The Best PA Subwoofers - Powered & Passive

The Highest Rated PA Subwoofers

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Since the market is continuously flooded by various PA subwoofers, we have updated this guide to show you the current market favorites based on our latest research in November 2019.

DJs, musicians and live sound engineers will appreciate this list of top rated powered and passive subwoofers.

This guide will help you pick the best one that fits your budget and your planned setup.

The Best PA Subwoofers

The Best Powered Subwoofers

This section is devoted to powered pa subwoofers - you can skip ahead to the passive subwoofer section below if you want to.

Electro-Voice ZXA1

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$599
Electro-Voice ZXA1 12" 700W Powered Subwoofer

The Electro-Voice ZXA1 Sub is a compact 1 x 12" subwoofer rated at 700W.

Weighing in at just 46 lbs, it is meant to be a portable subwoofer solution for small to medium size venues. It also has a compact profile that makes it easy to position, be it mounted or on the floor.

It has a built-in 100Hz high-pass filter to save your main speaker from having to process the lower frequencies, thereby increasing efficiency.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 53Hz–93Hz (-3dB)
  • Crossover: 100Hz
  • Max SPL: dB
  • Power Rating: 700 Watts
  • Drivers: 1 x 12"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR Stereo
  • Polarity: Switchable
  • Enclosure Material: Plywood
  • Dimensions: 15.75” x 17.50” x 18.00”
  • Weight: 46 lbs (20.9 kg)

Pros
The Electro-Voice ZXA1 Sub gets a lot of kudos from owners, including sound technicians, band directors and musicians. Many appreciate its sonic fidelity, so much so that some even report that it sounds better overall than bigger 15" subs. Many also commend its solid build, which surprising given its light weight.

Cons
There are a few who wish for extra features like having an adjustable crossover frequency.

Overall
If you're looking for a compact subwoofer for small to medium venues, then this is worth checking out.

Turbosound iQ18B

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1178
Turbosound iQ18B Subwoofer

At time of publication this was the highest rated powered PA subwoofer.

What makes this subwoofer standout is its digital signal processing, which allows for speaker modeling where it emulates the sound of other popular speakers. This expands both the tonal palette and viability of the speaker for use with different venues and musical styles. All of this is adjustable via USB or with its built-in LCD and control interface.

With its big 18" woofer, 4" voice coil and power rating of 3000W (Peak), the Turbosound iQ18B subwoofer is meant to be loud.

It boasts of Klark Teknik Class D amplification in a birch plywood enclosure with back-mounted castors for use when moving the speaker around while still being stable.

Other features include Ultranet digital audio compatibility and Neutrik powerCon connectors for easy power chaining.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 36Hz-100Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Active (High Pass L-R 24 dB/oct)
  • Max SPL: 127dB (Continuous), 133dB (Peak)
  • Power Rating: 3000 Watts Peak
  • Drivers: 1 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR Combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: Birch Plywood
  • Dimensions: 27.2 x 21.0 x 22.0"
  • Weight: 87.5 lbs ( 39.8 kg)

Pros
Punchy and clean sounding are some of the many positive remarks that this subwoofer is getting from users. There are reports of it working well in various venues, from being used as a subwoofer for a multimedia player in a small room, to big a 17,000 sq/ft venue. Reliability also gets a lot of mention, with many owners still satisfied after many years of use. The practical addition of casters at the back also get special kudos from those who have to deal with the setup and breakdown of mobile setups.

Cons
There are a few who wish for extras like a bundled cover, and more mounting options, there are also some who caution about its weight, but the castors are put there for a purpose.

Overall
If you're looking for a versatile and loud powered subwoofer with testimonies of being reliable after years of use, then check out the Turbosound iQ18B.

Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 60+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP

Here is another Subwoofer that gets the job done with modern technology, they call it QuickSmartDSP which lets you switch between four presets: Live, Music, Speech, and Club. It also lets you tweak the parameters and save up to five user presets, with input level control and metering, master volume control and crossover system matching.

For a subwoofer with Class D amplification rated at 1200W, the Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP is relatively light at 64 lbs, especially when considering that it has an 18" LF transducer.

