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Best Subwoofer: Listen for these five features

Gary Yacoubian - SVS - Best Subwoofer

Anybody looking for the best subwoofer would be wise to read our special guest post. It contains advice from Gary Yacoubian, the CEO of SVS. Their subwoofers are a recent addition to the Classic Stereo showroom.

Gary has served on the Executive Board of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the organization that holds International CES is Las Vegas. He is a commentator on local Washington, DC television news programs, and has been frequently quoted in The Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine on consumer electronics topics, as well as in numerous industry trade magazines. He also has a regular column in Dealerscope Magazine.


Adding a subwoofer is one of the most noticeable upgrades you can make to the performance of an audio system or home theater. The best subwoofers add massive impact in terms of low frequency extension and output, without negatively affecting the overall accuracy and believability of the system’s sound.

A great subwoofer is also brand agnostic. If doing its job correctly, you can blend a subwoofer with any brand of speakers and it will faithfully fill in the low end without calling undue attention to itself or taking over the soundstage. When it comes to subwoofers, there’s a line of thinking that says louder and lower is always better. The reality is, there are five things you should listen for when choosing the best subwoofer for your audio system.

1. Deep low frequency extension – This seems obvious, but many subwoofers don’t have the ability to reproduce the deepest bass, and they attempt to make up for it by exaggerating the mid-bass performance to address the deficit, resulting in a bloated and inaccurate sound. A great subwoofer is capable of delivering all the low frequencies in the content being played, sometimes at frequencies so low they can only be felt, not heard!

2. Produce low frequencies at the highest sound pressure levels (SPLs) – A great subwoofer plays effortlessly loud and distortion free, no matter how demanding the source material. Lesser subwoofers use amplifier limiting to cap output, resulting in the bass “disappearing” when the listener turns up the volume past conversational levels. A subwoofer should always match the level of your speakers with headroom to spare so you can experience the full impact of all your content.

3. Accuracy in frequencies produced, and NOT produced – A great subwoofer adds no sonic signature and is completely faithful to the source content delivering the bass notes or low frequencies exactly as the artist or director intended. Lesser subwoofers deliver boomy “one note” bass that is never convincing and can actually be distracting by muddying up the soundstage. Bass notes should be pitch perfect and at just the right level to create an immersive experience.

4. Have speed and control in transients to stop and start with precision – A great subwoofer has speed in musical or cinematic transients so as to keep pace with the content. Lesser subwoofers can’t keep up with challenging content or full range speakers, making the overall system sound smeared and undetailed. A subwoofer with crisp speed in transients can realistically portray the snap of a kickdrum, the pluck of bass guitar strong or the power of an explosion with authority and precision.

5. Blend seamlessly with full range speakers – Subwoofers are awesome, but no one wants to hear bass alone or over-emphasized. In order to function properly a subwoofer must be a seamless part of the overall sound of the system, never drawing attention to the bass alone. It should feel like one cohesive soundstage with accurate imaging of voices and action and pinpoint blending at any volume, throughout the frequency spectrum.


SVS SB 16 Ultra subwoofer
SVS SB 16 Ultra subwoofer
SVS 4000 SB 4000 Photo
SVS SB 4000 Subwoofer
SVS SB 2000 subwoofer
SVS SB 2000 subwoofer
SVS SB 1000 Subwoofer
SVS SB 1000 Subwoofer

From strumming bass guitar riffs and drum beats to the most complex and demanding movie sound effects, a great subwoofer reveals deep layers of sound a speaker is simply not equipped to handle. And while some subwoofers merely add bass, a truly great subwoofer elevates the listening experience in a unique and visceral way.

– Gary Yacoubian, SVS President
Classic Stereo Showroom Grand Rapids

At Classic Stereo, we have the best selection of subwoofers in Michigan, including multiple models by SVS, considered by CNET and many other experts to be the gold standard for subwoofers. If you have questions about which is the best subwoofer for your home theater or music system, or anything else, contact us here.

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