Best Subwoofers For Home Theater AND Music.
**Everyone** wants better bass, whether they realize it or not. Even people who scoff, and say it’s not important, or that they aren’t interested, are quickly “converted” once they hear the difference.
It’s undeniable, and so much better than what most people are used to! From blockbuster movies to Diana Krall, nearly everything sounds better when you can actually hear **ALL** of the bass.
Traditional, run of the mill subwoofers basically filter out real depth, which is not good.
This isn’t just about loudness, almost any typical, basic, run of the mill sub can be loud.
It’s about the Depth of Presentation, or truly **SOUNDING DEEP**.
Your local theater rarely dips under 40 hertz with any meaning, while many of these subwoofers will routinely drop to 14 hertz in room, which is likely lower than you can hear.
Most subwoofers, easily more than 90% of ALL 10″-18″ subs (regardless of wattage, rated frequency response, and price), are TOO SHALLOW SOUNDING, both in extension and in “Depth of Presentation”.
“Depth of Presentation” is important, because your hearing fades as the frequencies get deeper.
Some people assume that’s why they can’t hear the deep stuff, but it’s actually the “typical subwoofer” that is to blame. It’s definitely audible, but most subs just don’t produce *enough* of it.
Few subs can plumb the depths, like they really should.
Good bass is not about what your neighbors can hear (like that guy next to you at the stoplight), it’s about what YOU can hear.
If you have an extra-large room (greater than 600 sq ft), you may need to look at the bigger subs, while those with large rooms and smaller have no such limitations on this particular list, so long as you go dual like you should.
You can always turn a sub down, and it should always be volume matched to your main speakers, regardless of room size. (How I level match by ear)
Big subs like these DO NOT mean overpowering “boom boom”, they mean “articulate” bottom end sound reproduction, which will include blowing your mind with movies like Jurassic Park and Hacksaw Ridge, and shows like my personal favorite, Cosmos.
Amazing content with the proper subs.
Cosmos was particularly surprising. It’s not all about punch, but a lot of low rumbling sounds too. It’s an impressive series too, bass aside. Dr. Tyson has a great way of explaining things.
If the source material is bass heavy, these subs will respond appropriately, while still remaining balanced, and not intrusive at all with regular content, when properly set up.
Tom Petty’s (RIP, I love his music) “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” will NOT rock your world with bass, it just wasn’t mastered that way. Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”, “Lord’s of Summer”, and “Murder One” are truly an experience, if you enjoy their music.
Metallica’s new album, “Hardwired… To Self Destruct” is excellent for bass. “Lords of Summer” is what I use to set subwoofer levels by ear. I used to use several songs, but I get it set right away with 1 song now.
These subs should all do as they’re told, no more, no less. They should be thrilling, yet not intrusive. You can run them too loud of course, but integrated properly, they are true to the content.
The following subwoofers are known for great bass, a DRASTIC departure from more commonly known names that tend to inflate their numbers, but totally lose composure at lower levels. All of these should play with real authority to 20 Hertz, not just make “measurable noise” at that depth.
It’s my opinion that a subwoofer is not a **quality subwoofer* if it can’t play the entire humanly audible bass spectrum, down to 20 hertz, with clear, low distortion authority. Impeccable manners are also a must, and more rare than you might imagine.
Since I have not listened to every single sub out there, the only subs I can personally vouch for on this list are labeled “VERIFIED”.
Other subs listed generally have great reputations, but I have not heard them yet. No subs over $3,000 will make the list for the sake of value and relative sanity.
As you can see, the list is pretty short. Great bass is truly rare. Keep in mind that going dual is SUPER important, and I would make it a STRONG priority instead of getting the largest sub possible.
If you are going this far, you might as well do it right! You will need a pretty big room to strain any of these if you listen at “normal person” levels (loud, with plenty of oomph, but not ear damaging, headache inducing, foundation crumbling loud).
If you want serious power, more authority, and super convincing realism (a truly believable thunderstorm in your room), go with the higher end models, like dual PB-4000’s or PB-16 Ultras.
I would consider it a mistake to buy one of these to use **as a single**; splitting your budget for other subs on this list is a MUCH better choice.
**Dual PB-3000’s** would yield MUCH better results than a **single PB-16 Ultra**.
Gotta go dual! Seriously, it’s everything!!
Most of my audience, would be thrilled with ANY of the following in a dual setup. There isn’t a dog in the bunch, and even the smallest will challenge structural integrity when pushed, that I can absolutely verify!
This will be an evolving list that will change as I listen to more offerings. Generally, ported offerings produce greater output and depth of presentation, and therefore better value over a sealed sub, but that’s just my opinion.
Many prefer sealed, and I can respect that. See my Ported vs Sealed write-up for more on that.
I find ported subs MUCH more comfortable to listen to, and I highly recommend them over sealed for sensitive ears, like those prone to headaches, sensitive ears in general, autism spectrum, Post Concussion Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, and pets.
I have Post Concussion Syndrome, which causes light and sound sensitivity. A canary in the coal mine, poor sound will bother me before it bothers most people. It’s something I prefer NOT to experience, I don’t recommend it. Similar to a horrific hangover.
This sound sensitivity is why I don’t review sealed subs anymore, but I do respect their positive qualities.
If I was going to go with sealed, I would start with the SB-3000’s. That is where the sealed subs take on a deep, ported box sound, which is a very good thing.
Even the most finicky audiophiles would have a hard time picking these subs apart in any “meaningful” way.
Subwoofer101 is the world’s first SVS affiliate. Rather than producing “man cave only” subwoofers, they produce subs that look nice in living/family rooms as well, while also producing the deepest sounding subs on this list. All subs on the list are deep sounding, but so far SVS subs consistently have the deepest sound and depth of presentation, regardless of size or price.
Following these links before ordering can put a little change in my pocket to keep the Subwoofer101 website and YouTube Channel going, with zero added cost to you. Everything helps, as it’s a 1 person show.
Ordering Factory Direct through these links ensures full Bill of Rights, including 1 year trade-up, and other benefits that might not be included from dealers (like return period, etc…).
