Do Audiophiles Use Subwoofers? (All You Need to Know!)

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One thing you’ll notice about audiophiles’ audio setup is that some may use subwoofers while others don’t. For a newbie wanting to be an audiophile, this may be quite confusing whether or not they should get a subwoofer as part of their audio setup.

So, certainly, we need to talk about it. But first, let’s answer the question: do audiophiles use subwoofers?

Most audiophiles do not use subwoofers at all. This is because they believe that the bass produced by most subwoofers overshadows the mid and the high frequencies of the audio being played through an audio system. And in their view, subwoofers do not make the sound output of an audiophile system accurate. 

Why Most Audiophiles Do Not Use Subwoofers

As you may already know, subwoofers are designed to efficiently output the low sound frequencies that are produced by instruments like bass guitars, kick drums, and the pipe organ. They allow the listener to hear low frequencies and movie sound effects such as blasts and explosions perfectly as well.

However, the main reason why most audiophiles do not use subwoofers is that sound frequencies from subwoofers have the potential to overpower the other sound frequencies transmitted by the rest of the speakers. 

When this happens, it disrupts the overall frequency balance of the song, thus messing up the highs and mids. And this, in an audiophile’s view, damages the originality of the sound.

Unfortunately, most manufactured subwoofers cannot be relied upon to properly output low bass frequencies without disrupting the overall balance of your sound. 

Some subwoofers actually over-emphasize the bass frequencies in music. Only a select few can output low frequencies without distorting the original balance of the music being played. 

Therefore, since audiophiles prefer to keep audio as accurate as possible, they do not add subwoofers to their listening setups.

This has caused lots of audiophiles to have bad experiences when it comes to subwoofers. Due to this, subwoofers, in general, have gained a bad reputation among audiophiles. 

Thus, even though there are great subwoofers that can keep sound as accurate as possible, most audiophiles prefer not to use them. These types of subwoofers are relatively hard to come by and expensive as well.

These are the reasons why audiophiles do not use subwoofers. In fact, many audiophiles believe that subwoofers are not meant for them.

Do Audiophiles like Bass?

Yes, audiophiles like bass. However, audiophiles are not fans of bass-heavy-sounding audio setups. And for this reason, they have a strong dislike for speakers that output overly emphasized bass. 

They also strongly dislike speakers and listening devices that add color to music. Therefore, if you have interacted with several audiophiles, you may have noticed that they hate to hear about bass-concentrated consumer headphones like Beats, Bose, etc. 

Instead, audiophiles prefer flat-sounding headphones. To learn why this is so, I highly recommend you check out my article on why audiophiles hate Bose.

Audiophiles understand that, for a great recording to be enjoyed fully, it has to be in the original state within which it was produced at the studio. Due to this, they prefer listening to a balanced audio system. 

This means that audiophiles do not like listening to an audio system dominated by either bass or mid or high frequencies. What audiophiles enjoy listening to are speakers and listening devices that output music that is as accurate as possible.

The truth is, turning the bass in a song up can change the sound of the rest of the recording. That is why it feels as though the bass has covered up the mid frequencies present in the song when you are listening to music through such setups. 

Unlike audiophiles, most people prefer to have lots of bass when listening to music. They like listening to bass-heavy music. Thus, they tend to push the bass higher in their speakers.

 Audiophiles prefer the bass, mid and high frequencies in the music to be the same as when it was recorded. Hence, they do not go in for speakers that greatly emphasize bass. Due to this, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that audiophiles do not like bass.

How Subwoofers Can Fit Into An Audiophiles Setup

Even though most audiophiles do not use subwoofers, adding high-quality subwoofers to their listening devices can help them better appreciate musical works of art. 

This is because a good subwoofer will help improve an audiophile’s overall audio system without distorting the song’s originality. 

Thus, even if you are using a great collection of normal speakers, the quality of bass they will produce will not be at par with that of a subwoofer.

Getting The Right Subwoofers

The truth is that subwoofers are manufactured with drivers specializing in playing bass frequencies. Thus, the addition of subwoofers to any audio listening setup will highlight the bass that is present in the song. 

Regardless, this shouldn’t be a problem if the bass sounds do not overshadow the rest of the sound.

Ideally, a subwoofer that performs optimally must not draw much attention. What this means is that a subwoofer must not overshadow loudspeakers or surround speakers. 

A subwoofer must act as one unit with the rest of the speakers in the setup. Therefore, the bass frequency it produces must be in harmony with the other speakers in the setup.

In order to have a system that gives you such harmonic and frequency balance, you need to acquire audiophile-grade subwoofers. The best subwoofers for audiophiles are ported or conventionally sealed subwoofers. 

These subwoofers do not amplify the bass frequencies nor color the audio signal passed through them. Thus, they will sound good and fit well into any setup.

If you’re looking for a recommendation, a subwoofer I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend every time is the Polk Audio HTS 10-inch subwoofer (on Amazon)

Firstly, they look great and will fit in almost any audio setup. Secondly, they give you the bass presence without overpowering your entire audio setup. And according to WireCutter, this is one of the top-rated subwoofers you can get for your audio setup. Do well to check it out.

Setting Up The Subwoofer Properly

To set up a subwoofer properly, you need to pay particular attention to the position of the subwoofer and its settings. As you may already know, the position of speakers in a room greatly affects the musical ambiance in the room. 

One thing you should note is that every room is constructed differently. Thus, you may get different results when you place the same subwoofers in different rooms.

Placing subwoofers properly will help them output smooth bass response to achieve great stereo imaging. Identifying the perfect position for your subwoofer usually involves some trial and error work. 

Sometimes, it may even require rearranging furniture, décor, and much other stuff.

Also, to get optimal bass output from a subwoofer, you need to ensure that the subwoofer’s crossover frequency is set right. This setting can be done using the crossover knob, which is found on the back of the subwoofer. 

Getting this setting right will help your subwoofer achieve optimal tonal balance, hence will not overshadow other sound frequencies. If you are wondering how to get this crossover frequency setting right, watch this video below.

Final Thoughts

The reason why most audiophiles do not use subwoofers is understandable. However, audiophiles are missing out on great bass by not incorporating subwoofers into their home theater or listening setups. 

I am not saying this because I prefer lots of bass when listening to music. However, the truth is that subwoofers are built in such a way that their drivers are perfect for playing out the bass frequencies in music.

The optimum frequencies that can be output by most normal speakers are highs and mids. Due to this, you should not rely on normal speakers to reproduce the bass in the song you are listening to. 

When a subwoofer is added to your audio setup, it will highlight the bass present in songs better than normal speakers ever can. Without subwoofers, there will always be a slight deficiency in the sound played over an audio system.


In summary, many audiophiles have had bad musical experiences using subwoofers. The bass frequencies produced by most subwoofers often end up overshadowing the other sound frequencies within recorded sound, hence distorting the balance of the sound. 

This has earned subwoofers a bad reputation among audiophiles. Due to this, most audiophiles do not use subwoofers.