Using a best studio monitor subwoofer will enable you to hear the low frequencies sound in clarity without messing with the main monitors because the main monitors are only suitable for handling the mid and high frequencies sounds. The subwoofer is dedicatedly used in the studio to reproduce the low-frequency sounds (bass).
Studio subwoofer is an essential sound equipment that will improve your music production quality dramatically. Sadly, this is a set of equipment that always overlooked by most music producers and singers. Let’s review them one by one.
Things You Should Consider When Buying The Studio Monitor Subwoofers
Besides the woofers, you will surely need subwoofers in your home studio. A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that is engineered to reproduce bass and sub-bass frequencies. The bass and sub-bass are low-pitched sound frequencies that the woofers could not optimally generate. The frequency range of subwoofers is between 20 to 200 Hz (specifically for consumer’s products). Thus, if you want to produce the best mix, you would surely need a good and reliable subwoofer.
The price of a quality subwoofer is the first factor that you should take into consideration. The price may range from below hundred to several hundred; some models that available on the market may even cost more than a thousand dollar. You must choose a subwoofer that fits your budget carefully.
2) How To Install Your Subwoofer
The installation of the subwoofer is known as a “2.1 audio setup”. It’s straightforward to install the subwoofer, just plug it into the audio interface, and you will have clear low-mix sounds in place. Besides that, you also can connect the subwoofer to the studio monitors directly. Some subwoofers do come with a built-in amplifier, and some don’t.
3) Subwoofer Brands
You don’t need to buy the same brand to match with your existing studio monitors. You can mix and match whatever brands of subwoofer you preferred. The sound quality of subwoofer is the primary concern, and the brand preference should be your secondary concern.
4) Subwoofer Size
Most people might be thinking that the bigger, the better sound quality of the subwoofer. That’s wrong. Some smaller subwoofer might be sound better than the bigger ones. You should inspect and take its driver quality into serious consideration. The average sizes of monitor sub woofer are ranged from 6″ – 12″. For vocal and music monitorings, I would suggest using the sub that have at least 8″ – 10″. However, for movie audio monitoring, it better to go for a larger 12″ sub.
5) Power Rating
The higher the wattage power of the subwoofer, the more power it is. The wattage power of the average subwoofer is around the mid-100’s. And you need to confirm that your amp you are using is capable of handling and supplying 75% – 150% RMS rating of the subwoofer.
The power rating and the size of the monitor subwoofer are inter-related. Normally, the bigger the size, the higher the power as it needs the higher power to boost the larger subwoofer to project louder, deeper and thicker low-frequencies of bass.
6) Frequency Response
It dictates the frequencies range that the sub can manipulate. For music monitoring in a studio, I would suggest using those subs that have the slightly greater frequency for clearer low mixes.
Recommended Studio Subwoofers For Studio
There are myriads of brands and models of subwoofers on the market today, and if you are not well-advised as to which brand to buy, you may end up buying the wrong ones. To facilitate the buying process for you, we have listed here the most recommended subwoofer brands on the market today:
1) Focal Sub6
The Focal Sub6 is a powerful subwoofer designed to work with the Focal’s 6-range speakers. It features an 11-inch driver that can extenuate your monitoring process down to 30Hz at any sound pressure level. It features a 350W subwoofer, and it is powerful enough for use in a large studio. Using this subwoofer, you can have enough flexibility with your setup with surround LFE or 2.1, 2.2 configurations.
It comes with a high-pass crossover, level control, and adjustable phase control for achieving a seamless integration of your studio monitors. It also comes with a footswitch input to allow you to A/B your audio even with or without a subwoofer for a clear and precise sonic perspective.
Its high-pass filter that affects the L/R signals conveyed to the satellite speakers is switchable between 75 Hz and 100 Hz, or you can altogether bypass it.
The Focal Sub6, as a giant monitor, enables you to have enough flexibility and capability, which you will only find in high-end and world-class studio monitors. Besides, its frequency range is from 30Hz to 250 Hz. This subwoofer is perfect for pairing with the Twin6 and the Focal’s Solo6.
2) Adam Audio Sub8 Powered Studio Subwoofer
The Adam Audio Sub8 Powered Studio Subwoofer may appear to be small, but it is deceptively powerful. It is an 8″ subwoofer that features a 50-mm voice coil that is powered by a 160-W amp. It also features two motorized knobs that let you configure the settings and input levels along with crossover frequencies to your studio. You can also control it using its wireless remote.