PB-2000 BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL (President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor day, etc) (Click here to order Factory Direct)
($) The PB-2000 Original is a 12″ Ported subwoofer. The predecessor to the PB-2000 Pro (my personal favorite so far for performance, price, and size), these subs have been produced for a small production run for BLACK FRIDAY ONLY!! Once they are gone, they are gone!! While these are available, they have dethroned the PB-1000 Pro as the “Smartest Buy in Bass”!! Get them while you can, and go dual!! If you miss the Black Friday sale, watch the SVS Outlet, gently used products that have the same Bill of Rights and warranty as new, including free shipping, free returns, and 1 year trade up!
PB-1000 Pro (Smartest Buy in Bass) (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($) The PB-1000 Pro is a 12” Ported Subwoofer. Verified!!– Highly recommended for duals under $1,500, the most compact and affordable ported subwoofer on this list!! Isolation highly recommended for wood sub-floors. “Smartest Buy in Bass” due to economics, performance, and the 1 year trade-up. Get started with quality dual subs, and trade up if you feel the need! Free shipping, free returns.
PB-2000 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$) VERIFIED!!! The PB-2000 is a 12″ Ported subwoofer, 500 watts RMS, 1100 peak. My favorite sub for value, size, and 100% full range bass performance down to 14 Hertz measured in my room. Free shipping, free returns, 1 year trade up. Isolation highly recommended for wood sub-floors. My “Go-To” subwoofer to recommend.
PB-3000 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$$) VERIFIED!!! The PB-3000 is a 13″ Ported subwoofer, 800 watts RMS, 2500 watts peak, with SVS App control! My favorite PREMIUM subwoofer for the value, size, and 100% full range bass performance, and INCREDIBLE IMPACT! Free shipping, free returns, 1 year trade up. Isolation highly recommended for wood sub-floors. It’s only about an inch bigger on all sides than the PB-2000, yet it’s performance is much closer to the PB-4000 in terms of raw impact and explosiveness!! Aside from the outstanding PB-16 Ultra, this has been THE MOST SURPRISING SUBWOOFER I’VE REVIEWED YET!! The Split-Wind voice coil isn’t just cool sounding tech, it makes this sub SOUND BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL than it is. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!
PB-4000 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$$$) VERIFIED!!! The PB-4000 is a 13.5 inch Variable Ported subwoofer. 1,200 watts RMS, 4,200 watts peak. True 13 hertz performance in room, remote control, comprehensive smart phone app with thoughtful adjust-ability including: 3 band graphed PEQ’s, multiple sub adjustment, presets, display lockout, port tuning, room gain compensation, etc, etc, etc… Ultra low distortion, ultra high output. Free shipping, free returns, 1 year trade up. Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Measure before ordering, very large, very heavy (153.2 pounds!), truck freight shipped on a pallet. Realism, impact, and explosiveness are off the charts!
PB16-Ultra (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$$$) VERIFIED!!! The PB-16 is a 16 inch Variable Ported subwoofer. New SVS Flagship, 1,500 watts RMS, 5,000 peak! True 13 hertz performance, remote control, 8 inch voice coil. For those who want the best of the best, it’s my favorite “money no object” subwoofer, and the best bass I’ve heard to date. Comprehensive smart phone app with thoughtful adjust-ability including: 3 band graphed PEQ’s, multiple sub adjustment, presets, display lockout, port tuning, room gain compensation, etc, etc, etc… Ultra low distortion, ultra high output. Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Measure before ordering, very large, VERY heavy (175 pounds!), truck freight shipped on a pallet, yet still with free shipping and free returns! Realism, impact, and explosiveness are the best I’ve heard so far, and a great spleen massage while still 100% comfortable. TRULY INCREDIBLE!!
PC-2000 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$) Verified! 12″ Ported Cylinder sub, comes with the Soundpath Subwoofer Isolation System, same internals as the PB-2000. Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but might not be ideal for wood sub-floors. Free shipping, free returns, 1 year trade up. The Isolation System helps for wood floors (comes stock, no need to order more isolation).
PC-4000 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$$$) (Not Verified, but same guts as the PB-4000, which is totally Verified!!!) 13.5 inch Variable Ported. 1,200 watts RMS, 4200 watts peak. True 15 hertz performance, remote control, comprehensive smart phone app with thoughtful adjust-ability including: 3 band graphed PEQ’s, multiple sub adjustment, presets, display lockout, port tuning, room gain compensation, etc, etc, etc… Ultra low distortion, ultra high output. Free shipping, free returns, 1 year trade up. Isolation included! Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but may not be ideal for wood sub-floors. Measure before ordering, very tall (47 Inches). Realism, impact, and explosiveness are incredible!
I’ve been a Monoprice affiliate much longer than SVS, long before their Monolith subs came out, but I was never able to get any response to my inquiries to review their subs, despite several attempts since these subs first came out.
At their customer service line recommendation, I bought a pair of Monolith 15’s, listened during the 30 day return period, and sent them back.
Shipping is free, but return shipping is the customer’s responsibility, and it will vary, depending on how far you are from their facility in California.
For TWO Monolith 15 subwoofers (266 pounds total, on a pallet) the return freight was over $300 for less than 500 miles. Return freight for 2 Monolith 15’s could exceed $800 on the East Coast, something to be aware of. The smaller subs would certainly be cheaper to return. It’s the customer’s responsibility to shop and arrange the freight shipment.
That said, the Monolith 15’s have the depth of presentation and explosiveness that I look for, and I welcome it to the list! They did a great job with the Monolith 15 THX subwoofer, and I look forward to hearing more!
Monolith 12 (Click here to order Factory Direct)
($$) (NOT VERIFIED) The Monolith 12 is a 500 watt 12″ variable ported subwoofer. Based on previous experience, it would likely not make this list in “THX Mode”, but it MIGHT belong in “Extended Mode” like the 15. This subwoofer is on this list tentatively, pending an actual hands on, dual sub review. I can’t say that it will deliver the kind bass that I look for, but I suspect it might, and earn a permanent spot on this list.
Monolith 15 (Click Here To Order Factory Direct)
($$$) (VERIFIED!) The Monolith 15 is a 15″ driver, variable ported subwoofer with 1,000 watts. It would not make this list in “THX Mode”, but it does belong in “Extended Mode”, with all ports open. This sub has heavy relative infrasonic bass (under 20 hertz, inaudible), which might be uncomfortable to some people, but can mitigated by THX Mode. However, THX Mode does reduce the explosiveness of the sub. Overall, it’s great performing subwoofer and a solid buy based on it’s depth of presentation and explosiveness.
