Subwoofer by Room Size Calculator
Attempting to pressurise a place to a specific pressure level differs from achieving strong bass performance in a specific listening region. You’re probably here seeking good bass performance in this area. You should think about factors like room volume and concept, subwoofer size, power output, frequency range, and explosiveness when choosing a subwoofer that will work well in your space. Having the best bass for you is the main objective rather than having the cleanest bass. Since there are too many variables to make this an exact science, no one has developed a general rule of thumb for subwoofer sizing based on room size.
However, our test results should undoubtedly be useful in estimating the precise amount of output required in your space to reach reference levels. We hope that the method we used to determine which subwoofers can handle different sized rooms will be useful as a subwoofer room size calculator for a user trying to choose which subwoofer is suitable for their listening location. You can use these “rule of thumb” computations to quickly decide based on a few numbers. Let’s begin straight away!
How to Determine Room Size and How Did We Categorize Rooms?
When talking about subwoofers, cubic feet are a much more useful measurement for room size than square feet.
A 25×15 room with a 10-foot ceiling could be simpler to drive than a 20×10 room with a 30-foot ceiling. Also, in case your room opens up into one other room, that extra room’s volume (in cubic ft) must be taken into consideration as well. Cubic ft (ft^3) = size (ft) × width (ft) × top (ft) In this text we’ll use cubic ft, so in case you’re utilizing the meter as a unit, divide the variety of cubic ft by 35.3 to get cubic meters. Example: 1000 ft^3 = 28.3 m^3
Compared to specific listening areas like concert halls or public theatres, most rooms are regarded as being small. The goal is nonetheless just as important for a small listening room as it is for a large hearing space. Reference levels should be achievable with little to no distortion or compression. To reach reference levels in a bigger space, the speaker or subwoofer must be louder. Based on input from audio professionals in the field, we have split room sizes into five categories that seem most appropriate.
- Extra-small: under 1200 ft^3
- Small: 1200 – 2000 ft^3
- Medium: 2000 – 4000 ft^3
- Large: 4000 – 6000 ft^3
- Extra-large: over 6000 ft^3
Subwoofer Room Size Calculator (Table)
Recommended subwoofer specs by room size:
|Room size (cubic feet)|
1200 – 2000
2000 – 4000
4000 – 6000
|Number of Subwoofers||1||2||2||2||4|
|Subwoofer Size||12″||10″ (x2)||12″ (x2)||15″(x2)||13″(x4)|
|Wattage (RMS)||325W||400W (x2)||550W (x2)||800W (x2)||800W (x4)|
|Frequency Response||20-270Hz||19-270Hz (x2)||16-290Hz (x2)||18-270Hz (x2)||18-270Hz (x4)|
|Max Acoustic Output||116dB||118dB (x2)||128db (x2)||124db (x2)||125db (x4)|
|Subwoofer Example||SVS SB-1000||MartinLogan Dynamo 800||SVS PB-2000 Pro||REL Acoustics HT/1508||SVS SB-3000|
Top Sub Woofer’s
|SB-1000 Pro Sealed Subwoofer||SB-2000 Pro Sealed Subwoofer||SB-3000 Sealed Subwoofer||PB-1000 Pro Ported Subwoofer|
|System Size w/ Grille (H x W x D)||13.5″ x 13″ x 14.76″ @ 26 lbs||14.6″ x 14.2″ x 15.6″ @ 38.6lbs||15.6” x 15.2” x 17.8” @ 54.5lbs||18.9″ x 15″ x 20″ @ 42.5 lbs|
|Finish Options||Piano Gloss Black, Piano Gloss White, Black Ash||Black Ash, Piano Black Gloss||Black Ash, Piano Black Gloss||Black Ash|
|Amplifier Power||325 watts RMS (820+W Peak Dynamic)||550 watts RMS (1500+W Peak Dynamic)||800 watts RMS (2500+W Peak Dynamic)||325 watts RMS (820+W Peak Dynamic)|
|Frequency Response (quasi-anechoic)||20-270Hz||19-240Hz||18-270Hz||17-260 Hz|
|In-Room Low Frequency Extension||18Hz||17Hz||16Hz||16Hz|
|Max Acoustic Output (1 m, 1/8-space, 32 Hz)||116.3dB||121.0dB||125.0dB||123.5dB|
|Inputs||RCA, Speaker Level, 12V Trigger||RCA, 12V Trigger||RCA, 12V Trigger||RCA, Speaker Level, 12V Trigger|
Extra-small room (under 1200 cubic feet)
Your listening position is probably only a little over 8.5 feet from the TV if your room isn’t very big, less than 1200 cubic feet. You can’t go wrong with subwoofers in that small space, whether you’re searching for one for gaming, listening to music, or watching movies. The best option in this case are sealed subwoofers. The SVS SB-1000 is your best option in light of this (Amazon link). Other subwoofers in the same price range, such as the RSL Speedwoofer, are also options.
