How Many Subwoofer Do I Really Need?
Before you even ask—‘how many subwoofers do I need?’, you should learn about the subs’ destination. The number of subs ideally depends on where they will be placed because the answer varies from cars to home theaters. But the good news for you is that two is almost always better than one.
The decision you have to make is if more than two is overkill. Here’s everything you need to know about subwoofers to figure that out.
How Many Subwoofers Do I Need?
When you start your research, you will read a lot about having multiple subwoofers. And that will add to your confusion about how many subs you must buy for a good audio system. Here’s what most experts land on—one is good and two is better, but more than that can be overkill.
You want to think about the budget before you start with the research. Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you found the perfect fit for you if you can’t afford it. This is the practical approach.
But if you don’t have budget constraints, there are other specs to consider. Before you jump into comparing specs, you should know not to compare subwoofers of different sizes even though they are made by the same company.
So, here are the specs you need to look at.
If you are looking for a boom, pay closer attention to the RMS rating rather than the peak power numbers. This will help you gauge the sub’s ability to handle power continuously which is a lot more realistic. And match it with the output power of your amplifier.
The enclosure type makes a big difference when it comes to output sound. This is because of the obvious reasons. The sealed box models reproduce sound in a deep and accurate fashion. The ones that are in bandpass enclosures or ported give you more volume. So, the choice is yours.
Range of Frequency
While enclosure plays a big role in the performance of a subwoofer, this will also help you figure out how low the sub can go.
If you are looking for high output, you must look for a sub that has higher sensitivity. This will also ensure that the sub does not need as much power to produce the same sound that a sub with lower sensitivity does.
After you look at enclosure type, power and sensitivity, you must look into the size. It’s not easy to figure out which one gives you the lowest or the loudest output. But if you want them both, the simple answer is to pick the biggest subwoofer you can. But if you are getting a small sub, you must get the right type of enclosure and power ratings. Those details can change everything.
Typically, you will see subs with 2-, 4- and 8-ohm impedance. Whichever you pick, make sure the power rating and impedance of your sub match that of your amplifier. That’s all that matters.
For car subs, dual voice coils are a good choice because the wiring is flexible. As the name suggests, there are two coils here that can each be connected to a cone and a cylinder.
Benefits of Having More Than One Subwoofer
Now, if you are debating whether to get one sub or more, here’s why we would recommend two.
1. Size Matters: Two Small Subs Are Better than One Large Sub
Make no mistake, a large sub can improve performance to a great deal. But they sometimes take up more space than you have. That means you will have problems fitting it (in a small car) which might also cause ventilation problems. You don’t want that. Plus, they also localize bass, which destroys the listening experience, especially if you opted for a budget subwoofer.
Two small subs, on the other hand, don’t make fitting such an issue and you can easily find enclosures that go with those sizes. They are also easier to set up in the car’s trunk or under the seats and the bass is uniformly distributed.
2. Are You Listening Closely?
After location, you must look into frequency response. Every sub has a modal pattern that generates a corresponding frequency response. So, if you don’t position the single sub well, the experience gets ruined because the sound quality deteriorates when it is not in the “acoustic sweet spot”. You will either hear too much boom or none at all. Neither is preferred.
With two subs, you will be able to create an overlap in the modal pattern. This will improve the density of the sound waves and generate a better frequency response. Something that is smoother and more pleasant, which creates more sweet spots.
3. Look for Those Bass Cues
If you are an audiophile, you know that direction is an important part of bass cues. That’s what makes a place sound just right. If you are using dual subs, you must pick a two-channel system. This will take care of the stereo bass details.
4. Pay Attention to the Headroom
Two subs always improve the headroom because they have a better range and lower distortion. They also reduce compression in the output, which improves the overall experience. So, having two subs gives you a more accurate and clean output when the levels are high. This is an excellent choice especially for those who love music from sci-fi and action movies.
5. Localized Bass No Longer a Problem
And finally, you want to make sure that the frequency of the sub and the associated effects from the speakers do not localize. This is easy when you don’t have one sub playing from one location.
When you have two subs that are individually placed where they should be, the bass no longer sounds like it is coming from one place because it is physically not. In fact, once you experience dual (or more) subs, you will find it hard to go back to a single subwoofer.
You may also want to read: Top rated car subwoofer reviews in 2023
Disadvantages of Two or More Subs
There are two solid downsides to getting more than one subwoofer. But they are also specific to certain situations and there are ways around it, if you are so inclined. Take a look.
Takes Times to Find the Perfect Spot
Remember the acoustic sweet spots we talked about earlier? You will have to find them once you get the subwoofers. This is done by trial and error and it requires quite a bit of patience.
Those who are getting subs fitted for their home theater hate it because they have to cover more ground. That might not be such a problem for a car audio system.