While Outlaw is not a direct affiliate for Subwoofer101, you can order them on Amazon:
Ultra X-13 (Click Here To Order On Amazon)
($$$$) Verified. 13″ Variable Ported, down firing Outlaw Flagship, THX Certified. In THX mode, this subwoofer would not make the list, it sounded far too shallow in my opinion. Other EQ settings were more acceptable, though not as deep sounding as other subs on this list. So far, it’s the shallowest sounding subwoofer on this list, and anything shallower would not qualify. It’s ability to be hidden is an excellent feature, however. Down firing subwoofers are OK for concrete, but may not be ideal for wood sub-floors. Isolation HIGHLY recommended for wood sub-floors. Excellent for hiding subwoofers as end tables, so long as the beautiful top is protected from scratching.
($$) (Not Verified) 12” Variable Ported
($$$) (Not Verified) 15” Variable Ported
($$$) 15” Variable Ported. Verified, MK-1 version. High (max) output, true 16 hertz performance, though not as deep “sounding” as other subs on the list. Shipping policy is painful, especially if you return it, but a good option if you are in the Los Angeles, California area, and can pick up and return in person. I bought this subwoofer myself before starting the website and channel, but haven’t been able to get support to hear duals, which is unfortunate. The MK-2 should be better, but I wouldn’t know.
($$) (Not Verified) 12” Ported
($$$) (Not Verified) 15” Variable Ported
FV15HP (Not Verified)
($$$) 15” Variable Ported
$= less than $500 delivered or $1,000 for dual
$$= more than $500 delivered or $1,000 for dual
$$$= more than $800 delivered or $1,600 for dual
$$$$= more than $1,400 delivered or $2,800 for dual
Ported = With ports, not sealed.
Variable Ported = Ported, with inserts to change the tuning.
Each brand has it’s own flavor, so to speak, but any of the above subs should satisfy with gusto in most home theater setups (a lot of which are in living rooms like mine).
The smallest, least expensive entry will perform with outstanding depth, clean bass, unobtrusively, but with movie theater quality bass and impact (EASILY deeper than most theaters) that will impress and satisfy when called upon. By no means is the most economical sub to be avoided. See my 1 big sub vs 2 small subs comparison for more on that.
Dividing your bass budget to include 2 matched subs is the ONLY way to go, and any sub on this list in a dual configuration should put a Cheshire grin on your face. If not, your sickness is much worse than mine, and you are in serious trouble! Fortunately, all offer in home review periods. Some require you pay for shipping, others do not.
SVS, who have been supportive of this site since I first contacted them, offers free shipping, even if you send it back (something that could cost hundreds). Their Bill of Rights is one of the most comprehensive customer protection packages in the industry.
If you decide to go with one of the above, please follow the links shortly before placing your order. For those that are not linked, please be sure to tell them you heard about their subs on this site.
Phone orders for SVS are NOT tracked for the affiliate program, only website orders.
International SVS orders can go through Amazon (click here), if it’s available. In the USA and Canada, it’s best to go Factory Direct (click here) through my links to ensure full Bill of Rights, including 1 year trade-up.
Canadian orders aren’t tracked through SVS, while Amazon orders are, but going factory direct is better for Canadian customers for the Bill of Rights. I rather you got the trade up instead of me getting credit on Amazon.
You can follow any affiliate link for any product from that maker, so even if you click a link for a subwoofer cable and buy a PB-16 Ultra or vice versa, it’s all good, and I truly appreciate it!
The same is true for Amazon orders, and you can visit my very own “Amazon Influencer Page” here (click here)! Anything you order 24 hours after going to my Amazon page could help this site and my YouTube Channel. The more revenue I get, the more I can explore the hobby and share my findings.
Eventually, I would like every listed maker to be a Subwoofer 101 affiliate and become a portal for all quality subwoofers. SVS and Monoprice so far…
Hopefully this will simplify your search for great bass!
79 thoughts on “Best Subwoofers “The List””
Could you please tell your opinion about svs pb-12 nsd sub.
i have this one on sale, not so far from my locatiion for 540$, and just want ton know worth it or not?
Thank you very much.
Hi Pavel, Hard to say if it’s “worth it”, I’m not sure what a new SVS would cost you with exchange rates, but it should be a decent sub if well cared for. SVS also sells used subs with full warranty and trade in benefits, just the same if it were new. https://sub101.link/SVSFactoryOutlet
Would you recommend a dual PB-10 setup at around $900 or the HSU FV15HP for $1k? I want to get very loud and deep but be musical. I play a wide variety of music and this is for a 2.1 or 2.2 setup. I will likely be using a pair of 6.5″ bookshelf speakers and my Denon 2308 AVR.
I did a videos series on this and an article! For sure, I found that 2 small “quality” subs (https://sub101.link/SVS-PB-1000 affiliate link) to be superior to a large single sub, no matter the brand (SVS, HSU, etc..). Swiss Cheese Bass is something that happens with single subs: https://youtu.be/865RhwRLUM0
Any sub on this list will get you done in a dual configuration. Especially for music, duals will be better because you can hear all of the bass. I think you would like the PB-1000’s a lot, I sure did. If you wanted more, you’d have a year to upgrade at full price thanks to their https://sub101.link/Bill-Of-Rights
My favorite so far is the PB-2000, but the PB-1000’s are outstanding as well. You can see the graphs here: https://subwoofer101.com/pb-1000-vs-pb-2000/
To reinforce the point, I would make duals a priority.
hi, i have a pair of klipsch rt-10D’s they sound really good. after reading all about svs and such i am really considering a couple of pb-2000’s are you familiar at all with the klipsch and do you think it would be wise to replace them with the pb-200’s would i hear/feel the difrence or are my klipsch around the same ballpark thanks
I’m not intimately familiar with the RT-10D, but it does look to be a better than average sub, with a DSP, decent power, etc… It doesn’t look like it quite has the depth as the PB-2000 would provide, in room they go down flat to 14 hertz, while the RT12D rolls off at 22-23. Ed Mullen reviewed the RT-12D (not the 10D) in that link, and he’s the head sound expert at SVS. You can compare his in room graphs to mine, if you’ll forgive my room nulls at 72-78 hertz. The shape of the 2 graphs tells me the PB-2000’s should provide a greater overall sense of depth.