Finally, you can conveniently configure up to 6 ELX200 speakers wirelessly via Bluetooth and the QuickSmartMobile app, which makes setup and adjustments even more efficient.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 40Hz - 145Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Selectable: 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz
  • Max SPL: 132 dB
  • Power Rating: 1200 Watts
  • Drivers: 1 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (Thru)
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Plywood
  • Dimensions: 23.7" x 20" x 22.6"
  • Weight: 64 lbs (29 kg)

Pros
With its versatile DSP, the Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP is capable of handling various scenarios. And this is corroborated by reports of it working well in different applications, from bands, to mobile DJs, to conferences and other non-musical events. Some describe the sound of this sub as being transparent enough for use with more intimate ensembles, while still having enough thump to make DJs happy and contribute their positive reviews and commendations. Many also report that the overall build is solid, while still being reasonably light.

Cons
There are a few reports of the low frequency driver getting damaged when volume spikes are not controlled.

Overall
All in all, the Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP is a good buy for those who are looking for a versatile 18" subwoofer to add to their system.

Yamaha DXS12mkII

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$800
Yamaha DXS12mkII 1020W 12" Powered Subwoofer

Yamaha is a brand that does well in almost any music gear category, and active subwoofers are not exempt from their market dominance. The DXS12mkII is a straightforward subwoofer that reinforces Yamaha's reputation for value for money and reliability.

It features a class D power amp rated at 800W (Continuous) that drives a 12" driver with 2.5" voice coil.

For a bit more low end oomph, it has built-in D-XSUB processing which helps extend the lows further via DSP.

There's even a cardioid mode for a more efficient projection of the sound.

Finally, it has selectable crossover points which include 80Hz, 100Hz and 120Hz.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 42Hz-150hz (-10 dB)
  • Crossover: Selectable: 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz
  • Max SPL: 134 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 800 Watts Continuous
  • Drivers: 1 x 12"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (Thru)
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: Meranti Plywood
  • Dimensions: 22.32" x 15.75" x 22.44"
  • Weight: 66.1 lbs (30 kg)

Pros
While other subs are into enhancing the bass frequencies, the Yamaha DXS12mkII is all about getting them heard without unnecessarily changing the overall sound. And for this reason, it is well loved for its sonic fidelity. As such it gets most of its positive ratings from those who have use it for conferences, jazz quartets, pop music and other events that do not require too much bass. Other positive attributes that get mentioned include good build quality and reliability.

Cons
On the flipside, if you're looking for chest thumping bass for electronic music or for your metal band, then this may not be a good fit.

Overall
The Yamaha DXS12mkII is ideal for those who want to improve their bass clarity without over emphasizing the lows.

Electro-Voice EKX-18SP

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$999
Electro-Voice EKX-18SP 1300W Powered PA Subwoofer

The Electro-Voice EKX-18SP has been well received thanks to its big 18" woofer and 1300W amplifier and its most interesting feature is its Cardioid Control Technology, which focuses sound projection on to the audience while reducing stage noise.

It also comes with built-in DSP (Digital Signal Processing) that allows for quick setup and matching, be it with your other speakers or the venue it is employed in.

Finally, it is relatively light considering that it comes with an 18" LF Driver.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 35Hz to 180Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Adjustable (80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz)
  • Max SPL: 134 dB
  • Power Rating: 1300 Watts Peak
  • Drivers: 1 x 18" EVS-18C subwoofer
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 15mm Wood
  • Dimensions: 20.4" x 23.8" x 24"
  • Weight: 72.3 lbs (32.79 kg)

Pros
Awesome, amazing and great are just some of the many superlatives that are used to describe the Electro-Voice EKX-18SP's real world performance. It has been proven to work well in various situations, including rock and metal band concerts, DJ and other dance music styles, as ell as school and office parties/activities. With its big 18" woofer, many users are impressed with its hard hitting yet clear sound projection.

Cons
There are a few users who cautioned that this sub is heavy, and they wish that it came with wheels by default.

Overall
Having said all that, the EKX-18SP is a serious sub-woofer that will fit most musical and event applications, well deserving of its recommendation.

Powered Budget Option

This is where we sometimes present additional options which didn't quite fit into our list above but which you may also find interesting and useful - in this case it's a low-cost but respectable option for those on a tight budget.

