10 Fantastic Subwoofers for Home Theaters 
Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles
Written by Dick Ward   
Wednesday, 18 August 2010

When you’re thinking about modifying the sound in your home theater, nothing can make or break the overall effect of your sound system like a subwoofer.  A weak sub can make even the most thrilling action sequence seem muted, and a sub that’s too much for the room can overpower the rest of the system with ease.

But there’s nothing that ties a room together – not a giant screen, great seating or even an antique rug – like a subwoofer that just plain works for home theaters.   Here’s a list of 10 subwoofers that we think offer an exceptional quality of deep bass and can give your theater the extra oomph that will impress anyone sitting down to watch the latest blockbuster movie. 

Velodyne Optimum-10 

Velodyne Optimum-10It probably won’t come as a surprise to see Velodyne on this list.  They’ve been kicking out some of the best subs on the market for years, and that Optimum-10 is no exception to that rule.  It’s also one of the smaller subs on the list, coming in a 13.5 by 13 by 15 inches across.

Don’t let the compact nature of the Optimum -10 fool you, it still packs one impressive punch.  It’s equipped with a 1,200 watt Class D amplifier and a ten inch woofer.  With all that power behind the sub, it’s capable of reaching down as low as 13Hz and as high as 240.  The Optimum-10 also comes with an attachable microphone to be used for automatic equalization.

Wisdom Audio SCS Suitcase Sub

Wisdom Audio Suitcase SubThe Wisdom Audio SCS, also known as the Suitcase Sub, is a powerful and responsive subwoofer in its own right.  It pushes out a maximum of 120dB at 25Hz and it’s got a frequency response from as low as 25Hz all the way up to 80.  But what sets the SCS apart is its shape.

There’s a reason the SCS has earned the moniker of the Suitcase Sub.  It’s 22 inches wide, 37 inches deep and just 7 inches across, giving it the same basic shape and size as a suitcase.  It makes the SCS capable of fitting in places that other subs just plain couldn’t, like under a sofa or behind a cabinet.   The SCS uses a combination of two 5.5 inch by 7.5 inch oval woofers.

JL Audio Gotham g213

JL Audio SubThere are big subwoofers and then there’s the Gotham g213.  It measures 34 inches by 21 inches by 25 inches and weighs in at a massive 360 pounds.  Inside the huge frame is a pair of 13.5 inch drivers, a 3,800 watt Class D amp and a huge toroidal transformer.

You’ll get a frequency response from 19HZ up to 200HZ from the Gotham.  It boasts an automatic room optimization feature as well as an extreme low frequency (ELF) trim control that lets you tune from -12dB to +3dB at 25HZ.

Paradigm Signature Series Sub 2

Paradigm Sub 2The Sub 2 from Paradigm is one uniquely designed subwoofer - you won’t find many hexagonal cabinets around.   It’s slick looking in both gloss black and woodgrain finishes, but it’s not the look that earns the Sub 2 a place on this list.  After all, there better be some numbers to back up Paradigms boasts that the Sub 2 is “The best subwoofer in the world, period.”

For starters, the Sub 2 is capable of hitting an amazingly low 7Hz, a number that most subs don’t even come close to.  It’s also got plenty of power behind it.  With 4,500 watts of continuous sustained power, the Sub 2 can crank out 122dB at 10Hz and 126dB at 60Hz.

KEF Reference 209

KEF ReferenceThe Reference 209 from KEF isn't the biggest sub on the list, but it features one of the largest cones you're likely to see.  Inside the 21 by 25 by 25 inch cabinet is an enormous 18 inch driver that dwarfs that of most other subs.
To top that off, the Reference 209 gets as low as 15Hz with a maximum output of 120dB and does it all with – according to KEF – absolutely no distortion.  It's also got the added bonus of being flexible color wise.  Like most subs, you can get it in piano black and woodgrain finishes, but you can do sapphire, garnet, white and even lime green.  Not a bad setup if you've got a less traditional living room.


Velodyne SPL-1200 Ultra

Velodyne 10


Small, precise and loud.  It's the reason the SPL is the SPL and it's the reason the SPL is a subwoofer worth taking a good hard look at.  The SPL-1200 is the largest of the series at twelve inches, but it's still compact in a 15.5 by 15 by 18 inch enclosure.

The 1200 Ultra has an overall frequency response that gets as low as 13Hz.  It's got a 3 inch dual layer voice coil and a Class D amplifier powering it all at a constant 1200 watts.  Harmonic distortion on the SPL-1200 Ultra is under five percent.

Paradigm Signature Series Sub 25

Paradigm Sub 25Like the Sub 2 from Paradigm, the Sub 25 excels in audio quality but also in the looks department.  It's hard to make a 20 by 18 by 21 inch box that looks good in a living room, but Paradigm pulled it off – the Sub 25 is elegant as well as powerful.

The Sub 25 features a 15 inch co-polymer polypropylene cone, a 3 inch voice coil and a 37 pound magnet.   It's accurate down to an incredibly deep 9Hz, and is capable of generating up to 125dB with no audible distortion.  That's solid performance by any standards.

Definitive Technology SuperCube Trinity

Definitive Tech SupercubeDefinitive's SuperCube isn't a sub that you're going to be able to hide.  At 18 by 18 by 31, it's best to think of it as an end table that also doubles as a sub.  It's sizable to be sure, but that one downside is offset by some huge benefits.

The SuperCube consists of two 14 inch long-throw woofers, pressure coupled to four 14 inch low bass radiators; all that helps to get you accuracy all the way down to 10Hz.  There's plenty of power in that sub too.  Thanks to a 2000 watt Class D amplifier, it's able to exceed 128dB at 20Hz and 116dB at 16Hz.

Sunfire TS-EQ12

Sunfire TS-EQSunfire's TS-EQ12 – the TS stands for True Subwoofer – comes in at just 13.5 inches cubed.  It's not impressive looking, or unique looking, but there's plenty of tech inside the TS-EQ12 that makes it a subwoofer worth looking at.

The TS-EQ12 boasts 112dB output thanks to the High-Back-emf design which allows for higher levels even in smaller enclosures.  It also sports the Tracking Downconverter power source, which supplies the 2,700 watt amplifier.  It's got dual 12 inch woofers, and a frequency response from 12Hz on up to 100.

Wilson Audio Thor's Hammer

Wilson Audio ThorThe mighty Mjolnir.  It's the hammer wielded by Thor.  It never breaks, it never misses and it never gets lost.  It's not something to take lightly, and Wilson Audio sure did their best to live up to the name with their Thor's Hammer subwoofer.

You won't find a sub much bigger than this.  It stands an inch under six feet tall and weighs in at 411 pounds.  It's bigger and heavier than most men, and far louder thanks to a pair of 15 inch dual spider woofers.  You'll get a frequency response from 10Hz all the way up to 300Hz and an 89dB sensitivity from the absolutely enormous Thor's Hammer.


Question: What subwoofer do you use in your home theater?  

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