It perfectly matches the ADAM monitors like the A7, P11A, ANF10, S1A, and S2A. You can use it for mixing and monitoring bass-heavy songs. It is designed for extending the low-frequency capabilities of your monitoring system. This one is the perfect choice for your studio.
3) Yamaha HS8S Studio Monitor Subwoofer
Yamaha is very popular and reputable for its quality musical instrument and music gears. The Yamaha HS8S uses the 8″ cone type driver, with 150 Watts of power, 22 Hz to 150 Hz of frequency response. Furthermore, it does pack with the great features such as the adjustable crossover frequency between 80 Hz – 120Hz. And it also features the control switches that you can adjust its low cut (80-120Hz) and high cut (80-120Hz) along with a phrase switch available.
It utilizes the input connectors of 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4″ and output connectors of 2 x XLR. And it weighed at 27.6lbs with compacted dimensions of 13.8″ x 11.8″ x 15.3″.With its versatile features of controlling the low and high cuts; and adjustable crossover frequency. The Yamaha HS8S can be considered as one of the best compact studio subwoofers that are very suitable for the home recording studio to handle diverse types of music.
However, some users complained that the volume was insufficient in the bigger room, but works great in the smaller room.
4) PreSonus Temblor T10 Powered Studio Subwoofer
The PreSonus Temblor T10 Powered Studio Subwoofer features a 10″ low-frequency transducer that is made of glass composite. This one surely provides you with a solid foundation when mixing music. This front-firing active subwoofer is designed for delivering an accurate and fast transient response that smoothly extends low frequencies without any traceable overshoot or tubbiness. It can perfectly complement full-range monitors without necessarily overshadowing them.
It provides clean and tight, responsive bass. It is also designed to provide controls and connections and can function as the central hub for your monitoring setup. It has a switchable high-pass filter that helps avoid frequency cancellation in the upper range of the subwoofer. It is the right choice and will surely provide you sterling accuracy.
5) JBL LSR310S -Watt -Channel Studio Subwoofer
Another popular studio monitor is the JBL LSR310S, and it is also one of the more expensive options in the market today. It also belongs to the top 3 bestselling subwoofers in the market today. Rolled out in 2019, the JBL LSR310S features a JBL patented Slipstream port that works well together with the LSR3010S low-frequency driver. When used together, they produce a deep and dynamic bass response at playback levels.
JBL is also one of the most reputable manufacturers in sound system industry. It very powerful compared to other models with the 200 watts rating of power. It utilizes a 10″ drive/speaker and deliberately designed it to be a become a down-firing subwoofer which will produce deeper richer low-frequencies bass. Its down-firing driver is capable of delivering low-frequency response into 20Hz area and 133 dB peak output. And with the crossover of 80Hz.
It uses the Input Connectors of 2 x XLR, 2 x TRS; and Output Connectors of 2 x XLR. Weighted at 34.3 lb with the dimensions of 17.65″ x 15″ x 15.65″. About the controls, it features the Phase switch and High Cut control (80-120Hz) like most of the subwoofer have.
Indeed, it’s a quite a powerful monitor sub woofer that very suitable for wide-range of home studio applications.
6) KRK 10S2 V2 10″ 160Watt Powered Studio Subwoofer
The KRK 10S2 V2 10″ 160Watt Powered Studio Subwoofer features a 10″ woofer that is made of glass aramid composite. It features a bass extension of 28Hz with a maximum SPL of around 117 dB. Its frequency response can go to as low as 34 Hz.
Its drivers are 10″ in size and are fashioned out of quality aramid composite. This one is footswitch-ready, which is a significant upside for buying this item. The KRK 10S2 can surely provide you with power, and it is a solid gadget that is meant for more extended durability.
7) Cerwin Vega XD8s Active Studio Subwoofer
This is a professional entry-level studio subwoofer that is very suitable to use in the small home studio. Although its power rating is only at 80 Watts, It utilizes the 8″ driver with high SPL, and frequency response of 35Hz – 255Hz, which will enough to improve the sound pressure for solid low frequencies.
It’s only weighted at 18.5 lbs with the dimensions of 17.5″ (H) x 7″ (W) x 14.5″ (D). And it also does come with a desktop remote.
Despite being an entry-level subwoofer, it does also pack with the features of adjustable control switches that most high-end subwoofers have, such as crossover selection switch, output matching volume knob and polarity switch.
8) Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer
This is most affordable yet professional studio subwoofer you can ever find on the market. It’s very solid and professional enough for general recording studio uses. It utilizes the powered 10″ driver with the power rating of 50 watts and frequency response between 35 Hz – 200 Hz. And the crossover is within the 80 Hz to 160 Hz range. The connections can be easily set up by using the speaker cable.
The best part is that it uses all medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and non-resonant materials for its woofer cabinet. Thus, it will decrease its vibration, echoes and improve its overall sound quality. And another feature that surprised me is the “Klippel measurement technology (laser-based)” technology been used in this low-cost subwoofer. The Klipper measurement is designed to improve its voice coil alignment and suspension.
After all, this s a quality budgeted studio subwoofer you can consider getting one if you are tight on budget.
9) Behringer Nekkst K10S
Behringer Nekkst K10S is a popular option if you look for a dedicated studio monitor subwoofer within the higher end of the subwoofer’s price range. It belongs to the top three bestselling studio monitors in the market today, and it is more expensive than the average monitors.
It is a byproduct of the collaboration of Behringer with Keith R. Klawitter, the master speaker designer and founder of KRK, to come up with the design of the Nekkst K10S. The result is a punchy and powerful bass.
It features a glass fiber 10″ speaker with a power of 180 watts. You will surely add an extra oomph to your studio monitor system with the addition of Behringer Nekkst K10S. It also features a variable lowpass filter along with a phase switch, which lets you dial in the precise response you need in your system and room.
The Nekkst K10S exhibits an exceptional bass response born of the ingenuity of Keith R. Klawitter. The baffle’s curvature and the front port’s dimensions feature a design perfect for extended low-frequency response characterized by minimal distortion. With the Nekkst K10S, you can decide better with your mix and end up having a cleaner-sounding mix.
In my opinion, the price range, sound quality, and matching studio monitor being the major concerns when deciding the model of subwoofer you should buy for your music production / recording studio.
If the price is not an issue for you, and you are looking for a subwoofer to match with your existing pair of high-end studio monitors. Then, you can opt for the Yamaha HS8S or JBL LSR310S studio subwoofers.In the other way round, you can go for the affordable Cerwin Vega XD8s or Polk Audio PSW10 if you are in tight budget and intend to find a subwoofer that is good enough to match with your existing entry-level speaker monitors. Polk Audio PSW10 can be considered as the most reliable and quality subwoofer in the entry-level category.
Should You Use Subwoofer?
Subwoofers, however, are not often seen in many studios. The reason for this is that many studio owners don’t see the need for super low-end power that a subwoofer can offer. Well, they may be right for, as a producer, you can readily do away with the subwoofer. However, you can surely derive many benefits from having subwoofers in your studio setup, and here are some of these benefits:
1) It Provides Bigger Power
As mentioned above, the woofers could not optimally cover the low-pitched audio frequencies with more power. Thus, you will need a dedicated low-end boost. This is significantly covered via the use of subwoofers. Of course, you may not need that much power, but it is good to know that it is there and that the lower-pitched audio frequencies are ably covered.
2) Subwoofers Let You Cover the Entire Range
The use of subwoofers in your home studio is beneficial because it provides your setup with a transducer that is dedicated to creating very low frequencies. Since woofers could not fully cover the entire frequency range necessary for the right mix, you will surely need a subwoofer if you want the lower-end frequencies to be ably covered.
Many of the contemporary studio monitors within the affordable range come with small low-frequency drivers to cover the low-frequencies. However, in most cases, these drivers are too small that they fail to clearly deliver the low-end frequencies and are only more suitable for driving the mids. On the other hand, the higher-priced monitors are not susceptible to this problem because they come with larger transducers.
So, you will readily see the importance of having subwoofers, especially if you are using mid-range and affordable monitors. The dedicated transducers for low-end frequencies of the subwoofers could perfectly deliver bass. This makes it easy for you to figure out subtle nuances when you mix in the low-end, which is suitable for critical monitoring and listening.
3) It lessens the Pressure on Your Monitors
Monitors are also pressured, especially if you push them to produce on specific frequencies for which they are not specifically designed. Of course, they will try to go lower, but you will notice a remarkable drop in the quality of the sound that they produce. Interestingly, if you add a subwoofer to your setup, you can lessen the burden on your monitors due to having to deal with low-end frequencies. If you have a subwoofer, your monitors can entirely focus on the trebles and the mids.
It is also good to note that most contemporary subwoofers are equipped with a variable crossover. With this feature, you can set subwoofers to the exact frequency where it would kick in, while the monitors fade out. This feature helps in finding the sweet spot wherein your monitors could divert its power where it can work comfortably.