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Looking for a killer studio subwoofer monitor for music production?
We’ve listed the six best subwoofers with reviews.
Owning a professional studio-quality subwoofer isn’t just a fantasy reserved for audiophiles. Remember, the pros don’t settle for any old speakers so consumer-grade subwoofers are out of the question entirely. These often add their own EQ curves to make things sound good to the average user on a particular setup like a home theater.
While this may be good for an AV experience, it would greatly detract from the mixing and mastering process as you are not getting a balanced bass response. The ‘2.1-setup’ is increasingly becoming the standard in home studios and mid-sized recording setups with acoustic treatment, so balancing the low end correctly has never been more important.
With considerations like power availability, crossover frequency, enclosure, and connectivity – selecting a subwoofer for your studio can be torture when you get lost in the myriad options in the market – all claiming to be the next best thing.
What Are The Best Subwoofers For Music Production?
The Yamaha HS8 is a popular option and it’s easy to see why. The clean and detailed bass, size-to-performance ratio, and affordable price point make it highly regarded as a good “all-rounder”. For the budget-conscious, the Mackie MRS10 Mk3 is a great entry-option. Conversely, if price isn’t an issue, the Focal Sub6 is an absolute dream to monitor on.
Below, I’ve rounded up 6 excellent options that function as the best subwoofers for studio applications. Plus, we’ve highlighted their pros and cons to help you score a subwoofer with the desired balance between performance, pragmatism, and price.
As is always the case with Yamaha products, you can expect a top-rated 8” bass-reflex studio subwoofer that does an exceptional job at reproducing the low frequencies. The HS8 subwoofers do a good job at rounding out the sound despite being the only 8-inch driver size on this list.
Made to match Yamaha’s HS8 studio monitors, the HS8S is the perfect balance of power and portability. Cased in a bass reflex port design, it delivers detailed low frequencies with a solid punch that studio owners will appreciate.
The connectivity options include TRS and XLR inputs and outputs. It also features a phase switch, low cut switch, and low and high cut controls. The filter switches are ideal to adjust the low frequencies for different styles of music and prevent blowouts.
The weight (27.6 lbs) and dimensions make it ultra-portable. Plus, it has holes on the sides and ends that enable you to mount it off the ground. The 150 watts of power and frequency range of 22 Hz to 150 Hz should be sufficient for a home setup or mid-sized studio.
Pros & Cons
Clean and detailed bass capability
No footswitch option
High-quality low-resonance enclosure
Not ideal for a very big room
Light & compact
Very powerful for its size
Affordable, good value for money
You might hanker for more power or miss the convenience of a dedicated footswitch, and these are downsides that may make or break this option for you. But other than that the Yamaha HS8S subwoofer can reliably serve the needs of DJs, music producers, and home studio enthusiasts looking for a better audio experience.
Mackie has been around for long enough for us to trust any monitoring system that bears its name. Keeping up with that reputation, the MRS10 subwoofers are clean, straightforward, and get the job done for a modest price.
The MK3 is the third generation of the widely popular MRS10 studio subwoofer monitor that is housed in an all-black, all-wood ported enclosure with moderate dimensions. It also weighs just 33 lbs! The only drawback is that it has a soft-mesh cloth instead of a metal grill to cover the woofer.
This is a middle-of-the-road option with 120-watts of power draw and a frequency response of 40 Hz – 180 Hz with an adjustable crossover. It has stereo XLR and TRS input options and the same for connections to the monitors.
The 10-inch driver made from glass composite is certainly better than those listed on similar options in this price bracket. The MRS10’s 119db peak SPL is impressive but if you own the MRS8, this won’t make a big difference as they already go down to 38Hz.
You also get an auto energy-saving switch, a signal polarity switch, and a footswitch jack. Sonically, the low end is deep, clear, and responsive. Over, the Mackie MRS10 MK3 has accurate audio reproduction with little-to-no distortion or any harmonics being added.
Pros & Cons
Tight bass with a clear response
Glass-aramid composite cone
Not suitable for large rooms
No distortion or extra harmonics
Good value for money
Mackie’s MRS10 studio subwoofers do a bang-up job in moderately-sized studios and integrate well with full-range monitors for music production. What they lack in power, they make up in quality, longevity, price, and performance.
The Focal Sub6 sports a beefy 11-inch woofer housed in the tight quarters of a large wood cabinet design with a red burr-ash finish. It has all the classic “big” monitor capabilities with superior bass performance to ensure that you get your money’s worth.
Focal is well-known for making excellent composite-sandwich cones with W-shaped glass/foam/glass drivers. Using this technology, the Focal Sub6 delivers fantastic low-end accuracy that can vastly improve your recording or music production experience and impress your clients.
Sonically, this subwoofer can handle the lowest of lows with optimal clarity and punch without any hint of distortion. It is a great choice for professionals who work on sound design projects, film scores, or just any music genre that mandates constant monitoring of the deepest low-end.
