Top Picks Subwoofers

< $999
Polk Audio Monitor XT10: $299
If you crave subterranean bass output but are on a tight budget, Polk’s XT10 subwoofer is worth a look. Okay, for three hundred bucks it can’t hit the lowest of lows but it can deliver plenty of oomph down to 30 Hz and do so from a black vinyl cabinet that’s reasonably small and lightweight. Though bass was boomy with music, resident bass expert David Vaughn was “pleasantly surprised by [the XT10’s] sub-30 Hz performance” with movies. “During the opening sequence of Overlord, one of the most bass-intensive discs out there, the XT10 was able to rattle some pictures on the wall.” Polk’s XT10 is a solid value. (April/May 2023, Read Full Review)
Sonos Sub Mini Wireless: $429
For owners of Sonos speakers and soundbars who are looking to wring a little more oomph out of their systems, Sub Mini to the rescue! Standing a foot tall and measuring only 9 inches across, the stylish bass canister is designed to boost the bass of any Sonos non-portable, amplified product, including the new Ray soundbar. At $429, it’s not a drop in the bucket but it is $320 less than the company’s Sub (now in its third generation) not to mention considerably smaller and lighter. More to the point, it’s a solid performer. As recording-engineer-turned-audio-reviewer, Leslie Shapiro, put it: the Sub Mini is a no-brainer for Sonos fans looking to take things up a notch. (December 2022/January 2023, Read Full Review)
OSD Black Trevoce 12 EQ DSP: $600
We were caught off guard by the clean, deep bass emanating from OSD’s $200 Nero TubeBass 10 subwoofer we reviewed in 2021 so we wanted to see what OSD’s $600 Trevoce 12 EQ DSP could do. We were not disappointed. The sub mates a 12-inch woofer with two passive radiators, app controllable DSP with 25-band parametric equalization, and an 800-watt amp in a manageable 15-inch cube. If you like the idea of nuanced performance from a subwoofer with an arsenal of controls, the Trevoce 12 is well worth a listen. (February/March 2022, Read Full Review)
Starke Sound SW15 Subwoofer: $699
Never heard of Starke Sound? You’re probably not alone but the LA-based company has been around for 15 years and specializes in high-end speakers and amplifiers, including the stately IC-H5 tower speaker, which goes for a cool 14 grand a pair. Starke also offers a half-dozen subwoofers, including the SW15. It might not be much to look at, but boy does it deliver. The sub mates a menacing, DSP-controlled 15-inch glass-fiber woofer with a 450-watt (RMS) amplifier in a matt-black cabinet with a removable grille, which at 17 x 16.5 x 19 inches is about as small as you can get with a 15-inch driver. There’s no app and the controls are super basic but, as reviewer Jim Wilson confirmed, the SW-15 can play loud and deep without missing a beat whether you’re watching a movie or listening to music. (April/May 2024, Full Review Here)
$999 & Up
Monolith by Monoprice THX Ultra Certified: $1,700
Tipping the scales at 153 pounds and commanding well over 2 cubic feet of space, Monoprice’s 13-inch bass beast could be your last subwoofer — as long as you have the space (and budget) for it and are okay with owning a back-to-basics super subwoofer that packs a 2,000-watt (steady-state) amplifier. There’s no remote control, wireless connectivity, or app-controllable auto-EQ. Instead you get a standard set of crossover and other controls (including "THX" and "Extended" EQ settings) and output that is dead flat below 18Hz and capable of hitting 115dB SPL at 25Hz. Reviewer Daniel Kumin declared the Monolith 13THX “the most capable subwoofer I've ever enjoyed, and by a pretty wide margin.” How’s that for an unequivocal recommendation? (June/July 2022, Read Full Review)
Klipsch RP-1600SW: $1,799
In the 77 years since Paul Klipsch designed and built the now legendary Klipschorn, the Klipsch name has become synonymous with great sounding and super-efficient horn-based speakers, many of which are fully capable of delivering prodigious bass. Though the company has offered standalone subs for years, they don’t the attention they deserve. As the top model in the Reference Premier series, the RP-1600SW is a highly capable bulldog of a subwoofer that will wow you with its over-the-top build quality and ability to deliver earth-shaking bass from a 16-inch woofer with 800 watts of RMS at its disposal. Whether you’re listening to music or settling in to watch a movie, you can hardly go wrong with the Klipsch RP-1600SW. (December 2023/January 2024, Read Full Review)
