Subwoofers are speakers that produce low-frequency sounds. They’re responsible for the bass or sub-bass sounds you hear when listening to music or watching a movie.
Most speakers produce high-frequency sounds. Although this may sound pleasant to the ears, you’ll immediately notice the difference when you connect to a subwoofer.
However, sometimes you may notice that the bass sound from your subwoofer isn’t at full strength even with a loud volume. In this article, we’ll look at the probable causes of weak subwoofer sounds and proffer solutions.
Causes Of Weak Subwoofer Sounds And Their Solutions
Naturally, the subwoofer produces only low-frequency sounds, like those of a bass guitar. Therefore, your subwoofer will remain silent until it receives a sound signal in the low-frequency range.
So, before you conclude that there’s a problem with your subwoofer, confirm that there’s low-frequency audio in the activity producing the sounds.
There are several reasons why your subwoofer may sound weak. Here are some of them.
Lowered woofer bass level:
Your subwoofer may sound weak due to a low woofer bass level. Use the Woofer button on your remote to adjust the bass volume. If your remote control lacks this button, consult your user manual.
Wrong speaker setting:
A subwoofer is an assembly of woofers in a speaker box. It depends on the other audio system components, such as the speaker drivers and amplifiers, to function optimally.
The wrong configuration of these components will reduce the subwoofer’s effectiveness. So, ensure that all settings are accurate.
Poor room acoustics:
Audio/video professionals will argue that your room’s acoustics room has an impact on your subwoofer’s effectiveness. Some homemade studios have very poor standing waves that even the best subwoofers cannot withstand. So, be sure to check the room’s acoustics before faulting your subwoofer.
Sources configuration problem:
When using a subwoofer in a studio, it may be producing weak sounds. Check the other audio sources, like the microphone, to know if the problem is from the audio sources or the sub.
You can connect the sub to another source, like an iPod. If the sound is good, then check other sources for malfunction.
If you don’t give your sub enough power to function, it may cause weak sounds. Also, don’t use an overpowered subwoofer with an overworked amplifier. The amplifier may send out a clipped signal which will damage your subwoofer.
If your subwoofer gives out a sound when you play on low volume and stops giving out sound when you increase the volume level, it simply means that your amplifier isn’t compatible. You’ll need to get a bigger amplifier or get another one to complement the old one. The best configuration, however, is one subwoofer to one amplifier.
If all the troubleshooting methods above don’t work, the next thing to check is the motor. A defective motor could result from a fuse or battery problem and will affect the subwoofer.
Subwoofers need to have a polarity relative to each other in a sound system. Bridging will result in Low Sound Pressure (LSP) and thus cause the subwoofer to produce weak sounds. It’s, therefore, necessary to run a polarity sound check on your speakers after connection.
If the problem persists after all the suggestions above, reach the manufacturer’s support team. They’ll help you or give you a replacement, depending on their warranty policy.
You can still improve your subwoofer sound quality even though it has no issues. After all, who doesn’t want a better-sounding speaker?
How To Make Your Subwoofer Sound Better
Your subwoofers and amplifier have built-in filters. While your subwoofer has an electrical filter, your amplifier has a resonance filter.
These filters help the subwoofer produce nice bass at a low volume level. However, increasing the volume leads to sound distortion. Adding a paper or foil will help enhance the sound of your subwoofer.
The spider is a small cone in front of the subwoofer. You can install a better spider to improve the subwoofer sound.
Add a phase shifter:
Phase shifters are very good at enhancing the bass of a subwoofer. Add a phase shifter to help remove background sound.
Don’t overcompensate for your subwoofer:
Subwoofers produce bass sound, and you may want to reduce your speaker volume to make the sounds fit. However, please don’t do this as it may cause the sound to lose its low-frequency bass quality characteristic of subwoofers.
Upgrade your subwoofer:
Upgrade your subwoofer once in a while by changing the voice coil and speaker wires. You can also get a new subwoofer box.
