Best Subwoofers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best subwoofers you can buy in 2021.
Who doesn't like bass? Whether you have a stereo system or a home cinema system, there's a lot to be said for bringing a subwoofer to the party.
It's not just all-action movies and dancefloor classics that rely on bass to sound their best, low frequencies can add tension and drama to more subtle scenes and songs. And a dedicated bass speaker is often the best way to do it.
Read on for our pick of the best subwoofers for stereo and surround sound systems, and think about treating home cinema at this time when you'll be using it most.
The QB12 smashes through the action like a steam train, hitting you right in the stomach and taking your whole body along with it. It isn’t just brute force, though: it’s precise, detailed and really rather dynamic.
There are three things to consider before you get your wallet out to buy a QB12 subwoofer: space, your budget and your neighbours. Because if you’re in the market for a plus-sized Q Acoustics surround speaker package, or aiming to upgrade the low-end response in your current home cinema set-up, those are the only things standing in your way.
Read the full review: Q Acoustics QB12
The Bowers & Wilkins PV1D is the successor to B&W’s multi-Award-winning PV1, the ‘D’ denoting a digital upgrade that lets you fine-tune the sub with a wide range of EQ options.
The PV1D’s drive units (2 x 20cm) and amplification (400W) have been tweaked too, and the result, says the company, is a sub with all the speed and agility of its predecessor plus considerable additional bass extension.
In use it’s deeply impressive: the PV1D maintains control at crashing volumes, while delivering ample detail, punch and attack. Precision is paramount, and you really feel the big wallops.
Read the full review: B&W PV1D
This sub's diminutive form disguises a formidably powerful and terrifically dynamic design, its 200w amplifier controlling the excursions of its 25cm Kevlar/paper drive unit in impressive style.
There's depth, drive and authority to belie its size, with a brilliant blend of power and musicality. It can deliver bass with subtlety and speed, making it a genuine all-rounder when it comes to delivering solid bass as part of a hi-fi or home cinema.
Read the full review: B&W ASW610
Velodyne’s SPL-1000 Ultra delivers a mass of bass scarcely believable from a sealed 34cm cube. It has both line and speaker level inputs, remote control and offers four preset modes to optimise performance to the source material.
This is a subwoofer that’s fast and agile enough to convince with music, while still having the sort of muscle required to make the most of the heavy-hitting, large-scale film scenes.
Read the full review: Velodyne SPL-1000 Ultra
The addition of a sub to the wireless multi-room specialist’s range showed the company cared about sound, not least home cinema sound, and perhaps recognised the slight weakness of its small-but-effective One and Play:5 systems.
It's large and fairly minimal but we're impressed by what it can do. Similar sonic characteristics ensure the Sub integrates well with the company's other wireless speakers, and the extra weight, power and scale is obvious. With music, bass lines are controlled nicely, albeit a little on the fat side. Flick the Sub on and off, and the differences in dynamics are apparent.
Read the full review: Sonos Sub