Behringer Eurolive B1200D-PRO

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$349
Behringer Eurolive B1200D-PRO 500W Powered Subwoofer

The Behringer Eurolive B1200D-PRO is a popular option for people on a budget.

It's pole mountable, has a switchable +6 dB bass boost with a selectable frequency between 4 Hz and 90Hz, and it has selectable hi-pass-filtered outputs between 70Hz to 150Hz for plugging in your main speakers.

It is popular with bands, wedding DJs and houses of worship - some people have even used it as part of their home theater systems.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 45Hz to 180Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Built-in but frequencies not specified
  • Max SPL: 122 dB
  • Power Rating: 500 Watts
  • Driver: 12"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (Out), 2 x XLR (Thru)
  • Polarity: Normal / Reverse
  • Enclosure Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 17.0" x 14.8" x 16.7"
  • Weight: 43.1 lbs (19.5 kg)

Pros
A common comment in positive reviews is that these offer excellent value for the money, with sound quality that is good enough to get through gigs reliably.

Cons
A few people pointed out that this is under-powered for the purpose of EDM types of music.

Overall
If you typically play small venues, or you're on a limited budget, then this is a great option for you, however if you're a DJ who needs a lot of bottom end then you're better off getting something more powerful.

The Best Passive Subwoofers

These require an external amplifier such as a power amp or powered mixing console to drive them.

Bose B1 Bass Module

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$299
Bose B1 Bass Module - Powered Subwoofer

The Bose B1 Bass Module is a subwoofer designed to be a compact and portable bass enhancing solution and primarily intended for use with the company's L1 Systems.

Instead of a big woofer, it sports two 5.25" woofers that prioritize bass clarity over excessive thump.

Finally, it utilizes Speakon connectors that complements the Boss L1 system nicely.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 200Hz (-3 dB)
  • Crossover: 200Hz (24 dB / octave)
  • Max SPL: Not Specified
  • Power Rating: 125 Watts
  • Drivers: 2 x "5.25"
  • Input Connectors: 1 x speakON (NL4)
  • Output Connectors: 1 x speakON (NL4)
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: Not Specified
  • Dimensions: 15" x 10.25" x 17.75"
  • Weight: 26.6 lb (12.1 kg)

Pros
Clear and clean sounding bass is what the Boss B1 Bass Module is all about. Many appreciate how it complements the Bose L1 system nicely, be it for home entertainment use and for small to medium size venues. It's portability is also commended often, with some finding themselves surprised at how full sounding the L1 system is when equipped with the B1 Bass Module.

Cons
With its smaller 5.25" woofers, don't expect much thump from it. So if you are into dance, electronic music or any style with deep bass requirements then this is not a good fit.

Overall
This is perfect for owners of the Bose L1 system who are looking for a way to enhance their bass frequencies without adding to much bulk and weight to the setup.

Bose B2 Bass Module

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Bose B2 Bass Module - Passive Subwoofer

B1's big brother, the Bose B2 Bass Module makes it to this list with its dual 10" woofers. It is designed to provide even more bass response for the L1 Model II and Model 1S systems, with more punch and volume thanks to its bigger woofer.

Most of the magic in terms of control and adjustments happen on the L1 system, adjusting and optimizing the B2 Bass Module automatically depending on the L1 System model and application.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 40Hz - 200Hz (-3dB)
  • Crossover: 200MHz
  • Max SPL: Not Specified
  • Power Rating: Not Specified
  • Drivers: 2 x 10"
  • Input Connectors: 1 x speakON (NL4)
  • Output Connectors: None
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: Not Specified
  • Dimensions: 23.4" x 13.31" x 18.9"
  • Weight: 45 lb (20.41 kg)

Pros
From supporting the main FOH speakers for small venues, to supporting the L1 system as stage monitors, the Bose B2 Bass Module is well loved for its clean bass sounds. Keyboardists, guitarists, singers and other musicians love how it emphasizes the bass frequencies without unnecessary coloration, resulting in a fuller overall sound that's not too heavy.

Cons
While this one is louder and has more lows than the B1 Bass Module, it is still not ideal for those looking for musical styles that require thumping bass.

