Subwoofers are known to be bass-thumping juggernauts, but can you mix two different subwoofers? Perhaps, you can, but subwoofer enthusiasts are yet to bury the hatchet for this argument.
You can mix two different subwoofers. However, matching subwoofers get rid of sound distortion. If you must mix the woofers, make sure they are of similar specifications regardless of the brands.
The general rule is against mixing and matching different brands of subwoofers in a sound setup. Even different series of the same brand can distort the sound, whereas your ears need crisp sound only.
This does not also mean there is any strict law against keeping different subwoofers from another brand of main speakers.
Can you use two different subwoofers?
As mentioned earlier, you can use two different subwoofers – nobody knows what you need from music more than you do.
The problem, however, is that a stronger subwoofer of the two different subs may reach its limit faster than the weaker counterpart.
Dual but different subwoofers typically increase the system headroom available. This brings in lower distortion, reduced output compression, better dynamic range, and reduced potential for overdrive artifacts.
Accurate bass may only bet the case at extreme drive levels if you run dual subwoofers with similar specifications.
Go ahead and mix two different subwoofers since subwoofers have no timbre matching. But make sure to avoid mixing a below-par subwoofer with a high-quality one – it does not help.
Is it OK to mix subwoofer sizes?
Unless the sound delivery meets your expectations, it is not okay to mix subwoofer sizes. Assuming you mix a 15” and a 12” subwoofers, bass delivery may be mismatching unless size does not explain their abilities.
As a thumb rule, among enthusiasts, moreover, mixing and matching two different subs of different sizes is not recommended. Mixing different lines or series of the same brand also poses a problem.
Other than cosmetics, a clear reason to keep different-sized subwoofers of the same brand is to avoid distortion. If you must mix and match two woofer brands of different sizes, ensure to get identical specs.
Speaking of where you place the subwoofers, the fronts should be the same, and the rears the same. The left and right subs should also be the same for uniformity. But the rear and front or left and right placements can be different.
How do I set up multiple subwoofers?
If you have two different subwoofers to add to your speaker system, follow the steps below:
Suppose you have a home theater receiver with just one subwoofer preamp output (this may also be labeled as sub out or pre-out). You need an RCA Y-Adapter for sending two parallel low-frequency audio signals to the two different subwoofers.
However, if the home theater receiver features two subwoofer outputs, use both outputs for each of the two different subwoofers.
If one of the two different subwoofers uses a Line out and RCA Line-in connection option, connect the subwoofer pre-out of your home theater receiver to its line. Finally, connect the line out of the subwoofer to the line-in of the other subwoofer.
3 or 4 woofers
In a 3 or 4 subwoofer setup, you want to ensure that each of the subs features an LFE line-out or RCA connection. Connect them using your subwoofer cables.
If you cannot connect all 3 or 4 subwoofers, then your home theater receiver needs to have 2 subwoofer preamp outputs. Use the output to connect all 4 subwoofers, but this means you need lots of cables.
What is the best subwoofer to use?
Having known that you can mix two different subwoofers and what to expect, this section recommends subwoofers you can below.
Below are the best subwoofers you can use to mix and match:
Jamo studio series S 808 subwoofer
The S 808 subwoofer will enhance the sound in your mix and match campaign. However, your existing subwoofer needs to be high-quality, and have similar specifications to this for the best sound reproduction.
Below are other features packed in this subwoofer:
The grilles are magnetic for a minimalistic and clean front baffle design. There are no push pins or mounting holes. Its large and woven pattern linen grilles also bring in visual interest with heavy texture.
Jamo S 808 uses WaveGuide technology which pays attention to high-frequency sound to create a powerful, dynamic, and room-filling sound.
Its trim rings are luxuriously designed to cover fasteners around the woofers, giving a cleaner and more elegant visual.
The cabinets are quite compact, with high-performance acoustics in, according to Jamo, “a small footprint”.
Speaking of orientation flexibility, this subwoofer brings that ultra-slim appearance that allows exceptional placement.
The studio series S 808 is available in black, walnut, and white finishes. Its wood grain accents at the feet, bases, and around the tweeters present a natural handcrafted appearance.
S 808 is built for exceptional placement. Due to its front-firing tube port, there is versatility in placement, either against the walls, in the cabinet, or wherever you want to place it.
You can place this subwoofer on its side or hide it beneath your sofa. No footprint is left when you place Jamo S 808 next to the walls, thanks to its 90-degree power plug.
This subwoofer also uses a bottom-mounted amplifier to ensure flexible orientation, and of course, a cleaner appearance. see on Amazon
Polk audio PSW10 10″ powered subwoofer
Polk is good at what it does – creating subwoofers you can mix and match with other brands. Below are features the Polk audio PSW10 packs:
Even at a higher volume level, Polk audio PSW10 retains a clear and crisp sound. This means a thrilling and, at the same time, balanced music experience.
Its deep bass fills the room even as a lower frequency, and it blends comfortably with most other speakers. Polk claims this speaker “plays the most demanding nodes … without any distortion”, all is true about this statement.
