The best studio monitor subwoofers. A studio monitor is the loudspeaker that is used to produce all of the sound for a musician or recording engineer in a studio. The quality of your monitors can have a profound effect on how you make music. To hear what you want, you need to know what type and size speaker will work best with your space, budget, and needs.
Studio Monitor Subwoofers can be tough to choose from when shopping but knowing the basics is key. You’ll find everything including small, medium and large options ranging from $100-$500 dollars so there’s something for everyone in this guide!
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When setting up your studio, once you buy studio monitors, you then need to find one of the best studio subwoofers for your setup, which, is not too hard to find. Many studio monitors also have matching subwoofers, so we are providing you with some reviews of the best studio monitor subwoofers out there.
- Here are the best studio subwoofers 2021:
- 1. Yamaha HS8S
- 2. ADAM Audio Sub8
- 3. Mackie CR8S-XBT
- 4. Behringer Nekkst K10S
- 5. Focal Sub6
- 6. KRK 10s
- 7. JBL LSR310S
- 8. Kali Audio WS-12
- 9. Dynaudio 18S
- Guide to choosing subwoofers for your studio
- Bottom Line
Here are the best studio subwoofers 2021:
- Yamaha HS8S
- ADAM Audio Sub8
- Mackie CR8S-XBT
- Behringer Nekkst K10S
- Focal Sub6
- KRK 10s
- JBL LSR310S
- Kali Audio WS-12
- Dynaudio 18S
1. Yamaha HS8S
One of the best studio subwoofers under $500
The Yamaha HS8S is an 8-inch powered subwoofer that matches the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. The HS8S is a ported subwoofer; the port is on the front middle of the enclosure. Even though it is very small, it definitely delivers.
It has a frequency range of 22 Hz to 150 Hz, which is plenty for a subwoofer. Around 20 Hz is the very bottom end of the range of human hearing, so you will not be missing much with that 2 Hz loss. The HS8S has been engineered with a 150 W amplifier and should have enough power to provide a good amount of sub frequencies for a small studio or a bedroom studio.
Like I mentioned, the HS8S should be ideally paired with the Yamaha HS series, but more specifically the HS8 studio monitors if you are wanting to stay around the 8-inch size. For being as small as they are, it is reasonably priced. It is also very easy to travel with, as it only weighs 27.6 lbs, so if you need to take it on the road with you, you can do it easily without having to struggle to transport it like you may with other subwoofers.
The sub has a few helpful features like a low-cut switch and low-cut control for 80 Hz to 120 Hz, and a high-cut control for the same frequency range. A phase switch allows you to set up the subwoofer with simple connections; you don’t need any additional equipment to do so, and it’s a very pain-free process for even a beginner.
The Yamaha HS8S is a good, fairly affordable studio monitor subwoofer. It is small and lightweight, making it good for bedroom studios or small home or professional studios. I would recommend it for those producers who have no previous experience using a subwoofer, as it has enough easy to use controls to tailor it to your needs and get it set up correctly, and it is not overly complicated to use or very expensive.
2. ADAM Audio Sub8
Great for smaller studios
The ADAM Audio Sub8 is an 8.5-inch powered studio subwoofer ideal for smaller studios up to 20 square meters in size. It is a very compact yet powerful subwoofer. The Sub8 is a sealed subwoofer which means it does not have a port like you usually see on normal studio monitors.
The Sub8 extends the frequency range of your near-field studio monitors down to 28 to 30 Hz and has a frequency range itself of 28 Hz to 150 Hz. Along with the 8.5-inch woofer, the Sub8 has a 1.5-inch voice coil and is powered by a 160 W ICE power amplifier. The ICE power amplifier combines low heat generation with a high performance level, making it great for long studio sessions at high playback volumes.
In terms of design, the front panel of the Sub8 has two knobs that allow you to change the input level of the subwoofer and the crossover frequency settings. A wireless remote is also included with the subwoofer, and the input level and crossover frequency settings can be changed with the remote as well if you need to set the sub up and hear everything from a distance rather than close up.
ADAM Audio uses top-quality materials for their high-end monitors and subwoofers, ensuring that you get their award-winning sound at a consistent rate when using their top-rated products. The Sub8 subwoofer is no exception here, and packs a punch in its compact form without getting boomy in a negative way.
Because of the high-quality components of the subwoofer like the paper diaphragm, the Sub8 is minimally fatiguing on the ears and has low distortion at both low and high volume levels. At high volume levels it is very powerful and does not start to sound compressed. For the satellite outputs of the sub, a connectable high pass filter is available for blocking signals below 85 Hz should you need to do that.
