Do You Need a Subwoofer for a Home Theater?

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If you already have a home theater room in the works or you are looking to set up a home theater room from scratch, there are a few things that you will want to look into.

A good video projector or a giant TV is going to come in handy. Your favorite streaming devices and video game consoles are a must have too, not to mention some comfortable chairs. However, the visuals and seating are not the only important factors to consider here. Audio is something else to look into.

Many people wonder whether or not a subwoofer is required for a home theater system. You could stick with some basic speakers; there’s nothing wrong with basic speakers per se, even ones that might have small subwoofers built into them.

However, do they really compare to a full-fledged subwoofer? Do you need a subwoofer for a home theater? Well, simply put, subwoofers do wonders for achieving a deep and rich bass sound, and that’s a big deal.

Why Get a Subwoofer for Home Theater?

So the fact of the matter is that there is more than one reason why you might want to consider investing some money into a great subwoofer for your home theater setup. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why investing a couple hundred bucks in a woofer can be beneficial.

No More Distortion

One of the problems that often occurs with your basic speaker systems is distortion. Once you start turning the volume up, especially if there is a lot of bass, the speakers can start to distort the sound. This can mean poor quality sound, and in the worst case scenario, your speakers may blow out. That crackling sound that speakers make after having been played on high volume is a result of this.

In other words, with basic speakers, loud volumes can straight up break them. However, subwoofers are designed to handle high volumes and low bass sounds without suffering from distortion. This is what makes them ideal for blasting music at high volumes and for watching movies when you really want to crank things up.

Lower Frequency Reproduction

If you are using plain old speakers, you might notice that the bass sound is not very low. Chances are that whether you are watching a movie or listening to music, you want that loud and booming bass sound that you can feel in your chest.

The issue with basic speakers is that they usually bottom out at about 50 Hz, which means that they just cannot produce the lowest of the lows.

However, a good subwoofer will usually be able to go down to about 20 Hz, which means that they are much better equipped for reproducing those super low frequencies. When all is said and done, the result is a much deeper bass sound and more accurate sound reproduction.

Do You Need a Subwoofer for a Home Theater

The Low End Transients

Another thing which normal speakers don’t really excel at has to do with low end transients, specifically in terms of speed and control. To put this in a way that is easy to understand, if you are listening to music or watching a movie, chances are that the acoustics often start and stop abruptly.

With normal speakers, these quick starts and stops can sound bad. The result is a muddled acoustic sound. However, subwoofers have higher speeds and transient response times, thus allowing acoustics to sound better and transmission much more smoothly from one sound to another.

Improved Speaker Quality

The other reason to consider a subwoofer for your home theater is because normal speakers, when they are forced to reproduce heavy bass, often don’t perform at their fullest potential in terms of the highs and mediums.

If you are using a subwoofer, it will take care of the bass, while allowing the speakers to work at their fullest potential to reproduce the higher frequencies with maximum efficiency and quality.

The More the Merrier

Something else to consider is that you may even want more than just one subwoofer for your home theater setup. The reason for this is because the even distribution of bass across a large room can be difficult. In other words, one part of the room might get a much heavier and louder bass sound than other parts.

If you have normal speakers, even ones with small built-in woofers, they may not be able to project that bass sound evenly across a room. However, if you have 1 or even 2 high-quality subwoofers, that bass should be evenly distributed and present from one side of the room to the other.


At the end of the day, while a subwoofer is not 100% necessary for a home theater, it will make the experience sound much better as a whole.

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