The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers

The Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofers

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Studio monitors are designed to be mostly neutral with a few variations here and there depending on the manufacturer's "house sound". Unfortunately, due to the limitations in size for certain studio monitors, most of them are 2-way designs with an HF driver and relatively small LF driver commonly ranging from 5" to 8".

What this means is that low frequency reproduction either gets compromised or emphasized at the cost of muddying up the midrange frequencies due to the limits of woofer movement. Most studio monitors have a bump at 100hz to add punch to the playback but this often skews mixes away from translating across systems.

To combat this, a subwoofer is needed so that the lows are all delegated to the unit, which leaves the midrange and highs to the studio monitors.

Pairing a smaller set of speakers with a sub rounds out your speaker setup. While it might seem too much especially for small rooms, subwoofers don't need to be turned up loud to provide you with a more accurate picture of your mix. Remember that the goal in getting a sub is for accuracy, not to impress, so getting an appropriately sized sub for your room is important.

While they add much-needed low frequency information to the entire listening environment, they also enable your main studio monitors' woofers to have less movement from the low end. This frees up the cones to reproduce midrange frequencies more accurately. Sub frequencies are omnidirectional so having a singular source for lows also prevents low frequency buildup from untreated rooms. All of this contributes to better overall sound quality and clarity from your system.

The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers - 2022.11

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Budget Option

PreSonus Eris Sub 8

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
PreSonus Eris Sub 8 8-inch Powered Studio Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $500.

Cons

  • Doesn't have enough power to keep up with larger rooms

Pros

  • Variable Cutoff helps synergy with different speakers
  • Punchy transient response
  • Compact size makes it great for smaller rooms

The Presonus Eris Sub 8 is a value priced subwoofer that was designed to complement their Eris line of studio monitors.

It features a Paper-composite Low-frequency Transducer with Rubber surround on the woofer and a front firing port for linearity.

A 100W class AB power section drives a moderately sized 8" woofer.

Variable cutoff from 50Hz to 130Hz helps synergize with various types of monitors; even outside the Eris range.

This value priced sub works great with their regular monitor speakers regardless of brand. The low end is relatively neutral with a punchy transient response. I used to own a unit myself and it melds well with both my Eris E4.5 monitors and my JBL LSR305 midfields.

One thing to note is that it might not keep up with louder studio monitors. Being 100W prevents it from keeping up with larger rooms and louder speakers.

The PreSonus Eris Sub8 is a great, value priced sub that lets you get the most out of your monitor setup regardless of brand. The Eris retains that fast punch without going into overhyped low end sound system territory. If you're looking for a linear, punchy sub for your small studio, this is the pick.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 22 Hz to 150 Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 80 Hz and 120 Hz.
  • Max SPL: Not Specified
  • Power Rating: 100W Peak Class AB
  • Driver: 8"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x 1/4" (left/right) , 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x 1/4" (left/right), 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Controls: Input gain, Low pass filter switch, Filter frequency, Phase switch
  • Dimensions: 13.8" x 11.8" x 15.3"
  • Weight: 22.2 lbs.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Reddit synthsmademebroke 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Under $1000

KRK S10.4

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$479
KRK S10.4 10" Powered Studio Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $2,000.

Cons

  • Footswitch sold separately
  • Some units shipped without a grille (check distributor)

Pros

  • Useful footswitch out for bypassing the sub
  • Great transient response
  • Great build quality and noise shielding

The KRK S10.4 builds upon its predecessors with a glass aramid woofer to deliver tight bass.

A class D amplifier gives the sub great transient handling with enough headroom to avoid low frequency distortion and smearing.

An optional footswitch control lets you bypass the sub conveniently.

A ground lift prevents errant noise from the circuitry, ensuring clean, noise-free operation.

Being able to hear your material with or without the sub at a tap of the foot is a great feature especially for low end balancing in the mix. The low end itself is ample and tight thanks to the aramid glass woofer and class D amplification.

Take note that the unit is supposed to have a protective grille. I've seen forum posts about theirs not shipping with one so to ensure this, only order from reputable distributors.

The KRK S10.4 is a versatile, tight sounding subwoofer that pairs well with many monitors thanks to its multiple tweakable options. The footswitch is also a godsend to those that need to switch on subs on the fly.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 27Hz-156Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 60–90Hz selectable crossover
  • Max SPL: 117 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 160W Class D
  • Driver: 8" Cone Type
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4", 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Controls: Volume, Crossover, Input Sensitivity, Polarity, Standby, Ground Lift
  • Dimensions: 16.06" x 14" x 15"
  • Weight: 34.5 lbs..