Due to the SB-1000’s diminutive size, you might potentially upgrade to dual subwoofers. Given the size of the room, you’re likely more concerned with sound quality and the subwoofer’s compatibility with the other speakers than you are with really low bass. Similar to the Jamo C912, which costs no more than $300, a subwoofer sinks into the room rather than producing earth-shattering bass.
Small room (1200 – 2000 cubic feet)
You’d get terrific results from a pair of sealed subs in a room that size with 1200 – 2000 cubic feet. With just my PC12+ in sealed mode, I can pressurise a room that size. A pair of Klipsch 12 speakers is quite difficult to beat on a tight budget. A pair of MartinLogan Dynamo 10s would be ideal if money wasn’t an issue. Even when deliberately trying, it appears that the MartinLogan subs have the least amount of recorded chuffing. Many of my colleges who tested the MartinLogan claimed it was the greatest 10′′ sub they had ever heard in terms of extension and low distortion, as well as being the hardest to chuff.
All ported subs will chuff eventually if not configured properly or if they are overworked. In this size room, I’m not sure buying more powerful subs will be beneficial and might even have some drawbacks, such potential port noise. For instance, assuming the placement is solid and the response at the listening location is optimised, a pair of HSU VTF3, VTF15, or one of the 15′′ PSA subs would have a tonne of headroom, and I don’t think you’d ever get either of them to chuff.
Medium room (2000 – 4000 cubic feet)
When my friend purchased a home with a man cave that had a reasonable size (about 15 by 14 by 12 feet), he had complete freedom to make acoustic improvements, put in bass traps, and purchase new subwoofers. He intended to get several movie and music subscriptions. He also wanted the system to be able to produce respectable levels at frequencies as low as 20 Hz.
Additionally, he had little knowledge about subs and preferred the sealed version over the ported one due to its lower size. I gave him two good ported SVS PB-2000 Pro 12′′ subs as a recommendation since they can play loudly and smooth out the frequency response more effectively than a single huge sub in a well treated environment. Get two Rythmik F12s if sealed subs are what you’re after for the form factor. Due to their huge output and built-in DSP, they are very expensive yet can reach 20Hz at -1dB (14Hz at -2dB; the SB16 can reach 16Hz at -6dB).
Large room (4000 – 6000 cubic feet)
First off, if you want tremendous bass, you’ll need a lot of subs to pressurise a space larger than 4,000 square feet. Second, you should consider the room’s dimensions in terms of bass modes with a space that size. For instance, if your room is square and the height is evenly divided by the other dimensions, you may experience considerable variance across the space, including boomy and dead places. That means if you want to have a chance of producing a relatively even response throughout the listening area, you need at least two really strong subs.
If you’re on a tight budget, forego pressurising the entire space and opt instead for a nearfield strategy, which will cause your bottom to move for less money. A pair of 15″ REL Acoustics HT/1508 Predator speakers would be ideal if your room is usually shaped and you have money to spend. Focus on the best-performing, largest subwoofer you can get to get the most “bang for your money.” The largest great sub, not the biggest cheap one. Over a 15′′ Klipsch, I would choose a pair of 13′′ speakers from SVS or HSU. Although “big” is significant, “great” is far more vital than size.
Extra-large room (over 6000 cubic feet)
I also have a sizable living area with 12-foot ceilings that is about 25 by 35. (an open floor plan is excellent for us but terrible for listening to music and home theater). If you enjoy sub-20 Hz bass and love deep bass, quad subwoofers may be the best option for controlling the room modes. Four is excellent; two is good. Although my current SB16 Ultra speakers cost roughly $4500, I wouldn’t suggest them for a space this size. You can purchase four SVS 13″ SB-3000s for about $4500. You could purchase a miniDSP 2x4HD and calibration mic for an additional $350. Then, you may adjust each subwoofer independently, which is superior to what your receiver can achieve.
