As a music enthusiast, you want to set up a subwoofer. But, you’re getting confused between two options. Should you buy 1 large subwoofer or 2 small subs?
Here’s my take on 1 large subwoofer vs 2 small subwoofers.
The main differentiating factor between 1 large sub and 2 small subs is the SPL range. Where two small subs combinedly produce above 180 dB, a large sub produces above 74 dB. Again, the frequency range is higher in one large subwoofer. There are also significant differences in amps, power requirement, and bass.
Do you want to know about these differences in detail? Keep reading this article to learn more.
Where are you using the Subwoofer? [Home or Car]
When you’re using a subwoofer in different places, you’ll notice a difference in the sound quality. That’s why subwoofers work differently at home and in cars.
There aren’t too many differences between home and car subwoofers. They differ in size, power, and sound pressure. Other than this, both of the subwoofers have similarities in their characteristics.
So, you might be wondering – Can I use a car subwoofer for home theater?
Yes, you can use a car subwoofer for home theater. For this, you have to take the car amplifiers and match the power supply with the home subwoofer. It’s because using a subwoofer in a larger space will require more power. Simply, convert the AC outlet to a DC power supply and you’re good to go.
Also, remember to match the wattage of your car subwoofer with your home. When you tweak these small changes, you’ll be able to get a good listening experience.
Usually, car subwoofers work best with small rooms. It’s because your vehicle has little space compared to your house.
Now, the question is how many subwoofers for home theater work the best.
Using two subwoofers for home theater will give you the best listening experience. It’s alright if you use one subwoofer. But if you want to get a smooth bass response across the room, two subwoofers perform great. This only applies when you’re using two subwoofers from the same brand and model.
So, yeah, using a subwoofer at home and in the car will give you different listening experiences. And this means the magic here is within the surface area. Follow the next section to learn more.
Myth Busting: More Cone Area = Slower Bass = Less Loudness?
There’s a saying that bigger subwoofers have slower drivers and produce lower sound outputs. This is because cone areas sometimes work against lower frequency extensions.
But it’s a myth. When you’re using a large subwoofer, you have a wider cone area. So, the extra cone area increases the mass and speeds up the bass. As a result, the sound pressure increases.
When the sound output gets higher, you’ll hear noises with higher frequencies. And higher frequency sound means an increase in the sound loudness.
You’ll understand this aspect more clearly in the following sections. I’ll compare 2 small subwoofers with 1 big subwoofer describing all the details.
2 8-Inch Subs vs 1 10-Inch
The subwoofer diameter is equivalent to a more engaging audio output. So, how do 2 8-inch subwoofers compare to 1 10-inch subwoofer?
Well, let’s find out below!
|Differentiating Factors||2 8-inch Subwoofer||1 10-inch Subwoofer|
|Bass||Lower Bass Output||Higher Bass output|
|Power Required||600 Watts||250 Watt|
|Voice Coils||Dual 4 Ohm and 8 Ohm||Dual 4 Ohm|
|Driver Size||Dual 8’’||10’’|
|SPL Range||180.8 dB||74 dB|
|Frequency Range||40-60 Hz||38Hz – 180Hz|
If you compare 2 8-inch subwoofers with 1 10-inch subwoofer, I’ll say go with the 8-inch ones. I’ll explain the reasons why a 10-inch subwoofer isn’t right for you.
The thing is 2 8-inch subwoofers combinedly have a cone area of 64 square inches. On the contrary, the 10-inch one has only 53.4 square inches of cone area.
So, this means 2 8-inch subwoofer is more efficient than 1 10-inch sub. It has bass running faster And as per efficiency rating, the 2 8-inch subwoofers will be louder in this case.
Again, the dual 8-inch subwoofers will need a sealed space of 0.625 cubic ft. But the 10-inch sub uses 1.25 cubic ft ported.
Now, what do you think? How many amps do you need for 2 8-inch subs?
You’ll at least need 600 amps for 2 8-inch subs. Usually, a mono sub produces 350 watts RMS at 2 Ohm. So, when you’re using 2 8-inch subwoofers, you’ll require approximately 600-700 amps. If you’re using a 10-inch subwoofer, you’ll need 250 RMS Watt amps.
And yes, the two 8-inch subwoofers will cost you more than one 10-inch subwoofer. But you’ll get more performance. Hence, if you have the budget just go for the 8-inch ones.
Some of the best 8-Inch Subwoofers are given below.
- One of the best 8-Inch subwoofers out there is the Kicker 8-Inch Subwoofer. You can check the price on Amazon.
- For a lower power consumption subwoofer, go for CT Sounds 8-Inch Car Subwoofer. You can check for availability on Amazon.
- You will get powerful high flux from Skar Audio 8″ Subwoofer. You can check for availability on Amazon.
If you want to pair with just 10-inch subwoofers, I have some more things to recommend. Let’s see some of the best 10-inch subwoofers out there.
