SVS Ultra Subwoofers

Poll: What Size Is Your Subwoofer?

In case you hadn’t noticed from recent posts here, I’ve had bass on my mind a lot lately. In previous polls, I asked how many subwoofers you have and what type they are. Let’s get right to the next obvious question: How big’s your sub?

Subwoofer sizes are typically measured by the diameter of their drivers, and they can range from as small as 3″ to monsters upwards of 20″ or more. In the poll below, I’ve listed what I think are the most common sizes for home theater purposes.

A larger subwoofer can displace more air and extend to deeper bass registers for slam-bang impact, but may have difficulty reproducing subtler notes as well. Choosing the right subwoofer for your needs is a not just a matter of power, but about its interaction with your room acoustics.

I swear, some of the most satisfying bass I’ve ever experienced was in my old apartment home theater, where I had a pretty modest 8″ powered subwoofer. The specs on that thing were not impressive at all, but I was in a small room with highly-reflective walls, and I squeezed it into a nook (where a larger sub would never fit) to corner-load the bass, and the little box could really rock that space. There’s a scene early in the silly French supernatural thriller Brotherhood of the Wolf where the kung-fu badass sidekick character faces off against a bunch of brutes in a field, and when he kicked each of them in the chest, I could feel the air getting knocked out of my lungs. That’s an experience I’ve struggled to reproduce since moving to a larger theater room, even as I’ve installed bigger and more capable subwoofers.

For the past few months, I’ve been playing with an 13.5″ SB-4000 subwoofer that our friends at SVS were gracious enough to send me for review (which finally published this week, if you didn’t see it). It’s pretty great and I’ll be sad to remove it, but I’m not sure I can justify the expense of purchasing it right now. If not, I’ll reinstall the 12″ SB-2000. To be honest, that one was probably already sufficient for this room. I’m going to try to do some more measurements and comparisons before making that decision.

What Size Is Your Subwoofer?

View Results

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  1. Jon

    I’ve had an SVS PC-12 plus for about six or seven years. The thing can crank out some serious bass, but in the room I have it in (about 25″ x 10″ with a concrete floor) it rarely, if ever, creates a tactile response. I blame the room mostly.

  2. Csm101

    I’ve had an SVS pb12-plus for the last three years and love it. I don’t think I’d ever purchase another brand from this point on. If they ever went out, I’d consider looking into HSU.

  3. I am going to go with “Missing Poll Option: I don’t remember / I don’t know”. I bought the thing over 4 years ago, I did some research at the time, but honestly, I don’t even remember the brand. It is out of sight, out of mind. I did some sound tests when I originally placed it to make sure it would sound good in the area I had in mind for it, and it does (may not be the best place – I am certainly not filling the entire room with bass, but there are only two places in the room I sit to watch movies, so it works for my needs). So yeah, I don’t remember what it was. I THINK its a 10 inch, but it could be a 12 (I doubt it). I know for sure it is NOT an 8 or smaller.

    Honestly, I don’t even remember the brand of my speakers or my receiver or my UHD player. I think the speakers and the subs are all Polks, but I would have to go home and look. All my A/V equipment is on my Harmony remote, so unless I get a firmware update that breaks stuff (that happened on my Tivo Mini the other day – i had to fish out the remote because now the Harmony will not turn it on – funny because I had no issues with the update to the Tivo Roamio), stuff is just sat and forgotten about. I actually forgot I had an HDMI switch until I tried to add my NES Classic Mini a couple of weeks back – I guess that is the sign of a good system and good programable remote – it just works.

    Now in the bedroom, I have a 5.1 soundbar system, and I know the sub is a 5 inch cone because I almost reconned the thing (turned out the sub had just sucked up some plastic wrap, and it was flapping in there. Note for later – don’t open disks near sub). I have no clue what size the basscube in the office is – my guess is that it is a 5 inch as well. That system gets way underutilized as games, movies and music and YouTube I now access on my Shield

  4. Kim

    I have an outlet PB-1000 that I got less than a year ago, with some hardly noticeable cosmetic discoloration. I did a lot of reading around on this and other sites and finally decided on that one for my budget and needs. I love it! Sure, more would be better, but I have a small room and my neighbors are very close – I already feel like it is too big for what I need. What can I say . . . I love the rumble. 🙂

  5. C.C.

    I have been on the sub search as well. With a large room, every metric seems to suggest dual 15″ ported at the least. But, I had read (from one of the AVS forum Gurus) that it depends on what you want out of your bass – and that more important than the “SPL to Cubic feet measurement” is the distance from the subs to the MLP and the distance to the wall behind the MLP.
    I have an open 8000 cft room (with 1/2 of that as the viewing area) – and I can’t take stats at face value and have two giant Cap 1400’s or Orbit shifters.
    I’m just trying to get killer bass in the viewing area.
    Problem I have is that two ported 15’s are just too big to not be an eyesore. If I could achieve what I want (not necessarily “reference”) with a couple of more managably sized sealed 15’s (or ported 13’s) that would be better.

    I have been doing nonstop reading and comparing. I think PSA, HSU and SVS are the finalists.
    But, I feel no closer to a decision yet… I feel your pain!

  6. Ole Dusty

    Definitive Technologies – Super Cube 2000 (houses a 7.5″ subwoofer — but it sounds like a lot more!)

  7. Pedram

    With chest pounding bass in an apartment, did you get complaints from the other people in the building, Josh?

    • Josh Zyber

      I was actually ideally situated in that apartment. It was a corner apartment with nobody on the other side of the walls, only a laundry room below and an elderly deaf neighbor above. The only complaints I got were from my wife. 🙂

  8. David A

    Where is the tab for multiple subs. I have 2 15″ers for movies, 2 12″ers for music, another 12″ for man cave shenanigans, and a low profile 10″ strapped to my sim rig for a butt massage.

  9. Grady Brown

    Starting off, my audio system is comprised of nothing but second hand components but all have been dialed in to sound quite well. Head unit is the Only Tx NR708, fronts are some older Kenwood 3 way towers with a side firing 10″ in each. Center, front wides, and highs are all Klipsch Synergy series, surrounds and rear surrounds are Polk RM 6751’s, and to finally get to the question at hand…. I went a bit overboard is what I’m sure most will think but as it’s my system and I like to go loud… (12″ 200w Boston, 10″ 150w Klh, stacked in the front left corner), and 3 separate 100w 8″ custom jobs, one on each end of the two couches in an L shape. I have all the SW crossovers adjusted according to specifications so as to fill any gaps in bass reproduction.
    Sure I would love to be able to have all matching, high end speakers/subs but I’ve always been good at tuning and tweaking to make the best of what I can afford.
    100% honesty, I’ve only spent around 4-450 on everything including all 12ga monster cable speaker wires/connectors all thanks to Craigslist, estate sales, etc.
    Surprisingly everything has meshed quite well and I’m one satisfied audioholic.

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