Why are subwoofers attacked?

Join Our Community Subscribe to Paul's Posts

With all the ranting and raving I do about the importance of subwoofers you’d think we were in the business of selling them. But, we’re not. My passion for certain subjects knows few bounds.

I understand people’s hesitations with them: the added clutter of multiple boxes, PITA to set up, expensive, unnecessary. What I do not understand is when good people who love music and want the same things I do, attack them as if they were the plague.

A good friend of mine who shall remain nameless suggested it might be a male ego thing: fear of inadequacy, but that seems far-fetched.

No, I think it stems from misinformation about why we would add a subwoofer to an otherwise full range system. If not to extend the range of musical notes, then what?

Realism. Our brains are hard-wired to notice subtle cues rarely paid attention to like footfalls on a wooden floor, the rumble of traffic, the subway train under Carnegie Hall, pulsing of an airconditioning system, the thumping and bumping of physical objects in a room—things you may have no conscious interest in hearing or may even wish to ignore as distracting clutter, but important none the less.

My goal with building high-performance audio systems is to bring a sense of realism into our homes, a challenge engineers have been struggling with for years. Remember Smell-O-vision? Perhaps that’s taking things a bit in the direction of the absurd, but for me, one of the easiest and best means of adding that touch of realism to your home music system is the addition of a pair of subwoofers.

You may not agree—and many probably don’t—but I would hope to lend just a smidge of knowledge to the greater audiophile pool in the hopes the attacks stop and the woofs begin to rumble. I’ve put together some further animated thoughts on the matter you can watch here.