Do you have a set of speakers with poor low-frequency bass? It’s a very common problem for people with a home entertainment system. No matter if you’re viewing movies or just listening to music, good highs and mids won’t mean a thing if the bass isn’t there. And for that reason, having a good subwoofer at the ready is highly recommended to experience sound as it was intended to be heard from the director/musician.
Reviewed below are eight of the best acoustic audio budget subwoofer products around, picked for build quality and overall sound output. By the end, you’ll know which brands are most useful to your needs, and important info to consider during shopping.
Before going into the reviews, take a moment to look at the guidance and suggestions of this section. It’ll make picking your sub a lot easier.
For the most part, subwoofers operate the same, outputting low-frequency bass that allows music to sound more refined. While there could be some minor differences, most models won’t contain tweeters or ordinary speakers. With this in mind, do consider getting yourself a pair of speakers if you don’t already have one.
In short, Subs are for low frequencies, and tweeters/speakers bring out mid and high-frequency sound. The most important thing to remember before getting any new sub is to understand this fact, to not end up with only half the equipment you need to get the most from your entertainment setup.
Look at the product description of any subwoofer and you’ll find that they all contain ports. Most models are built with them in the back of the unit. If there’s anything that you’ll find a bit inconvenient about subs, this will likely be it. Setting up a subwoofer that has awkward positioning on ports may require that you move a few things around during setup, but it can be done.
Typically, most subs contain RCA ports. And since most models rely on electricity to deliver the lowest amount of frequency as possible, check to see if there’s an extra outlet around your entertainment system. When you’re doing this, be sure to not daisy chain.
Have you ever noticed that most subs contain tubing along the back or sides? This is done for a reason. Air travels outside of the sub itself, which allows better resonance in the sound waves created by the unit. The sound will be clearer and more refined, having little to no muffling. Some models may place the holes below the sub itself.
The best are usually on the sides and also help bring the vibration rate down a bit. Again, this is a common feature in acoustic audio PSW-6 devices. Just be sure to keep dirt and debris from getting inside of the holes, which could affect the quality of sound in the long run.
Sizing is very important, so be sure to check the dimensions that are specified by your subwoofer of interest’s manufacturer. If you get something that’s too small, the level of frequency might not be what you were expecting. But acquire one that’s too big and you risk hearing music and movies with a little too much “boom.” What are the size and quality of your mid to high-range speakers?
If they’re stereo quality, then you would be well-served with a moderate to a large subwoofer. Yet for those with small computer speakers, anything below large could suffice. You mustn’t use this as your only factor when going for big or small, however.
Picking up from the last topic, choosing your subwoofer’s size can also be determined based on your living arrangement and location. Are you in a tiny apartment or a single-family home? Subs that are good for apartment living tend to be smaller or offer a wide margin in volume control. Sound will travel through to other units easily if the sub is big yet at the end of the day, is entirely dependent on how high you set the volume and/or gain.
To avoid taking any chances in getting your neighbors upset, focus on subs that have volume controls, more so if you’re sold on a large model. For individual homes, there are fewer restrictions to be placed on volume and frequency so don’t worry too much about the hearing range of those close by.
This is important for people living in apartment buildings. Take a look at acoustic audio subwoofer reviews and you’ll quickly discover that vibration is a common complaint. The truth is that almost all subs will cause some shaking to occur.
Still, things have gotten a lot better and some brands reduce the amount of shaking to a bearable level. If you want a brand with this feature, check to see how high off the ground the feet are on the subwoofer’s bottom. Some are quite low while others might have an inch or two in clearance. The high is better for this purpose.
Your acoustic audio sub will come with instructions on how to properly set up and care for the unit. Be sure to go over it early to see if there are any specific details about the model that’ll allow you to enjoy it to its maximum.
For example, your sub might have a break-in period where the frequency rate may not sound very well but improve after a couple of hours. Or maybe the sub has recommendations to be placed in a particular way to avoid it getting too hot. Whatever the case, you’ll find this info in the manual. You can also view each product’s manual online by going to the product’s description page.
The Polk Audio PSW10 is an acoustic audio budget subwoofer for people who want as much control with their sub as possible. Although most subs have limited controls, this aims a bit higher than some of its competitors by allowing users to control the frequency range of the sub’s sound. This isn’t the same as volume control and can be of significant help in raising or reducing the boom level of the unit.
Depending on your circumstances, the feature could help immensely when you want to hear music and movies without causing too much of a racket for people next door to you. And for this reason alone, the PSW10 is suggested for people who are loving in close-quarters to others, such as apartments.
But even if you’re in an ordinary home, the base is superb, with no noticeable drawdowns when playing film and audio. It’ll fit perfectly with any entertainment system, and looks outstanding alongside any stereo or gaming setup.
The Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer has a brass-colored front speaker with a wooden covering that’s painted black. Visually, the sub is an eye-catcher. But aside from looking good, the unit can deliver some serious bass that’ll bring out those subtle low-frequency notes that you just can’t get from a stereo.
The mids are also nice, to the point of sounding well on some tracks without the use of tweeters at all. It’s also very easy to keep clean, repelling away most fine dust and lint. You’ll have to give it a wipe-down eventually, but it won’t be a daily cleaning task. Setting the volume to its maximum won’t produce any muffled sounds. Most wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between 190 and 320 kbps bit rate tracks.
