
  4. Rozette Rago, The Five Cs of Subwoofer Setup, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/the-five-cs-of-subwoofer-setup/