The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers

The Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofers

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A studio subwoofer is a sure-fire way to improve your music production. Having a better perception of the low frequencies in your mix enables you to better adjust your low frequency balance.

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.

Below we present you with our November 2020 updated studio monitor subwoofer recommendations, as determined by the latest user and expert reviews, ratings and forum discussions.

The Best Studio Monitor Subwoofers

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

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

KRK 8s2

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$349
KRK 8S2 8" Powered Studio Subwoofer

KRK is known for their aesthetic, pricepoint and distinct sound quality. Over the years, KRK has refined their "house sound" with generous amounts of low frequencies to better lean towards critical listening.

The KRK 8s2 complements their new generation monitors by offering faster bass response, a footswitchable bypass, and tweakable crossover.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 35 - 133 Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Can be adjusted between 70 Hz and 100 Hz.
  • Max SPL: 112.8 dB
  • Power Rating: 109 Watts
  • Driver: 8" Glass Aramid Composite Woofer
  • Input Connectors: XLR L/R, 1/4" TRS L/R, RCA L/R, 1/4" Footswitch
  • Output Connectors: XLR L/R, 1/4" TRS L/R, RCA L/R
  • Controls: Input sensitivity, Polarity, Standby, Ground lift, Volume, Crossover, Power
  • Dimensions:13.3" X 11.57" X 14.25"
  • Weight: 26.01 lb.

Pros

Users were pleased with the amount of low frequencies the subwoofer puts out despite being smaller than most. One user noted that the 8s2 felt well suited for critical listening and mixing.

Cons

Some issues arose with the auto power off feature especially when mixing quiet sound sources.

Overall

KRK monitors tend to be flattering with their house sound. With the KRK 8s2, they have refined their signature thump with more refinement; enough for critical listening. Get it if you want great low frequency energy and the control to switch between just your mains with now low roll off or with the sub on. Be wary if you prefer mixing quietly as the auto power off threshold is set high with no way of adjusting it.

JBL LSR310S

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$399
JBL LSR310S Studio Monitor Subwoofer

JBL needs no introduction, having been in the sound reinforcement business for over 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, tailored for studio monitoring use.

It features a ported cabinet design that improves bass response at low playback levels, and reduces turbulence to ensure clarity.

Other features include selectable crossover settings and level control.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

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.

Cons

Lack of overall volume came up a few times prompting other users to provide tips on how to better position or setup the unit for improved results.

Overall

If you're looking for a quality subwoofer from a reliable brand that matches well with JBL speakes or any hi-fi sound signature monitoring setup, then check out the JBL LSR310S.

KRK K10s2

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$399
KRK K10s2 Studio Subwoofer

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Studio Monitor Subwoofer.

The KRK K10S2 makes its return to our top picks with this update. The KRK K10S2 is a 160 Watt powered subwoofer with a 10" glass-aramid composite woofer, and a 2" voice coil.

For better adjustability, the K10S2 features an adjustable crossover and sensitivity switch. This makes the subwoofer versatile enough for use in the studio or a hi-fi setup.

It also features a footswitchable bypass and a ground lift switch.

Features

  • 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.

Pros

Many were impressed with how loud the subwoofer can get without sounding muddy or getting distorted. EDM producers preferred the K10S2's bass response over other, more expensive subs in the market because of how well it handles low transients.

Cons

The loudness of the subwoofer can be a problem for poorly treated rooms as the low frequencies are subject to the standing wave phenomenon. This is most noticeable as a sudden loss or boost of bass frequencies depending on listening position.

Overall

If you're an EDM producer that wants a sub that pushes air and you have the room to handle the frequencies, the KRK will blow your socks off. With this great power, it also comes with great tweakability and can be tailored to your specific setup with ease.

Yamaha HS8S

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$470
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.

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.

KRK 12s2

94
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$799
KRK 12s2 12" Powered Studio Subwoofer

The KRK 12s2 is a heavy-duty sub meant to provide both power and translatability in bass-heavy mixes like EDM.

A 12" Woven Kevlar cone pushes air with low distortion keeping the low frequencies powerful but tight.

An array of controls help make the 12s2 fit with any monitor setup even with other brands.

The crossover frequencies can be tailored to 50Hz/60Hz/70Hz/80Hz for better pairing with your speakers.

Features

  • Frequency Response: 26Hz-130Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: Variable - 50Hz/60Hz/70Hz/80Hz
  • Max SPL: 119.9dB
  • Power Rating: 220W Class D
  • Driver: 12" Woven Kevlar cone
  • Input Connectors: 2 x XLR, 2 x 1/4" TRS, 2 x RCA
  • Output Connectors: 2 x XLR
  • Controls: Volume, Crossover, Input Sensitivity, Polarity, Standby, Ground Lift, Power, Bypass via 1 x 1/4" (footswitch)
  • Dimensions: 18.11" x 15.94" x 22.64"
  • Weight: 66.5 lbs.

Pros

"Loud and Low" was a standout phrase in one review that encapsulates the majority of the market sentiment. EDM producers love the sheer amount of bass the KRK 12s2 puts out. Some of them noted that it's better to have control over too much bass than try to add more bass to an underpowered sub. With the crossover selectors, polarity and input sensitivity controls, many users found it easy to integrate into their existing speaker setup.

Cons

The 12s2 is a powerful sub and operates best at optimum levels. At lower levels, some users found that the bass isn't as tight as they want. This is partly due to operating the sub below the optimum level resulting in the transients not being reproduced as accurately.

Overall

If you want a sub that you can drive loud and keep up with a loud monitor system, the KRK12s2 has got you covered.

Focal Sub6 Red

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ 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. Get it if you are looking to get only the best and have the cash to spare.

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 November 4, 2020.

We looked into all the studio subwoofers available from major online retailers in the USA and selected the 15 most promising models for our short-list for further analysis - you can see them in our Music Gear Database. For this update, we gathered the most recent relevant ratings and reviews and ended up analyzing over 1,900 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.

If you have any questions or suggestions about studio subwoofers please post them in the comments section below.

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 nearly 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

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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