Subwoofer parts and functions

The main variations in subwoofer is the type and capabilities of certain parts. Major manufacturers have design variations of course but some also make certain parts out of various materials such as carbon fiber dust caps.

Having a foundation of subwoofer function can assist when making purchase decisions suited for your application. Check out this great explanation video by Car Audio Fabrications on the parts of a subwoofer.

The frequency response specification of a speaker describes the range of frequencies or musical tones a speaker can reproduce, measured in hertz (Hz).The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is between 20–200 Hz. Professional concert sound system subwoofer typically operate below 100 Hz, and THX-approved systems operate below 80 Hz.

Subwoofers vary in terms of the range of pitches that they can reproduce, depending on a number of factors such as the size of the cabinet and the construction and design of the enclosure and driver(s). Specifications of frequency response depend wholly for relevance on an accompanying amplitude value—measurements taken with a wider amplitude tolerance will give any loudspeaker a wider frequency response. For example, the JBL 4688 TCB Subwoofer System, a now-discontinued system which was designed for movie theaters, had a frequency response of 23–350 Hz when measured within a 10-decibel boundary (0 dB to -10 dB) and a narrower frequency response of 28–120 Hz when measured within a six-decibel boundary (±3 dB).

Subwoofers also vary in regard to the sound pressure levels achievable and the distortion levels they can produce over their range. Some subwoofers, such as “The Abyss” by MartinLogan for example can reproduce pitches down to around 18 Hz (which is about the pitch of the lowest rumbling notes on a huge pipe organ with 32-foot (9.8 m)-16 Hz-bass pipes) to 120 Hz (±3 dB). Nevertheless, even though the Abyss subwoofer can go down to 18 Hz, its lowest frequency and maximum SPL with a limit of 10% distortion is 35.5 Hz and 79.8 dB at 2 meters. This means that a person choosing a subwoofer needs to consider more than just the lowest pitch that the sub can reproduce.

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