SVS 3000 In-Wall: $2,000
With 25 years of experience under their belts, the subwoofer kings at SVS have taken on what may be their most challenging design ever — a subwoofer designed to be placed in the wall. The 3000 features two beefy 9-inch drivers mounted on a solid aluminum baffle that’s part of a shallow, narrow enclosure designed to fit between standard wall studs. The system is meticulously engineered to minimize vibration and optimize acoustic output without overheating. Installation requires a fair amount of effort, but nothing our resident bass guru David Vaughn couldn't handle. His bottom-line on the 3000's performance: There are standalone subs that can play lower and louder with more authority than the 3000, but “they are larger than a mini-fridge and don’t have the aesthetic appeal this in-wall sub provides.” Want to make your subwoofer effectively disappear? Check out the SVS 3000 In-Wall Subwoofer. (June/July 2023, Read Full Review)
Rythmik FV15HP2: $2,189
If you’re a stickler for deep, gut-massaging bass, you need to add Rythmik Audio’s FV15HP2 subwoofer to your audition list. The sub is different than most in that it uses patented Direct Servo technology to create a feedback loop that continuously monitors and adjusts the subwoofer’s output. The system not only works but kills it, enabling its 15-inch aluminum woofer/900-watt (RMS) amp combo to play loud and clean without breaking a sweat. Running through a battery of his treasured torture tests, including “Bass I Love You” by Bassotronics, David Vaughn was blown away by what he heard — and felt. “I’ve heard this track countless times the past 10-plus years and this is the first time I’ve felt this type of visceral reaction.” (October/November 2023, Read Full Review)
ELAC DS1200: $2,999
Since returning to the U.S. market in 2015, Germany’s Elac has introduced a steady stream of impressive speakers but those who have followed the brand may not be aware that it also makes a line of equally impressive subwoofers. The DS1200 exemplifies this with authoritative output, tank-like construction, and unique (some will say weird) 12-inch woofers — one on either side. Weird because the drivers’ patent-pending HEX surrounds are dimpled and much thicker than usual — a feature designed to reduce distortion. The sub packs a 1,200-watt BASH amplifier and has an intuitive, app-controlled AutoEQ system that compensates for room acoustics. (October/November 2023, Read Full Review)
Bowers & Wilkins DB3D Subwoofer: $3,499
A perfect complement to B&W’s 700 Series S3 speakers, the DB3D is easy to set up, thanks to a dedicated app that provides automated room tuning and all the controls you need. It mates a pair of 8-inch drivers configured in a dual-opposed, force-canceling alignment with a 1,000-watt (peak) Class D Hypex amplifier in a simple yet elegant cabinet that’s 14 inches tall and occupies just over one-square-foot of floor space. Despite its size, the DB3D is more than capable of delivering deep, powerful bass with music and movies. The sub is rated down to a tooth-rattling 10 Hz, a spec verified by reviewer Mark Henninger, who wrote: “The DB3D plays cleanly and with ease to 16 Hz, so even one sub legitimately turns a pair of good speakers into a true full-range system.” (February/March 2024, Read Full Review)
M&K Sound X15+ THX Dominus Certified: $5,999
With a 700-watt (RMS) class-D amplifier and dual 15-inch custom drivers arranged in the push-pull configuration M&K founder Ken Kreisel introduced three decades ago, the X15+ is the subwoofer to beat. It’s one of the first to achieve THX Dominus Certification, meaning it’s guaranteed to reach THX levels in rooms up to 6,500 cubic feet while maintaining a flat frequency response and low distortion. Running through his usual battery of torture tests, resident bass guru David Vaughn marveled at the precision and accuracy of the bass he heard — and felt. If you’re looking for the last word in bass from a sub that goes extremely deep and plays extremely loud in the largest of rooms, the M&K comes highly recommended. (June/July 2022, Read Full Review)
Subwoofers Archive
OSD Audio Nero TubeBass 10: $179
The Nero TubeBass 10 is an inexpensive, no-frills subwoofer that trades the usual black-box form factor for a 19 x 13-inch cylinder that packs a down-firing 10-inch driver and 400-watt amplifier. When Al Griffin put the tube to work in his home theater he was surprised with how much bass it generated and marveled at how tight and impactful the bass sounded. The little canister also did an impressive job with movies, adding fullness and punch (sans infrasonic rumbling) to the mayhem in Pacific Rim without audible distortion. What more can you ask from a sub that costs less than 200 bucks? (April/May 2021, Read Full Review)
