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Home Theatre: Why two (or more) subwoofers may be better than one
For any audiophile who is serious about maximizing their home theatre or music system performance, “more bass” is a non-negotiable demand. That’s why subwoofers are highly recommended and capable products that vastly enhance the audio experience.
But, a boomy and bloated bass response that drowns out higher frequencies can be a major downer, and to counter that, most manufacturers these days are highly recommending getting additional two, three or even four subwoofers to get smooth and peak-free bass, plus a low-end clarity in the sound system.
So, why can’t you just use one big subwoofer with optimized bass response, to replaces your existing one?
That’s because even with the most discrete placement or optimal position, a single subwoofer will not offer a sweet spot to all of the listeners seated across different seats or places in the room. Resultantly, a less impactful listening experience, and disturbing peaks and dips in the frequency responses may occur for some listeners.
What makes multiple subs a great upgrade to any home theatre or music system?
To answer the question, “will multiple subwoofers really pay off?”, let's begin with benefits that make it an ideal purchase.
Effortlessly cleaner and accurate bass at all levels
For starters, multiple subwoofers offer a tight, well-defined, evenly distributed bass.
There is a conspicuous improvement in bass response when multiple subwoofers are properly located in a room. Increased sound wave density and smoother frequency response enable an equitably enjoyable, distortion-free listening experience for everyone in the room, irrespective of their seating arrangement. The increased dynamic output capabilities or more headroom results in bass that fills the room with acoustic energy.
A quick tip. When experimenting with the placement of subwoofers, consider placing them either in the corners of the room or in the middle of the front, rear or sidewalls. Also, be mindful of leaving some space between the wall and the sub. Remember, don’t go just by the aesthetics of the subwoofer placement in your room, as that can affect the acoustics significantly.
Multiple subwoofers fit in a room better than a single, large subwoofer
For most music enthusiasts, (we are precariously assuming), the living room makes for an ideal place for a home cinema or music system set-up. When you decide to experiment with multiple subwoofers, chances are you will consider factors such as space constraints, decor integration, and balanced aesthetics.
While a single large subwoofer can stick out like a sore thumb, a multiple subwoofer allows the use of smaller units so the set-up is less obtrusive, more lifestyle-friendly and can blend in more smoothly into any area of the house. It has less visual impact and offers ease and flexibility of placement.
If space constraints in an average-sized room are your pain-point, then consider the option of sealed cabinet subwoofers. They can outperform much larger subwoofers and fill the room with heart-pounding bass, without taking over the space visually.
Multiple subwoofers are difficult to localise and offer better immersion
In an ideal surround sound set-up, bass emanating from a subwoofer should not be indicative of its location. Even if your subwoofers are equipped with masking effects and apt crossover frequency, it is easy to trace it back to one location, it is coming from. This spoils an all-immersive listening experience for the users and takes away from the sensation of bass coming from all around.
A dual or a multiple subwoofer set-up makes it nearly impossible to localize and offers an unrivalled immersive bass experience.
Summing up: On running multiple subwoofers
These are just a few of the acoustic and practical benefits of running multiple subwoofers for home theatre. We highly recommend that you go with dual or multiple subwoofers to enjoy the clearest bass experience possible. Installing dual or multiple subwoofers is a smart upgrade to your audio or home theatre system.
Remember — when it comes to subwoofers, two is company and three is certainly not a crowd.