My suspicion is that the PB-2000’s would provide more impact, especially at depth. What’s nice is that the Bill of Rights will allow you to decide for yourself, with free shipping both ways if you need to return them (US and Canada). I would be curious what you thought of them in comparison. I think the isolation feet are a good idea too.
Let me know what you end up doing!
Thank you very much for your response and I will definitely let you know if I do get the svs subs. I think I have to sell my subs 1st. I’m going to think about it and maybe put them up for sale and hopefully they sell
Hi, which sub(s) would you recommend for this room layout? http://i.imgur.com/3svVBEp.png
The VTF-15H MK2 is massive, but the price/performance is great. Is there a way to get anywhere close using 2 smaller subs? (in terms of performance/price)
Yes, and I highly recommend it. Any sub from the list should be better in a dual configuration. I did this comparison and it was definitely better. 2 vs 1 After going back to the single VTF-15 for a week, I coined the phrase “Swiss Cheese Bass”, because there just seemed to be stuff missing in random spots. Here’s the video I did on it: Swiss Cheese Bass
For sure, bass was more even, you could hear all of the bass, and there was more of a “movie theater” feeling, but deeper compared to most THX theaters.
Hello I found your site from doing research on youtube and was wondering for the setup im doing will a PB-1000 be enough.I have a Denon x2200(i think) and the pioneer Andrew Jones 5.0 floor speaker set.My room approximately 14×14 and about 10 feet from floor to ceiling.Its also worth mentioning i live in a row home and dont want to upset the neighbors too much.Ive narrowed my choice between the PB-1000 and Outlaw Ultra x12.It will be used about 85% for movies/tv shows and 15% music.My questions are Is the PB-1000 powerful enough?Is the Outlaw overkill for my small room? Which one sounds the best?Ive read and watched alot of reviews for the PB-1000 so i have a good feel of what im getting with that but it doesn’t seem to be too many reviews and no videos at all on the x12 but it is highly recommended by alot of posters over at AVS forums.If you were me which one would you get?Im sure they both will sound great considering im upgrading from the Monoprice 9774 5.1 set lol but I just want to be sure i make the right choice
Is your row home floor solid, like concrete, or is it a wood? I would say the PB-1000 is plenty and so is the Outlaw, which I haven’t heard yet. I would tend to stick with forward firing subs if your floor is not concrete, and also pick up some isolation feet. Of course the Outlaw can be turned on it’s side to be front firing, but you still want some form of isolation.
To further protect against upsetting your neighbors, try running the sub gain down and the AVR trim up. Say that you’d normally run the sub gain at 50% and AVR subwoofer trim at -3.0, instead try running the sub gain (the dial on the sub itself) at 15-25% and AVR subwoofer trim at -1.0 to +3.0 or whatever sounds right. Of course, adjust the sound to whatever sounds right to you, but what I found was that lowering the gain on the subs and compensating on the AVR still gives depth, just not as powerful dynamics, which should help with the neighbors. It’s not magical, but it might help. Nothing will allow you to play Deadmau5 at 2 am without the local PD paying you a visit. It’s good to tread carefully in shared wall situations.
That said, and as crazy as it sounds, I’d still run dual subs, and not for the output. I’ve got a video on apartments coming up.
Thanks for responding.The sub will be in my basement which is concrete with wall to wall carpet.I do plan on getting dual subs eventually but I only have around $700 to spend right now.I have kinda backed off the PB-1000 because I read it isn’t good for concrete,its lacking in mid bass,and a few people complaining about dead zones.Im thinking either the Outlaw x12,HSU VTF-2 MK5,or Rythmik LV12R.I want something with good output(any of these will most likely have good output in my small space) but sound quality is extremely important to me.
All of those subs are good, but I can’t agree with any of those problems with the PB-1000. Pretty much all of those complaints can be traced back to single subwoofer use and standing wave problems, particularly dead zones. You get “Swiss Cheese Bass” with a single sub, with random frequencies missing depending on where you sit. I can assure you that (and I’ve measured this) the PB-1000’s do not have any dead spots, rooms do. I would argue the same point for any of the subs you mentioned too, if someone said something like that about any of those. I’ve seen a lot of incomplete and misleading subwoofer reviews that can be attributed to single subwoofer use. Sound quality is extremely important to me too, and I wouldn’t recommend a bad sub.
So I talked to you a while back about upgrading my dual klipsch rt 10d’s to pb2000 and I did! Wow I thought I had some good subs considering they where $1700 MSRP at one point, but there is no comparison the SVS sound so much cleaner and the depth and punch is amazing i feel the bass now! never heard anything like it. It’s like a whole new world lol. You where right the impact is so much greater on these. So just wanted to let you know how it went thx for the comments.
Thanks so much for coming back and sharing! Glad you’re enjoying them, they are great subs!!
I currently have the Tannoy TS2.12 500w Sub which is rated at 21hz at -6 DB.
I can’t help but feel I’m missing the sub 25hz range, don’t get me wrong it sounds good in movies and music, however sometimes at least with music I feel it lacks the depth at really low frequencies.
Looking at the PB1000 it’s rated at 19hz -/+3db
Do you think I’ll get a noticeable bump in loudness at 20hz vs my current Sub? Unfortunately the 2000’s are out of my budget, due to my accommodation I think a 500w Sub is far too much unless I want to get the neighbours angry lol.
Would appreciate your advice.
I don’t think your feelings are unfounded, most subs get quieter as they go deeper. I think any rating at -6 db is a red flag. See the graphs on this page, PB-1000 vs PB-2000. In short, I’m sure the difference will be undeniable. Go dual when you can, it will be even better. Watch for my apartment video coming up…
Thank you for getting back to me, I have ordered the PB-1000, will be interesting to see the differences, got a week wait unfortunately. Will post back after I’ve done some testing.
Have you any experience with the Definitive Technology Super Cube 4000, 6000, and 8000. If so how would any of those stack up with the SVS pb1000 and 2000 or even the SVS sb 1000 and 2000.
