Woofer vs Subwoofer: What’s the Difference?

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Audio equipment and the jargon around it are confusing.

One common misconception surrounds woofers and subwoofers. They’re the same thing, right?

Actually, no, they’re not. While similar, subwoofers and woofers function differently – despite their very similar names.

Confusing, isn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be an audiophile to understand the concepts behind them.

Keep reading to find out the differences between a woofer vs subwoofer, and which one is right for you.

Subwoofer and Woofer Similarities

Before we determine which is better, let’s briefly talk about what a subwoofer and woofer are.

A subwoofer and woofer are similar in that they both produce low-frequency sound. These low-frequency sounds are bass sounds. They are the opposite of high-frequency or treble sounds.

Bass tones range from 16-256 Hz or hertz. Some instruments that produce bass sounds are the bass guitar, bass horns like the tuba, and bass keyboards.

Bass can also be a voice type. It’s a classical male singing voice with the lowest vocal range of all types. Some famous bass singers include Barry White and Leonard Cohen. In addition, opera has a long list of famous bass singers, such as Matti Salminen, Martti Talvela, and Nicolaï Ghiaurov.

What Is a Woofer?

A woofer is a type of loudspeaker, designed for low-frequency bass sounds. It has a wide range of 50-1000 Hz. Without a woofer, you would only be able to produce mid-range and high-range audio frequencies:

Pros

A woofer is capable of producing a wide range of audio frequencies. This makes them a great choice for home theatres.

Woofers are small passive bass drivers. That means they are powered by an amplifier. This means they consume less power than a subwoofer.

Cons

A woofer can be used as a subwoofer. This is common in budget speaker systems. However, the low-end frequency response of the woofer will determine how well it will work. Ideally, you will still want a subwoofer.

The Final Word on Woofers

Woofers are essential to any audio system. Without them, you wouldn’t have low-frequency sound production. While not as specialized as subwoofers, they are capable of producing a wider frequency range.

What Is a subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a loudspeaker. As the name implies, it’s a type of woofer, which means it’s also designed for bass sounds. However, a subwoofer is more specialized, having a frequency range of 20-200 HZ.

Subwoofers are either passive or active powered. Passive subwoofers are powered the same way as passive woofers – through the amplifier. Active subwoofers have their own built-in amplifier, usually within the same subwoofer box:

Pros

Adding a subwoofer to your audio system will increase your overall audio performance. Due to a subwoofer being capable of reproducing low-frequency bass tones, you will have a richer bass. This will be a much better experience than relying solely on a woofer for bass.

Subwoofers are great for improving the experience of watching a movie or listening to bass-heavy music. If you’re a fan of hip hop or EDM (electronic dance music) or its subgenres (bass house, dubstep, drum, and bass, etc.) a subwoofer is a must.

Another perk of subwoofers is that they are roughly the same price as woofers. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but if you can afford woofers adding a subwoofer will not break your budget.

Cons

Subwoofers are larger than woofers. This is because driving low frequencies requires a large cone service area and a large magnet.

A subwoofer also consumes more power than a woofer, due to them moving a lot of air. Low-frequency sounds are large soundwaves that only a large driver can produce.

A driver is the part of the speaker that takes electrical energy and converts it to mechanical energy by moving air. This produces the low-frequency sounds that our ears pick up. Subwoofers are single driver systems, unlike woofers.

The Final Word on Subwoofers

So in general, a subwoofer is a great addition to your audio system. If you already have an audio system but don’t have a subwoofer, adding one will be a great boost to your audio experience. If you’re looking to buy a new audio system, make sure to include a subwoofer in your purchase.

If you’re looking for a subwoofer for home entertainment, you can start with only one. Most people on a budget will choose this option. However, if you have a large space, or want a more even coverage of bass throughout the room, adding a second subwoofer can help.

Which One Is Best for Me?

So subwoofer vs woofer, which one is the right choice for you? There’s no right answer. It depends on what you need.

If you want low-frequency sounds for rich bass effects, a subwoofer is the better choice. However, if you’re looking to improve the overall quality of your audio system, the wider frequency range of a subwoofer is the right choice.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to an audio system, Audio Control is a good choice. They offer a range of audio systems for homes and cars.

Woofer vs Subwoofer: Know the Difference

Now that you know the difference between woofer vs subwoofer, you can make smart choices about which speakers are best for you. You can either buy your audio system piecemeal or buy everything at once. Either way, knowing what you need and what to expect from your audio equipment will help you make the right choices.

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