When it comes to producing bass, there is no alternative to woofers and subwoofers. However, buyers are always confused about whether to buy woofers or subwoofers.
There are some who believe that both of them refer to the same thing. Others are curious to know the difference between both the appliances and then decide which one is perfect for them. In general, both the appliances produce a low-frequency sound which in turn produces the bass.
But there are different from one another on almost all the different audio parameters. In this article, we will make a detailed comparison of subwoofer vs woofer.
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a loudspeaker that can produce low-frequency sounds. In general, the low-frequency sound range for a subwoofer is between 20Hz and 200Hz.
Therefore, it can add rich bass to your audio system. You need a subwoofer when your traditional sound system is not able to produce low-frequency sound and therefore, negligible bass effect.
- Consistency: A subwoofer improves sound quality by reproducing low-frequency tones. When you add a subwoofer to your audio system, there will be less distortion and therefore, the overall audio performance will improve and be consistent.
- Rich Bass: The main purpose of a subwoofer for enhancing bass in the audio system. It primarily focuses on low frequencies so that there will be a rich bass effect. In fact, the bass is far better than that of a general woofer.
- Space: Subwoofers consume sizable space. It will be tough for places where there is a lack of significant space.
- Power Source: Compared to a woofer, subwoofers consume more wattage. You will have to opt for a high ampere plug.
What is a Woofer?
A woofer is also a loudspeaker that can produce low-frequency sounds. However, the range of frequency is wider in comparison to a subwoofer. It ranges from 40 Hz to 2500 Hz. Therefore, it works as a specialized speaker. Since it can have a wide range of sounds, it is ideal for home theatres.
- Overall Sound Quality: A woofer is suitable for improving the overall audio quality. This means it can improve low as well as high-frequency sound.
- Compact Build: Unlike a subwoofer, a woofer comes in a compact size. It lets you save space and have great sound.
- Wider Range: A woofer has a high-frequency range of up to 2 Khz as compared to 200 Hz of a subwoofer.
- Not Specialized: A woofer is not a specialized device as it can neither produce very low-frequency nor produce very high-frequency.
- Power Consumption: The technical specifications of a woofer make it consume significant power.
Comparison Table: Woofer Vs Subwoofer
|40 – 2500 Hz
|20 – 200 Hz
|Relatively small (3-8 inches)
|Large (8-20 inches)
|Powering the Driver
|Through external amplifier
|Through inbuilt amplifier
Woofer vs Subwoofer: Why They Are Different?
Here are the differences between a woofer and a subwoofer in detail.
In general, a woofer can reproduce sound in the frequency range of 40 to 1000 Hz. However, there are some specialized woofers available that can produce sound in the frequency range of 40 to 2500 Hz. With this wide frequency range, you can label the woofers as mid-woofers.
On the contrary, a subwoofer can reproduce sound in the frequency range of 20 to 120. However, there are some specialized subwoofers also available that can produce sound in the frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz.
Since subwoofers can produce “sub-level” frequency sound, they are labeled as “sub” woofers. Moreover, apart from the traditional subwoofers, there are certain rotary or propeller subwoofers that can produce sound below 20Hz.
The structure of a subwoofer is larger than a woofer. This is because of the various components of a subwoofer. Firstly, there is generally a black enclosure that not only protects the system but also tunes the output. There is also a passive radiator whose function is to release the excess pressure that builds up in the system. Instead of a radiator, there could be port vents to perform the same job.
The most important components are the amplifier and the woofer present inside the main body. The woofer creates the sound waves while the amplifier amplifies the level of sound. The larger the surface area, the deeper the bass can be. Therefore, a subwoofer is relatively larger than a woofer.
However, there are some large-sized woofers available but they fall in the exception category. In general, the size of a woofer can vary in between 3-8 inches while the size of a subwoofer varies in between 8-20 inches.
Number of Drivers
Woofers generally have multiple drivers. You will come across woofers that mention 2-way or 3-way driver systems. A 2-way woofer contains 2 drives, namely a woofer and a tweeter. A 3-way woofer contains a woofer, a tweeter, and an additional midrange driver. There are also 4-way subwoofers available with an additional super-tweeter.
On the contrary, a subwoofer generally contains only one driver. However, there are some custom-made subwoofers available with multiple drivers. Moreover, there could be multiple subwoofers inside one enclosure and thereby having multiple drivers.
A woofer consumes less power than a subwoofer. This is because a subwoofer has to hit the lowest range of frequencies, and the amplifier inside a subwoofer has to draw more power to get the job done.
If you have a subwoofer on your car’s audio system, when the battery is on a low charge, and your subwoofer hits a low bass note, you will see the lights of the car getting dim. This is because of the need to draw excess power.
On the contrary, a woofer does not need to hit such low frequencies, and hence, it requires less power. However, if there is a special low-frequency driver, the power consumption could be slightly higher.
But it will never cross the power consumption of a subwoofer. In general, the power consumption of the woofer varies from 10-100W while that of the subwoofer varies from 200-1000W.
Powering the Driver
Woofers are basically passive subwoofers when it comes to powering the drivers. Woofers are powered by an external amplifier which also powers the regular speakers.
On the contrary, the active subwoofers come with their own amplifier to power the driver. This is necessary to get the best out of the subwoofer, and the dedicated amplifier boosts the strength of the input signal. Moreover, there could be an inbuilt crossover for filtering out high frequencies. This is also the reason why the setup of a subwoofer is slightly complicated in comparison to a woofer.
Conclusion – Which One Is Better?
There is no definite answer to this question because it completely depends on your requirements. If you need very low-frequency sound so that you can get a rich bass effect, the subwoofer is the best for you.
You can get heart-thumping bass effects and beats like you get at parties. Therefore, it is suitable for home theater systems. If you want to just improve the overall sound quality of your audio system, a woofer is best suited for you, thanks to its wider frequency range. Therefore, it is more suitable for car audio systems.