The day has finally arrived when you can legitimately call yourself a Home Theater Enthusiast. You've got your HDTV, and you've upgraded from a nice enough home-theater-in-a-box system to a decent set of surround speakers. But you're missing the icing on the surround sound cake - the subwoofer, that unassuming black cube that supplies the big blasts in war movies, the visceral crunch in football games, and the pulsing low end in pop music.
Well, you've come to the right place, because we've lined up ten models that will give you a good idea of what to expect from subs in the $500 to $1,000 price range. And to keep things interesting, we've thrown in a couple of outrageous, megabuck entries from Genelec and Velodyne just to show what a winning lottery ticket can get you (click to read more).
The first thing you might notice about our grouping is how big the drivers are, with three of the subs sporting 10-inchers and seven carrying 12-inchers. Along with having larger drivers, these subwoofers play louder and deeper than the similar group of subs we tested last year. Higher performance has to cost more, right? Nope. These models are actually a little cheaper on average than their predecessors.
Another refreshing trend is that manufacturers are moving away from publishing power ratings for subs. Why is this refreshing? While amplifier power is definitely an important factor in a subwoofer's performance, there are no consistent standards for measuring it, which can lead to wildly exaggerated claims. We're interested in what comes out of the subwoofer - which is what we measure. It doesn't matter if a manufacturer boasts that its sub uses 1,000 watts if another sub can achieve the same result with 100 watts. Other things being equal, I'll always go with the lower-powered one - especially since I pay the electric bill!
It's obvious that any of our ten "average" subs has the potential of being a great bargain. So let's take a closer look and see if we can find the one that's right for you.
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