RSL Speakers Speedwoofer 10S: $399
RSL’s Speedwoofer 10S stood out as an impressive performer in a 5.1 speaker system that otherwise fell short of Top Pick status. The subwoofer produces bass that is solid, deep, and well-defined. Reviewer Michael Trei summed it up this way: “Bass definition and tunefulness were both excellent, making it easy to follow (Charlie) Haden’s bending of notes on his big acoustic bass.” That’s a combination that’s hard to beat for four hundred bucks. (August/September 2019, Read Full Review)
Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2: $459
One of Hsu’s most affordable subwoofers, the 10-inch VTF-1 MK2—reviewed with the DALI Zensor 5 speaker system—offers up an unusually complete kit of tuning controls and, in the words of reviewer Daniel Kumin, plays “shockingly low and loud.” (September 2015, Read Full Review)
PSB SubSeries 150: $499
With a slim form factor less than 4 inches deep, the stylish SubSeries 150 is quite versatile: It can be placed against (or mounted on) a wall or situated horizontally or vertically on its movable rubber feet. More to the point, the 6.5-inch driver living inside this 17 x 11 x 4-inch rectangle brings home the bass in way you just wouldn’t expect from a box this size, measuring a shocking –3B at 31 Hz. Who said subwoofers have to be big? (January 2016, Read Full Review)
Elac S10EQ: $500
Reviewed as part of the Debut F5 system, the S10EQ is a rather conventional looking sub with a secret weapon: It’s the brainchild of rock-star speaker designer Andrew Jones, who left Pioneer last year to join Germany’s Elac. Dan Kumin got right to the heart of the matter in his review: “With plenty of bottom-octave impact and a welcome dearth of second- to third-octave boom, the surprisingly small sub left very little to be desired up to about 6 decibels shy of “reference” level in my studio—which, conveniently, is about the upper reach of my for-pleasure listening demands.” (January 2016, Read Full Review)
SVS SB-1000: $500
If you’re looking for realistic bass performance but have only $500 to spend on a subwoofer, put the SB-1000 at the top of your list. Recalling his experience watching Apollo 13, reviewer Dan Kumin wrote: “The blast-off (and re-entry) sequences are all-channels, high-level, broad-band wring-outs; here the SD-1000 sub showed off level and deep-bass abilities that are surely difficult to equal at this price. SVS’s cheapest sub goes plenty loud and plenty low, with solid, genuine output well below 30 Hz…” (, Read Full Review)
SVS SB-1000 Pro and PB-1000 Pro: $600, $800 (both black ash)
(Up from $500 and $600, respectively, at the time of the review.) It’s no surprise that the latest subwoofers from SVS deliver impressive performance at budget-friendly prices. What many will find surprising is that the new, super-compact SB-1000 sealed sub and its ported big brother, the PB-1000 Pro, come equipped with the company’s best-in-class app, which makes it super easy to set up and fine-tune the performance of either sub. Bass guru David Vaughn was impressed by what he heard and felt: “If you’re looking to get good bass on a budget, you really can’t go wrong with either of these subwoofers. (June/July 2021, Read Full Review)
Infinity Reference SUB R12: $600
The SUB R12 offers excellent value in design—with its 75-inch-thick enclosure and 1.25-inch-thick baffle—and performance, with its ability to produce deep, tight bass without the overhang that is common in this price range and blend perfectly with other speakers in the system. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann wrote: “The sub was practically an undercover operative in its handling of voices; they never localized in the sub itself. Its handling of effects, depending on the requirements of the content, was subtle yet solid.” (, Read Full Review)
PSB SubSeries 200: $649
On paper, the SubSeries 200 is a conventional powered subwoofer. But when you see it in person you’ll love its front-panel controls. And when you hear it you won’t believe it costs $649. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson raved about the 200’s ability to blend seamlessly with PSB’s Imagine W3 soundbar, deliver “exceptionally deep and taut bass” with music, and handle powerful movie passages like the deep, terrifying sound of a submarine breaking through the frozen sea in Resident Evil: Retribution. “Without a doubt, the SubSeries 200 is a standout in the under-$700 subwoofer category.” (, posted July 19, 2013, Read Full Review)
