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Subwoofer by Room Size Calculator

Subwoofer by Room Size Calculator – updated

Striving to attain a specific pressure level varies from achieving robust bass performance in a specific listening area. If you’re looking for impactful bass in this space, consider room volume, subwoofer size, power output, frequency range, and punchiness. Prioritize optimal bass performance over absolute clarity. While no universal rule exists due to numerous variables, subwoofer sizing based on room size lacks a definitive formula.

However, our test outcomes can assist in approximating necessary output for reference-level results in your area. We anticipate that our approach to matching subwoofers with different room sizes will serve as a useful tool for users choosing a suitable subwoofer. These general calculations enable swift decisions based on a few figures. Let’s dive right in!

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.

The dimensions of a room can significantly influence its acoustic characteristics and the performance of audio equipment, particularly subwoofers. A room that measures 25 feet in length, 15 feet in width, and boasts a 10-foot ceiling might present different challenges than a room measuring 20 feet in length and 10 feet in width but soaring to a 30-foot ceiling. It’s not just about the floor space; the room’s total volume plays a crucial role.

When considering a room’s volume, you must factor in all three dimensions: length, width, and height. To calculate the volume in cubic feet (ft³), simply multiply the length, width, and height together. For example, if you have a room that measures 25 feet in length, 15 feet in width, and has a ceiling height of 10 feet, the volume would be:

Volume (ft³) = Length (ft) × Width (ft) × Height (ft) Volume (ft³) = 25 ft × 15 ft × 10 ft = 3750 ft³

If you prefer to work with the metric system and use cubic meters (m³), you can convert cubic feet to cubic meters by dividing the volume in cubic feet by 35.3. For instance:

Volume (m³) = Volume (ft³) / 35.3 Volume (m³) = 3750 ft³ / 35.3 ≈ 106.18 m³

In this way, you can adapt the calculations to your preferred unit of measurement. Remember that the room’s total volume has a substantial impact on how audio propagates and how well subwoofers can fill the space with deep and resonant bass frequencies.

Categorizing rooms

When comparing various listening environments such as concert halls or public theaters, most rooms are categorized as small. However, the objective remains equally crucial for both compact and expansive listening spaces. The aim is to attain reference levels with minimal distortion or compression. Achieving reference levels in a larger area necessitates louder speakers or subwoofers. Drawing from insights of audio professionals, we’ve classified room sizes into five categories that best align with these considerations:

  1. Extra-small: Less than 1200 ft³
  2. Small: 1200 – 2000 ft³
  3. Medium: 2000 – 4000 ft³
  4. Large: 4000 – 6000 ft³
  5. Extra-large: More than 6000 ft³

These categories provide a guideline for selecting the appropriate equipment and settings to achieve optimal audio performance based on the volume of your listening space. Regardless of room size, the goal is to ensure that audio playback remains faithful to the source material without compromising clarity or dynamics.

Subwoofer Room Size Calculator (Table)

Recommended subwoofer specs by room size:

Room size (cubic feet)

Under 1200

1200 – 2000

2000 – 4000

4000 – 6000

Over 6000

Number of Subwoofers12224
Subwoofer Size12″10″ (x2)12″ (x2)15″(x2)13″(x4)
Wattage (RMS)325W400W (x2)550W (x2)800W (x2)800W (x4)
Frequency Response20-270Hz19-270Hz (x2)16-290Hz (x2)18-270Hz (x2)18-270Hz (x4)
Max Acoustic Output116dB118dB (x2)128db (x2)124db (x2)125db (x4)
Subwoofer ExampleSVS SB-1000MartinLogan Dynamo 800SVS PB-2000 ProREL Acoustics HT/1508SVS SB-3000

Top Sub Woofer’s

SVS SB-1000 Pro SubwooferSVS SB-2000 Pro SubwooferSVS SB-3000 SubwooferSVS PB-1000 Pro Subwoofer
SB-1000 Pro Sealed SubwooferSB-2000 Pro Sealed SubwooferSB-3000 Sealed SubwooferPB-1000 Pro Ported Subwoofer
System Size w/ Grille (H x W x D)13.5″ x 13″ x 14.76″ @ 26 lbs14.6″ x 14.2″ x 15.6″ @ 38.6lbs15.6” x 15.2” x 17.8” @ 54.5lbs18.9″ x 15″ x 20″ @ 42.5 lbs
Finish OptionsPiano Gloss Black, Piano Gloss White, Black AshBlack Ash, Piano Black GlossBlack Ash, Piano Black GlossBlack Ash
GrilleFabricFabricSteel MeshFabric
Driver Size12″12″13″12″
Amplifier Power325 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)20-270Hz19-240Hz18-270Hz17-260 Hz
In-Room Low Frequency Extension18Hz17Hz16Hz16Hz
Max Acoustic Output (1 m, 1/8-space, 32 Hz)116.3dB121.0dB125.0dB123.5dB
InputsRCA, Speaker Level, 12V TriggerRCA, 12V TriggerRCA, 12V TriggerRCA, 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)