I owned the Supercube 2000 briefly and returned it, it was the last “regular” sub I owned. It had decent output for the size, but it doesn’t belong on “The List” since my biggest issue was lack of depth. It got quieter as it went lower under 30-35 hertz, which is pretty typical, and the main reason for starting this site. The SVS subs easily dominate under 40 hertz, and have a flatter response overall.
What are your thoughts on the sb13-ultra compared to the pb13-ultra and the pb16-ultra vs sb16-ultra? I always hear the SB is tighter bass but the PB is louder. I already own the sb13 and am thinking about upgrading to either an sb16 or pb16. I listen to mostly movies but enjoy music from time to time. My room is 23’x20′. I’m just lost on the decision. Even though return shipping is free you know it’s not practical because of the size and wieght of these devices. I want to make a single decision and want it to be the right one. Thanks!
Ported are generally better for movies, as they have more oomph down low, but I also like them for music, which is uncommon for sure (most prefer sealed subs for music). The question is whether you plan to go dual or not. I’d go dual PB-12 Plus over a single PB-16 Ultra, as awesome as it is. Here are my thoughts on Ported vs Sealed. I consider duals to be vital for proper bass.
What about an sb16-ultra paired with my existing SB-13 ultra? Would the differences between the two models cause issues with the sound? What do you think?
I don’t have any experience with the Ultra sealed subs yet, so I checked with Ed Mullen at SVS to get his take.
Per Ed: The two models have similar group delay curves so integration shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
Just picked up an Onkyo 9700 THX HTIB about a month ago and so far I am very happy with my purchase, tested it after a month of babying it with Tron Legacy and John Wick but the sub seems to be a weak link. I do listen to music with the setup also. I’ve been researching SVS and am thinking the 16 Ultras will be massive overkill. In your opinion what would you recommend? SB2000, PB2000, PB12 Plus or PB13 Ultra
It depends on your budget and what you want to do. Whatever subwoofer you go with, you’ll want 2 of them, so it’s best to split your bass budget to do so. Dual PB-2000’s are the best bang for the buck, and as you go up in price you get more realism, headroom, and raw power. I LOVE the PB-16 Ultra, but if I could only afford one, I’d go with 2 PB-12 Plus instead for about the same money. The PB-2000’s are the simplest, pretty much plug and play, where the Plus and Ultra series offer a lot of adjust-ability, but that also means you need to pay attention a bit more. Not a bad thing, you can really customize the sound.
Any of these will scale nicely, and your Onkyo speakers would start to struggle before these subs ever broke a sweat, but if you set the crossover at 80-120 hertz you should be in good shape and it should be plenty loud. If you stick with your setup, no problem, bass will never be an issue so long as you aren’t totally insane. If you decide to drop $5,000+ on AVR’s and speakers, they’ll handle that beautifully too. Good bass is funny like that.
I think a pair of PB-2000’s would make your jaw drop, and maybe even cause you to giggle. If you think you need more, you can always take advantage of the 1 year trade up policy. Some might tell you that would be overkill with your setup, but I have no such reservations. If you really like cranking it up, but the AVR or speakers begin to struggle, bump the crossover up a bit more (always keep the speakers set to “Small” BTW) which transfers more of the power load to the subwoofers. Your AVR probably sets your speakers at 60-80 after room correction, but you can run them as high as 150-200 hertz if you want. I like mine at 90 hertz, even with towers that can drop to 32 hertz. Hope that helps!
hey.I im thinking about buying SVS pb 2000 for 600 dollars or the JL Audio Fathom f-110 for 1,000 dolllar, who do you thing plays the best.thank you for all anwsers
See my Ported VS Sealed write up for whether you’d prefer sealed or ported. I will say the PB-2000 would make it less expensive to go dual down the road, something I consider vital, and you don’t want to mix subs. Sometimes you can find a PB-2000 in the factory outlet, which have all of the same policies as brand new, including full warranty, return policy, and free shipping.
I noticed M&K subs didn’t make your list. I have an MX350. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the brand and how you think they stack up against some of your other suggestions. I have an older 5.1 system using B&W speakers. My mains are DM604 S2s. I’ve been very happy with the combination but always open to suggestions on ways to improve the setup.
Looking at the M&K line, it has some features I’d be interested in exploring, but one thing that concerns me is price. It’s conceivable that with room gain, the response could be flatter in room than the graphs I’ve seen would indicate. I have not tried the push pull design in a home theater environment, so I don’t really know how it would translate, or how it impacts room gain compared to ported and sealed subs, which react a little differently.
That said, I’m not seeing the typical earmarks I look for when hunting for subwoofers to add to the list (DSP, published graphs, etc…). Maybe you could help me out? There are some sound tests on YouTube, which have a sweep from 150-10 hertz, or some variation, dipping down into the teens. A great subwoofer in my opinion will be as loud or louder at 20-25 hertz as it is around 50-60 hertz. You can download an SPL meter app to check what your output is at 50-60 hertz vs 20-25 hertz. I’d be curious what you find. Even without the app, you can usually tell whether it trails off or not.
Most subwoofers get quieter once they reach under 30-40 hertz. The subs I like, in contrast, get a touch louder as they go deeper. The deep tones should be undeniable and clearly distinguishable, and most subs fall short in my opinion. Just making noise at 20-25 hertz does not count to me, I want REAL output, and a lot of people have never really heard true depth like that in their home theater. I can hear down to 17 hertz, and most subs on this list will deliver beyond that in their “in-room” response. I’m a big proponent of dual subwoofers. It appears that dual PB-2000’s would cost less than a single MX350. The PB-2000’s go down to 14 hertz in my room before they start to get quieter, according to the measurements I’ve taken.
I don’t know how the MX350 will do under 30 hertz, so I can’t say for sure that the PB-2000’s would outperform them at depth, but the chances are pretty good unless the MX350 bucks the usual trend. If it had DSP, the chances of bucking that trend would be better. There’s a reason the list is so short, a ported sub rarely has any real output down to 20 hertz, and doing it with composure and authority is even more rare. Again, not being super familiar with the push/pull design personally is the one thing that has me unsure.