Gallo CLS-10: $699
One look at the CLS-10’s distinctive shape and you know it’s different—different in a very good way, as it turns out. Commenting on the role it played in conveying the thundering cavalries and heavy-artillery bombardments in War Horse, reviewer mark Fleischmann wrote: “For a 10-incher, it was surprisingly powerful, mustering higher and higher output as the story stepped up its decibel count…The CLS-10 was a manifestly good-sounding sub.” (January 2013, Read Full Review)
Sonos SUB: $699
Easy to setup and a cinch to control via an iOS or Android smartphone, the svelte Sonos SUB (it’s only 6.2 inches deep) sounds as stunning as it looks, delivering bass that reviewer Kim Wilson described as “controlled and musical.” If you’re the owner of a Sonos music system and want to take it to the next level, and maybe even shake the house a bit, there’s only one thing to do: Add a SUB. (October 2012, Read Full Review)
SVS SB-2000/PB-2000: $700,$800
Bass specialist SVS continues to deliver excellent value with the reasonably priced SB-2000, a sealed 14.2-inch cube, and its big brother, the ported PB-2000. If you lean toward music and like tight, powerful bass, go with the SB-2000. If movies and floor-shaking bass is your thing, the PB-2000 is your sub. “In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the price/performance factor of both subs,” wrote reviewer David Vaughn. Best of all, SVS offers a 45-day trial period and even pays for return shipping if you decide either sub is not for you. (June 2014, Read Full Review)
Bluesound Pulse Sub+: $749
Bluesound’s Pulse Sub+, a bigger and better take on the Pulse Sub we reviewed in 2017, has a lot going for it. For starters, it doesn’t look like a subwoofer. Its trapezoid-shaped cabinet comes in black or white and is slim enough to slide under a sofa or end table or you can stand it on end. The sub has a line-level input for integration with any system but becomes wireless when used with Bluesound products such as the Pulse Soundbar. Setup and control are handled via the BluOS Controller app, which makes it easy to adjust volume, crossover frequency, and other parameters. (April/May 2021, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology SuperCube 4000: $799 (currently selling for $650 on
A compact box utilizing an 8-inch active driver and two 8-inch passive radiators, this new generation SuperCube is packed with high tech features, including a remote with multiple EQ settings and a Night Mode, a 12 volt trigger input, and some sophisticated DSP that keeps distortion low at all volumes. There’s also a port for a proprietary wireless receiver so you can skip the signal cable and just plug it in wherever there’s a power outlet. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson wrote, “Considering all the extremely useful features the SuperCube 4000 has combined with its small size, exceptional musicality, and distortion-damping muscle, I think it’s a spectacular bargain for under $800.” (April 2012, Read Full Review)
NHT B-12d: $800
Veteran speaker company NHT is probably best known for its SuperZero bookshelf speaker, which delivers great sound at a bargain price. Although the company is not known for subwoofers, the B-12d is tailor made for audiophiles who value precision over boom. As reviewer Brent Butterworth put it, “It brought out the subtleties of different bassists’ plucking styles—not just with finesse-focused players like Ron Carter, but even with ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, whose sound turns to mud through most other subs.” (, posted August 31, 2013, Read Full Review)
Monoprice Monolith 12" and 15" THX Ultra: $800, $1,300
If you’re looking for serious bass but have limited funds, you owe it to yourself to take one of Monoprice’s THX Ultra-certified Monolith subwoofers for a test drive. They won’t win any beauty contests but these subwoofers will deliver just the sort of deep, clean, controlled bass you would expect from a speaker that has survived THX scrutiny. “I truly enjoyed my time with both of these subs and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to a friend,” wrote resident bass guru David Vaughn.” (June 2018, Read Full Review)
HSU Research VTF-15H: $879 (currently selling for $729 on