- For 10-inch the Kicker CompC Single 10 Inch takes the first place. The subwoofer will work like a charm. You can check the price on Amazon.
- You will get loud output with Skar Audio Single 10″ Subwoofer. You can check for availability on Amazon.
- Recently, the Polk Audio 10″ Powered Subwoofer is gaining popularity. Due to the power, it can produce, this subwoofer is a cherry on top of the cake. You can check the price on Amazon.
2 8-inch subs vs 1-12
While comparing 2 8-inch subs and 1 12-inch sub I’ll suggest going for 2 8-inch subwoofers. It’s because the 8-inch ones are more efficient in producing sound.
|Differentiating Factors||2 8-inch Subwoofer||One 12-inch Subwoofer|
|Bass||Higher Bass Output||Lower Bass Output|
|Power Required||600 Watts||700 Watts|
|Voice Coils||Dual 4 Ohm and 8 Ohm||2 Ohm|
|Driver Size||Dual 8’’||12”|
|SPL Range||0-180.8 dB||0-49 dB (A)|
|Frequency Range||80-120 Hz||35Hz-200Hz|
Let me clear it for you.
The 2 8-inch subs combinedly produce a bass more than the single 12-inch subwoofer bass. So, the 8-inch ones have a more crispness in the tonality than a single 12-inch sub.
However, the 8-inch subs have a less cone mass combinedly. So, the frequency ranges from 80-120 Hz. But in the case of the 12-inch sub, it has a higher frequency. This subwoofer can produce up to 200 Hz sound.
Speaking of power requirements, 2 8-inch subwoofers only need 600 watts. On the other hand, the 12-inch subwoofer requires 100 watts more than the dual 8-inch subs.
Interestingly, the dual 8-inch subs have a maximum SPL of 180.8 dB. But in this case, the 12-inch subwoofer the SPL is a maximum of 49 dB. This means you’ll get better sound quality in the dual 8-inch subwoofer.
So, considering both of the scenarios, an 8-inch subwoofer gives the best result. It’s better to go for the two 8-inch subs than one 12-inch subwoofer.
If you want 12-inch subwoofers, then I will recommend some of the best subwoofers.
- One of the best 12-inch subwoofers is Skar Audio 2 12″ Subwoofer. You can check the price on Amazon.
- For a high-temperature voice coil, go for Kicker CompRT Single 12-Inch Subwoofer. You can check for availability on Amazon.
- You’ll get hybrid surround sound from Pioneer Champion Series 12″ Subwoofer. You can check the price on Amazon.
2 10-inch Subs vs 1 12
If you have to choose between 2 10-inch subwoofers and 1 12-inch sub, the 10-inch ones are the best fit.
There’s another article that discusses the differences between the 1 12 and 2 10s in detail.
To summarize, the 2 10-inch subs give better performance than a single 12-inch sub. But if you want a boomier effect on the tone, pick the 12-inch one.
2 10-inch subs vs 1 15
Let’s break down the differences between 2 10-inch subs and 1 15 inches in short.
|Differentiating Factors||2 10-inch Subwoofer||One 15-inch Subwoofer|
|Bass||Lower Bass output||Higher Bass output|
|Power Required||700 Watt||1250 Watts|
|Voice Coils||Dual 4 Ohm||Dual 4 Ohm|
|SPL Range||0-148 dB||0-92 dB(A)|
|Frequency Range||76Hz – 360Hz||20 Hz – 250 Hz|
Let’s hop on to another comparison now. What if you have to choose between 2 10-inch subwoofers and 1 15-inch subwoofer?
Well, I would recommend going for the 2 10-inch subs in this case. Though 2 10-inch subs and 1 15-inch sub both have the same cone area. But the 10-inch ones combinedly have more motor strength than the 15-inch subwoofer.
Now, the dual 10-inch subwoofer has a combined SPL of 148 dB. This is 56dB higher than the 15-inch sub. So, in this case, choosing the dual 10-inch is the better option.
But you can go for the 15-inch subwoofer if you like a lot of basses. Usually, larger subs create deeper bass. On the contrary, smaller subs create a crispier tone.
Again, the 15-inch subwoofer will need more power than the dual 10-inch ones. There’s a difference of about 550 Watts between their power requirement.
So, it depends on the person’s interest when choosing between small and large subwoofers.
Some of the best 15-inch subwoofers are recommended below.
For powerful bass, you won’t go wrong with Skar Audio D2 15″ Subwoofer. You can check the product price on Amazon.
With the dual 4-ohm impedance, the Pyle 15-inch subwoofers are one of a kind. You can check for availability on Amazon.
The Acoustic Audio Home Theater Powered 15″ LFE Subwoofer is perfect for indoors. You can check the price on Amazon.