What Matters Most When Deciding What Subwoofer for Your Room Size?
You’ll notice that almost all subwoofers are active, which means they have their own internal amplifiers rather than an external one. Your subwoofer’s lifeblood is the internal amplifier driving the speaker driver. Knowing what that power(ing) does and how much of it there is will help you choose a subwoofer that will work for you. RMS and Peak power are typically provided on the specifications of subwoofers. Peak can be disregarded. It represents the overall maximum power that a subwoofer is capable of producing when the volume is turned all the way up.
I assure you that you won’t be doing that very often, especially if you value your ears. You should only focus on RMS wattage. RMS, which stands for Root Mean Square, is infrequently used in instead of continuous wattage. In essence, it offers you an idea of the amount of power a subwoofer can produce when operated at a reasonable volume for an extended period of time. The arithmetic is described in this article. So let’s use the inexpensive Monoprice 9723 as an example, which costs less than $130 and has excellent sound quality. It has 150 watts (RMS), which is plenty for most people and expected for that price range. Wattage is not the same as volume, and this is a crucial distinction. The size and power of the subwoofer are irrelevant.
The volume can always be lowered, right? Instead, consider the range of wattage levels that you can use to drive the subwoofer. The likelihood that the subwoofer can deliver clear, distortion-free audio at loud volumes increases with wattage. It goes without saying that greater wattage values will cost more. The majority of individuals will typically be more than content with wattages between 250 and 600 watts, which equates to good power output at reasonable costs.
Every sound has a frequency that determines how high or low it is. Hertz (Hz) is a unit of frequency, and understanding frequency is pretty essential for subs. Since bass notes have a low frequency, an excellent subwoofer is one that is capable of resonating at the lowest possible frequency. Humans can hear at about 20 Hz and feel at about 10 Hz, which is the range of frequencies that cause your stomach to rumble. The better, the closest a sub can get to those. Although some extremely expensive subwoofers, like as SVS PB16-Ultra 1500 Watt, can descend to about 13Hz, most modern subwoofers can withstand depths of 25Hz.
If the bass isn’t your thing, you can get away with a subwoofer that only goes down to 40Hz, but you should always strive to buy one that goes down to 25Hz. A lower frequency floor will cost more, so keep that in mind when buying a subwoofer. Please keep in mind the maximum frequency your subwoofer can operate at when setting it up. The crossover occurs at this point, where your regular speakers stop producing sound and your subwoofer begins. The majority of A/V receivers allow you to manually set the crossover, virtually guaranteeing a more robust bass sound. Although I haven’t noticed it on many hi-fi amplifiers, it does exist.
The main distinction between selecting a larger or smaller subwoofer for your room is explosiveness. Additionally, it varies somewhat between brands. Because certain labels are more explosive than others, upgrading from a 10-inch to a 12-inch subwoofer won’t necessarily result in increased explosiveness. Everything relies on how brands believe they should shape their response curve. And that’s a matter of personal preference. The explosiveness typically rises with greater and more amplifier power (RMS watts in subwoofers) within the same brand. Generally speaking, a 10-inch deep bass subwoofer may be more powerful than a shallow, standard 15-inch sub. It truly makes a world of difference.
How Many Subwoofers do You Really Need?
Dual (two) subwoofers are undoubtedly necessary for rooms larger than 2000 cubic feet.
I can only support that with my own personal experience. But I can only speak from my own experience. Any size room’s standing wave is broken up by two subwoofers. Therefore, if you only have one subwoofer, your sound will have peaks, troughs, loud regions, and dead spots. It functions the same in a big room as it does in a small one. If you use a single subwoofer, you will have those issues. Dualities matter. The cancellation of room modes would occur if many many subwoofers were used, though.
There doesn’t seem to be a clear association for realistic subwoofer counts. When you consider the added cost of employing more subwoofers, there is definitely no justification for using more than four. On the other hand, it was noted that the LF factor decreased as more subwoofers were used. For the greatest results in any configuration, four subwoofers are sufficient. I did not like having a single subwoofer running in my home at first. Way too much variance was present. There are far too many noisy and dead points. As much as I like bass, it didn’t sound right.
How Much Space Is Needed for a Subwoofer?
More volume of room is needed around your subwoofer the bigger it is. A 12-inch subwoofer should be placed in a volume space of 1.25 cubic feet. The recommended volume for an 8-inch subwoofer is 0.375 cubic feet, while it is 0.625 cubic feet for a 10-inch woofer. You can construct a larger enclosure to give the interior more room and provide a flatter sound, which is better suited for music with less bass.