This 15-inch powered subwoofer is the big driver with the big box, but performs like nobody’s business at a price that should be much more. This was our sentimental favorite subwoofer and a Top Pick of the Year for 2011. Pluggable ports and a wide range of controls allow easier tuning to your room and taste. Said reviewer Tom Norton: “It’s hard to visualize a subwoofer priced this low that needn’t apologize for the quality of its bass, its low-end extension, or its setup flexibility.” (December 2011, Read Full Review)
SVS SB-2000 Pro: $799, $899 (depending on finish)
If you know SVS you won’t be surprised that the Ohio-based company has once again bolstered its reputation as a premier builder of subwoofers, this time with a bass box that will wow hardcore enthusiasts. Resident bass guru David Vaughn was won over by the SB-2000 Pro’s ability to deliver clean, hard-hitting bass for a reasonable price and loved the ability to tweak its performance to a fare-thee-well from his smartphone instead of having to bend over or squat to make critical adjustments. Rare, indeed! (Summer 2020, Read Full Review)
Hsu Research VTF-15H MK2/VTF-3 MK5 HP: $799, $899
Dr. Poh Ser Hsu has proven time and time again that he knows how to design and build killer subwoofers. The VTF-15H MK2 and its slightly smaller fraternal twin, the VTF-3 MK5 HP, not only keep the tradition alive but up the ante from earlier models with a beefier woofer and more power. Reviewer David Vaughn, wrote: “Holy window rattling, Batman! At –15 from reference, the response of this pounding bass was mind-blowing, and neither of the Hsu subs broke a sweat.” If you’re serious about bass, either of these 5 star performers will serve you well. (February/March 2015, Read Full Review)
Cambridge Audio Aero 9: $899 (currently selling on and for $799)
Reviewed as part of the compact, 5.1-channel Aero 2 speaker system , the Aero 9 used its 500 watts of onboard power and two 10-inch woofers—one active, one passive—to bring depth and excitement to movies and music. Referring to his experience watching The Amazing Spider-Man, reviewer Mark Fleischmann wrote: “The Aero 9 handled the bottom end with aplomb, delivering loads of output, and [crossing over to the other speakers] so holistically that the bass often seemed to come from a single large speaker.” (May 2014, Read Full Review)
SVS 3000 Micro: $900
(Up from $800 at the time of the review.) Ohio’s SVS has been building quality subwoofers for more than 20 years but somehow never got around to making one of those super-compact subwoofers that leaves you scratching your head — until now. The 3000 Micro packs an 800-watt (RMS) amplifier, digital signal processing, and two opposing 8-inch woofers into a remarkably small cube that’s not quite 12 inches square. As you might imagine, these are no ordinary woofers. Rather, each 8-incher is a custom driver built to do one thing: deliver deep bass at high levels from a tiny cabinet. Adding to the allure is SVS’s excellent app, which provides instant access to a generous helping of controls to help you get the bass just right. (August/September 2021, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan Dynamo 1000: $995
You won’t need any speaker wire to rock out with the versatile Dynamo 1000 subwoofer. Hidden inside the elegant cabinet alongside the 500-watt amp and 12-inch driver is a wireless receiver that pulls bass signals from thin air. Plug the SWT-2 transmitter into the sub output of your A/V receiver or processor and get ready to rumble. And rumble you will. This down-firing Dynamo will shake your room. Prefer a front-firing orientation (as shown)? Simply move the sub’s pedestal feet to the control-panel side. (, posted February 12, 2013, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar ForceField 5: $1,000
The ForceField 5 with its 12-inch woofer, bottom-mounted flat passive radiator, and 1,500-watt amplifier, is the latest model in this winning subwoofer series from GoldenEar. Noting that this bass box is equipped to serve large rooms with headroom to spare, here’s how reviewer Mark Fleischmann summed up his floor-shaking experience: "I was dumbfounded by how much bass output the sub could muster." If anything, you might need to turn down its level control. (May 2013, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology SuperCube 6000: $1,000 (currently selling for $749)