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Mix Mike Levine 92/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Yamaha HS8S

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
Yamaha HS8S Studio Monitor Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $2,000.

Cons

  • Low frequency punchiness feels anemic at quieter volumes
  • Size may be too small for larger studios

Pros

  • Punchy low end a major highlight
  • Compact size perfect for small studios
  • Handles a wide variety of genres well from Rock to EDM and more

Weighing in at just 27.6 lbs, this compact subwoofer great for home studio use, with just the right balance of power and quality, while taking up very little space.

It has a 150 Watt amplifier that drives a relatively small 8" speaker and features low and high cut filter switches that lets the speaker handle different types of music.

The Yamaha HS8S continues to best most of its competition with its high ratings. It has the right combination of features for different use cases from home recording to large studios. From tight punchy bass to room rumbling sub frequencies, its versatility is impressive especially with the additional controls for filtering.

The low punch feels a bit weak at lower volume settings but with moderate to loud levels, it just gels together with studio monitors, provided they've been tweaked to match them. Bigger mixing rooms however might be too much for a sub of this size.

With its versatility and clarity, this space saving compact sub-woofer should be your first option for your home or project studio. The HS series monitors tend to have less low frequency content than most of their competitors so augmenting them with a matched subwoofer gets you a great, fast-resolving monitor setup.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 22 Hz to 150 Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 80 Hz and 120 Hz.
  • Max SPL: Not Specified
  • Power Rating: 150 Watts
  • Driver: 8" Cone Type
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4"
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Controls: Phase switch, Low Cut switch, Low Cut control (80-120Hz) High Cut control (80-120Hz)
  • Dimensions: 13.8" x 11.8" x 15.3"
  • Weight: 27.6 lb.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Paul White 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Genelec 7040A

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$895
Genelec 7040A Studio Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $2,000.

Cons

  • May be too small for large control rooms

Pros

  • Tight and accurate response helps mix translation
  • Great amount of customization
  • Compact size aids positioning

While the Genelec 7040A was designed to complement their 8000 series studio monitors, it's tweakable enough to be used with monitors from other brands as well.

The 7040A's Laminar Spiral Enclosure features a nautilus-esque spiral chamber for precise low frequency tuning with low turbulence.

Other features include dip switches for room compensation, automatic power management and a built-in bass management system for adaptability to different rooms.

Usually, you have to compromise your playback sound to be able to have a neutral frequency response to translate. The tightness and punch of the Genelec 7040A achieves a great balance between playback enjoyability and translatability. For small to medium size rooms, the woofer is enough to push air without exciting excess standing waves

As with all subs this size, it might not be able to keep up with larger rooms.

If you're looking for a tight sounding sub with a lot of tweakability for your small to medium size studio, the Genelec 7040A is a great pick for its transient response and translatability.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-85Hz (-6dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 80 Hz and 120 Hz.
  • Max SPL: 100 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 150 Watts
  • Driver: 6.5" woofer
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Controls: DIP switch for room response adjustments, active crossover
  • Dimensions: 13.8" x 11.8" x 15.3"
  • Weight: 27.6 lb.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Bonedo (German) Felix Klostermann 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Under $2000

Focal Sub6 Red

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1499
Focal Sub6 Red 11" Powered Studio Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $2,000.

Cons

  • A bit pricey for small studios

Pros

  • Synergizes easily with different monitors
  • Tight, accurate bass
  • Excellent transient response

Don't let the number '6' fool you; the Focal Sub6 Red has a 10.6" woofer in its enclosure. This ensures full bass extension.

The rear firing laminar port is designed for maximum linearity. Couple this with a gorgeous wood finish and you have a top-tier subwoofer.

The Sub6 has an effect of gluing together your entire speaker system. It has a nice and consistent frequency and transient response that almost makes it "disappear" from your perception. Even with the large diameter of the LF driver, the transient response remains excellent.

There isn't anything I would call a negative, performance-wise but the price does put it out of reach for many.