The ADAM Audio Sub8 powered, sealed subwoofer is a really great high-quality subwoofer for studio monitors. It provides you with a lot of power with little distortion and overall just sounds great for what it’s supposed to be used for, easily making it one of the best studio subwoofers under $1000.
So, all that being said, I would say that it would be a good subwoofer for intermediate to advanced producers who have smaller studios. It’s pretty expensive for being as small as it is, so honestly unless you have the money for it and don’t care about its size, I would just get an even bigger subwoofer from ADAM Audio.
3. Mackie CR8S-XBT
The subwoofer with the best value
The Mackie CR8S-XBT is an 8-inch powered subwoofer ideal for studio use and other multimedia purposes and it is also Bluetooth compatible. The Mackie CR8S-XBT is great for things like designing a desktop monitoring system for gaming, doing multimedia production projects, casual listening, and of course use in the studio.
This subwoofer has a rich tone and definitely can fill in the missing frequencies in your studio monitoring setup and add power and punch without any issues. It has a frequency range of 40 Hz to 180 Hz, and it has 200 W of power and an 8-inch driver.
It features input and output level controls, a crossover frequency control, and also a polarity switch. The CR8S-XBT also comes with a remote for adjusting the input and output volume levels and the crossover frequency, and since it’s also Bluetooth compatible, you can connect all your Bluetooth devices to it which automatically makes any studio monitors you have connected to the subwoofer also Bluetooth compatible.
The CR8S-XBT is not a ported subwoofer, it’s sealed, so it is a little less efficient than a ported sub and has ample power for only a small studio or a bedroom. The CR8S-XBT is the matching subwoofer for the CR-X series of Mackie monitors, so ideally you should use it with the CR-X line of monitors, but if you have different Mackie studio monitors you should be able to pair it easily and get a good sound from the combo.
The Mackie CR8S-XBT is a great little subwoofer for a home studio. It is compact and the Bluetooth capability makes it great for casual listening. It is easily one of the best (and few) studio subwoofers under $200 out there.
I would recommend the CR8S-XBT for beginners or people who want to use the subwoofer for more than just in the studio, such as video production or gaming. The CR8S-XBT from Mackie is an ideal budget studio subwoofer for those of you just starting out in production and packs a lot of punch for the money.
4. Behringer Nekkst K10S
Punchy, powerful bass
The Behringer Nekkst K10S is a 10-inch powered subwoofer designed by Behringer and the founder of KRK, Keith R. Klawitter, who is a master speaker designer. The brainchild of Behringer and Klawitter, with the Nekkst K10S subwoofer you get extremely punchy, powerful bass.
The K10S has a glass fiber 10-inch speaker and has 180 W of power, which is plenty for a small or mid-sized studio. The Nekkst K10S features a variable low-pass filter and a phase switch to help you dial in the response to fit your room and monitoring setup.
Focusing on the design, the glass fiber speaker cone is known for having a lot of punch and really fast transient response, so you can expect punchy lows and nice transient response from the Nekkst K10S subwoofer. The amazing bass response is also thanks to the innovative cabinet design done by Keith Klawitter.
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The curved baffle and dimensions of the front port were designed for extended frequency response in the low end with minimal amounts of distortion. Because of this, you’ll be able to make cleaner sounding mixes and better decisions when mixing the low end of your mixes.
Like I mentioned, there is a low-pass filter and a crossover frequency control. The crossover frequency control is labeled for precision when the K10S is paired with Behringer’s Nekkst K5, K6, or K8 studio monitors. Otherwise you can use your ears to find the right balance between your studio monitors and the K10S if you’re using monitors from a different brand.
Overall, the Behringer Nekkst K10S is one of the best studio subwoofers under $300. It is powerful and easily fills in the low-end frequencies that studio monitors lack at high volumes.
I strongly suggest that you use it with Behringer studio monitors; if you’re a beginner you may have a hard time setting the crossover frequency if you are using monitors from another company. I would recommend this sub to anyone who has a small to mid-sized studio.
5. Focal Sub6
More power than size
The Focal Sub6 is a really solid, high-quality powered subwoofer. Being a top-end subwoofer, it is more expensive, but it is definitely worth it if you want a great sound quality.
The Focal Sub6 has an 11-inch driver and extends your monitoring down to 30 Hz in a linear fashion at any SPL (sound pressure level) with 350 W of power, making it powerful enough to be used in a large studio. With the Sub6, you have a lot of setup flexibility with 2.1, 2.2, or surround LFE configurations.