A more authoritative version of the SuperCube 4000, the 6000 offers a 9-inch active driver with a pair of 10-inch passive radiators, while touting the same sophisticated DSP and user features. Reviewed with the Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55 and StudioMonitor 45 compact speakers. (June 2012, Read Full Review)
SVS SB-3000: $1,099 (piano black), $999 (black ash)
Scoring five stars in three of our four evaluation categories, Ohio’s SVS has proved once again that it is the master of its domain. The SB-3000 shines on many levels, starting with its ability to deliver sub-20-Hz bass from a relatively compact enclosure at a price that will leave you scratching your head. Add to that an incredibly useful app that lets you adjust volume and a whole slew of parameters without leaving the couch, and you have a subwoofer that actually lives up to SVS’s ballsy claim that the 3000 is the best performing subwoofer of its size. (June/July 2019, Read Full Review)
Martinlogan Dynamo 1100X: $1,100
When you think MartinLogan, “subwoofer” is not the first thing that comes to mind, but the Kansas-based company, which made a name for itself building some of the world’s finest electrostatic speakers, has expanded its scope in recent years to include the formidable Dynamo Series of subwoofers. The newest model in that line, the 1100X, will impress you not only with its “clean impact and dynamic wallop” but with its automated room correction and outstanding control app, which makes it possible to tweak bass performance to a fare-thee-well without leaving the couch. Need further convincing? The 1100X is one of Sound & Vision’s 2018 Top Picks of the Year in Subwoofers. (February/March 2019, Read Full Review)
JL Audio Dominion d110: $1,100
There are only a handful of companies true bass connoisseurs turn to for real-deal subwoofers. JL Audio is one of them, having built an impeccable reputation as a purveyor topnotch subs for the car and home for more than two decades. Subwoofer nut/bass critic David Vaughn wrote: “While it doesn’t go as deep or hit quite as hard as my reference impressed me enough to make it my go-to recommendation for those who have concerns about space and aesthetics.” (February/March 2017, Read Full Review)
Dynaudio Sub 250 II: $1,100
At a glance the Sub 250 II looks fairly ordinary. Upon closer inspection, you appreciate its finely crafted wood veneer finish (also available in black or white lacquer). Reviewed as part of Dynaudio’s Excite X14 5.1-channel speaker system, the 250 II was a perfect mate for the compact X14 monitors, dovetailing inconspicuously with them and delivering well controlled bass. As reviewer Daniel Kumin observed, the 250 II “didn’t attempt to overcompensate for its size by bloating the bass range just under the crossover point. It delivered a modest amount of honest bass.” (October 2014, Read Full Review)
Boston Acoustics MSubwoofer: $1,199 (currently selling for $750 on and
The stately MSubwoofer, with its gloss-black top and fabric-wrap sides, combines a modest 10-inch front-firing driver with a pair of equally modest side-firing 8-inch passive radiators but don’t let those driver sizes fool you. This sub can woof like a champ thanks to its beefy 500-watt amplifier and well-thought-out design. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann called Boston’s bass box the unexpected star of the show while reviewing it as part of the M25 home theater speaker system: “The MSubwoofer delivered loads of bass output and dynamics without flinching.” (, posted April 3, 2013, Read Full Review)
Triad InWall Bronze/4 SlimSub with RackAmp 350 DSP: $1,400
If you want the benefits of a good subwoofer but don’t have a place to put one or don’t want a black box in your theater space, the SlimSub is just what the doctor ordered. Its 10-inch driver is housed in a sealed enclosure 4 inches deep, 13.5 inches wide, and designed to sit flush in the wall. When paired with the 350-watt RackAmp, reviewer Darryl Wilkinson was able to achieve an in-room response down to 25 Hz—amazing for an in-wall speaker. As he put it, “The Triad is not only a great subwoofer…it’s a great value, too.” (November 2013, Read Full Review)
KEF KC62: $1,499
The KC62 breaks away from the pack of big, black boring boxes with a subwoofer you don’t need to hide away. Beauty extends to the heart of its elegant extruded-aluminum cabinet where you find a "force-cancelling" (back-to-back) double-woofer that joins two outward-facing drivers in a common magnet structure. KEF calls the clever design Uni-Core and its goal is to coax deep bass from a (roughly) 11-inch cube with the help of “smart” digital processing, current sensing feedback that limits output on the fly to prevent audible distortion, and a Class D amplifier that delivers 500 watts to each driver. Guess what? It works. (April/May 2021, Read Full Review)