It includes volume control, a mute switch, a polarity switch, and a continuously variable phase selector. It also facilitates a footswitch that greatly improves control during monitoring, mixing, and mastering sessions.
The Sub6 is primarily intended as a matched subwoofer for Focal’s Solo6Be or Twin6Be monitors. However, the multipurpose control board and connectivity facilitate its use as a 2.1, 2.2, and multichannel subwoofer use.
Pros & Cons
Excellent low-frequency resolution
Definitely more on the expensive side
Snazzy red burr-ash wood finish
Massive 11-inch woofer
With shaped glass/foam cone
The Focal Sub6 Subwoofer is extremely versatile and delivers excellent bass linearity. The dynamics remain stable even at low frequencies and there is zero distortion at high volumes. The impressive engineering renders clean, linear power regardless of the intended SPL. The price tag may not sound like music to your ears, but it can handle all the low end you can throw at it.
Compared to the HS8S, the Temblor T10 has ‘earthshaking’ power. This 250W powered subwoofer is housed in an all-black non-resonant MDF casing. It features a 10″ front-firing woofer that sits over a port to reinforce the low-end response.
The T10 has a lightweight glass-composite cone that can deliver superior sub-bass reproduction. The sub woofer is easy to integrate, with filtered pass-throughs for your main speakers. The bass sounds clean and tight even at high output levels.
It includes rubber feet, a footswitch connector, and a footswitch. It has balanced XLR, TRS, and RCA connectivity for inputs and stereo XLR and TRS for outputs. Plus, it also has an XLR Sub Out for a 2nd sub, if needed.
Other noteworthy features include a high pass filter, a continuous variable low pass filter (50 Hz to 130 Hz, and 113 dB max SPL). Overall, they integrate well with any monitor speakers to create a flat response in an accurate listening environment.
Pros & Cons
Clean and detailed sound
No footswitch capability
Light & Compact
Very powerful for its size
Affordable, good value for money
In terms of price and performance, Temblor T10 subwoofers have found a sweet spot. If you want to up your music production game, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more feature-packed product for this price. It does a great job at injecting tight and responsive bass into your setup.
The KRK 10S 2 sports the typical yellow-black KRK design with a protective steel grill to shield the speaker cone. This is topped off with a black vinyl wrap finish. The unit weighs 40lbs, which is a touch above the rest.
It has a 225 W power draw and can dip to 34 Hz for some thunderous rumble. The 34 Hz to 130 Hz range may not qualify as extended low frequency, but it does have a good sound pressure level at a 113 dB peak regardless.
As for connectivity, you’ve got a handful of options such as RCA, TRS, and XLR input options and RCA or TRS for the monitor outputs. Other noteworthy components of this powered subwoofer include a LED visual, integrated crossover, and a glass aramid composite driver.
Overall, the KRK10S2 is a fantastic choice for studio subwoofers in today’s market. They have sufficient power, great construction, and solid performance. Plus, you can rest easy with a solid brand name that has a good reputation and a large following across the world.
M-Audio manages to move things up a notch with the SBX10, a subwoofer in a league of its own when it comes to monitoring and flat frequency response. It has everything you’d expect from a top-of-the-line studio sub and yet, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Although quite bulky, the unit is built like a tank and features a top-notch vinyl laminated cab with a classic wooden feel to it. The 10-inch fiberglass/paper composite driver features a high-temperature voice coil and a damped rubber surround.
Combine this with the 240W power draw and you have enough to make the walls vibrate. The low end on the SBX10 is accurate and the sound has no distortion no matter how hard you push it.
The deep reach of the frequency response is as low as your ear can discern, so if you want anything beyond that you are only paying for the vibrations. It also includes the standard fare of a bypass foot pedal, a removable grill, and rubber feet for ground clearance.
The LED has a red/blue light that toggles to indicate the status when powered on or on standby. It also has some other noteworthy features like temperature protection, adjustable crossover, DC protection, and a subsonic filter.
Pros & Cons
Good audio quality
Only goes down to 34 Hz
On the heavy side
Lots of connectivity options
Solid construction w/ steel grill
Value for money
As far as studio subwoofers go, the SBX10 is a stellar option for those who want a feature-packed studio subwoofer with fantastic audio quality at a reasonable cost. If you don’t mind the heft and dimensions of this beast, it is money well spent.
We’ve often been asked, “should I buy the same brand of subwoofers as my active studio monitors?” This is a personal preference and it is not mandatory to match your subs with your studio monitors. You are free to mix and match from different brands if it sounds good to your ears.
A subwoofer, though not essential for modest monitoring systems, can be indispensable in crafting the low-end. Hopefully, our list of best studio subwoofer monitors for music production will add ‘depth’ to your studio monitoring without blowing up your wallet.