If the speakers are going to be used primarily for gaming and watching movies, you might experience a bit of shaking during scenes of intense low-frequency audio. While it’s not a major issue, be sure to set the frequency to an appropriate level if you’re playing/watching during the evening hours and don’t want to wake up people that are nearby. Overall, there’s nothing wrong with the R-120SW. You might even mistake it for speakers heard in your local movie theater.
The BTC America F12 is another subwoofer that packs a huge punch. All of its ports are located in the back, so be ready to build or alter your entertainment system’s set up in a way where they can reach the sub.
The color and build of the subwoofer itself are nice. It should blend perfectly with the rest of your electronic devices and isn’t too heavy to carry around. The total weight of it is approximately 42 pounds. Shaking is kept to a minimum. It doesn’t rattle a little bit but nothing to the point of shaking your entire living room or bedroom.
Once setup is complete, you’ll never find yourself tightening in RCA or Dolby plugs in the back from excessive vibrations. Speaking of which, this model contains ports for both Pro Logic and DTS.
Try not to set the subwoofer in an area that has bad ventilation. It can get pretty hot after heavy use. This tends to happen after a couple of hours and might not be noticeable if you use the sub for less than two. In the end, the BTC America F12 is an outstanding subwoofer for either apartments or homes.
The Yamaha 100W Powered Subwoofer is shaped differently than most of the subs reviewed so far. Instead of having an exposed speaker, there’s a covering built over the front. This grill prevents dust from settling in the inside, potentially making it last longer from not having to clean any sensitive parts in the future. It looks pretty traditional, with no fancy appearances.
The black housing should fit right at home with other nearby electronics. When you play it, you’ll notice no clipping or other annoying feedback. Use it to play your music or favorite movies without the worry of turning up the volume too much.
It can get pretty low and stay audible, which is great for evening use. During normal listening, expect the audio to crack up to level you may have never heard in your home before. Unfortunately, this sub has no remote control. To adjust and turn it on and off, you’ll have to do it yourself.
For people in small living quarters, this might not be a problem but for large rooms and homes, it could be if you’re accustomed to handling most other audio equipment from a distance. Still, don’t let this stop you from trying out this Yamaha sub, particularly if you like bass with little to no resonance.
The Bic Acoustech PL-200 2 is a remarkable acoustic audio sub with a high-quality low-frequency amplifier. During its peak, expect the sound to thump out at 1000 watts total. It has a wide frequency response as well, so just about anything you listen to will sound much better than your standard stereo speakers. But if you wanted to, hooking them up with a stereo system for added sound is very easy to do. Setup is far from complicated.
Just unbox and plug it in and you’re ready to go. It sounds exceptionally well when used for PC and console gaming; you won’t even need to adjust between this and audio music because there’s no distortion outputted by the sub at all. It does get a bit shaky when the volume is very high. Regardless, consider the PL-200 2 if you live in a location that allows you to play music, video, or games at any volume you want.
The Sony SACS9 is a 10-inch subwoofer that sounds good in virtually any location. Even in very large rooms, the sound will travel at a rate that makes it appear as if the bass is coming from every direction. As for appearance, there’s an outer cover around the center rear and keeps the low frequency from degrading over time.
It’ll never rip or tear if you brush something against it slightly. The inside is also nice. While you probably won’t have to open up the sub when it arrives at your door, know that it contains parts that aren’t cheap. The sub is difficult to blow, so crack up the volume to a high level without stressing over breaking it.
One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Yamaha NS-SW050BL is the large porthole built on the side of the subwoofer. Because it isn’t located on the bottom, the bass’s clarity is much cleaner and free of mud. It’s also protected with soft mesh and should keep you from having to clean it daily.
When you play it, the low bass is very sharp and can convert even low-quality audio files in a way that makes them sound almost the same as lossless audio, at least in low and mid frequencies.
The biggest drawback lies in the fact that RCA ports and cables provided aren’t coded by color. While you can still tell where to put them by viewing the instruction manual or indicators next to the ports themselves, it does present a small inconvenience.
Of course, this won’t be an issue for most audiophiles but if you’re a beginner to hooking up audio equipment, be sure to check the manual before you finish setup on the Yamaha NS-SW050BL. In any case, it’s comparable to any acoustic audio PSW-6 or sub in terms of sound quality.
Last but not least, the Audioengine S8 Powered Budget Subwoofer is great for people that want to add a sub to a music player with preamp hookups. This could include a turntable, stereo system, or even a karaoke player. Hooking this up is much easier than you might think. And when that’s out of the way, you’ll love how it keeps those pesky vibrations and shakes away.
This is due to the high rubber feet at the bottom of the sub, which works wonders for people in small living arrangements. If you want good bass but must avoid causing a disturbance to anyone nearby, this is the sub for you. And taking a look at most other acoustic audio subwoofer reviews shows that this places the Audioengine in the ranks of all the other products evaluated in the list.
Did you find the right budget subwoofer for your home? If you skipped the Value Section, it’s suggested that you give it a once-over to ensure that you get a product that you won’t’ regret. Out of the eight subs listed, the Polk Audio PSW10 is the most reliable to use in any residential setting, having good bass that always sounds natural.
As indicated before the reviews, your set and setting play an important part in getting a good sub and Polk has shown that their product always delivers, no matter where you reside. This certainly isn’t a put down to the other brands; you’ll be happy with any of the products shown!