What Size Subwoofer Should I get?

How the Size of Your Speakers Determine Which Subwoofer is Best for You


We get it in a variety of different ways. How big a sub do I need? How big a sub do I need for my room? Do I need a 12 inch? Really what people are talking about is trying to match the scale of the performance of the sub to the scale of their system and their room. So a bunch of factors pop up here.

When we start talking about that some of it is just pure, dumb, common sense. Right, we’re looking at it going, okay sir, you’ve got an eight by 10 foot room maybe a 15 inch sub is not right for that space. Then we got into actually matching with the main speakers. So, understand this fact, smaller subwoofers tend to be quicker and they also tend to have greater reach up.

So, there’s a natural inclination to run a small piece with very small speakers. Let’s say we’ve got a pair of nice little speakers that run out of gas completely. They’re gone, they’re done by 60, 70 Hertz, which is not particularly deep. Would you try and put it with a really powerful, say a 12-inch design that really is fantastic from 20 to 40 Hertz, 45 Hertz. And then as it starts to get up into higher frequencies, it itself is rolling off. So, you’ve got two different curves going on here. The main speaker is dying away up high, and the subwoofer is really good down low and then it also dies off at some point.

You may have a half octave gap, so it’s extremely important you understand small subs for small speakers. That is a generalization, but a pretty good one. So, let’s say you get into the intermediate, which is where we get a lot of this crossover. You have a good pair from a well-respected speaker brand, let’s say it’s a relatively modest floor stander. Sells for a couple of thousand.

It’s got maybe a couple of six and a half inch drivers and a tweeter, 30 inches tall. Now we’re getting into this crossover area, right? Is it right with a 10 inch or 12 inch? I’m making huge generalizations when I say this, and the answer is both may work just fine. It starts to get into your objectives.

Be honest with yourself. Are you somebody who really values super, super dynamic loud home theater performance, having a little extra isn’t the end of the world. We make sure all of our subs and I want to emphasize this for our home theater subs. A lot of audio files cringe when they hear the term home theater subs, because they’re so used to hearing big, soggy, slow, heavy sounding pieces.

We don’t do that. Everything we build is quick. So when you start looking for example, at our 10 inch version or our 12 inch version, both of those will work in terms of speed and immediacy really well. It really starts to get down into personal preference. I can tell you that there is in general, a correlation between physical size and how deep something will go and in general how loud it will go.

So, when you look at one of our little babies, a Tzero MKIII, It’s about a 10 inch cube. It’s not going to play anywhere near as loud as say an HT/1003, which is roughly double that size. Great question. Thank you.

February 1, 2021 - Posted in: Q & A With John Hunter, Videos