The Focal Sub6 Red is a top-tier subwoofer that has more than enough low frequency push to satisfy even the most discerning bassheads. Having a large woofer diameter pushes a lot of air while the well-engineered enclosure and material choice keeps resolution times fast for tighter and more accurate bass.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 30Hz - 250Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 80 Hz and 120 Hz.
  • Max SPL: 116dB SPL
  • Power Rating: 150 Watts
  • Driver: 10.6" W composite sandwich cone driver
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Controls: Adjustable subwoofer level. Low-pass cut-off frequency setting, Phase adjustment, Polarity adjustment, Subwoofer switch (mute), 2.1 “Bypass” (external remote control), High-pass frequency selection, Releasable high-pass
  • Dimensions: 4.94" x 13.56" x 17.31"
  • Weight: 50.7lb

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
TapeOp Allen Farmelo 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Dynaudio 18S

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1799
Dynaudio 18S Dual 9.5" Powered Studio Subwoofer
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer Under $2,000.

Cons

  • Too much for smaller, untreated rooms

Pros

  • Great pick for large studios
  • Can be linked with another unit
  • DSP grants flexibility for pairing with any studio monitor

The Dynaudio 18s is designed to output loud and clean low frequencies for larger studios.

Dual 9.5" long-throw woofers driven with 500 watts of power bring larger than life low frequencies.

It has built-in DSP has presets for easy integration with popular studio monitors as well as a variable filter range.

The Magnesium Silicate Polymer+ Hybrid cones provide plenty of clean low frequency content.

If needed, the Dynaudio 18s can be daisy chained with another unit for even more low frequency output.

The Dynaudio 18s might seem overkill for smaller studios, but larger, well treated studios benefit from the power and expandability. The DSP and presets also help with calibration and genre-specific tuning.

If you're looking for a top tier sub for your pro studio, the Dynaudio 18S is a top performer for all your low frequency needs.

Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 16Hz-230Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: DSP Adjustable/Preset
  • Max SPL: 110dB
  • Power Rating: 500 Watts
  • Driver: 2 x 9.5" long-throw woofers
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR (L/R), 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR (L/R), 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Controls: App controlled DSP for EQ and filtering
  • Dimensions: 13.1" x 18.5" x 10.6"
  • Weight: 27.6 lb.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
MusicTech Andy Jones 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things To Consider When Buying a Studio Monitor Subwoofer

Crossover Frequency and Integration

The frequencies below the crossover are the ones that go to the subwoofer, and to get the best results the crossover frequency should be at the point where your main monitors start to roll off. Most studio subwoofers come with switchable crossover frequencies which makes integration and matching to your main monitors easier.

Frequency Response

This specification pertains to the frequencies that the subwoofer can handle. For casual listening you'll often want the lowest possible, but for studio monitoring, a slightly higher frequency response is preferred for better clarity, allowing you to really hear your recordings and make correct adjustments.

Power Rating

Power rating dictates the overall loudness or volume of the unit. If you want to avoid tiring your ears while monitoring, or you prefer not to bother your neighborhood, you'll want one that has just the right volume to get the job done. Having a larger sub operating at a sub-optimal level also prevents it from reproducing the low frequencies accurately.

Speaker Size

In live sound reinforcement, the bigger the speaker size, the better the subwoofer will perform. But this is not necessarily the case for studio monitoring; while some prefer bigger speakers for the extra low end thump, others go for smaller speakers with their added warmth and clarity. Like Power Rating, operating at the most optimal level is the key to better clarity. Smaller rooms would be better with smaller subwoofers while larger, treated studios will benefit from larger subs.

Positioning

Low frequencies are omnidirectional, meaning they are not as position dependent as midrange and high frequencies. However, you still have to consider where you'll be putting them in your studio. The usual placement is on the floor, right around the center of your two main monitors, but there are no hard rules since studio rooms vary widely. It is best to try the speaker in different positions until you find one with the smoothest and cleanest sound. If you get floor reflections, you can place the subwoofer on a low stand. The goal is not to over-emphasize the bass, but to make it clearer and easy to listen to, so you can make correct adjustments as you mix and work on your tracks.

Studio Subwoofer Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on November 18, 2022.

We looked into all the studio subwoofers available from major online retailers in the USA that were priced under $2,000 and selected the 20 most promising models for our short-list for further analysis - you can see them in our Music Gear Database. For this edition, we gathered the most recent relevant ratings and reviews and ended up analyzing over 3,800 sources. We fed these into the Gearank Algorithm, which gave us rating rating scores out of 100 which we then used to select the highest rated options to recommend in this guide. For further details about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Some of the recording gear I use in my studio includes the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Samson QH4 Headphone Amp and Cloudlifter CL-1. My mics include Aston Origin, Aston Element, Shure SM57, Rode NT1, Rode PodMic and MXL V67G.

Contributors

Alexander Briones: Product Research.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: By Gearank.com using photographs of the Focal Sub6 Red and Yamaha HS8S.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.

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