In a room size ranging from 1200 to 2000 cubic feet, using a pair of sealed subwoofers can yield impressive results. I’ve personally experienced great outcomes with my PC12+ in sealed mode, effectively pressurizing a room of that size. For those on a tighter budget, it’s hard to find a better option than a pair of Klipsch 12-inch speakers. If budget isn’t a concern, the MartinLogan Dynamo 10s would be an ideal choice. Notably, even intentional efforts to induce chuffing in the MartinLogan subs have resulted in the least recorded instances of it. Colleagues who’ve tested the MartinLogan subs often laud them as the finest 10-inch subs they’ve encountered in terms of extension, low distortion, and resilience against chuffing.

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It’s important to note that all ported subs may eventually chuff if not configured correctly or when pushed to their limits. In a room of this size, investing in more powerful subs might not necessarily bring significant benefits and could potentially lead to drawbacks like port noise. Assuming proper placement and optimized response at the listening position, options like a pair of HSU VTF3, VTF15, or a 15-inch PSA sub would offer ample headroom. Chuffing is unlikely to be an issue with these choices, even during demanding scenarios.

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?

Subwoofer wattage

It’s evident that the majority of subwoofers are active, implying they feature internal amplifiers rather than relying on external ones. The internal amplifier is the beating heart of your subwoofer, driving the speaker driver. Understanding the power it provides and its magnitude will aid you in selecting a suitable subwoofer for your needs. Typically, subwoofer specifications provide both RMS and Peak power ratings. Focus on RMS power; Peak power represents the maximum output achievable when the volume is maxed out—an unlikely scenario due to potential ear discomfort.

Rest assured, cranking the volume to the maximum is uncommon, especially if you value your hearing. The RMS wattage, or Root Mean Square, provides an idea of the sustained power a subwoofer can deliver at moderate levels over extended periods. For instance, consider the Monoprice 9723, a budget-friendly option priced under $130 with impressive sound quality. It boasts 150 watts (RMS), a suitable amount for most users within that price bracket. Remember, wattage isn’t synonymous with volume—a critical distinction.

Why? Because you can always reduce the volume, right? Instead, concentrate on the range of wattage levels that can drive your subwoofer. Higher wattages enhance the likelihood of clear, distortion-free audio at louder volumes. Naturally, higher wattages come at a higher cost. For most people, wattages ranging from 250 to 600 watts will suffice, providing commendable power output without breaking the bank.

Frequency Range

Each sound carries a frequency that determines its pitch—whether it’s high or low. Hertz (Hz) is the unit of frequency, and comprehending frequency is pivotal for subwoofers. As bass notes possess low frequency, a top-tier subwoofer excels in resonating at the lowest frequencies possible. Human hearing spans around 20 Hz and tactile perception at about 10 Hz—this is the range inducing the rumble in your abdomen. A subwoofer’s excellence lies in its proximity to these ranges. While certain premium models like the SVS PB16-Ultra 1500 Watt can reach around 13 Hz, many modern subwoofers comfortably reach depths of 25 Hz.

For those less inclined towards bass, a subwoofer reaching down to 40 Hz might suffice, but aiming for 25 Hz is recommended. Lower frequency capabilities usually come at an added cost, a factor to bear in mind when purchasing a subwoofer. Remember to consider the subwoofer’s maximum operational frequency when setting it up. This marks the crossover point—the juncture where regular speakers cease emitting sound, and the subwoofer takes over. Most A/V receivers enable manual crossover adjustment, enhancing the potency of bass sounds. While less common in hi-fi amplifiers, this feature does exist.

In essence, choosing a subwoofer that can handle lower frequencies leads to a more comprehensive audio experience, especially in the bass range.

Explosiveness

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.

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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.

optimal subwoofer placement 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.

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