High-definition televisions and Blu-ray movies bring a cinema-quality experience to the home, but without the right home audio, only half of the experience comes to life. When a movie or music fan is ready to set up a home entertainment center, a home subwoofer is the one piece of equipment that can make or break the efforts to change a living room into a movie theater or concert hall. Recently, Top Ten Reviews listened to several powered subwoofers to determine which had the best sound quality and design.
"In theaters, you get used to feeling the low bass sound pounding against your chest," said Lecia Monsen, Managing Editor for Top Ten Reviews "Thanks to budget home subwoofers, the home theater experience is available to everyone."
The Top 3:
1. BIC Acoustech PL-200: This home subwoofer offers the widest range of sound without sacrificing design quality. Thanks to its high power output and wide frequency range, the BIC Acoustech PL-200 can handle any cinematic or musical challenge it is given.
2. BIC America F-12: This home subwoofer continues to impress after 10 years on the market. This subwoofer delivers surprisingly loud sound for its size. Like the Acoustech PL-200, BIC backs this sub with a great warranty and strong customer service.
3. Premier PA-150 1000 Watt: Although Premier is a lesser-known brand, this home subwoofer delivers surprising specs and excellent sound quality. Its huge 15-inch speaker makes it great for large or open rooms, but it offers enough customization features to make it usable in smaller rooms.
What Makes a Top-Notch Home Subwoofer?
With home subwoofers, one size does not fit all. People building a home audio system will need to decide if the sound system will focus on playing music or watching movies. Also, the size and layout of the room factor into the size and power the subwoofer will need. When purchasing a new home subwoofer, these criteria should be carefully considered.
Performance: While a high dynamic peak power may look impressive on paper, the root mean square (RMS) power output will give a better impression of the amp's potential because it indicates the steady power output at an average setting.
Sound Quality: For a typical home theater, the subwoofer needs to handle the low-frequency effects (LFE) found in movies. But movies will feature diverse soundtracks, and the subwoofer needs to handle the musical bass notes. The best home subwoofers offer enough frequency range to fill all roles.
Design: Since the subwoofers move a lot of air to create sound waves, it's important to have secure that wiring keeps everything working movie after movie. In addition to sturdy build, the subwoofer needs to look good in any home theater.
Features: While most budget home subwoofers are for entry-level audiophiles, subs that offer several customization features will stay relevant year after year. Some optional features matter only to individual consumers. For example, people placing the subwoofer a few feet away from the television will want magnetic shielding to protect the picture, but if the sub will sit in a lone corner of the room, magnetic shielding will not be an issue.
Help & Support: Most home subwoofers have a lifespan of five to 10 years, and warranties should support the sub for its entire life. In addition to a thorough warranty, the manufacturer should offer excellent customer support through email or telephone. Companies also show confidence by offering FAQs, user manuals and forums directly on their websites.
With the right home subwoofer, pounding movie effects and rhythmic bass tracks turn a home into a movie theater or concert hall. And with the proper design and warranty, the subwoofer becomes a long-term part of the home theater system.
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