When setting up a home theater system, a power-pack speaker that can supercharge the sound system will surely be your first pick.
Featuring a large cabinet for room-filling and louder sound output that’s hard to match, floor-standing or tower speakers are a versatile investment for a home theater system.
Despite the loud and deep bassy sound profile of the floor-standing speakers, audiophiles often ask, do you need a subwoofer with floor-standing speakers?
Floor-standing speakers don’t need a subwoofer unless you are thumping for the loudest and bassy sound performance that can shake the ground underneath your feet. In short, adding a subwoofer or not is a personal preference.
This article covers the cons and pros of adding a subwoofer with floor-standing speakers in-depth. Moreover, the possible situations where having a subwoofer with a floor-standing speaker is advisable. Before that, let’s comprehend the primary role of a subwoofer.
Understanding The Role of a Subwoofer
Before we figure out why and why not to pair a subwoofer with floor-standing speakers, it is essential to understand the role of a subwoofer.
A sub is a loudspeaker with a large woofer (driver) built-in amplifier to deliver low-range frequencies, specifically 20-200 Hz. A traditional sound system, tower speaker, or two-channel stereo can’t provide the deep bass response like a subwoofer without assistance.
Another factor that sets a subwoofer apart from other speakers is the tendency to deliver unparalleled sound output without consuming much space in the room.
Adding a subwoofer to the home theater system lets you live the music. Whether a car horn honking, the footsteps of a person, or shooting a firearm, the subwoofer produces a cinematic sound profile like you are in the movie.
Undoubtedly many floor-standing speakers can produce the loudest and richest bass. However, they cannot deliver the frequency response a subwoofer has.
The standard hearing capacity we have is 20-20,000 Hz. Most bass in movies, games, and songs is between the 20-80 Hz frequency response. Whether floor-standing or bookshelf speakers, most can’t reproduce the bass around the frequency response of 20 Hz.
The purpose of having a subwoofer is to reproduce the LFE (low-frequency effects) channel to get the most out of the bass. The latest models feature a built-in subwoofer, while most need an external sub for enhanced bass response.
Do You Need a Subwoofer with Floor-Standing Speakers?
Although floor-standing speakers can deliver a wide range of frequencies, there is always room for improvement. You may still desire deep, powerful bass sounds. So, the query remains: do you need a subwoofer with floor-standing speakers?
It depends on your room’s size, acoustics, the content you will listen to, and your preferences.
Room Size and Acoustics
The loud and deep sound profile makes floor-standing speakers the talk of the town and out-rank other speakers of its kind. However, the room size and acoustic will decide how the speaker will sound.
If you install a floor-standing speaker in a small room with limited furniture items like a sofa, carpet, table, and TV, the floor-standing speaker alone is enough for the room. In contrast, if you install a floor-standing speaker in a large room with multiple furniture items, you will need a subwoofer for crystal-clear sound output.
The more furniture items in the room, the more will be sound reflection. A sub adds power to the comprehensive sound system for a crystal-clear. The extra power makes the audio sound more immersive and louder with distortion.
Apart from the room size and layout, consider the room’s acoustic factor. Neither the floor-standing speaker nor the subwoofer will deliver the best sound despite being the highest quality if the room is poorly acoustically treated.
Install acoustic panels, diffusers, and bass traps to improve the room’s acoustics and boost the speaker’s performance.
Type of Content
You might have never considered this; the content you are listening to will decide the type of streaming it needs. Shooting games, action movies, and classical music often demand deep bass response to feel the audio hitting the core.
Adding a subwoofer to the floor-standing speaker will create a fuller sound effect with particular emphasis on the low-mid range frequencies to envelope the room with crystal-clear and bassy sound.
In contrast, if you are streaming a regular movie, then the high-pitched sound of the floor-standing speaker will be enough to envelope the room with surround sound.
Floor-Standing Speaker Itself
A floor-standing speaker with a built-in subwoofer efficiently focuses on the high and mid-range frequencies for an accurate, more profound, and louder sound profile. This speaker will produce a fuller sound output to embrace the whole room.
Adding an external sub is unnecessary if you have a floor-standing speaker with a built-in subwoofer. Nonetheless, you can set up an external subwoofer if your floor-standing speaker lacks a built-in one.
When choosing the best subwoofer for your floor-standing speaker, the factor to consider includes the following;
- An extensive driver
- Frequency response of 20-200 Hz
- A built-in amplifier.
Tell us about yourself. What kind of audiophile are you? Do you love deep, thumping, bassy sound output, or do you like mild bass? Depending on your listening profile, determine whether you need a sub with a floor-standing speaker.
A floor-standing speaker features a large cabinet for loud, deep, and bassy sound output. A tower speaker alone is proficient enough to embrace medium-large rooms with thumping sounds.
On the other hand, if you prefer mild bass sound output with medium-low volume levels, avoid adding a sub with a tower speaker. Adding a subwoofer will boost the bass response, which might be uncomfortable.
Cost and Complexity
How can we leave the pricing factor behind? Whether setting up a home theater system for the first time or upgrading the existing one, you will first check your budget range, despite having the craze for a top-notch sound system.
As you know, the average price range of floor-standing speakers ranges between $100 to $1000. In contrast, subwoofers cost around ranges between $200-500. If you are tight on budget, you might take two steps back from investing in an external subwoofer.
Another complication is the setup and installation. Subwoofers are large and need proper installation to deliver the best sound output.
A sub might not be the best option if you have a small room. Moreover, never position the subwoofer on the floor with the tower speaker, as it will cause excessive vibration.
The decision of whether or not to pair floor-standing speakers with a subwoofer ultimately depends on individual preferences and the specific listening environment. While floor-standing speakers are capable of producing deep bass on their own, a dedicated subwoofer can enhance the overall audio experience by providing even lower frequencies and more impactful bass performance.
If you prioritize a full-range, immersive audio experience with tight, powerful bass, a subwoofer can be a valuable addition to your audio setup. It can reproduce low frequencies with precision and accuracy, adding depth and dimension to the music, movies, and other multimedia content.
Additionally, a subwoofer can relieve the main speakers from the burden of producing bass frequencies, allowing them to focus on delivering midrange and high-frequency details with greater clarity.
However, if you have space constraints, a limited budget, or if you are content with the bass performance of your floor-standing speakers, a subwoofer may not be necessary.