This highly powered subwoofer is what you expect from bass and punch. It is also carefully configured to provide accurate bass and added depth to easily mix and match with other subwoofer brands.
Polk audio PSW10 integrates seamlessly with other sound systems. Simply hook it up to your receiver, and get the music on to feel the experience. Its 40-160 Hz (-3dB) frequency and 80-160 Hz crossover gets to enhance your other speakers.
This sub uses a built-in 50-watt RMS amp with 100 Watts of Dynamic Power. Its advanced engineering materials comprise a premium class resonance-free driver to prevent faster degradation.
On the front, we have a sleek detachable grille, on the back, line-level inputs, speaker and speaker-level outputs, and then a phase toggle switch for connecting multiple subwoofers. see on Amazon
What to look for in a subwoofer
This section explains the features you want to consider when buying a subwoofer you can mix and match.
Below are the things to look for in a subwoofer:
Distortion prevention technology
Innovativeness is usually the selling point for manufacturers. So, when buying a subwoofer, think about what the manufacturer has to offer technology-wise.
On this note, consider a subwoofer with some kind of distortion analyzer that can optimize the motor structure of the woofer, suspension, and voice coil alignment for unimpeded and smooth movement.
The materials used are a factor to consider to get a good deal for your money. You want a resonance-free dynamic balance driver material to give the subs an extended lifecycle and allow them to move stiffly and faster.
Look at the connection options available. You should be able to connect your subwoofer to any system for a mix and match experience.
For inputs, consider buying a sub with stereo line-level RCA, (L/R) analog RCA and up to two spring terminal speaker inputs.
Flexible orientation is the focus when getting a subwoofer. Some subwoofers use a front-firing driver and all digital amplifiers, such that you can place them anywhere you like in your room.
The finish of a subwoofer adds elegance to your room. Perhaps, a handcrafted woofer can give your room the desired luxurious touch. Just make sure the design is unique enough, not an outdated, ugly design.
A subwoofer with a built-in digital amplifier can deliver ample power for sound reproduction. You could also get a woofer with an amp you can double to 100 watts of dynamic power. Some will use a built-in 50-watt RMS amp.
You would not always need the cables in the room, so Bluetooth support is a cool feature to look for in a subwoofer. Bluetooth 5.0 is good for full control, even when your subwoofer is not closer to the media player.
Bluetooth in your woofer also allows you to play music from your smartphone, computer, or any smart device with a Bluetooth module.
How many subwoofers do I need?
You need the subwoofers to pick up and enhance the deepest low-frequency sounds. However, the number of subwoofers you need for your room size, what/how you want to listen to the sound, and even the number of connections you can make at once.
It is okay to have 1 or 2 subwoofers. Dual subwoofers excellently increase any available system headroom and eliminate distortion. Experts also think that when you run dual subwoofers, the bass gets cleaner and more accurate, even at extreme levels.
Apart from the number of subwoofers you need, the size is also a factor. You would not need an extra-large woofer for a small room.
Typically, bigger subwoofers produce more volume, so a bigger space is required around them. For an 8-inch subwoofer, enthusiasts suggest 0.375 cubic feet of space volume, a 10-inch subwoofer for a space of 0.625 cubic feet, and a 12-inch subwoofer for 1.25 cubic feet.
There are never too many subwoofers unless you are overfilling the room. Besides, you could simply turn down the gain.
Although some subwoofers become a little overwhelming in small rooms, it is still okay to have overhead. Some people even prefer when the subs control the room.
Are 4 subwoofers better than 2?
2 subwoofers are thrilling and punchy but 4 could be better depending on the size of the room.
If the room is sizable for 4 woofers, your major concern is the placement. 4 well-positioned subwoofers can cancel the room resonances.
It will improve the overall bass performance, and it will expand the field of ideal listening spaces in the room.
You could place four subwoofers either on the centers or corners of the walls for the flattest possible frequency response across the room.
Essentially, subwoofers pick up and enhance the deep bass of any audio but the number – 2 or 4 – you can use depends on factors like your room size and what you prefer to listen to. This also suggests the 2 subs are enough.
Resolving the argument: are 2 different subwoofers really necessary?
Speaking of dual subs, SVS shares that they can:
- Increase the available system headroom
- Provide a greater dynamic range
- Minimize output compression
- Reduce distortion and
- Reduce the potential for overdrive artifacts.
The above will not be the case if the specs of your subwoofers are far from similar.
Placing two different subs does not entail increased output or louder sound. Instead, it introduces even activation of modes in a room and ensures smoother responses and better spatial consistency.
In essence, the bass from the woofer sounds better in more corners, which may reduce the volume of bass escaping the room.
Two different subwoofers placed on opposite corners of the room would integrate with random phase and the total gain adds only a few decibels. Nobody likes most subwoofers but the difference is not loudly noticeable, especially if the subs are high-quality.
Final thoughts on Can you Mix Two Different Subwoofers?
For our final emphatic words, you can use two different subwoofers but additional subs are not always about more bass.
An excellent subwoofer will excellently thumb and punch with improved soundstage depth and spaciousness. But for two different woofers? When well-matched it will refine the sound experience.