Overall
If you want to add even more low end to your Bose Array system without muddying the sound, then check out the Bose 2 Bass Module.

Yamaha SW218V

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$670
Yamaha SW218V 2400W Dual 18" Passive Subwoofer

The Yamaha SW218V is a subwoofer that can really dig deep with its 2 x 18" woofers and 1200 watts program power handling. The dual 18" speakers will surely be able to move a lot of air, while its cast aluminum frame drivers allows for good heat dissipation and lighter overall weight.

The particleboard cabinet is crafted from southern yellow pine, built according to Yamaha's exacting standards.

Other features include steel corners, carpet covering, speakON connectors and heavy duty arced steel grille.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-2kHz (-10dB)
  • Crossover: Not Specified
  • Max SPL: 132 dB
  • Power Rating: 1200 Watts
  • Drivers: 2 x "18"
  • Input Connectors: 1 x SpeakOn
  • Output Connectors: 1 x SpeakOn
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: Particleboard (Southern Yellow Pine)
  • Dimensions: 22.8" x 48.1" x 25.9"
  • Weight: 144.2 lbs ( kg)

Pros
This speaker is well received for being loud and punchy, as expected with its dual 18" woofer design. But it's not just about being loud, because there are many who describe it as having a clear bass sound that's great for kick drums, bass guitar and more - even when at high volume levels. Value for money is also mentioned in reviews, along with its solid build quality.

Cons
Bulk and weight seem to be a minor gripe for a few users. In line with that, there are a few who are not happy with where the carrying handles are positioned.

Overall
If you're looking for a budget friendly passive sub-woofer that can move lots of air, then the Yamaha SW218V is ideal for you.

JBL PRX418S

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$749
JBL PRX418S 18" 1600W Passive Subwoofer

The JBL PRX418S is a passive subwoofer that's meant for easy setup and reliable use.

It features a big 18" LF driver and a powerful 3200W Peak power rating that can handle most of the musical styles that you throw at it, from modern EDM and hiphop, to classic metal and rock, and other genres.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 52Hz to 120Hz (±3dB)
  • Crossover: 24dB to 48dB/octave @ 80Hz
  • Sensitivity: 1w/1m: 95 dB
  • Max SPL: 130 dB SPL
  • Power Rating: 800W Continuous | 1600W Program | 3200W Peak
  • Driver: 1 x 18"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x SpeakON
  • Output Connectors: None
  • Polarity: Not Specified
  • Enclosure Material: 18mm Birch/Poplar, DuraFlex Coated
  • Dimensions: 26.7" x 21.1" x 24.2"
  • Weight: 79 lbs (36 kg)

Pros
It continues to receive many positive adjectives like super smooth, tight, clean, punchy and more - all of which point to the JBL PRX418S' good sound quality. Durability and reliability also came up from reviewers that have used it in various venues.

Cons
Aside from shipping issues, there aren't any serious concerns with the JBL PRX418S' overall performance. Just note that to make full use of its power rating, you'll need to pair it with a powerful amplifier.

Overall
If you're looking for a loud passive subwoofer, then get the JBL PRX418S.

Things to Consider When Buying a PA Subwoofer

  • How Will You Integrate Subs Into Your PA System?

    There are several ways of adding subs into your system. One of the simplest is to create a sub-mix on your mixing console where you send the kick drum and bass to the Aux output and then connect that to your powered subwoofer or amp going to your passive subwoofers (no amp is required if you have a powered mixing console). Other options include running your subwoofers in parallel to your main PA speakers if your subs have high pass filters. In more complex setups you will use a crossover unit to split the frequencies before sending the signal to your subs or power amps. It's beyond the scope of this guide to provide comprehensive information on integrating subwoofers so here are a couple of articles you might find useful:

  • Your Type of Music & Driver Size

    Acoustic performers and folk style bands will find the smaller 12" drivers provide all the bottom end they need, but if you perform bass heavy styles then you'll need larger drivers that are capable of moving a lot more air - this is particularly true for EDM style DJs.

  • Use as Stage Monitors

    Many drummers and sometimes bass players use a subwoofer in addition to a standard stage monitor in order to get a full punchy bottom end on stage.

