The energy required to push out very low bass frequencies takes a lot of power. So if you're PA isn't up to the task, your bass, lows toms, kick drums and other very low-frequency sounds can easily get lost in all the noise, especially in medium to larger sized venues. If you feel your current setup is lacking in the low-end, it might be time to add a subwoofer to the mix.
What Is A Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a speaker system or component of a speaker system that is dedicated to reproducing low-end sound. What we're looking at here is the dedicated subwoofer, one you can simply add to your current PA setup. While most loudspeakers are certainly able to hit lower frequencies, there is a limit where they might get drowned out. A subwoofer is meant to reinforce those lower frequencies, usually below 150 HZ, or even those below 100 or 80 HZ. The benefit of having a subwoofer to reinforce those taxing low-end frequencies has notable benefits. Not only do they reinforce those lower frequencies, but they also take a lot of the strain from your PA, giving you more headroom and a clearer sound.
How Can I Tell If I Need A Subwoofer?
A simple way to tell if you're setup will benefit from a subwoofer. Try playing a song you know like the back of your hand. Are you able to hear those lower frequencies clearly? Can the bass instruments cut through and support the overall mix? If they can't and are instead drowned out, it's more than likely time to add some low-end reinforcement.
With Great Power...
It should be noted that you can easily go overboard when using a subwoofer. Lower frequencies are powerful and can quickly overtake other sounds. Be conservative about the amount you dial in as well as mindful of what works best for your genre. Also, take into consideration the size of the room and the volume you'll be playing at. Start with a small amount of input, making sure there's not too much boom, then compare it your overall sound with and without it on. You should be able to notice it missing when off but not have it call too much attention to itself when on.
Even if you don't need a subwoofer in your current setup, it's never a bad idea to have when you eventually need it. When you're ready to add a subwoofer to your setup, like the excellent JBL VRX918S 18" pictured above or the Electro Voice EKX-15S 15", don't hesitate to chat with one of our PAL pros by using the Chat With Us dialogue box below. They'll make sure to find the right fit for you needs and get you a great deal. Or you can go ahead and browse by clicking the link below!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
Do you use a subwoofer in your setup? Why or why not?