Home Music Producer

The Ultimate Music Production Resource

Does A Subwoofer Only Play Bass?

We all know and love subwoofers because they give us the low end that drives the music we play on our sound systems.

With that in mind, have you ever wondered if subwoofers only play bass?

I know I have. And I know others like I, have had this striking thought before, which is why I’m going to answer and discuss this question.

If you stumbled upon this post with this question in mind, you’re in luck.

With that said, let’s get right into it.

Does a sub-woofer only play bass?

First things first let’s define bass…

Bass basically refers to all sounds with a low frequency or low pitch.

Subwoofers are by design meant to only handle low frequencies which is typically frequencies ranging from around

20Hz to 200Hz. So, yes subwoofers only play bass.

These low frequencies come from instruments such as the 808’s, kick drums, bass guitars, pipe organs as well as movie sound effects like explosions.

Hence the name “woofer” basically comes from the “woof” intense roaring sound that dogs make when they bark.

Subwoofer Construction

Subwoofers are basically made up of one or more woofers that are mounted in a speaker enclosure.

These enclosures are usually made of strong wood  that is capable of withstanding air pressure while resisting deformation.

Subwoofer enclosures come in different kinds of designs, including bass reflex (with a port or vent), using a subwoofer and one or more passive radiator speakers in the enclosure, acoustic suspension (that is, a sealed enclosure), infinite baffle, horn-loaded, tapped horn, transmission line, bandpass or isobaric designs.

Each of these designs has their unique trade-offs with regard to the efficiency, low-frequency range, cabinet size and cost.

Passive subwoofers have a subwoofer driver and enclosure and are powered by an external amplifier while Active subwoofers have an in-built amplifier.

Are subwoofers only bass?

Subwoofers only play bass. This is because of their size and construction. They are specifically designed to play the low frequencies. As you may know, music and sound are all vibrations. But, there are different sized vibrations that are interpreted differently by the ear.

The very thuddy sound of low-frequency waves is only made by the sub which is engineered for this specifically. The high-frequency sounds of vocals and other instruments get handled by small to mid speakers.

Can you just use a subwoofer?

You can’t rely on subwoofers alone as speakers because they’re not meant to work as full frequency speakers.

Its best to get speakers that you can use with a subwoofer.

Subwoofers have a low frequency range or bandwidth. With most subs their frequency range is 100Hz and below.

Therefore it would be pointless to use them as speakers that are expected to work fully with regard to frequency response.

There are a lot of speaker options out there that you can go for.

If you want full range speakers that don’t require the use of a subwoofer then you could settle for standalone speakers like studio monitors that come complete with inbuilt subwoofers.

Do subwoofers produce any sounds?

Subwoofers produce low frequency sounds like bass and it usually takes them being turned up for you to hear them.

Anything generally lower than 200Hz in frequency you would expect to come out of a subwoofer.

However, the specifications of the sub matter because they specify the actual bandwidth of the subwoofer.

The bandwidth of the subwoofer is simply it’s frequency range.

It’s common these days to find subs with a frequency range of 100Hz and below.

When choosing which subwoofer to buy, it’s up to you to find the subwoofer bandwidth that you specifically need for your intended use.

Do subwoofers make music louder?

Subwoofers are not meant to make your music louder. They’re simply meant to drive the low end of whatever sound you play through your sound system.

A good working subwoofer can of course make music sound fuller which could be perceived as loudness but in real sense it’s just the subwoofer doing it’s job.

Subwoofers don’t make your music better but they can certainly make your listening experience a lot more enjoyable.

A good subwoofer with the right quality components will make music sound fuller with a well adjusted stereo image that gives you a clear perception of what’s going on in the song.

Does A Subwoofer Only Play Bass?
Scroll to top