  • Powered or Passive?

    Powered subs are easier to use because you don't have to worry about matching amplifiers to your subs, however passive subs are cheaper so if you already have the necessary power amps then that's the best way to go. You can jump to the section that you need:

Best PA Subwoofer Selection Methodology

This guide was first published on May. 25, 2016 and the latest major update was published on November 12, 2019.

Initially, we looked at all the PA subwoofers currently available in the USA and based upon their popularity at major retailers we narrowed them down to the 59 promising options. We then gathered the most recent data from customer and expert reviews, forum discussions and feedback, all of which added up to over 4,600 sources. All of these data were then fed into the Gearank algorithm which helped us rank the subwoofers according to actual market sentiment. Finally, we divided the list to highlight the best powered and passive subwoofers, to make it easier for you to choose ones that fit your current or planned rig. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Comments

Curious how the TurboSound

Curious how the TurboSound IQ15B and IQ18B stack up compared to the others. Can they be included?

When we were doing the

When we were doing the research for this guide it was clear that none of the Turbosound iQ range were rated highly enough to be included in this guide so they didn't make it past the initial screening process.

There have been more ratings published over the last couple months so I re-checked and the situation hasn't changed much except that the Turbosound iQ18B now has a higher Gearank score then it did back then, but still not high enough to be included in this guide, although I did add it to our public music gear database today.

You can see all the Turbosound products in the database here.

I should point out that the purpose of Gearank.com is not to list every piece of music gear out there, instead we focus on highly rated gear that have a realistic potential to be included in our Music Gear Guides.

Hello what should be the

Hello what should be the ratio of speakers to the one amplifier given that the amp can drive out 5000 watts. So how many speakers can it drive to its maximum without damaging it or vice versa? Let me say if i had only EV bass speakers.

Unless you have a very

Unless you have a very expensive professional amplifier, it's not going to be able to output 5kW. If you have an amp that can really output 5kW then you're not going to be asking that question. You'd need a 32 amp mains supply for that!

You're also asking the wrong question. Let us assume you have an amp rated at 500W continuous. This 500W is the maximum it can output under ideal conditions. These ideal conditions are met when the impedance (measured in ohms) of the amplifier is equal to the impedance of the speakers being driven. For example, if you have an amplifier with an impedance of 4 ohms per channel, then it would be at its most efficient when driving one 4 ohm speaker per channel, or two 8 ohm speakers per channel etc. Connecting speakers with lower impedance than the amp will risk damaging your amp - it effectively creates a short-circuit.

With your amplifier you should have a spec sheet, and this will tell you what the continuous power output is. If you have speakers which are impedance-matched to your amplifier, make sure that the continuous power rating of the speakers is greater than or equal to the continuous power output of the amplifier, otherwise you risk burning your speakers out.

So if your amp is 2-channels, 4 ohms per channel, 500W continuous, you need a pair of subs with an impedance of 4 ohms and continuous power output of 250W or greater.

Make sense?

I have to correct you on your

I have to correct you on your comment. A 5kW amplifier does not draw 32A. Amplifiers first store energy in capacitor banks, then release that energy (through a DC power supply) through transistors to the speaker. Look up "average power draw" on your amplifier's specs. Then look up "inrush current.". The inrush is the most likely reason a breaker would trip, especially if turning on multiple amps at the same time.

I was looking at the I/O for

I was looking at the I/O for the DXS12, but it says input and "thru". Is thru truly an output or like a modified input? Because on your stats it says Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
Output Connectors: 2 x XLR

There are 2 Ins and 2 Thrus

There are 2 Ins and 2 Thrus on the Yamaha DXS12.

The outs are called Thru because the signal is running in parallel to the input rather than in series.

Hi - I know I'm late to the

Hi - I know I'm late to the topic.

Hope I get a response - I'm looking to upgrade my sound, have been considering the below listed bass bins.

Alto Truesonic TS218S
Electro-Voice ELX118P

They almost have similar specs but the max spl ratings and low end on the EV is slightly better but almost twice the price of the Alto.

I’m not able to listen to them as no one store has both in stock. So I can’t really rate them on sound quality.