The Focal Sub6 also features a high-pass crossover, an adjustable phase control, and level control to help you achieve the most seamless integration with your studio monitors. The Sub6 also has a footswitch input to let you A/B your audio with and without the subwoofer to give you a better idea of your sonic perspective.
The Focal Sub6 gives you enough capability as a giant studio monitor that you might find in a world class studio with the frequency range of 30 Hz to 250 Hz. Focal’s Solo6 Be and Twin6 Be are ideal monitors for pairing the Sub6 with.
Getting into the design details, Focal uses a composite sandwich cone technology where the cone is made of a layer of glass, then a layer of foam, and another layer of glass. This technology helps to fine tune mass, rigidity, and damping, which is the basis for sonic neutrality when all are balanced.
The 11-inch woofer is fitted with a high excursion system that provides an accurate and extended reproduction of bass. The voice coil design helps to maintain complete control of the driver, even at a high SPL. The magnetic construction offers a symmetrical magnetic field that ensures stable dynamics at the lowest of frequencies.
For the amplifier, Focal uses BASH technology to combine the sonic qualities of a Class AB amp circuit with a Class D amp’s yield characteristics. This ensures that you have an ultra reliable subwoofer with superior performance.
The Focal Sub6 is a best-selling studio subwoofer that would be great in any sized studio. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for beginners as it has a lot of different controls, but it would be good for an advanced to professional producer.
6. KRK 10s
Clean, reliable extended range
The KRK 10s is a ported, powered subwoofer great for any genre. The 10s has a 10-inch glass and aramid composite woofer with a 2-inch voice coil. It is housed in an MDF enclosure and is capable of reproducing frequencies down to 28 Hz.
It has a frequency range of 28 Hz to 156 Hz and a frequency response of 30 Hz to 110 Hz. With the extended range, it will give your work a more professional finish and help audio to translate well on any listening system. The KRK 10S is powered by a 160-watt Class D amplifier capable of producing up to 117 dB of defined bass frequencies.
On the back panel of the KRK 10s, there are controls for an adjustable crossover frequency point, a sensitivity switch, a polarity switch, and a ground switch. These tools allow you to easily fine tune the setup of the subwoofer to ensure that you have an ideal setup for your mixing environment as well as a seamless integration with your studio monitors. The 10s is best used with KRK’s Rokit monitors and VXT monitors as a matching subwoofer.
In addition to these features, the 10s also comes with a footswitch input for bypassing the sub when monitoring for easy A/B-ing. The 10s is just a really great professional or home studio subwoofer. It provides clean, tight bass with little to no distortion even at high SPL, and you get better translation between listening systems in a way that makes your mixes sound full and immersive without being too muddy or overly pronounced.
The KRK 10s is a highest-rated sub at a reasonable price point. I would say it would be good in any size studio and that producers of any skill level will be pleased with its ease of use and reliability.
7. JBL LSR310S
A truly balanced and focused sound
The JBL LSR310S is a powered studio subwoofer designed to be used with JBL’s LSR active studio monitors. The LSR310S takes the load off of your near-field monitors, producing tight and focused bass to help you get a balanced 3-way sound.
The JBL LSR310S sports a 10-inch down-firing driver that bottoms out at 27 Hz. The frequency response range is from 27 Hz to 130 Hz. The LSR310S features a selectable crossover that includes JBL’s XLF (Extended Low Frequency) setting which gives you plenty of flexibility when setting up your subwoofer and tailoring it to your mixing environment.
The LSR310S is a ported subwoofer and uses JBL’s Slip Stream port for a tight and focused bass response at any volume. The Slip Stream port is a double-flared port shape that reduces turbulence and enables you to have an accurate bass response at any volume.
The LSR310S is powered by a 200 W Class D amp. When the XLF setting is activated, you get a club-like response that helps to tailor the bass volume and frequencies. A level control is also featured to adjust the subwoofer output volume.
The JBL LSR310S is the perfect recording studio subwoofer for a mid-sized studio and has all the latest technology from JBL. I would recommend it for producers of any skill level.
8. Kali Audio WS-12
A crazy powerful sub
The WS-12 from Kali Audio is a new, ridiculously powerful subwoofer. The WS-12 is a 12-inch sub powered by 1000 W. It has a frequency response of 23 Hz to 160 Hz. It can easily reproduce low-frequency audio while being plenty loud, even though it is small enough to fit into a small studio.
It is a ported subwoofer for recording studios and yields a clean and punchy bass with low noise and distortion. The WS-12 handles bass heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop with ease and can reproduce low-end content in movie soundtracks as well. It’s even loud enough for light use with a PA, and has a built in limiter circuit to protect against power surges.
