Adding a studio monitor subwoofer is a sure-fire way to improve your music production. Not only does it let you hear the lows more clearly, it also frees up your main monitors to better handle the mids and highs - the end result being better overall sound quality and clarity. Below we present you with the best studio monitor subwoofers, as determined by users and expert reviews, ratings and forum discussions.
We looked at all the studio subwoofers available from major online retailers in the USA.and selected the ones with the highest ratings for further analysis. All relevant ratings and review data were then processed by the Gearank algorithm, which gave us the scores that we used to select the top five presented below. For further details on the Gearank process see How Gearank Works.
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
This specification pertains to the frequencies that the subwoofer can handle. Normally, you'll 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 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.
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 there are still those who prefer bigger speakers for the extra low end thump, there are some who will go for smaller speakers the added warmth and clarity.
The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers
Listed below are the Best Studio Subwoofers on the market, complete with detailed features along with a report on their pros and cons that we found in the many reviews we analyzed.
Yamaha HS8S Studio Monitor Subwoofer
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.
- 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.
The Yamaha HS8S topped this list with its high rating, as attested to by the many users who found it to have just the right combination of features for their home recording needs. From tight punchy bass to room rumbling sub frequencies, many were impressed with its versatility, and commended Yamaha for adding adjustable low/high cut filters. The overall market response is that this subwoofer gets the job done nicely, and is well worth the money.
There were a few experienced users who commented that the low frequencies seem to quiet down at lower volume settings, but works best in the mid levels. There were also some who found the volume to be lacking for bigger rooms.
With its versatility and clarity, this space saving compact sub-woofer should be your first option.
Mackie MR10Smk3 Studio Monitor Subwoofer
The MR10Smk3 attests to Mackie's foothold in the recording and sound reinforcement market, with its high ratings and bulk of recommendations. This subwoofer features a bigger 10" glass-aramid composite driver that is powered by a 120W amp, designed to handle the bottom frequencies, effectively freeing up your main monitors to handle the mid to high frequencies. Other features include vibration absorbing rubber feet, soft-mesh grille cloth and switchable polarity and crossover.
- Frequency Response: 35Hz-180Hz
- Crossover: 40Hz-180Hz
- Max SPL: 119dB
- Power Rating: 120 Watts
- Driver: 10"
- Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x TRS"
- Output Connectors: 2 x TRS
- Controls: Adjustable crossover and polarity switch
- Dimensions: 15" x 12.6" x 15"
- Weight: 27.3 lb.
Almost all reviewers are convinced that the Mackie MR10Smk3 is an excellent subwoofer for the price. And since it is within the entry level price range, most of the reviews came from first time subwoofer users who were very satisfied with the big difference that this subwoofer made to their monitoring experience.
There weren't that many complaints, but there were a few users who reported having repair and replacement issues a little earlier than expected.
If you're looking for a highly rated studio monitor subwoofer that's well within your budget, then get the Mackie MR10Smk3.
JBL LSR310S Studio Monitor Subwoofer
JBL needs no introduction, having been in the sound reinforcement business for more than 7 decades now. So it is not surprising to find the LSR310S in this list, a powered subwoofer with a 200W amplifier and a down-firing 10" speaker, designed specifically for studio monitoring use. It features a ported cabinet design that improves bass response at low playback levels, and at the same time reduce turbulence to ensure clarity. Other features include selectable crossover settings and level control.
- Low Frequency Response: 27 Hz
- Crossover: 80Hz
- Max SPL: 113dB
- Power Rating: 200 Watts
- Driver: 10"
- Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x TRS
- Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
- Controls: Phase switch, High Cut control (80-120Hz)
- Dimensions: 17.65" x 15" x 15.65"
- Weight: 34.3 lb.
One user put it nicely, the JBL LSR310S is physically and sonically imposing, and most of the reviews agree that it sounds much bigger than expected. Many describe it as having clean and tight sounding lows, and that it integrates well with the JBL LSR308, which resulted in a fuller sound that helped many with their mixing and production duties.
Lack of overall volume was mentioned by a few users, of which others responded by providing tips on how to better position or setup the unit for improved results.
If you're looking for a quality subwoofer from a reliable brand, then check out the JBL LSR310S.
KRK K10S2 Studio Monitor Subwoofer
Founded in 1986, KRK has grown to be one of the most familiar brands in near-field sound monitoring. They made it into this list with the KRK K10S2, a 160 Watt powered subwoofer with a 10" glass-aramid composite woofer, and a 2" voice coil. If features adjustable crossover with a sensitivity switch for better compatibility with other pro or consumer audio equipment, making this an ideal choice for those who want a subwoofer that can handle music production and leisure listening. For added convenience, KRK equipped this speaker with footswitchable bypass, and ground lift switch.
- Frequency Response: 28Hz-156Hz
- Crossover: 60Hz/70Hz/80Hz/90Hz
- Max SPL: 117.2 dB
- Power Rating: 160 Watts
- Driver: 10"
- Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" TRS, 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/4" (footswitch)
- Output Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" TRS, 2 x RCA
- Controls: Adjustable crossover, Sensitivity switch, Ground Lift and Polarity Switch.
- Dimensions: 15" x 14" x 16.06"
- Weight: 34.5 lb.
Many reviewers reported being overwhelmed by the KRK K10S2's power and accuracy, stating that it can really get loud, in a good way. Producers were happy with how they were hearing the low frequencies better with this added into their setup, which resulted in their tracks translating better when played on real-world systems.
While some were happy that this subwoofer is loud, some found it to be a bit too loud, to the point that it bothered their neighbors. Some reviewers also noted that you will tend to want to listen to your mixes louder, with this on, which can be tiring to both you and the people around you after quite some time.
The KRK K10S2 is meant for reproducing loud low frequencies, highly recommended if you're musical tastes require such a tool.
Behringer Nekkst K10S Studio Monitor Subwoofer
This budget friendly studio subwoofer was co-designed by KRK founder Keith R. Klawitter, which is an interesting collaboration to say the least. The Behringer Nekkst K10S features a 10" glass fiber woofer, driven by a 180 Watt amplifier, and as expected, it comes packed with as many practical features as Behringer can pack into its compact baffle, while keeping the price tag affordable. Features include XLR and RCA input/Output connectors, KRK designed cabinet with front port, and versatile controls that include variable lowpass filter and crossover frequency switch.
- Frequency Response: 40 Hz to 150 Hz
- Crossover: 40-150 Hz variable
- Max SPL: 117 dB
- Power Rating: 180 Watts
- Driver: 10" Glass Fiber Cone
- Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x RCA
- Output Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x RCA
- Controls: Crossover and Phase switch
- Dimensions: 15.5" x 14" x 15.9"
- Weight: 38.4 lbs.
The overall sentiment is that this subwoofer is surprisingly good, especially when considering its price. Many describe the sound as being clear and well defined, especially when set at a moderate volume level. Others appreciate the added flexibility provided for by the crossover switching and low-pass filter. There were even a few who found themselves liking the Behringer Nekkst K10S more than their more expensive subs.
Some users where underwhelmed with the overall volume, with some stating that it went below the level they expected from a 180W amplifier. There were also a few who reported out-of-the-box issues that required replacement.
We recommend the Behringer Nekkst K10S for those who want the benefits of a subwoofer monitor while working with a tight budget
If you have any questions or suggestions about studio subwoofers please post them in the comments section below.