Woofers and subwoofers – explaining the technical terms

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Getting just the kind of audio experience you’re looking for can be a tricky – and expensive – task, and the most dedicated audiophiles are known to spend tens of thousands of pounds on their system. The good news is that you can get quality sound without it costing you the earth, but it helps to be familiar with precisely what you’re looking for before you buy. After all, there are so many different terms to remember it can be a bit intimidating for those who aren’t experts in the field. Carrying out a spot of research can stand you in good stead and help you avoid splashing out on gear that turns out to be inadequate in terms of what you’re looking for.

The difference between woofers and subwoofers isn’t something that most people are overly familiar with, it’s probably fair to say. The two terms are used interchangeably a lot of the time, so it’s worth acquainting yourself with the different qualities that each has. Although, on the face of it, the differences between the two might seem a bit difficult to discern, choosing the right device can have a major impact on your sound system as a whole and help you get the best quality audio.

Perhaps the biggest difference between woofers and subwoofers is their respective frequency ranges. Woofers can handle frequencies of between around 40 to 2,500 Hz, which means they’re adept at handling low to mid-range frequencies. Subwoofers, on the other hand, have a range of about 20 to 200 Hz, so they can deal with frequencies which are considerably lower than woofers. This makes them particularly handy for those who value powerful bass sounds, so if you listen to music which tends to have prominent basslines – which could be anything from dub reggae to techno, say – then the chances are you’ll need to have a decent subwoofer if you really want to get the full effect.

Woofers are ideal for home entertainment use, and comprise part of the main speaker system. You might think that as there’s some overlapping area in the frequency range of woofers and subwoofers, you could get away without having both. However, adding a subwoofer to your system can significantly enhance its range. The tweeter will handle the high-range frequencies, the woofer the middle-range frequencies and the subwoofer the low-range frequencies. With all three working in tandem, you have the building blocks for a quality sound system.

If you’ve got some money in your pocket and you want to invest in a quality sound system, it’s well worth looking around to see which devices work best and how to get the most out of them. Assembling a top-notch system isn’t likely to come cheap, but if you look in the right places you’re sure to find genuine value for money. You should also look at how to connect your home or in-car entertainment system in order to get the best results and how to make good use of their versatility.

This guest blog was contributed by Lesley Sampson a freelance writer who specializes in technology topics such as the best way to set up airplay speakers.