The WS-12 is made from ultra durable plywood and has side handles for easy transport, making it a good candidate for taking on the road. It’s small enough to fit into most passenger cars as well.
Getting into the design a bit more, the WS-12 has a low-noise port tube. A lot of port tubes emit turbulence which can produce a sound called chuffing. Chuffing can hide low-end details in your mix. With the WS-12’s port tube, all of the air exits at the same velocity, resulting in a clean bass sound with no added noise.
On the rear panel you will find a control for selectable crossovers at every 20 Hz between 40 and 140 Hz, as well as presets for use with the Kali Audio LP-6, LP-8, and IN-8 studio monitors. You’ll also find LFE and external crossover settings. You can also choose between 4 preset gain settings, change the polarity, enable and disable the RCA inputs, and enable and disable standby mode (which can also be done with a footswitch).
The Kali Audio WS-12 is the newest project from Kali Audio and is definitely one to look out for. It has so much power but is compact and is being sold at a pretty good price considering its many features and innovative design.
This one is bound to be a big favorite among producers as it will fit in a large studio quite well. I definitely recommend you take a look at this one. There are not many subwoofers this powerful being sold at a price this good.
9. Dynaudio 18S
Packed with features and a punch
Being the most expensive subwoofer on the list, the Dynaudio 18S subwoofer is packed with features that are bound to blow your mind and provide you with an awesome response to ensure your mixes are sounding great on any listening system.
The Dynaudio 18S is a 9.5-inch powered subwoofer. The 18S is a professional-grade subwoofer that gets you down to a ridiculous 16 Hz. You’re sure to hear the thumping sub frequencies of a kick drum and feel the vibration in your chest from a bass guitar. Low-frequency mud will stick out like a sore thumb for you to easily identify and fix.
The 18S allows you to record, mix, and master with the highest level of accuracy and deliver audio that translates perfectly across multiple speakers outside of your studio. The 18S employs dual opposing 9.5-inch driver units that sit at either side of the cabinet. For convenience in terms of placement, the cabinet is wider than it is deep. This won’t have a negative effect on your audio.
Dynaudio incorporates their MSP+ Hybrid Drive drivers that are powered by a 500 W Class D amplifier. You will have more than enough power to fill a large studio with audio from this subwoofer. The 18S features intelligent DSP that tailors its performance to many of Dynaudio’s popular high-end studio monitors to help you get the fullest range of monitoring possible.
The DSP modeling technology helps to pair the 18S with any of the professional monitors, for example, from the BM and LYD series and above, turning a two-way monitor into a whole three-way audio monitoring system (or a four way system if combined with an LYD 48 stereo or surround setup).
The 18S has a display menu that can be used to select and create customized performance maps for the Dynaudio studio monitors you are using for applying rolloff and other settings. Dynaudio assessed the acoustic characteristics of all their high-end monitors, so you don’t have to do any guesswork when pairing the sub with monitors. When Dynaudio adds any new monitors to their range, the 18S’s firmware will update to include them, so this subwoofer will never become obsolete.
Another great feature of the 18S is integration assistance. When using the RCA or XLR connections, the integration assistance features help you to get set up with more advanced systems.
Included is the ability to set a time delay to make sure that the subwoofer and studio monitors are playing at the exact same time. The 18S automatically adjusts itself using time and phase delays. Also featured is an onboard three way parametric EQ to resolve room modes that could affect the accuracy of your audio recordings.
Touching on the accuracy of the subwoofer, the 18S uses the MSP+ Hybrid Drive driver. It’s made from aluminum which is a change from Dynaudio’s usual magnesium silicate polymer. It’s essentially a sandwich, with paper backing and an MSP dust cap on the front. Sandwich construction for drivers has proven to be especially worthwhile for subwoofers over the past few years because they require a more critical balance between stiffness, lightness, and damping than traditional monitor drivers do.
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Aside from all the fancy technology that has gone into the construction and design of the 18S, I can tell you that its performance is incredible. It integrates seamlessly with the Dynaudio monitors and lets you work with freedom because it’s so easy to catch even the smallest details with this subwoofer.
The Dynaudio 18S is an amazing subwoofer well worth checking out if you have the money for it. It will fit perfectly in a large studio. It could work in smaller and mid-size studios as well, but being as large as it is and as powerful as it is, it may be too bulky, and ideally it needs to be in a very well-treated studio, so it definitely will not work out in a bedroom studio unless the room is very large. Intermediate to advanced producers will love this subwoofer and get hours and hours of enjoyment and accurate mixing with it.