If possible – can you help me out?

Thanks.

The Alto Professional

Hi Burton - you're not late, in fact you're kind of early because the Alto Professional Truesonic TS218S only became available in stores in the last few months and there are only a limited number of rating sources available for it so far - but I've generated some data for you:

I've added the TS218S to our public database so you can compare it's Gearank score with the ELX118P.

Gearank scores change as new data becomes available and based on some of the reviews I read I wouldn't be surprised if the TS218S earns a higher score over time, but it has a long way to go before its ratings would be high enough for us to include in one of our music gear guides.

BTW - The ELX118P has a street price that's only slightly higher than the TS218S and as I type this (and this may change at any time) there is currently a lower price for the ELX118P on Amazon than for the TS218S on Amazon.

I hope this helps.

Thanks a Ton for your

Thanks a Ton for your response - I'm based in South Africa. Over here the Alto's are selling around 550 dollars & the EV sells around 1000 dollars. :(

So I'm leaning more towards the Alto + I have a pair of Alto 15's - But I'm certainly considering moving to EV in the very near future.

Thanks for an awesome site - Happy new year all the way from S.A :)

I see no Yorkville speakers

I see no Yorkville speakers mentioned here. Were they not considered for comparison, or found to be under ranked?

We didn't keep any specific

We didn't keep any specific notes on Yorkville Subwoofers when we did the research for this guide - all I can tell you is they didn't make it past the first level of screening which means that at the time it was considered unlikely that they would rate high enough to be included.

Has anyone tested the Peavey

Has anyone tested the Peavey Dark Matter 115 or 118 Subs?
What about the Peavey PVXP 15 inch Sub?

The JBL PRX718xlf are NOT

The JBL PRX718xlf are NOT designed to be mounted on a pole. They have a pole mount for a top speaker to be mounted above them. Don't want some knucklehead trying to put one of these up on his On-stage speaker stand.

Any way you could do a

Any way you could do a powered sub comparison based on wattage? I am specifically trying to compare the Turbosound IQ18b, the ETX-18SP and the QSC KW181.

Bespoke sub comparisons aren

Bespoke comparisons aren't a viable option due to the amount of time they require to do at our usual high standards, however we do take all comments into consideration each time we update one of our guides.

We also make nearly each piece of gear we've analyzed available in our music gear database and you can see the Gearank scores of each item you mentioned by clicking here.

Hello, I liked your review of

Hello, I liked your review of the JBL PRX718XLF subs and was looking to purchase a pair. You said the street value was $799 each but I can not find any near that price. Any suggestions? Most of the ones I am seeing are $1200 to $1400 each. Thank you

Hi Erik,

Hi Erik - I checked and found that all the major retailers have sold out and it's no longer available for $799. The lowest price I found was $1150 at Amazon - that price may not last long. Thanks for letting us know about the problem - I've removed the outdated JBL PRX718XLF information from the guide above. Anyone who's interested in our meta-review can still find it at JBL PRX718XLF 1500W 18" Powered Subwoofer.

I came across this from

I came across this from google search, and have to say that I am pretty unimpressed by this comparison. Please include 1 watt/1 meter halfspace readings in your ratings, as max spl means nothing if you do not know how much power you are going to need to get there, and fix your max spl ratings. The industry has standardized on half space, 1 watt/1 meter, calculated at the speakers advertised ohms (4 or 8), to make comparisons possible.

The Peavey PV118 you have listed as Max SPL: 118 dB, is 95db 1w/1m, rated 200 watts continuous (200 watts 2.83vrms/8ohms)/400 program/800 peak.

The Electro-Voice ELX118 you have listed as Max SPL: 134 dB, is rated 96db 1w/1m, rated 400 watts continuous (2.83vrms/8ohms)/800 program/1600 peak.

In practical circumstances, there is only a 4db difference between the two (1dB due to sensitivity, 3dB due to double power). You have a difference of 16dB listed though! Care to explain how you came up with those numbers?

Sources:
https://peavey.com/products/index.cfm/item/665/116087
http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=1075

Hi Jeremy,

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you very much for pointing that out.