It does get harder when you are dealing with more than one sub. But it is completely worth it once you find the spots and you don’t have to do it too often, so it will be time well spent. This is also a good reason not to get subs of different sizes because finding those sweet spots can turn into hell on earth.
You must also remember that a lot of systems are meant to work with one sub. When you get more than one sub, you might end up disturbing the natural balance and messing with the bass output.
A good-quality subwoofer can run into thousands of dollars. Clearly, two subs cost more than one. If you want to circumvent this problem, you can start by checking the quality and output power rating. It is not highly recommended but it will lead you to one good sub. But if you can afford a second sub, that is always the better option.
Clearly, it is not always about the number of subs. But if you were looking for guidance on where to begin, you must think about the specs and match them with your amp.
You must also think about the budget. Then you must consider the patience you have when it comes to finding the acoustic sweet spots. Now, the last one gets trickier as you increase the number of subs.
And finally, you need to consider the space you have to place the subs because as in real estate, it’s location, location, location with these things.
FAQ on How many subwoofers I need
Are Two Subwoofers Overkill?
This is a tricky question because it depends on the audio system you have fitted in your car. You might have a better time with one large sub or two small ones. It all comes down to the specs of your amplifier and matching the sub with its power rating and impedance.
Are Two Subs Better than Three?
Mathematically speaking, yes. But that won’t always improve the quality of sound. You need to find the sweet spots and make sure it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket too. Two subs is the expert recommendation.
Does More Subs Mean More Bass?
Not necessarily. As mentioned earlier, if you have more subs, you might have the option of increasing the number of sweet spots in a given space but you might still end up sitting in the wrong place where the bass can be too much or the treble can be too little. Either way, it’s a bad experience.
Which is better having a single subwoofer, two subwoofers or multiple subwoofers?
There’s definitely a difference between a single subwoofer, two subwoofer and multiple subwoofers here’s what it is. We need to differentiate the subwoofers from car and home theater use. The common sense dictates that multiple subs deliver better bass quality and sound quality than a single subwoofer. Now feeling the deep bass and accurate bass comes down to listening position as well let it be a home theater system or in the car. Typically bass quality and deep bass is influenced by room acoustics with the home theater. As you know many home theater fans choose a speaker system for the mids and highs this delivers the best sound and either smaller subwoofers or a large subwoofer either way an external amplifier is needed for more bass. Since multiple subwoofers deliver the low frequencies for the home theater you need to pick the right speakers (speaker system). A powerful bass is possible with the home theater in a sealed enclosure with the same brand.
What should I consider when looking for a subwoofer?
When looking for a subwoofer, you should consider budget, enclosure type, power and sensitivity ratings, woofer size and impedance.
How many subwoofers do I need?
The number of subwoofers you need depends on where they will be placed. Generally speaking, two is usually better than one.
What are the benefits of having more than one subwoofer?
Having more than one subwoofer has several benefits, such as creating an overlap in the modal pattern to improve sound quality; creating more sweet spots; and improved headroom with lower distortion and compression.
Are there any disadvantages to having multiple subwoofers?
Yes, there are some disadvantages to having multiple subwoofers – it takes time to find the perfect spot and costs more money.
Do I need 1 or 2 Subwoofers in my car?
It depends on the size of the car and your desired sound output. One woofer is usually sufficient for small to mid-size vehicles while two may be necessary to get more intense bass in larger cars.
How many subwoofers should I get?
Two is usually better than one, as it can improve sound quality and create more sweet spots.
What factors should I consider when shopping for a subwoofer?
Budget, enclosure type, power and sensitivity ratings, woofer size and impedance are important specs to consider while shopping for a subwoofer.
What are the benefits of having multiple subwoofers?
Having more than one can create an overlap in the modal pattern to improve sound quality, creating more sweet spots and improved headroom with lower distortion and compression.
Are there any disadvantages to owning multiple subwoofers?
The main disadvantage is that it takes time to find the perfect spot for them all and costs more money.
Is one subwoofer enough for a car?
It depends on the main speakers and how much bass you want from them. Generally speaking, one subwoofer can be enough to produce adequate bass notes in a car – but if your goal is to achieve maximum bass sound then dual subwoofers with good RMS wattage would be recommended.
Are wireless subwoofers better than wired ones?
Wireless subwoofers can offer certain advantages such as portability and ease of installation – however, when it comes to sound quality there is not necessarily an advantage over traditional wired systems. It really depends on how much power you need and what kind of frequencies you are trying to reproduce with your system.
Should I get a larger subwoofer for my home theater?
If you are looking to make use of lower bass frequencies then investing in a larger subwoofer may be beneficial. This will depend on the size of your home theater space as well as how much power output you need from the system overall.”
Last Updated on February 16, 2023 by Danny Reid