Subwoofer vs Woofer (4 Critical Differences)

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  • Learn the major differences between a subwoofer and a woofer
  • What are the different types of subwoofers and woofers available on the market
  • Learn about the advantages and disadvantages between subwoofers and woofers
  • Also, check out our guide to the best subwoofers for music production

If you’re wondering about the difference between a subwoofer and a woofer, you’re not alone.

These terms, while often used interchangeably, are completely different.

Subwoofer vs Woofer (Differences)

  1. Subwoofers are designed to produce low-pitched audio frequencies from around 20Hz to 200Hz. Woofers, on the other hand, can reproduce sound up to 2500Hz.
  2. Subwoofers are typically powered by only 1 driver, while a woofer is powered by multiple.
  3. Subwoofers draw much more power due to their focus on lower frequency waves.
  4. Subwoofers are constructed in a much larger housing than woofers.

What Is A Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that reproduces low frequencies. Generally, a subwoofer output is below 200 Hz.

The term “subwoofer” originated in the 1960s and was used to describe an extra speaker added to a stereo system to produce low-frequency sounds.

The Different Types Of Subwoofers

There are four main types of subwoofers:

  1. Passive Subwoofers
  2. Active Subwoofers 
  3. Powered Subwoofers
  4. Wireless Subwoofers

1. Passive Subwoofers

A passive subwoofer does not require an external power amplifier to function but instead relies on the signal from the amplifier to the loudspeaker.

2. Active Subwoofers

An active subwoofer requires an external power amplifier and often includes its own built-in amplifier.

This type of subwoofer is generally more powerful than a passive subwoofer.

3. Powered Subwoofers

A powered subwoofer has an internal power amplifier and does not require an external power amplifier.

A powered subwoofer is generally more powerful than a passive or active subwoofer.

4. Wireless Subwoofers

A wireless subwoofer is a loudspeaker that uses wireless technology to receive audio signals from a receiver.

Wireless subwoofers are convenient because they can be placed anywhere in a room, without the need for speaker cables.

How To Choose A Subwoofer (For Music Production)

When choosing a subwoofer, or any reference monitor speakers for that matter, their size is one of the most critical factors.

Most subwoofer monitors will come in 8″ and 10″ sizes. If you’re making music in a standard bedroom (120-135 sq ft), an 8″ subwoofer will perform great. If you’re working out of a bigger room, such as a living room, opt for the 10″ if you can afford it.

For more info, head to our guide detailing the best subwoofers for music production.

What Is A Woofer?

Similarly to a subwoofer, a woofer is a type of speaker, however its frequency range is wider, and higher than that of a subwoofer. Woofers typically cover frequency ranges from 20Hz to up to 2.5 kHz, and are commonly found in home theater systems, car stereos, and PA systems.

The Different Types Of Woofers

There are four main types of subwoofers:

  1. Passive Woofers
  2. Active Woofers
  3. Powered Woofers
  4. Wireless Woofers

1. Passive Woofers

These rely on an amplifier to power them and are the most common type of woofer.

2. Active Woofers

These have their own built-in amplifier and are typically used in professional audio applications.

3. Powered Woofers

This type of active woofer gets its power from an AC outlet.

4. Wireless Woofers

These are a type of active woofer that receives their power wirelessly.

When To Use A Woofer

Woofers are typically used to reproduce low-frequency sounds in music and movies. These sounds include the bass notes in a song, the rumble of a movie explosion, or the sound of footsteps in a horror movie.

How To Choose A Woofer

When choosing a woofer, there are several factors to consider, including:

  • Size: Woofers come in various sizes, from small 8-inch models to large 15-inch models. The size of the woofer should be matched to the size of the room or vehicle in which it will be used.
  • Power: Woofers also come in various power levels, from 50 watts to 1000 watts. The amount of power you need will depend on the size of the room or vehicle and how loud you want the sound to be.


Which Is Better Subwoofer Or Woofer?

Neither, they both have their uses. Subwoofers are better for bass, while woofers are better for producing low-frequency sounds in general.

Does A Subwoofer Only Play Bass?

No, a subwoofer can play any frequency of sound. However, they are typically used to reproduce low-frequency sounds in music and movies.

Can I Use A Woofer As A Subwoofer?

Yes, you can use a woofer as a subwoofer. However, it will not perform as well as a dedicated subwoofer.

Do You Need An Amplifier For A Subwoofer?

Only powered subwoofers will not need an external amplifier.