The Max SPL ratings came from the manufacturers' spec/data sheets and they are correct (I re-checked them today), however I agree with you that the sensitivity ratings should also have been included - leaving them out was entirely my mistake.

I've now added the sensitivity ratings to the passive subwoofers above.

Thank you for the comment, I

Thank you for the comment, I'm pleasantly surprised by the response. I guess I never pay attention to Max SPL ratings because how a speaker performs is calculated off sensitivity and power. IMHO this is an example of the manufacturers being misleading. I typed into an SPL calculator, and I can see how they are coming up with these numbers.

96dB 1w/1m sensitivity, with 1600 watts, corner loaded, gives 134db. (what the Electro-Voice ELX118 is rated for)

95db 1w/1m sensitivity, 200 watts, half-spaced, gives 118dB. (What the Peavey PV118 is rated for, this is the standard way of rating)

What these guys are doing would have been considered cheating a few years ago, by publishing corner loaded (1/8th space) at peak power rating. I looked up the active QSC KW181, and the Yamaha DSR118W, and there was no sensitivity listed for their cabs, but their numbers seem only possible if they are doing this as well. This will cause problems comparing passive vs active speakers. See Yamaha's passive SW118V, published in half space: here.

If you calculate the Peavey PV118's "Max SPL" as EV did for their ELX118, by corner loading them instead of half space loading (+6db), and base it off peak power instead of continuous (another +6db), you get a "Max SPL" of 130dB. That said, Peavey is rating correctly, the others are not.

Thanks for adding the sensitivity. Now at least I know what's going on. Unfortunately 1w/1m half-space, is much more important to know than Max SPL, which is not a standard to my knowledge.

A note on Behringer: I bought a 200w 1u quad amp from them, because it was 1u and I was curious to try one of their products. I ran a sine wave through it and wasn't able to get more than 30 watts through it, measured via multimeter. They flat out lie on their specifications. I will never buy another product from them. I would suggest only include products from them you've tested.

As I'm sure you're aware, but

As I'm sure you're aware, but others may not be, there are several different ways to measure power and several ways to calculate ratings based on those measurements.

Looking at the numbers you stated for the 1u amp my guess is that they used some kind of very generous peak rating instead of a root mean square as you appear to have done.

Some manufacturers seem to be deliberately vague about power ratings in order to advertise the highest headline number they can come up with - we've begun asking manufacturers about their rating methods so we can offer consistent information across all our guides as we update old ones and publish new ones - some manufactures are proving to be more responsive than others but hopefully we'll get there.

To the one making a fool of

To the one making a fool of himself- I feel as tho you are trying to find an error that can't be backed up, therefore causing the Gearank team to do a retraction. As far as I'm concerned, the testing they did was awesome. I'm a 20+ year sound engineer and I will, and would have, never been so blatantly crass over 16bB. Seriously? 16 dB? You then told them "Care to explain how you came up with that?" Really? You're a blog bum, aren't you? Just cruising thru sound blogs looking to prove someone wrong or just a little more off the shoulder than you're happy with. Gearank guys do great work. I have never added any of my 2 cents to a blog...ever! Until now! It's actually true, the saying 'you learn more with your mouth shut and your ears open'. In this case, well, you figure it out. You seem to be mr smarty pants. You're also the guy that makes all us other sound guys look as tho we don't know what we're talking about. You should try leaving your calculator in your pocket protector, put your suspenders back on, take off your slippers - shower, of coarse - and put the cheese puffs back in the cupboard...you've had plenty! Not in that order, of course. Good thing I said something, wouldn't want you to belittle me on well known and very informative blog. I earn business by keeping up with these guys. 16dB has never been an issue when looking at speakers. If I found a small oops, I'd email the blogger and discuss it that way. Ugh. I'm sick of you ready. Go hide under you moms bed, where you just came out from to hassle this blog. Go, now. Your milk and cookies and new coloring book is ready. Nothing is wrong with the last 3, I love them. But hiding under you mothers bed as a grown adult is. Goodnight.

Wow, I didn't see this till

Wow, I didn't see this till now. First off, Congratulations on your long career as a sound engineer, I've only been doing it about eight and a half years.