If you can, please let me know how that sub does with those listening tests. If it starts to trail off and get quieter as it goes deeper, it’s much like 95% of subwoofers out there. If it sounds really impressive and powerful to you under 30 hertz, I’ll want to take a closer look. I wasn’t aware of M&K until I saw your comment, and if they belong on the list, I’ll definitely add them.
Hi, I’ve been reading your articles and watching your YouTube videos for a couple of months now (great info!), and I’m hoping you can steer me in the right direction.
I have a dedicated 2nd floor theater, 15ftx18ft, with a 10 ft ceiling and set up in a 5.2.2 Atmos config (Pioneer VSX-1131 AVR). I’m currently using two old Sony subs (sa-wm40 and sa-wm500), that I’ve been wanting to replace as soon as time/budget allowed. One sub is located along the back wall, and the other is along a side wall. I listen to 80% movies/tv and 20% music.
I’ve had my eye on either a PB-1000, PC-2000 or a HSU VFT2-MK5 for awhile now, but I’m not sure which would provide that “feel it in your clothes” bass that I enjoy at my local cinema.
I have a local store that is an authorized SVS dealer, so I’m leaning toward one of the SVS’s but the HSU’s price/performance is also enticing. What would you suggest?
Wow, sorry this went so long unanswered. Not sure how I missed it. The higher the RMS wattage, the more you will feel it in general, even at the same volume. I’d also stick with forward facing subs, wood subfloors are a little challenging with down firing subs. With wood subfloors, I would also get isolation whichever way you go. Any of those subs should provide what you’re looking for, arguably better than the theater.
With SVS, going through a dealer is OK, but the Bill of Rights may not fully apply. As an affiliate, going through my links ensures factory direct benefits. I know a lot of people were upset because they bought PB-13 Ultras through dealers, and weren’t able to upgrade to the PB-16 Ultra under the 1 year trade up program.
Going factory direct ensures benefits like the 1 year trade up. Visit SVS and look up their Bill of Rights. If you’re unsure whether your dealer has full Bill of Rights support, call or chat with SVS to be sure. My understanding is that it can vary. Emailing them would eliminate any confusion regarding your particular store.
Again, I’m sorry it took so long to respond!
How do you feel about a ML Dynamo 1000?
I prefer ported subs to begin with, as I find them more comfortable to listen to. The ported subs on this list would have a lot more power under 40 hertz, it’s a more impressive experience. If this list were to include sealed subs, I’d look for subs with a deeper presentation. Even within this list, some subs have a deeper presentation than others. Even though 2 different subs will reach 14 hertz in room, 1 can have a deeper and more powerful presentation overall. Hard to find a specification that will truly nail that down, but graph shape is a good indicator.
I was looking at getting dual outlaw m8 any opinions on that my room is 11.5 x 16 feet
While I have no doubt the Outlaw M8 is a good subwoofer for it’s size, it wouldn’t make the list like the other 2 Outlaw subs do. Just not deep enough. A sub must be able to hit 20 hertz with authority to make this list. You’re definitely on the right track with duals though. The extra money spent on dual subs from this list would be noticeable over the M8.
I find the reviews and comment interesting but as a new-bie to all this audio technology for a good sub-woofer, I have a question that I didn’t see asked from many of the posting I have read. Why should someone buy a sub-woofer that’s 300 watts or higher when most AV receivers are built to send audio powered at 90 – 150 watts per channel at 8 ohms?
I am putting together a new home theatre setup with a Denon X6300h receiver using Polk RTiA9 fronts powered by a Marantz 7025 amp and all the Polk speakers to match. I am torn between the PB2000’s and The PB12 plus. Room will be about 24×17.
I use single 12 but I added bass shakers to each end of my couch. Makes a huge difference. Even sitting in the chair next to couch, you get the rumble affect. Highly recommend this for movies.
I have not tried bass shakers yet. Regardless, another matching sub would improve the sound. See my video on the importance of dual subwoofers. If it’s a “regular” sub, you would notice a dramatic difference with something from this list.
I like the benefits of more power, and in a larger room it’s better to have more than you need. If you can swing it, the PB-12 Plus would the way to go, so long as you go dual. More “traction” in the bass, with realism and authority. If it’s no trouble, please follow this link before you order!
Great question!! Active subwoofers like these have their own amplification. So you could run something as awesome as dual PB-16 Ultras using a fairly low powered AVR, so long as it has RCA subwoofer outputs. Bass requires the most power, so it’s completely fine if it seems a little “lopsided”.
Most AVR’s are only rated at 2 channels driven, and the more channels are driven, the more watered down it gets. My Denon X-2000 is only rated for 95 watts per channel, and that gets divided up to be considerably less than 95 watts per channel when spread out over 5-7 channels.
Running a higher crossover on the AVR, (at least 80 hertz) and setting the speakers to “Small” (even if they are huge!) takes the load off of the AVR and transfers the “hard work” to the subwoofer(s) amplifier.
I ran the Denon X-2000 with the PB-16 Ultras and it did great. The newer AVR, the Denon X6200, does better, but part of that has to do with the processing and the additional channels. As far as the bass goes, the lower powered X-2000 was able to control the dual PB-16 Ultras just fine. I just had to use an RCA splitter since it doesn’t have dual subwoofer outputs.
If you want to learn more about the crossover settings, check this out.
Let me know if that helps!
I leaning toward dual PC12 plus for both space and aesthetics but I notice in your list you mention that the down firing subs may not be so good for wood subfloors which I have. If I get the foam isolation feet does that fix the issues with wood subfloor or do you recco only front firing for wood subfloor regardless of isolation?
Any thoughts on the closed SVS models, like the SB-1000? Is it comparable to the ported model, or should it be avoided? I am looking at one on auction, and they seem to be going quite cheap. 1000 or 2000 dollars is still quite a lot of money…
After reading some more of your articles, i found the one on ported vs seales subs, so that kind of answered my question – ported apparently gives more “oomph” and is easier on the ears.
That’s been my experience! Sorry I’m slow in replying!
I see you found it, but for those who might have the same question: Ported VS Sealed subwoofers
Any thoughts on the monoprice monolith subwoofers specs look good I was looking at the 10 they are thx certified or would I be better off with svs pb 1000
I own a M&K v125 sealed sub and you are right it drops off at about 28hz
Yeah, it’s pretty common. Some sealed subs can reach low, but don’t have a lot of output at depth. I really enjoy ported subs, but typical ported subs can be even worse. Very few subs go deep enough for my liking.