Bowers & Wilkins ASW10 CM S2: $1,500
Barely larger than a cubic foot, B&W’s ASW10 CM S2 is a formidable subwoofer that reaches down to 25 Hz with authority and without the boominess you get with so many other subwoofers. Reviewer Daniel Kumin wrote: “The B&W produced a spectacularly musical bottom end on full-orchestral music like the Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto via Lang Lang (Telarc SACD). In a larger room, or for closer to reference-level listening, I would probably want a second sub. But honestly, for my real-life needs…the single B&W sub was fine.” (, posted September 8, 2014, Read Full Review)
JL Audio e110: $1,500
You will not find a company more dedicated to the craft of building fine subwoofers than JL Audio. These guys know how to build a box that not only looks good but plays loud, clean and low. Reviewer Daniel Kumin wrote: “The longer I listened, the more impressed I became. Musical deep bass, whether from Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra or Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony, was convincingly complete, with even the lowest fundamental tones geologically solid and fully accounted for.” (, posted February 24, 2014, Read Full Review)
NEAR IG 12 Outdoor Subwoofer: $1,599
Getting good sound in a backyard patio/deck or pool area is hard enough. Getting good, solid bass can be next to impossible, which is why so many outdoor speaker systems sound thin, even tinny. The in-ground IG 12 from New England Audio Resource (NEAR) changes all that, making it possible to get real bass outside from a meticulously designed subwoofer encased in a nearly indestructible polymer enclosure. Backyard barbecues will never be the same. (June 2015, Read Full Review)
SVS SB13-Ultra: $1,600
SVS is known among enthusiasts for building some of the most powerful subwoofers you can buy. With its 1,000-watt amplifier and custom 13.5-inch woofer, the SB13-Ultra carries on the tradition, handling the subterranean rumble of movie soundtracks with ease and delivering extremely tight and controlled bass with music. Said Reviewer David Vaughn, “No matter how loud I played it, I couldn’t get the sub to bottom out or show any signs of strain... That’s pretty damn impressive.” (February/March 2013, Read Full Review)
Paradigm Seismic 110: $1,650
Reviewed as part of Paradigm’s Prestige 15B system, the 37-pound Seismic 110’s die-cast aluminum chassis may look massive in photographs but it's only 13.5 inches tall. But don’t let its size fool you: This unusual looking powerhouse of a sub was designed for extreme excursion. “You’ve got to see the driver moving, as well as hear it, to believe it,” wrote reviewer Mark Fleischmann. June 2015, Read Full Review)
KEF R400b: $1,700
With two opposing 9-inch active drivers in a sealed box, the R400b takes a decidedly musical approach to bass reproduction and, reviewer Mark Fleischmann thought it proved itself a stellar (if polite) complement to the R300 Series, one of KEF’s finer compact speaker systems. (August 2012, Read Full Review)
SVS PC-4000: $1,800
In a sea of bulky black boxes, the tube-shaped PC-4000 stands apart as a decidedly unconventional subwoofer — one that will be a godsend for enthusiasts who demand subterranean bass but have limited floor space. The tall, slender tube has a circular footprint that’s only 16.5 inches in diameter yet it can rumble down to well below 20 Hz. “This is one fantastic subwoofer, and if floor space is an issue for your system, it’s well worth auditioning using SVS’s 45-day in-home trial,” wrote reviewer David Vaughn. (May 2018, Read Full Review)
Legacy Audio Metro: $1,800
In terms of size and weight, the Metro is big but not beastly. The 68-pound, 16-inch cube is actually Legacy’s smallest subwoofer yet it packs a 500-watt amp, a 12-inch active driver, and a 15-inch passive radiator. Auditioned with Legacy’s Classic HD speaker system, the Metro played a decisive role in recreating the sound of 6,000 cattle hooves during the hair-raising stampede scene in Australia. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson wrote, “It was a perfect extension for the towers, adding depth to the already significant bass output.” (July/August 2013, Read Full Review)
SVS SB16-Ultra and PB16-Ultra: $1,999, $2,499
