The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers

The Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofers

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Having a great sense for the low end in your mix helps your tracks translate better across different systems. Smaller speakers for small studios tend to have an unnatural bump at the 100hz area and a steep drop going down. This overemphasis adds punch but throws off your mix balancing.

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.

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.

In this 2021 edition of the guide we present you with our studio monitor subwoofer recommendations, as determined by the latest user and expert reviews, ratings and forum discussions. For this edition, we see new entries make their way to our top picks. How do they stack up against the market favorites? Read on to find out!

The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

PreSonus Temblor T8

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$350
PreSonus Temblor T8 8" Powered Studio Subwoofer

The PreSonus Temblor T8 is the company's midrange subwoofer offering.

Featuring 100W (RMS)/200W (Peak) power driving an 8" woofer, the Temblor T8 has a bold but natural extension of the low frequencies that work well with various speaker systems.

The 8" woofer itself is configured to fire downward for fast and accurate response and minimal turbulence.

The crossover frequency is adjustable between 80Hz to 130Hz enabling it to synergize with speakers large and small.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 27Hz-156Hz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 80 Hz and 120 Hz.
  • Max SPL: 104dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 100W RMS, 200W Peak
  • Driver: 8"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x 1/4", 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x 1/4", 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Controls: Input gain, Low pass filter switch, Filter frequency, Phase switch
  • Dimensions: 16.06" x 14" x 15"
  • Weight: 34.5 lbs..

Pros

For the price, many users liked the tight and even response of the Temblor T8. The 200W peak power is able to keep up with loud monitoring with little to no perceived distortion according to some users; a feat many in this price range fail to do especially when pushed.

Cons

Downward firing cone might kick up dust in your studio.

Overall

The PreSonus Temblor offers a lot for a moderately priced subwoofer. The price-to-power ratio is the best at this price bracket so if you're looking for a loud subwoofer without spending much, the Temblor T8 is the one to get.

KRK S10.4

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$449
KRK S10.4 10" Powered Studio Subwoofer

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..

Features

  • 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..

Pros

Users note the convenience of the footswitch as its best positive trait. Being able to hear your material with or without the sub at a tap of the foot was an often repeated plus in reviews. The low end is described to be ample and tight thanks to the aramid glass woofer and class D amplification.

Cons

Some units shipped without a protective grille for the LF driver. To ensure your woofer comes complete, only purchase from reputable distributors.

Overall

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.

Yamaha HS8S

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$480
Yamaha HS8S Studio Monitor Subwoofer

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

Yamaha's vast experience and machinery have made them a tough contender in the music gear market, and when they pull together their resources, you can expect top rated, high-quality products, case in point is the Yamaha HS8S Subwoofer.

Weighing in at just 27.6 lbs, this compact subwoofer is meant 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.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

The Yamaha HS8S continues to best most of its competition with its high ratings, with many professing that it has the right combination of features for their home recording needs. From tight punchy bass to room rumbling sub frequencies, many are impressed with its versatility, with some of them commending Yamaha for adding adjustable low/high cut filters. The overall market response is that it does the job done nicely, well worth the money.

Cons

There are a few experienced users who feel that the low frequencies are weaker at lower volume settings, but they do note that it works great in the mid levels. There are also some who found the volume to be lacking for bigger rooms.

Overall

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.

Genelec 7040A

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$795
Genelec 7040A Studio Subwoofer

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.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

Reviews note the tightness and punch of the genelec 7040A to be the best they've heard and mixes done with the sub translate very well. For small to medium size rooms, the woofer was noted to be adequate without exciting excess standing waves

Cons

Some note that for larger studios, the 7040A might not be able to keep up. .

Overall

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

ADAM Audio Sub8

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1080
ADAM Audio Sub8 8.5" Powered Studio Subwoofer

The ADAM Audio Sub8 takes ADAM's signature clarity and tightness and applies them to a tight sounding, clear subwoofer with low distortion.

With linear bass reproduction down to 28Hz and an efficient 160W power rating driving the 8.5" speaker, long sessions wont affect the subwoofer's running quality and efficiency.

If needed, the sub can be controlled via remote for gain and bypass; making it a convenient sub for those that prefer alternating between sub extension and their speakers alone.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 28Hz-150Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be selectable between 50Hz and 150Hz
  • Max SPL: ≥110dB SPL @ 1m
  • Power Rating: 160W RMS, 240W Music
  • Driver: 8.5"
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR, 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
  • Controls: Phase switch, Low Cut switch (85Hz)
  • Dimensions: 16" x 10" x 15"
  • Weight: 26.5 lbs.

Pros

The remote control was one of the deciding factors for many users, citing its convenience as the feature they liked best. Many users of ADAM monitors that found their lows to be lacking note that the Sub8 melds nicely with their existing monitor setups. Other studio monitors were noted to have good synergy with the Sub8.

Cons

Some issues with quality control led to a few users getting lemons. Others noted that the Sub8 adds extension but not "thump".

Overall

For those that want a sub that extends the lows rather than exaggerating it, the ADAM Audio Sub8 is a nuanced and great sounding pick regardless of your monitors. The remote control also is a great feature to have for those that reference between sub on and off.

Focal Sub6 Red

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$1499
Focal Sub6 Red 11" Powered Studio Subwoofer

Don't let the '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.

Features

  • 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

Pros

Many praise how a complete set of Focal monitor speakers and the Sub6 Red sound greater than the sum of its parts. The Sub6 is said to have great low frequency resolution which means the bass is tight despite it having one of the largest woofer diameters in this guide.

Cons

No consistently reported negatives. Pricey.

Overall

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.

Dynaudio 18S

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1799
Dynaudio 18S Dual 9.5" Powered Studio Subwoofer

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.

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

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.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

The Dynaudio 18s might seem overkill for smaller studios but many users that own larger, well treated studios felt their previous sub units were lacking and inconsistent. The Dynaudio 18s fills in that gap with loud and clean sub frequency energy that many users noted paired well with whatever setup they had. The DSP and presets were also praised to be convenient.

Cons

Too large for smaller untreated rooms.

Overall

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.

Budget Option

PreSonus Eris Sub 8

92
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$200
PreSonus Eris Sub 8 8-inch Powered Studio Subwoofer

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.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

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

Cons

Might not keep up with louder studio monitors. Being 100W prevents it from keeping up with larger rooms and louder speakers.

Overall

The PreSonus Eris Sub8 is a great, value priced sub that lets you get the most out of your monitor setup regardless of brand. Compared to the Temblor 8, the Eris is more at home with smaller to medium speakers that need extension rather than overall thump. In my experience, mixes translate better when your system is configured more to extend low frequency response, not accentuate it. 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.

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 latest edition was published on October 15, 2021.

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 2,700 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

An audio engineer of 20 years who specializes in rock and metal recordings, he also plays guitar and produces original music for his band and other content creators.

Aside from endlessly window shopping and watching hours of gear reviews for leisure, he enjoys playing competitive FPS games, MMORPGs and caring for his 5 cats. He is primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. His favorite pieces of gear are his Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.

Contributors

Alden Acosta: Product research.
Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
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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