I’m very interested in the Monolith series. I’m not sure the THX certification is something I would specifically pursue myself, my own requirements might exceed/differ from what they require.
That said, the THX rated X13 is on The List, though I much preferred the deeper EQ setting rather than the THX setting. The Monoliths certainly have more promise than most, but they won’t make The List until I have some seat time with them, and can put a microphone on them. A subwoofer can have all of the earmarks of a good sub and still not measure up.
I Love your site, and I’m grateful for your insite. I have a problem.
I love awesome bass and I have purchased subs that reflect that love. I’m running a dual sub set-up with VTF-3 MK4s. The issue is knowing how to complement that bass setup with correct front and center speakers. Should I be looking for large footprint, high end speakers like Klipsch that have dual 8 inch woofers, or looking for upper register speakers with better clarity in the mid to high range? Do you have suggestions on brand?
Hi there, appreciate your reviews and opinions here – you helped me go to a dual PB-1000 and then a dual PB-2000 setup.
I’m wondering what your thoughts are on PSA’s subs, as I don’t see them on your list.
Thanks! They are subs I’d be interested in hearing. I want to hear subs before I add more to the list.
Thanks! Wow, sorry I missed this comment! Speakers are more of a personal thing. Towers do add support to the bass even when set to “Small” and 80 hertz crossover, so there is value there. I listen to a lot of SVS products, a perk of being their first affiliate, and have been more focused on subs vs the mains, but their speakers are very well reviewed, most people love them.
The Ultra Towers are REALLY nice, I can see where the money went vs their Prime Tower and Ultra Bookshelf, which are great for the money. The dual 6.5 mid-range in the Ultra Towers provide great clarity, and the dual opposing 8″ woofers basically negate the need for my Distance Hack. Here’s an article about how Smith Freeman designs speakers: Designing Prime Speakers
Going with bookshelf speakers doesn’t mean you won’t have good bass, but I would run a higher crossover. With dual VTF-3’s that shouldn’t be a problem.
As for other brands, Sonus Faber is probably worth looking at. Others as well I’m sure, I haven’t heard the higher end Klipsch, so I couldn’t say, but they are popular. Again, speakers are so subjective to taste that you just have to find what’s right for you. Some people like horns, some like their electrostats, it’s all taste. Subwoofers are more concrete and measurable, which is more in my lane.
Thanks for your help!
I currently have the Def Tech Supercube 2000 and I want to go dual. I can get another one for around $300. Will it be worth it to sell the Supercube to upgrade to another pair of subs? I would need something similar in size (they could be slightly larger) and around $1000 for the pair. Is there anything out there that isn’t more ir less a lateral move?
The Def Tech SC-2000 happens to be the last “regular” subwoofer I owned. I’ve never looked back, the difference is undeniable. Dual PB-1000’s would be your best bet, but even though they are the smallest on this list, they will be larger than you’re used to. Well worth the size difference, in my opinion.
It will only be a lateral move in terms of price, in terms of performance, you’d notice a substantial difference. If you go factory direct, you have a year to upgrade, and the PB-2000’s are a nice sweet spot. Here’s details on the 1 year trade up: Bill Of Rights
Just be forewarned, a lot of people make the leap to the higher end subs (4000 series, 16 Ultra) within their 1 year upgrade period, it can be an addiction. But the subs on this list are all truly subs I’d be happy with long term, and that definitely includes the PB-1000’s. They definitely have the chops!
Hi Ryan, thanks for all your videos. I am learning from them. I have the following setup Q-Acoustics 7000i Plus 5.1 (3070S Subwoofer) with Denon AVR-X540BT. I am also planning for dual sub woofer after watching your videos. What specifications should i look for the other one ?
or should go with another 3070S ?
As stated before, my room is equipped with the Def Tech sc2000. I recently paired that with an 8″ Energy sub that was collecting dust. Even though they are two different subs, going dual was still a big step up. Now I’m ready (financially) to upgrade. I need something of similar size. I’m strongly considering the SB-2000’s. I see they’re not on the list so I was wondering what your opinion was on the SVS’s. I looked at a few test benches and one showed them reading at a 85db level at 20hz. Another was showing 92db. Will I realistically be able to feel 20hz with these?
I apologize for not getting back sooner, summer heat has really slowed me down. You don’t see the SB-2000’s on my list because I wouldn’t buy them myself. Not that they aren’t great subs, but I found out that I have an aversion to sealed subs, as they create an uncomfortable pressure sensation that only some people experience. Unfortunate for me, but something to consider for those with sensitive ears.
That said, the ported version (PB-2000) is a lot more dynamic and powerful sounding, as sealed are not as efficient. Even the PB-1000’s outperformed the more powerful SB-2000’s in my view. If you’re looking for small, the PB-1000 is the smallest sub I can recommend, though still not “small” in the traditional sense. You would be able to feel 20 hertz with the SB-2000’s, however it will me more impressive with the PB-1000’s and more so with the PB-2000’s. The PB-2000’s are kind of my “Goldielocks” subs. The PB-1000’s are right there too, but the PB-2000’s are worth the extra cash in my opinion.
Sorry for taking so long to respond. Summertime slows me down and I’m playing catch up. A starter system I would recommend is the 5 Prime Satellites and Dual PB-1000’s. I would also recommend getting it through the system builder, which gives you a discount for 5+ items. I suspect that would give you a fairly dramatic improvement. Here’s the link to the system builder: System Builder
Somehow I missed this comment, sorry about that!
Isolation helps, but I find it better to go with front firing if you can. I would run down firing on wood if it was a space issue though, it’s not a “must avoid” type of thing, just something to consider. I’m putting a legit theater in an RV, and I may do down firing despite the wood subfloor, as floor space is a premium in an RV. That said, I’m running PB-2000’s in there now and love it. PB-4000’s wouldn’t fit though, so PC-4000’s might end up in there for the added firepower. The goal is a ridiculous experience I can share with people I meet. It’s getting there!
Again, sorry for missing your comment!!
