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Five of the Best Outdoor Sub-Woofer Speakers

written by: theinkandpen (Robert Mullon)•edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 7/31/2009

In case you are planning on movie-watching outside in your garden, or setting up a home-theatre in an open space, you would have considered a sub-woofer speaker. These enhance the cinematic experience (combined with a good surround set-up) and can bring you one step closer to a real movie theater.

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    Why do You Need a Subwoofer?

    A sub-woofer speaker is a type that specialises in low frequencies, or ones that fall below the 100 Hz range in the frequency spectrum. In relation to movies, these can encompass anything from a huge explosion, flood or effect in a disaster movie to actual music which is used in the film (such as Drum and Bass which typically uses a sub-bass falling in the 40-50 Hz range).

    Setting up an Outdoor Theater

    In case you are planning to set up your home-theatre outside for the summer, or are just planning to have a special evening of movie watching with friends, it is a good idea to invest in a sub-woofer speaker which will capture all the low-frequency sounds to make your movie-watching rock (and possibly the seating).

    Whilst you can’t hope to get anything close to a sub-woofer in a theatre (in theory you could but it would be pointless having such a thing on its own) some commercial sub-woofer speakers do a good job of enhancing your whole experience.

    In the following paragraph we will look at popular makes of speakers so you can make your preferred choice when you go shopping for one.

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    Five of the Best

    As with any category of speaker, sub-woofers fall into “active" or “passive." Simply put an active speaker has an in-built amplifier whilst a passive one doesn’t and needs it separately. Most speaker systems for home entertainment are active, so you don’t need to worry.

    Polk Audio PSW10 – The PSW 10 ranges in price and can be a good solution for budgeting: prices fall between 100 to 200 dollars. The unit is compact (about 14 x 14 x 15, height, width, depth) and delivers a quality punch for action movies and in general. It has a 10-inch woofer and a 50w power amp which should provide you with enough sound for a relatively small area.

    Sony SA-W2500This speaker goes as low as $70 so it is a bargain and the price doesn’t compromise its quality. It has a 10-inch cone and a powerful 100W amplifier delivering good sound-power in the surrounding area. The frequency response is between 20 to 200 Hz. The SA is definitely good value for money.

    Yamaha YST-SW216BL – Another 100W budget unit, in the same price range as the Sony, featuring low-noise performance and other features. Again, If you are looking for decent budget units you can go for the Yamaha, although some have complained of poor design and general bulkiness.

    Definitive Technology SuperCube III – A known brand, Definitive Technology offers superior power to the above at around $700. If you are planning to set up in a large outdoor space this cube would be ideal, packing 650W power and a 12.5 inch cone comprising of one main woofer and two ultra-low bass radiators. Although slightly expensive you will notice the difference.

    RBH 1010-SEN/R – A pretty big unit about 15 inch high; if you are serious about your audio and you are planning on setting-up in a large outdoor area the RBH is recommended. This is the only example of a passive amplifier in this list, and hence you will need a separate amplifier which will cost you more. The price for the speaker (and only the speaker) starts from $3000, but if indeed you decide to splash-out you won’t need another sub-woofer in the future (particularly for a home-theatre set-up).

    So there you are. All you need to do now is spend away, from budget models to a mid-range speaker to the best in professional audio. Look at the following Brighthub articles for more information on subwoofers:

    How does a sub-woofer work?

    What is QMS in a sub-woofer?

    How does surround sound work?