2 12-inch subs vs 1 15
Now, let’s compare 2 12-inch subs with a 15-inch subwoofer. The main differentiating factor is the sound quality. A single 15-inch subwoofer is better for clarity. However, 2 12-inch woofers can produce a louder sound.
There are lots of differences between 2 12 inches and 1 15 inches subwoofers.
2 12-inch subs vs 1 18
Let’s see a short comparison of 2 12-inch subs and 1 18 inches sub below.
|Differentiating Factors||2 12-inch Subwoofer||1 18-inch Subwoofer|
|Bass||Lower bass Output||Higher Bass output|
|Power Required||1400 Watts||6000 Watts|
|Voice Coils||Dual 2 Ohm||4’’ Dual 1 Ohm|
|Driver Size||Dual 12”||18’’|
|SPL Range||0-98 dB (A)||0-141 dB (A)|
|Audio Latency||50 ms||86 ms|
|Frequency Range||35Hz-200Hz||20-200 Hz|
In this section, you’ll get to see a comparison between 2 12-inch subs and one 18-inch subwoofer.
If you’re looking for a greater cone area, an 18-inch subwoofer will be the best option for you. But if you think of a low power requirement, two 12-inch subs are what you should go with.
Let’s get more into the details. Two 12-inch subs combinedly have a frequency of 35-200 Hz. Similarly, an 18-inch subwoofer has a 20-200 Hz range frequency. So, they don’t have quite differences in the high and low of their tonality.
However, there are noticeable differences in the SPL range. The more the SPL, the better sound you’ll get. And this case, we see that the 18-inch subwoofer wins the game.
Speaking of the audio latency, you’ll see a huge difference between the two. The 18-inch subwoofer has 36 ms more audio latency than the dual 12-inch subs.
Albeit, some of the best 18-inch subwoofers are given below.
For the portability option, the PRORECK 18-inch Subwoofers are good. You can check the price on Amazon.
You’ll be mesmerized by the audio quality of Skar Audio 18″ Subwoofer. You can check for availability on Amazon.
2 15-inch subs or 1 18
|Differentiating Factors||2 15-inch Subwoofer||1 18-inch Subwoofer|
|Bass||Higher Bass output||Lower Bass output|
|Power Required||2500 Watts||6000 Watts|
|Voice Coils||Dual 4 Ohm||4’’ Dual 1 Ohm|
|Driver Size||Dual 15”||18’’|
|SPL Range||0-184 dB(A)||0-141 dB (A)|
|Audio Latency||60 ms||86 ms|
|Frequency Range||40 Hz – 500 Hz||20-200 Hz|
Lastly, we’ll see a comparison between 2 15-inch subs and a single 18 inch-subwoofer.
First of all, the dual 15-inch subwoofer has a wider cone area. This means the 15-inch ones have a higher bass output than an 18-inch sub. So, you should use an 1100 Watt RMS amp for 2 15-inch subwoofers.
Speaking of the SPL range, the 2 15-inch subs have higher decibel levels than the 18-inch subwoofer. So, you’ll get to hear a clearer tone with the 15-inch ones.
In terms of audio latency, the 18-inch sub is higher than the dual 15-inch subs. But these 15-inch dual subwoofers are capable of producing 300 Hz more frequency. This means you’ll get to hear a sharper tone with the 15-inch subs.
Another good thing about these two small subs is that they require less power. The 18-inch subs need 6000 watts of power whereas the number is 2500 only for the 15-inch ones.
So, in this case, buying 2 15-inch subs seems more reasonable than 1 18-inch subwoofer.
Are 2 Subwoofers better than 1?
So, one thing is evident from the comparisons above. In most cases, 2 small subwoofers work better than a large sub. But it doesn’t mean they will always necessarily be louder.
If the mechanical coil and design of the subs match with the power, the subs will be loud. In the above scenarios, you have seen that 2 small subwoofers have the highest SPL.
But then again, buying two small subwoofers is costlier than buying one large subwoofer. That’s why, if you don’t have the budget, it’s best to go for one large sub.
So, what do you think? One subwoofer or two? Which one will you choose?
Try to choose the only option that fulfills your requirements accurately. Here’s someone who customized a beautiful Dodge Charger with 2 15-inch subwoofers.
Is it Okay to use 2 Different Subwoofer Sizes?
Yes, it is okay to use 2 different subwoofers of different sizes. But you have to keep an eye on the size differences. For example, if you mix 10 and 12-inch subwoofers, you won’t have a good output. It’s because the size difference is closer to each other.
Can you Use Two Different Brand Subwoofers?
You can use different sizes and even different brands of subwoofer too. However, the main downside is you won’t get the optimal audio output. If you use subwoofers from high-end brands, you won’t find too many differences.
That’s all regarding 1 large subwoofer vs 2 small subwoofers.
Here’s a piece of advice, you can underpower your subwoofer for lower energy consumption. However, your audio output will be lowered too.
Take care and rock on!