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The subwoofer is an integral part of the home theater, but the challenge is when you decide to use it for just movies, just music, or both. This guide is designed to clear your confusion. So, are subwoofers good for movies & music?
At A Glance: The subwoofer is good for movies if you want to feel the realism of the movies but use a ported subwoofer or two. If you want to enjoy pure music then plug out the subwoofer but still if you want bass then use a sealed subwoofer for music.
Keep reading as I will reveal many more tips to choose the best option for yourself. I will show you when and when it is not the right option and will answer the most asked questions about this topic. Stick to the end to have the best out of your subwoofer.
What does the subwoofer do?
While all other speakers in the surround sound are responsible for the High and Mid-range of the frequencies. The subwoofer is the only component that is made for the lower end of the sound.
The bass of the sound is at the lower end of it. This bass contributes to the realism of the movies. But we will discuss later why audiophiles don’t use subwoofers with the music, and why they are right.
But now let’s put light on this realistic touch that the sub provides to the audio content.
When characters are walking, the realistic touch to the sound of the boots smashing the ground is provided by the subwoofer.
The engine roaring of cars sounds realistic due to the helping hand of the subwoofer.
However, the subwoofer only amplifies the lower end of the music and doesn’t provide realism there. The lower end feels good, but in a few conditions, it will not feel right. Keep reading to open your mind to these conditions.
Read my this guide about the best subwoofer for home theater. I have reviewed the top 7.
How is it for movies?
Let’s analyze the subwoofer for the movies. Here we will discuss two conditions: when and why it is good and not good for movies.
Read thoroughly to understand what you really need.
When is it not good?
- When you are using just one subwoofer in your home theater for the movies, then you are missing out on the best. Let me explain it to you briefly. The single subwoofer can’t cover the entire room well. There will always be empty bass spots. What are empty bass spots? Well, when you start crawling around your room and the subwoofer is being played. You will experience in a few ears that you are not getting enough bass. Depends on the size of your room. You will experience these empty spots more in the bigger room.
- When you have set up the wrong crossover for the subwoofer. The subwoofer should be playing lower than 40Hz and no higher frequencies than 120Hz. It might confuse you. But read this short frequency crossover chart for surround sound to know how to set up this crossover. When the crossover is set up correctly then the subwoofer will work the best for your movies, otherwise, you won’t be enjoying the movies.
Keep reading to know how to correct these mistakes.
When is it good?
- When you install dual subwoofers instead of one. Install the subwoofer in the area where you experienced the dead bass spots. This will feel up the room properly with the bass.
- Along with dual subs. You need to ditch the sealed subwoofers for your movies. You need to have ported subwoofers to enjoy the thumping bass of the movies.
How is it for music?
Explaining the usage of a subwoofer for music is very difficult because there are two schools of thought that I should take care of. The audiophiles and non-audiophiles.
When is it good?
When you want to feel, the lower-end of music is prominent and separate from the rest of the music. When you are waiting for the bass to kick in again into the flow. Then you will love one or two subwoofers for your surround sound.
But here too is a tip that will help you enjoy the music in its pure form. When you want to feel the bass in the music, then use a sealed subwoofer. Because of sealed subwoofers, drivers are kept in check by the vacuum created by its sealed body.
Due to this vacuum, the subwoofer’s driver is kept in control, and it doesn’t move beyond what is needed for the music. That’s why it gives accurate and clean bass that will accompany the music and will not add its own flavors.
In the case of movies, you need a ported sub because that can give a real thump to movies and can fill the room with bass more than a sealed sub. Read here to know about the difference between sealed and ported subwoofers. I have compared them in more than 9 areas.
When is it not good?
When you want to experience the music in its pure form. In the form in which it is produced, that means if you are an audiophile. Then don’t use a subwoofer because it will exaggerate the lower end and will change its shape.
Now, you might get confused if you are not an audiophile and reading stuff like this for the first time.
So let me clarify it for you even more. The point is when you want a bass with music then use a sealed subwoofer not ported, but if you want to enjoy the music in its real form then don’t use any subwoofer.
Read, are subwoofers worth it at the home theater? I have explained it more and have touched more angles on it.
For movies, the sub is a must, and you should use a ported subwoofer to have the best of the thumping effects for music if you want pure music then don’t use a subwoofer but if you want some amount of bass with the music then you can use a sealed subwoofer.
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Are subwoofers worth it for TV?
If you want to rely on the TV speakers for the mid and high range of the sound and want to install a subwoofer for the lower end then it is the worst decision but if you want to have some type of soundbar or stereo speakers to go with the subwoofer than it is good.
The TV speakers are not capable of delivering that caliber of mid and high frequencies that can match the level of the subwoofer. This will be the worst combination of anything out there.
But if you install at least stereo speakers or a soundbar that goes with the subwoofer, then the experience can be good. But the soundbar should be of good quality.
Does the subwoofer improve sound quality?
The subwoofer doesn’t improve the sound overall, but it only perfects the lower end (bass) of the sound.
The subwoofer is just a kick to the sound and does not produce the sound entirely. Don’t expect that it will improve the sound, but it will make it more thrilling.
You will start enjoying the same movies and music more with the addition of the subwoofer.
Do subs make your music louder?
It doesn’t make the music louder. It just produces the thumping effects of the music better. The same hitting of the drum will be felt deeper, not louder.
The subwoofer makes the music deeper, not louder. It is invented to throw the lower end of the music at you. That’s why the lower end of the music is produced correctly. This character will give depth to the music, not loudness.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- Read my this guide, Do soundbars really make a difference? This helps you to know the soundbars a little more. This was my opinion, read more about it from this Reddit Discussion. (Resource for the first answer)
- This was my opinion, read more about it from this Quora Discussion. (Resource for the second answer)