Subwoofer for 20Hz to 40Hz

I really don’t have a speaker listening position in my home (which i why I use headphones) so my speaker set ups in each room are mounted high and aimed at filling the room more than sounding great in a specific space.

My living room set up is currently an a pair of Tannoys and an Meyer MM10 sub, however, I am planning on swapping out the Tannoy for some Meyer UPM-1 speakers.

The MM10 sub, while great for speed and clarity, doesn’t really push anything below 40Hz. This is obviously not a problem for the majority of music, however, I do listen to Hip Hop and other bass heavy music at times and my wife is a bit of a bass head.

So, I am looking for a subwoofer to cover the 20Hz to 40Hz region. It really doesn’t have to be of real high quality as it will only be covering those frequencies and I will have a preset in the DSP for when I don’t want it active (in other words, when I am not in bass head mode), but space is a bit of an issue as I live in an apartment. I would probably locate it where the MM10 is currently and move the MM10 to be wall mounted between the speakers.

So, any ideas on a sub that can go low in a small form factor, even if it is a bit “flabby”?

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“It doesn’t have to be of real high quality as it will only be covering those frequencies…” Well, that’s not true. Bass from a subwoofer can sound good or bad, tight or flabby, tonally accurate or inaccurate–just like any other speaker.

Based on my experience w/subs (3 different subs/last 10 yrs), I suggest:

  • If you’ll be listening to music (rather than film soundtracks), get a sealed/acoustic suspension sub, not a ported one. The latter can go a few dB lower than sealed, but the sound of sealed subs is superior on music.
  • Don’t obsess about published frequency range stats. Most music, even the kinds you mention, doesn’t have any real content below the high 20s/low 30s (dB)–at least, not in any quantity. That means it’s better to focus on a great-sounding sub that goes down to 28 dB than a terrible-sounding one that goes down to 21 dB.
  • If your room and budget permit, a pair of subs will outperform a single sub.

FYI, there are benefits from subs beyond simply hearing low bass bigger/better: they tend to open up the soundstage and spatial rendition of music by the mains. It’s pretty easy to hear when you compare full range mains vs constrained range mains + sub (the latter sounding better IMO).

I can recommend SVS subs. They have a number of really excellent sealed subs in the 12"-13" range; cost ~$500-$1,000.

If you’re willing to spend a little more, JL Audio has terrific subs in the 10"-12" range (I have an e110 model that is perfect for my home office).


In my experience all ported subs and speakers lean toward one-note bass. Average bass = average, high bass = average, low bass = average, sub bass = average. Ports also tend to chuff.

I use ported subs happily for A/V but hate them for music.

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@SenyorC, budget?

Rythmik L12? Compact 12", $550 - $630. Where compact, that’s 14"(W) x 14" (H )x 15-1/2" (D)

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There are many excellent high-end speakers with ported bass. But it really costs to design and engineer ports with materials & construction sufficient to smooth out airflow & eliminate “chuffing.” For example, last fall I heard the Harbeth monitor 40.2 & was wowed by that sound. The bass had good impact & reach, and what struck me as extremely natural “bloom” (bass notes start small, get larger, then fade). I could live with that sound all day long.

But subwoofer bass is a more demanding application. Instead of going down to high 30s/low 40s Hz like most full-range monitors, a large sub will go down into the mid-to-high 20s. That means large drivers, a lot of power energizing a heavy magnet, with driver excursion up to 3" – combine all that with a port and it just doesn’t sound right. The port may buys a few Hz on the bottom, but it screws up the natural sound of bass notes in the rest of the range (up to the usual 40 Hz - 80 Hz crossover).


I agree but in this specific case it will be used only occasionally for those “bass head moments” and will only be carrying frequencies below 37Hz or so, the normal sub tasks will still be the responsibility of the MM-10, therefore, for the use this will get, it does not need to be of high quality (within reason of course),

It depends on the design of the subwoofer, there are good and bad in both realms, however, I do agree that it is easier to find good articulation in a sealed sub rather than a ported one, but again, in this situation the subwoofer will only be covering the really low frequencies and only on on occasions, therefore, the music that will be played through this will not be scrutinized, all it relly needs to do is move air at those frequencies. Think of it more as a live set up rather than an home hifi set up.

I agree that most music doesn’t but in the case of a lot of the music I am referring to (which is the only time that this sub will really be used) there are notes reaching down to to an F0 (21.83Hz). While it is true that what we usually hear are the harmonics of those root notes (so in that case we would be hearing the first harmonic at 43.65Hz), there is still something nice to having the 20Hz air moved.

Although I don’t want to spend a fortune, my biggest problem is space, I really don’t have any more space than the curretly occupied by the MM-10 which is 19"x11"x12" WHD (482 mm x 279 mm x 305 mm), which is why the MM-10 will be flown to make space available. I have at least 6 or 7 subwoofers in storage that would easily cover this task, however they are mostly 18" drivers and will not fit in my living room.

I haven’t heard an SVS sub before, I’ll take a look. As for the JL subs, I agree that they make some good stuff but I think it would be more of a case of replacing the Meyer Sound with the JL than adding it to compliment.

Thanks for your suggestions and input!

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Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check it out!