I never run powered speakers, because as you know, you have to run twice the amount of cables for them. They've become somewhat of a fad with DJ's and garage bands lately, so I'll blame the market as well as the many budget brands for why they are not using the prior industry standard (1w/1m RMS rating). As to whither a 16dB difference matters or not, it is a power factor of about 40x. In fact, it is the difference between typical home theatre set (80db), and typical Prosound equipment (96db). So I really don't understand how someone could not consider 16db a big deal.

I am pleased at the response from GearRank. There is no end to the number review sites which are less than reputable, and this comparison was my first time here. I don't believe after my interaction with them that they are one of those review spam sites. They acknowledged the differences and explained where they got the ratings.

I do believe that when comparing things, you have to compare them accurately. If it were my article, I might put a note about the differences between the powered and unpowered speaker ratings. However anyone who is curious enough to understand why the disparity exists will be able to read this exchange and learn what I did.

Best wishes sincerely,
--Jem

Hello whats about Samson Auro

Hello whats about Samson Auro 1200? Im looking for a small sub, i own db technologies 15 and 18 ones but no stock for 12

We haven't rated the Samson

We haven't rated the Samson Auro D1200 yet but we might if it has high enough ratings when we next update this guide.

An alternative would be the Yamaha DXS12, although it does cost more than the Samson Auro D1200.

RCF didn't make the short

RCF didn't make the short list when we originally published this guide - you can see most of the subs that were on that list here.

Based on RCF's current ratings it's quite likely they will be on the short-list when we next update this guide, and if they rate highly enough they'll be included in our recommendations.

Next review, please include a

Next review, please include a few models from Seismic Audio. I have several 18" PA subs, including JBL, Yamaha, & CV and for the dollars spent, the SA subs are really good. They are punchy, accurate, and hold up very well to the constant pounding and abuse of three hour EDM-House set lists.

I'm curious if you have had a

I'm curious if you have had a chance to review ev's new line of the elx 200 series. I recently purchased the EV ELX200-18sp subwoofer. And I must say I like it better than my EKX. Anyways just curious on your thoughts opinions.

When we published our latest

When we published our latest update to this guide back in January, there were insufficient sources available for us to provide ratings on the ELX200 series.

I've checked again today, and although that's still the case for the passive options in the range, we now have ratings for the powered options which you can see in the Music Gear Database.

The early reports are promising and I wouldn't be surprised to see the ELX200-12SP or ELX200-18SP make it into our recommended list when we next revise this category in detail.

whats your thoughts on sound

whats your thoughts on sound quality difference between turbo sounds tcs-b218 vs the tfs900b subwoofer, one is bandpass other is horn loaded, want to use for playback music and home theater.

We haven't rated either of

We haven't rated either of those Turbosound subs, not because there's anything wrong with them, but because they're high-end systems that aren't in wide use and consequently there aren't sufficient rating sources available for us to examine.

Note that in order to avoid personal bias in the ratings we provide, we don't directly test the gear ourselves, instead we base our ratings on detailed analysis of the tests conducted by others - you can read more about our methods in How Gearank Works.

I wish to respectfully

I wish to respectfully disagree with removal of the QSC KW181 review. It is certainly better than some of the other powered sub woofers that are listed in this review. True, that it is more expensive than some of the other competitors on this list but price and production age shouldn’t appear to be the main dominating factor for inclusion/exclusion from your list of high quality devices.

I personally have a high

I personally have a high opinion of the QSC brand, but the decision to remove the QSC KW181 from the recommended list was based purely on ratings and nothing else. It remains eligible for inclusion in this guide and could come back if its ratings are high enough when we do the next major update of the subwoofer category.

The thing is, you need a sub

The thing is, you need a sub to thump. In my humble opinion, there is no substitute for a pair of JBL STX 828's paired with two Lab Gruppen fp6400's in bridge mode -- you can get the fp6400's online for about 1K each. This will get you the punch and thump. Combine that with a dbx driverack 260 (available *cheap* online) or a dbx driverack Venu360 and you will not be disappointed.

I'm wondering how the Bose B1

I'm wondering how the Bose B1 made it in at an exclusion of others when it barely exceeds the output of home theatre in a box subwoofers.

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