Guide to choosing subwoofers for your studio
There’s no easy way to go about choosing a subwoofer, but there are definitely a few rules of thumb when shopping around for one. This short guide will help you determine what you’ll need to look for in a subwoofer to ensure that it fits your studio.
In this guide, we’ll go over:
Subwoofers essentially pressurize your studio. When a sub is playing music, the drivers shrink and expand, which in turn changes the air pressure of your studio. Usually it’s so much of a change that you can feel it in the air, but this also depends on the size of the subwoofer.
Subwoofer size and price
Honestly, the size and price of your subwoofer doesn’t really matter that much under most circumstances. The size does matter if you have a small 8-inch subwoofer for an extremely large studio, but this is something that seems to be common sense – don’t put a small subwoofer in a giant studio; make sure you purchase accordingly.
Really, as long as you can control the volume of the subwoofer, you can’t buy one that is too big. An 8-inch sub is considered on the smaller side up until around 12 inches.
As for the price, you should obviously pick something that is in your price range that also fits all the criteria for your needs and your studio dimensions. Usually one large subwoofer will be sufficient for a whole studio, so you won’t necessarily need to buy a pair. Subs aren’t really meant to be bought in pairs, but in some cases they are sold that way, usually in a whole studio monitor package that has the normal studio monitors as well.
Sealed vs. ported subwoofers
Now for the age old question: ‘Should I get a sealed or ported subwoofer?’ Well, to answer that, again it’s something that depends on your needs for the most part.
Let’s get into the pros and cons of sealed vs. ported subs.
- Faster transient response.
- Lower group delay.
- Higher low-cut frequency.
- Acoustically inefficient.
- A larger size is needed for the same audio quality as a ported sub of a smaller size.
- Higher group delay.
- Slower transient response.
- Higher audio quality in a smaller size sub than a sealed sub of the same size.
- Extended low-end range may be unnecessary for smaller studios.
- Higher gain is usually unnecessary if you don’t have a large studio.
You should choose a sealed subwoofer if:
- You have a smaller studio and don’t need as much volume.
- If it has the ability to go as low as you need it to.
- If it can reach the necessary SPLs you require.
You should choose a ported subwoofer if:
- You have a large studio and need more power.
- If it has the ability to go as low as you need it to.
- If sealed subs don’t have the ability to go as loud as your studio monitors.
In smaller studios, sealed subwoofers around 12 inches in size will be sufficient, and ported subwoofers around 10 inches in size will be sufficient. If you have a larger studio you can get two subwoofers if one smaller sub isn’t powerful enough.
In terms of power, the SPL is what matters. SPL stands for sound pressure level. The more powerful the subwoofer is, the higher the SPL will be. The subwoofer is powered by an amplifier, usually a Class D amp. Wattage doesn’t really matter, so just focus on SPL. Extra power isn’t a bad thing, especially with sealed subwoofers.
Most subs also have a filtering system. I would suggest finding one with built-in variable high-pass filters that also have the ability to send higher frequencies to your studio monitors, that way the subs will only be handling the low end necessary for its power.
Don’t forget that passive subwoofers exist. You should follow the same guidelines for passive subwoofers and pair them with an amplifier that will help it reach the SPL you need.
If you already have studio monitors, your first choice for a subwoofer should be a subwoofer from the same manufacturer and more specifically from the same line of studio monitors. The sub will already be tuned to fill in what your studio monitors are lacking.
If the manufacturers don’t have a subwoofer for the line of studio monitors you have, at least try to get the closest thing from the same brand. If there is no obvious match or anything close to it, then you should use the guidelines here to find one that’s right for you.
If you’re going to incorporate a sub into your studio monitoring setup, you need to have acoustic treatment in your studio, otherwise you will be getting an inaccurate representation of your mix.
Bass traps, thick acoustic wall panels, and floor rugs are definitely needed if you have studio monitors and plan to get a sub.
To sum everything up and give you a straight answer if you’re looking for it:
- A 12-inch subwoofer is probably the most ideal size for a large studio and smaller, 8 inches is good for a small studio.
- Sealed subwoofers will not give you as much power and volume. Use this knowledge according to your room size.
- A high-pass filter will make integration with your monitors so much easier, so try to get one that has that feature.
- Try to get a sub that matches your monitors, i.e.: the same brand.
Use these studio subwoofer reviews and guide to get you started on purchasing a subwoofer for your bedroom, home, or pro studio. Make sure to do extensive research and rely on multiple sources when choosing a subwoofer for your studio as well.