Subwoofers come in two configurations – active and passive subwoofer
Active or subwoofer: This subwoofer has an inbuilt amplifier, which means it has its AC power source.
Passive subwoofer: Passive subwoofers do not have an inbuilt amplifier. They require an external amplifier or receiver. The amplifier or receiver must have enough power to sustain the effect of the bass produced by your subwoofer without having to drain the receiver’s or amplifier’s power completely.
Types Of Subwoofers
There are various types of subwoofers. We discuss them below.
This is so-called because they have a port or a hole through which air escapes. This air, which carries low-level frequencies, is a bass-level booster in a subwoofer.
These subs do not have a hole or passive port through which air can escape. Instead, they come sealed and well-rounded. It has only one route through which air can escape. It lacks the depth of a ported sub, but it produces a well-rounded sound with few peaks and booms.
This type of sub uses two passive radiators instead of a port. As the radiators move, sounds escape from the speaker but with greater frequency than the ported sub. As a result, even small speaker sets with two passive radiators will produce wide-ranging sounds.
Front and down-firing types of subwoofers:
Front and down-firing types refer to the installment of the internal speakers in the subwoofer unit. The front-firing models have a speaker that points forward, causing the sound to move forward and at the sides of the speaker unit.
On the other hand, the down-firing type points the speaker downwards, causing the sound to move to the ground and the front of the unit. As a result, they perform best when mounted on a raised platform.
This type of design is more complex and used in professional settings. They produce clean and clear bass sounds in various frequency ranges. You can also choose your desired bass level. They have two dividers with only one port that allows radiation to escape from the front cone.
This kind of speaker is the loudest because it focuses all the air that would have leaked out through a longhorn speaker. They are commonly used in large halls where you need sound to travel far. They also come in compact sizes.
Regardless of type and size, subwoofer placement is also essential to your overall audio experience. So, how do you place them for better results? Continue reading for more information.
Where To Place A Subwoofer
Subwoofers are the life of sound. You can use them with your home theater or in your car. It’s important to know where exactly to place them for optimum results.
Home theater subwoofer:
Bass frequencies are very sensitive and depend on room acoustics for effectiveness. Room size and furniture arrangement can affect bouncing bass sounds. It’s, therefore, best to place your subwoofer at the corner of a wall or behind a filled shelf where sound is absorbable.
A good car subwoofer can make the ground shake, especially if bass-heavy music is playing loudly. Cars come with their pre-installed sound system, and it will take professional help to get it out. However, as cars advance, their subwoofers also advance.
Factors To Consider Before You Buy A Subwoofer For Your Car
There are, however, some factors to consider when buying a car subwoofer.
If you prefer a loud sound, get a big subwoofer. The bigger it is, the louder it sounds. Just be sure to keep sufficient space for it in the trunk or under the seat.
Subwoofers come in various enclosures. The sealed enclosure produces a deep bass sound, and this is best for audio that targets all frequencies. Ported enclosures, on the other hand, are louder and suitable for rap and house music.
Higher power, higher bass. The RMS of a subwoofer connects to its power handling.
Sensitivity refers to the amount of power required for a sub to release a particular volume. It’s written in Sound Pressure Level (SPL). High SPL ratings equal high sensitivity. High sensitivity reduces the amount of power it takes for a sub to produce high volumes.
The impedance of a sub refers to its electrical resistance and is measured in ohms. The impedance of your subwoofer and your amp must match for proper functioning.
Your subwoofers may sound weak for different reasons. Identifying the possible cause will help in solving the problem.
For starters, don’t forget that subwoofers produce only low-frequency sounds. So, before you conclude that your subwoofer is faulty, ensure that the activity creating the audio has low-frequency sounds.
That being said, your subwoofer may be weak due to wrong speaker settings, power issues, amplifier size, poor room acoustics, lowered woofer bass level, faulty monitor, or polarity issues. We’ve provided solutions to each of these possible causes in this article.