The Complete Guide to Subwoofers

Considering a subwoofer for your sound system? For appreciators of great sound, no setup is complete without one.

In this guide, we unveil the secrets to perfect bass. 

What Is A Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a speaker designed to handle the lowest audio frequencies, between 20 and 200 Hz. Often overlooked, the function of a subwoofer should never be underestimated. Specialising in providing very low frequencies that traditional speakers may not be able to reach, subwoofers add depth and detail – it is not just about playing low and loud. 

Does A Subwoofer Make A Difference?

Your speakers work to create the perfect soundstage - but even the greatest speakers can benefit from a little help.

While your speakers tackle those heavenly high notes in your favourite song or deliver crisp, clear dialogue when you watch a blockbuster in your home cinema, subwoofers take care of those all-too-often neglected low notes.

With speakers alone, you miss the drama of rolling thunder in a movie scene, or the detail of the bass that completes a track. With a subwoofer handling the low-end, your loudspeakers are free to deliver a more dynamic performance, and the final puzzle piece slots into place for a complete and complex soundscape.

See our guide on Why Subwoofers Create More Immersive Audio Experiences to learn more about the benefits subwoofers offer.

Do I Need A Subwoofer For HiFi Sound?

High-fidelity is defined as the reproduction of sound with a high degree of faithfulness to the original. So, if a movie has a bass-rich score or a song was created with rich low notes, faithfulness to the original will be enhanced with the bass reproduction of a subwoofer.

What Placement Is Best For A Subwoofer?

When it comes to subwoofers, the better it’s positioned, the better the bass.  So, be sure to consider where your subwoofer will be situated to benefit from the sub's full mastery.

Consider where you’ll be sitting to listen. Place your subwoofer here, then move around the room, head close to the ground, to see where the sound is best - this will give you a good guide as to the optimum position for your subwoofer.

What Is An Active Subwoofer?

An active subwoofer is a subwoofer with a built-in amplifier, as opposed to a passive subwoofer, which needs the help of an external amplifier to drive powerful sound. Passive subwoofers tend to be smaller, but the sound is less intense if not enhanced by an amp.

Should I Choose A Ported Or Sealed Subwoofer?

Ported subwoofers contain openings known as ports, resulting in earth-shaking bass. However, due to their enormous sound capabilities, ported subwoofers are often more costly and are only needed if you are trying to fill a vast space with sound.

Sealed subwoofers do not have openings and, as such, do not produce the same thunderous volume as a ported subwoofer. However, their airtight cabinet provides precisely controlled sound.

How Many Subwoofers Do I Need?

If you’ve decided to add a subwoofer to your audio setup, you may be considering adding multiple models for more intense bass.

In most cases, a single subwoofer is all you need. However, if you’re filling a larger room with powerful sound from a speaker like LS60 Wireless, multiple subwoofers may be the key to evenly spread bass to match your speakers’ audio output.

Why Opt For A KEF Subwoofer?

As specialists in loudspeaker design, KEF’s subwoofers are truly in a league of their own, with technologies like Uni-Core and the Music Integrity Engine providing an unparalleled performance.

Uni-Core combines both drivers into a single compartment in a space-saving design that allows you to enjoy the kind of bass you’d expect of a larger subwoofer from an ultra-compact cabinet.

The Music Integrity Engine is the combination of algorithms behind your KEF subwoofer’s digital signal processing (DSP). From a phase correcting feature that conquers timing issues to the iBX Intelligent Bass Extension, the DSP of a KEF subwoofer is beyond compare.

Plus, our bass drivers move with immaculate precision thanks to the P-Flex surround.

How Do I Connect My Subwoofer To My Speakers?

Connecting your subwoofer is generally quite simple: 

Use the LFE outputs on your amplifier or receiver, or a pre-amp output if your receiver/amplifier doesn’t have an LFE output.

If your receiver doesn’t have an LFE or a pre-amp output, you can use the subwoofer’s high-level inputs by simply connecting the amp's speaker output to the subwoofer's high-level input.

For more information on connecting your subwoofer, always consult your subwoofer’s user manual or see our guide on how to Integrate Your Subwoofer with Your Wireless Speakers.

Welcome a KEF subwoofer into your audio setup today and complete your soundscape.

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