Do I need a Subwoofer? The Role of the Sub and why it’s Important

Elac Sub3030 in Living Room
Created by Chris Walker

You’ve picked out a set of great-sounding speakers, paired them with a well-matched amplifier, and arrived at the next stop in your audio journey… the Subwoofer.

The Subwoofer is the most misunderstood component in the audio system. You may have heard conflicting opinions regarding these monolithic low-frequency boxes. Some will say, “The Subwoofer is the most important piece of audio equipment! I’m not interested if it doesn’t make the walls shake.”

At the other end of the spectrum, you have those that boldly claim: “You don’t need a subwoofer for music… it’s only for home theater systems!”

Neither statements are true. For many, the Left and Right speakers (either bookshelf or floorstanding) will be the most important component of the audio system.

However, not only is the subwoofer extremely important if you’re looking to get the best sound possible from your system, it can actually help your primary speakers perform even better.

This blog will help to answer the question: “Do I need a Subwoofer.” We’ll explore how a good subwoofer can show you the full spectrum of sound from your favorite songs and how it will bring your movie night to life by letting you feel those low-end sound effects.


What is a Subwoofer?

Subwoofers are speakers with large drivers that specialize in reproducing the low frequencies in your audio system. The Subwoofer makes the low-end come alive, including bass and organs in music, explosions, and other movie sound effects. Without a sub, you wouldn’t hear anything below 30 or 40Hz!

Most Hi-Fi speakers on the market today will only go down to around 40hz (or slightly higher), while your ears can hear frequencies down to about 20hz. Some subs go even lower, producing sounds you can’t hear but can feel them!

The Subwoofer is your secret weapon when you want to hear every note of a song come through loud and clear. It adds power and thickness to your sound. If you’re going to enjoy a movie with all the sound effects in their full glory, then your audio system is incomplete without subwoofers.

How much power do I need?

Many people think that a subwoofer with the highest wattage rating will sound the best. However, many other factors need consideration! With the help of this article, you will be able to determine how good a subwoofer is based on its maximum output level (MOL) and low distortion.

A large woofer with a high MOL can produce deep bass at lower volume levels because it doesn’t need as much power. To reach the same depth of bass at MOL and low distortion, a small subwoofer would require much more power than a larger subwoofer. So, a small sub with a 1000W amplifier may not play any louder and deeper than a larger sub with a 300W amp.

Accuracy in Frequency Response and Low-Frequency Extension

One factor that makes a good subwoofer is its high accuracy in producing low frequencies. It’s very difficult for one speaker to handle everything. Speaker designers choose to optimize the middle and high frequencies for their loudspeaker designs, knowing that most audio enthusiasts will have a subwoofer specializing in the low frequencies (and doing a better job). Therefore, many loudspeakers will drop off around the 40 Hz mark.

However, our ear can hear sounds ranging from as high as 20 kHz to as low as 20 Hz. Your speakers are missing a chunk of the audio spectrum without a subwoofer!

The best subwoofers can produce the perfect amount of bass for your home theatre experience. They can perfectly capture every sound being played and respond accordingly with a pitch you’ll love. A home theatre experience is not complete without bass. The perfect amount can make the difference between feeling like you’re in a movie theater and hearing everything just as it happens around us. Whether watching TV or listening to music- having that extra layer sets your ears on edge with anticipation for what might come next.

If you listen to your favorite EDM track, you might notice that as the bass falls lower and lower in pitch, so does the volume. A good subwoofer will maintain output levels no matter the output levels.

Many subwoofers are unable to reach notes at or below 20Hz. There’s a reason most people can’t hear the lowest bass notes, and it has nothing to do with their volume. It turns out that subwoofers have an essential role in reproducing these low frequencies, allowing them to play all those complex beats too! The best subwoofers are more than just a booming bass. They can create frequencies so low that you’ll feel but not hear.



It Produces Low Frequencies even at the Highest SPLs.


A great subwoofer is a vital part of any system that plays loudly and distortion-free, no matter how deep or demanding the source material. The amplifier inside a speaker is what gives it its power to play as loudly as desired. The Subwoofer usually has an internal amp and DSP engines that adjust when you turn up your home theater system for an immersive experience. A cheap subwoofer may have an amplifier-limiting feature that artificially reduces the volume of bass bursts to prevent overworking. This can result in “drops” just when things are getting good. This feature protects the subwoofer from damaging its driver or amp, creating a depressing experience. A great subwoofer will generate enough energy to perform smoothly with massive SPLs beyond reference volume without dropping out or dying at those critical moments.


Blends Well With Full Range Speakers


Subwoofers are often one of the most overlooked pieces in home theatre setups, but they’re essential for creating a perfect soundstage and immersion. Subs should also provide a sonic foundation if your system is top-notch as a well-rounded entertainment space that doesn’t just shine with bass. It should never draw attention to its location in the room but effortlessly blend into every aspect of what you hear – providing rich detail with depth that will take any listener’s breath away. Bass frequencies should never be heard but instead felt. A world-class subwoofer is an essential part of any sound system. It energizes a room without overwhelming the listener or revealing its placement and presence in an overbearing way, letting you enjoy music at full volume with all your senses intact. The bass should not steal the show. It’s vital to pay attention to how a powerful subwoofer integrates with your other speakers. It will be an extension of what you are listening to rather than drawing focus away from what you are listening to.


So do you need a Subwoofer?

You can certainly get by without a Subwoofer, but you’re missing out on a critical component of great-sounding audio.

You’ll notice in our guides that we recommend that when you’re starting out and on a minimal budget, it often makes more sense to spend more on speakers. We say this because it enables you to start enjoying your movies and music with a great-sounding set of loudspeakers that won’t need to be upgraded for a long time.

However, the subwoofer is essential if you want your system to sound the best (and that’s why you’re here in the first place!).


Buying a subwoofer is not an as simple task. When shopping for a subwoofer, many factors need to be considered. We hope this article has helped you better understand the most important ones; now it’s up to you! If anything about what was written seems unclear or confusing in any way, please let us know, and one of our experts can get back with more information for choosing the best choice for you. Check out our complete line of subwoofers: With so much variety on today’s market, shopping can sometimes seem overwhelming, but we are here to help. Have fun finding your perfect match!