Why are Subwoofers So Expensive?

Sometimes, people end up not purchasing the subwoofer they want at all because of its price. But have you ever wondered why subwoofers are so expensive?

Subwoofers are expensive because of the features that they have. But this high price is mainly due to the niche industry of audio equipment. Only a few people want this equipment, making it hard for manufacturers to recoup the product’s cost.

Also read: How Many Subwoofers Is Too Many?

why are subwoofers so expensive

You may think that subwoofers are too expensive. However, once you find out all the fantastic features they have, you will see that they are worth their price.

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Why are Subwoofers So Expensive? Here are Some Reasons.

Subwoofers are prominent speakers. For this reason, they require more extensive surround, which results in using more materials.

Additionally, more materials mean higher production costs.

Additionally, the niche industry that subwoofers are in affects their price. Not everyone likes to have this audio equipment.

Since only a fraction of the demographic purchase subwoofers, it becomes more difficult to manufacturers to recover the research, development, and production cost.

In addition, this type of speaker has a high price because the technology that powers them is moving slowly. Apart from that, the equipment is highly durable compared to other kinds of speakers.

Due to the slow-moving technology behind subwoofers, they do not sell like other home appliances. For instance, flat-screen televisions always have a significant improvement almost every year.

For this reason, they become cheaper and cheaper with every new technological development that comes out.

Long story short, subwoofers need a considerable margin for it to make sense economically. Why are subwoofers so expensive? I think it might become clear soon.

If more people would buy this type of speaker, manufacturers will quickly recoup the manufacturing cost. As a result, the typically high price will begin to decrease gradually.

Moreover, other factors make subwoofers expensive. That includes their size, the materials used, shipping option, and warranty.

A subwoofer’s driver is typically significant in comparison to the driver of other home speakers. It is one of the reasons why are subwoofers so expensive.

Considering the size of the driver, manufacturers need to build this speaker’s housing very well.

The reason is that they need to ensure that the subwoofer’s body will not break apart in just a short time.

With such an intricate production process, manufacturers use a significant amount of time. Such is another factor that adds up to the high price of this type of speaker.

How Does a Subwoofer Work?

Every sound has its frequency. High pitch sounds have high frequencies, while low pitch sounds have low.

The thing is that regular speakers cannot produce low-frequency sounds. For this reason, the music and movie sound that you hear from them becomes flat.

On the other hand, a subwoofer can produce the low-frequency sound present within the music. These low-frequency sounds are more popular as the sub-bass and bass. Subwoofers can amplify them.

But what is in a subwoofer that makes it suitable for amplifying low-frequency sounds?

Subwoofers connect to an audio amplifier or receiver. The receiver is responsible for sending low-frequency signals to the subwoofer using an electrical current.

The equipment will amplify the current it receives. This way, the current will convert into sound using a magnetic coil.

This magnetic coil causes the driver’s cone to vibrate. As a result, the vibration produces the low-frequency sound waves that the subwoofer sends out through the air.

Moreover, the placement of your subwoofer is also essential if you want it to produce great bass. Unlike high pitch sounds, low-frequency signals are not directional.

Regular left and right speakers are very sensitive to how you place them. But subwoofers are different. Meaning listeners have more flexibility in terms of the placement of the equipment.

You can move subwoofers around and base them on your room’s interior. In fact, various positioning can be a significant factor in finding the best location to improve a subwoofer’s sound quality.

Moreover, there are two types of subwoofers:

  • Passive Subwoofer
  • Active Subwoofer

Passive Subwoofer

A passive subwoofer has an enclosure operated by an external amplifier. This type of subwoofer has a stereo amplifier driving the main speakers. At the same time, that amplifier also provides power to the entire equipment.

As a result, the full range output from a power serves as input to the subwoofer.

However, it is essential to note that this type of subwoofer needs more power to reproduce low-frequency sound.

Additionally, it must produce enough power to sustain the bass effects without draining the power supply of both the receiver and amplifier.

Active Subwoofer

 Manufacturers produce active subwoofers as a solution to the insufficient power from a particular receiver or amplifier.

An active or powered subwoofer is self-contained. That means its speaker or amplifier has matching characteristics. They also sit in the same enclosure.

The main benefit of an active subwoofer is that it only needs a single cable connection from a processor line output (LFE) or a surround sound preamp.

The cable then goes to its corresponding input on an active subwoofer from the sub preamp or line output.

This arrangement benefits because it takes away a significant amount of power load from a receiver. Additionally, it allows the amplifiers of a receiver to provide power to mid-range and tweeter speakers quickly.

Should You Get a Subwoofer?

An excellent subwoofer can elevate your listening experience. While most audiophiles think that this equipment only works well in a home theater, the truth is that it provides sound quality that no other speakers can.

Here are the benefits you can get when you purchase a subwoofer:

  • The excellent sound quality that you cannot get from regular speakers

Most regular speakers begin dropping off at approximately 50Hz. For this reason, they cannot provide the entire depth and clarity for low-frequency bass.

On the other hand, an excellent subwoofer can reach up to 20HZ or even lower. It can even produce low-frequency sound past the limit of human hearing. For this reason, you will never miss a note, even the lowest one for every song or movie sound playing on your subwoofer.

  • Accurate reproduction of notes within the low-frequency spectrum

Speakers can have a sonic signature. But unlike them, a subwoofer delivers accurate musical content with the same bass note produced by the sound. For this reason, you can match your subwoofer with any regular speaker. This factor results in additional energy and weight to your overall listening experience.

  • Provides zero distortion to any sound you play

When you increase the volume of a regular speaker, they will have a hard time keeping up with the tweeters and mid drivers. On the other hand, a subwoofer can efficiently play loud sounds without any distortion.

  • Better sound quality for full-range speakers

A good subwoofer should serve as an extension of speakers without overpowering the sound that they produce. When a subwoofer blends perfectly, it lets the speaker create the best sound they can, regardless of the frequency spectrum.

  • Additional speed and control in low-end transients

Several music genres feature rapid starts and stops in both the instrumentals and vocals. Such is something that speakers find hard to handle. As a result, they produce undetailed and smeared acoustic images.

Meanwhile, an excellent subwoofer has the speed, and transient response needed to produce bass with significant impact. That said, you will hear even the fastest baselines with great precision.

Sources

  1. Buck Pomerantz, All About Subwoofers, Crutchfield, https://www.crutchfield.com/S-cc7aQXaYG0m/learn/subwoofers-a-to-z.html/
  2. Enica Jacob, What Is A Subwoofer? How A Bass-Focused Speaker Can Give Your Home Or Car Sound System A Boost, Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-a-subwoofer/
  3. Linda Becksterhed, How to Connect a Pre-Amplifier to a Power Amplifier, Techwalla, https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-connect-a-pre-amplifier-to-a-power-amplifier/
  4. Robert Silva, The Difference Between a Passive and Powered Subwoofer, Lifewire, https://www.lifewire.com/passive-vs-powered-subwoofers-1847584/
  5. 6 Reasons Why Subwoofers are Important for Music, SV Sound, https://www.svsound.com/blogs/subwoofer-setup-and-tuning/114690950-is-a-subwoofer-important-for-music/