Thanks Ryan for replying. Actually I already had brought the Q Acoustics 7000 I Plus and then saw your videos and eventually bought one more sub Q Acoustics 3070 to match it. With dual sub it is awesome 🙂 Ryan anything that you could suggest with regards to 3 subwoofers, have one extra one with me. How to place them and would the improve it. I know it is not that straightforward 🙂 Something atleast from the placement perspective. Thanks again Ryan 🙂
If it’s a matching subwoofer, then I would probably daisy chain them using splitters, that way they are all getting the exact same signal. Then, I would try to have them equidistant to the main listening position but separated, if possible. Then run room correction again if you have it, and try the “Distance Hack” from my bass hack videos.
If the sub is not matching, you can try it, but sometimes mismatched subs can cause some cancellations. In that case, it’s a “try and see” situation, and it’s best to “see” with Room EQ Wizard to measure the response. If it’s NOT a matching sub, you might get more by leaving it out.
Still have the THX Onkyo Receiver and speakers for now. Picked up an SVS SB16 Ultra in February through the Outlet and really can’t say enough about this beast of a Subwoofer. Eventually going to run duels for more balance and hopefully get rid of the null where I sit. And going to upgrade to all SVS Ultra speakers when funds allow. Keep up the great videos and reviews.
Always appreciate updates like this! The additional sub will allow you to hear all of the bass, and check out the distance hack which can help you remove a few more cancellations. The Ultra speaker line is really nice, I think you’ll enjoy them! The Ultra Towers are outstanding, but they are the one SVS speaker that doesn’t need as much distance variation. All other SVS speakers do great when you add 3-4 feet to the subwoofer after room correction. The Ultra Towers do best with only 0-1 foot added to the sub distance after room correction. They add more to the bass than I expected, and the dual 6.5 mid-ranges are awesome.
I stumbled across your website just now unfortunately after I ordered a single PC4000. Having read all of your comments it seems pretty apparent that because I have a very pliable wood subfloor (specifically built so that it is decoupled from the house — the floor plate sits on two beads of rubber that circle the perimeter of the room; everything was framed around that) I should have ordered the PB version, and also that I should have ordered two. But I wonder too — how about if I double down on isolation with the PC? Would that be of benefit? Also, my room isn’t all that big (12 x 22 x 7.5) and it’s filled with five large recliners on two levels. We rarely have more than 2 people at any given time in the theater, so do I really NEED to worry about bass consistency across the entire seating zone if I can get the sweet spot on the front two seats?
Also, I use this theater space exclusively for film playback; nothing else.
A couple of points. The PC-4000 is a heavier subwoofer, and the more weight, the less of an issue the floor tends to be. Isolation will help too. Some people do like the effect of a noisy floor, so that’s another consideration. It’s a case by case thing, but your floor will affect the sound, you just need to determine if it’s good or bad. The PC-4000 can also be laid on it’s side.
As far as duals go, if I was the only person to ever hear it, I would still want duals. It’s hard to explain, but even if you manage to get a perfectly “flat” response curve with a single sub, you still get Swiss Cheese Bass, where parts of the bass just seem absent. Duals cause the longer bass sound waves to interlace, creating a much more desirable, clean, and authoritative response. Feels more like what you would get at a commercial movie theater (because they almost always run multiple subwoofers), just MUCH deeper with SVS subs. I consider the seat to seat benefit secondary, it’s nice, but my motivation is how it sounds to me.
I also find duals more comfortable. With a single, one ear always seems to have a weird pressure difference, but with dual ported subs it’s nice and comfortable. The corrections needed to get a flat response with a single sub are not ideal, so perhaps that’s what causes the pressure sensation.
I’m also building out an RV to have a deploy-able home theater so more people can hear it. I have dual PB-4000’s in there right now. For me, the only time room size is an issue is in MASSIVE rooms. With small rooms, you will have small room challenges regardless, but duals are still necessary in my opinion, perhaps even more important in small rooms. It’s not about loudness. While dual PB-1000’s would get the job done, the higher the wattage in the SVS line, the better the realism and impact at the same levels. Space is a premium in an RV, but dual subs were an ABSOLUTE design requirement. If I couldn’t run big dual subs, the project wasn’t worth doing.
The RV Project as of now.
Surprised that JTR isn’t there
They probably could be, but I’d need to hear them first. They have a great reputation, but I’ve learned that hearing them in person means everything. I’ve heard subs that SHOULD have been amazing, but left me unimpressed. Not that I expect that from JTR, I just know better than to add subs before hearing them.
I have 3 pb1000s . Two on the front stage and one behind the seating. I was thinking of upgrading the rear to a pb2000? Will I notice a difference or would I need a pb3000 or is it a bad idea to mix different size subs?
I wouldn’t mix, it’s better to stick with a single model of subwoofer. Dual PB-3000’s are outstanding.
First, thanks for all of your videos, etc. I have learned a lot. In the end, because of my love for two-channel music above all else, I went with dual SVS SB-3000 subs … and I could not be happier. Especially after a good month of owning them, they just have opened up tremendously. I can NEVER tell WHERE they are in the room, whether playing music or enjoying home theatre. They just fill my room with glorious, ubiquitous, musical and heart-thumping bass! They bring a realism to ALL of my audio and video enjoyment.
Always love a good success story! Thanks for the feedback!
I have a 20′ x 30′ room that opens to the kitchen. Do you think dual sb-3000 would work? Kinda concerned about 13″ drivers.
I wouldn’t be too concerned about driver size, the PB-3000 can embarrass plenty of 15″ subs, true for the 10″ PB-1000 as well. What matters is the design as a whole. These subs are audibly bottomless, and very explosive. Whole different ballgame.
I’m more inclined to run ported over sealed, they tend to have more slam in the bottom end, more comfortable for sensitive ears (I had a head injury from 18 years ago that still causes light and sound sensitivity- I can’t tolerate sealed), and the notion that ported subs don’t sounds clean comes from bad subs, and good subs run as a single. As dual, the sound is nice and tight, at least for subs here on the list. For a comparable price, the New “PB-2000 Pro” as duals would probably blow your mind. I know dual PB-3000’s would for sure.
That said, if you prefer sealed, the SB-3000’s will do the job without breaking a sweat.