Looking for foundation-shaking bass? If you have the floor space to accommodate either of these monster subs, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood on movie night. You’ll also be the proud owner of one of Sound & Vision’s 2016 Top Picks of the Year. “To say I enjoyed my experience with the SB16-Ultra and PB16-Ultra would be an understatement,” wrote reviewer David Vaughn. “I love bass, and these two siblings delivered it in spades.” (February/March 2017, Read Full Review)
$2,500 >
M&K Sound X12 THX: $3,200
M&K started back in the ’70s when Jonas Miller and Ken Kreisel built a studio reference subwoofer for Steely Dan’s Walter Becker. The legacy of this famous brand lives on in its newest sub, the THX-certified X12. Two custom-designed 12-inch drivers arranged in a push-pull configuration and powered by a 400-watt amplifier deliver what reviewer David Vaughn called “everything you could ask for in a subwoofer.” With music, “the bass was tight, clean, and intense, and the frequency transition to my studio monitors was seamless.” With movies, brace yourself for tooth-rattling lows. (, posted March 19, 2014, Read Full Review)
JL Audio Fathom f110v2: $3,500
JL Audio built a name for itself in the early 1990s by bringing audiophile sensibilities to car audio, especially subwoofers. A decade later, the Florida-based company moved into home audio with a line of well-regarded subwoofers it has been perfecting ever since. It’s latest specimen, the impeccably crafted f110v2, is aimed at audiophiles seeking powerful bass from a highly compact enclosure. And deliver it does. “I was blown away by how well the f110v2 performed,” gushed veteran subwoofer reviewer David Vaughn, who used two in his system. “While my reference subs deliver more output below 20 Hz, they don't measure up to the quality of bass I heard from the JL Audio drivers. These babies hit hard, really hard: Every impact from the f110v2 pair was precise and realistic, with a visceral quality that I felt in my chest.” (March/April 2020, Read Full Review)
Sony SA-NA9ES, $4,000
One of the most expensive subwoofers money can buy, the 80-pound SA-NA9ES offers an unexpected surprise: The front and back 10-inch aluminum-coned woofers can be operated in sealed, dual active mode for bass quantity or in active/passive mode where the rear driver becomes passive for more disciplined output. Reviewer Mark Fleischmann sums up his impressions while watching the movie Sinister: “A sudden boom sent a tingling sensation through my spine and limbs, a sensation I don’t recall previously having with an audio system. It may not be one I’d like to feel all the time.” (November 2013, Read Full Review)
JL Audio Fathom IWS-SYS-1 In-Wall Subwoofer System: $4,500
If serious bass is a priority but you have no place for a hulking subwoofer, the audio gurus at JL Audio have you covered with a monster sub that lives in your wall. The ingenious IWS-SYS-1 system comprises a 1,000-watt amplifier with automatic room optimization and a custom 13.5-inch woofer mounted in a shallow 70-inch-tall cabinet that fits between the studs and vents into the room through a paintable grille cover. As reviewer Darryl Wilkinson put it, “It’s a sub that makes no acoustic compromises, nor does it force you to make the lifestyle compromises that a typical in-room sub would. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
$5,000 >
JL Audio Fathom f212: $6,200
JL Audio is perhaps best known in the world of car audio, but their expensive Fathom series subwoofers for home use are among the most coveted in the world of A/V. Darryl Wilkinson tested the f212, with two 12-inch drivers, and it rocked his world. “I have to say that I sincerely hate the folks at JL Audio,” he concluded, “because they have forever ruined any pleasure I might have enjoyed with any other subwoofer. I’ll never be able to listen to another without comparing it to the f212.” (April 2012, Read Full Review)
Paradigm Reference Signature SUB 2: $8,999
Simply put, this is the real deal. A 230-pound, three-sided monster featuring six 10-inch woofers arrayed in pairs, up to 4,500 watts of brute-force power (provided it gets 240-volt service), and measureable output in our lab that was only 3 decibels down at 12 hertz. And to think it all fits into a 24-inch-square footprint. The price will scare away all but the wealthiest and most bass-obsessed enthusiasts, but if you’re among them, pay up your homeowner’s insurance and get down with it. (June 2011, Read Full Review)