The sound quality would be greatly reduced, the box would not produce suitable acoustics, and the speaker would degrade more quickly than usual. Subs with larger drivers and more powerful amplifiers don’t require support from our walls. When placed at least 8 to 12 inches away from a wall, high-quality subwoofers manage to sound their finest. In order to minimise timing delays and phase cancellation, subwoofers perform best when placed near your front-channel loudspeakers in the front part of your listening area.
A subwoofer may be too large for a given space.
You are not required to utilise little subs just because your room is small. I’m not saying you need them, but if you want, you can have the big guys. It just depends on whether you have enough room for them and whether you can manage boundary gain issues. I finished. I’ve got PB 4000s in a really small space. It also had a fantastic tone. I am knowledgeable in this regard.
I’m not going to guess on this. If you’re using subs in a very vast space, you might even need to go bigger than is advised in order to reduce the strain on your subs. Your car shouldn’t constantly be spinning at 9000 RPM. Right? Subwoofers utilise a similar type of idea. Your woofers shouldn’t always be operating at their highest volume. So if your room is spacious, a larger subwoofer would make sense. But after that, as long as you can physically fit anything under 5000 cubic feet, you can have everything you want.
Subwoofer Room Gain: What is it?
Room gain is a naturally occurring increase in deep Bass energy caused by the listening room’s acoustics in proportion to its size. By acquiring room control, this enables a subwoofer to play lower frequencies and produce more output in comparison to the rated output. Room gain occurs in all sizes of spaces, but it is most noticeable in compact, enclosed spaces. It has to do with the largest dimension of the room, which is typically its length or width. Bass output levels can increase significantly if the room’s longest dimension is less than 20 feet.
What makes 20 feet so special? It is as a result of how long low-frequency sound waves are. The problem is that room gain starts to occur at a frequency whose wavelength is double the length of the room. 40 feet is twice 20 feet, with a wavelength of 28 Hz. As a result, room gain begins to take effect in a space with a longest dimension of 20 feet at 28 Hz and below. Since many rooms have a longest dimension of less than 20 feet, room gain naturally begins at a higher frequency. For instance, room gain starts at 35 Hz (wavelength = 32 feet) for a room with a longest dimension of 16 feet, and at 47 Hz (wavelength = 24 feet) for a room with a longest size of 12 feet.
Subwoofer Open vs. Closed Room Concept
When selecting a subwoofer for your room, it would be beneficial to be aware of the layout and the ways in which your space connects to other places. If there isn’t a door to seal off the room, then you have to deal with the space as a whole; there is no getting around it. Subwoofer audio doesn’t care about the “listening area.” The furnishings and walls must be taken into account if the room is sealed or closed. If your area has an open layout, you must take into account EVERYTHING in it, including any open doorways, hallways, neighbouring dining rooms, kitchens, etc.
Basically, any area that isn’t secured by a real door. A room that is open to other spaces may need to have the greater inherent capability, which typically means ported subs, even if the debate between sealed and ports subs is more about room size and specific performance requirements than whether a room idea is closed. When the subwoofer suits your room size, your personal listening preferences—such as how much bass you like, whether you like music or movies, and at what master volumes—are less significant. For instance, a single ports 12″ PB-2000 might be plenty for a 3000 square foot open-concept room with a second, smaller open-concept room. But when it comes to ideal, it’s a very different scenario.
Best Location for Subwoofers
The best option for Std, Max-ave, and Max-min is a single subwoofer at each wall midway, although it doesn’t support low frequencies particularly well. Two subwoofers work almost as well as four in the midpoints of facing walls and offer a significantly higher LF factor. Additionally, one subwoofer in each corner provides strong low-frequency support, although it doesn’t perform quite as well in terms of Std, Max-ave, and Max-min as one sub at each wall midway. Subwoofers near the midpoints of two walls are preferable when price and aesthetics are considered.
As a general rule, placing your subwoofer against a wall or in a corner will produce more bass, though perhaps not the finest bass. Small, low-powered subwoofers, like those you typically get with soundbars and home theater-in-a-box systems, frequently use small drivers coupled with low-powered amps and benefit from some boundary reinforcement. Unfortunately, all you get is more of the same bad bass. While I agree that a corner is frequently the best choice, it is rarely ideal.