Have you ever heard sports commentators talk about that "it" factor?
It's not tangible. It's not physical.
But some would say it's what separates a follower from a leader.
If you happen to catch a sports game, do yourself a favor and watch the superstars on each team. It doesn't matter what sport you're watching. What matters is that you observe them.
Their body language. Their demeanor. Their confidence.
It's what makes superstars marketable.
They have all the talent, money, and fame. Add confidence to that list and now you're working with a threat, not just in sports, but life.
How does this relate to speakers? Well, have you ever heard music without bass?
Not so appealing, correct?
Bass is like that "it" factor. You don't need it to have a good audio system, but it can make a huge difference once installed.
Having said that, it is possible to have too much of that "it" factor. If you come off as too perfect in the public's eyes, people will start disliking you. In comparison to subwoofers, having too much bass can ruin good music. Finding the perfect balance for your music is what it's all about.
And in this article, we will show, and explain what makes a good subwoofer.
1. Outdoor Subwoofer Concept
The first concept to know when contemplating on whether outdoor subwoofers are worth the money is to check your acoustics. We talked about the flow diagram in our previous posts, but this is worth stating again.
What you want to do before buying any subwoofers is to figure out where you're going to put them.
The next step is to figure out what your goals are when it comes to acoustics.
Asking questions like "are these acoustics good enough for a party?" is a good start when considering your objectives. But, if you plan on hosting small get-togethers, then your objective for party acoustics won't suffice.
You have to remember, subwoofers are there to add to the low frequencies of the overall music. And those low frequencies are measured using Hertz (Hz).
Hertz levels are technically defined as one cycle per second. In that cycle is an electromagnetic wave. So if there are 5 electromagnetic waves in one cycle, then that means there are 5 Hz for that sound.
It's hard for humans to hear anything around the 20-200Hz range, and that's around the sound level subwoofers provide.
To get a comparison, professional concerts usually have a Hz level less than 100. The higher the Hz level, the higher the frequency. A subwoofer's job is to stay on the lower end of the Hz level because we want a subwoofer to provide a low frequency.
A low frequency is more than a sound depending on how low it is. The lower it is, the more "rumble" you can feel.
Some examples of low frequency sounds are explosions and bombs, only problem is, humans feel the impact more than hear it.
To imagine this, look back on the times you watched a fireworks show. You heard the fireworks crackle and pop, but when you felt a big "boom" from a big firework, the impact was bigger because you felt it through your body.
That same impact can be felt by subwoofers, although on a smaller scale.
If you were to adjust your stereo settings in your car towards more bass, you'll hear more rumbling, and your car would shake more.
The direct opposite of that would be turning up the treble in your car. Instead of low frequency rumbling, you would get higher frequencies, and a higher pitch.
If you had no bass, all treble, and turned the volume all the way up, your ears would clearly notice how audible the musician's voice is assuming there are lyrics.
For subwoofers installed in your car, you would hear more rumble considering the acoustic layout of vehicles.
But how much bass is too much?
Consumers want a subwoofer which complements their speakers, but one which doesn't create too much of a distraction. That would be unnerving to guests at an outdoor party to hear a huge rumble through outdoor speakers.
The point of a subwoofer isn't to be too noticeable, but make the quality of music better. The only time it should be noticed is when a subwoofer is taken out. If there's a chance a subwoofer is taken out, the difference in quality of music will be noticeable.
Another key concept to remember is the integration between speakers and subwoofers.
If both the speaker and subwoofer are from the same manufacturer, then obviously, the integration of both will be easier.
On the other hand, if both components are different, test out your audio system before committing to the subwoofer.
This leads us to the different type of subwoofers and the differences between each:
Passive subwoofers are "passive" because they need an amplifier to generate power.
The key concept to remember here is your amplifier needs to bring enough output to power the subwoofer. This is why it's passive. You need something else to power the subwoofer.
This is the complete opposite compared to the active subwoofer.
The active subwoofer is different compared to the passive subwoofer because it has a built-in amplifier. This makes it easier for the user to configure an audio system.
Because of the built-in amplifier, it's easier for receivers and speakers to work together. Instead of worrying about whether the amplifier is going to generate enough energy for the subwoofer, the active subwoofer already comes with the necessary equipment to succeed.
Recommended Outdoor Subwoofers
1. TIC GS50 8" Outdoor Weather-Resistant Omnidirectional In-Ground Subwoofer
The GS5 is provided by OSD audio which is a great brand for audio equipment.
This subwoofer is great if you have a garden to place it in. It's able to match in with any plants you have, but, it can also blend in if you have shrubs.
Complete with 8 inch passive subwoofers, you have a weatherproof subwoofer which can rotate 360 degrees which is great for the quality of music. This 360 degree feature allows your speakers to broaden its range.
The dome you see over the speaker provides protection against rain or snow. Everything about the design is purposefully placed for the outdoors. Even the coating of the subwoofer makes it so the subwoofer doesn't oxidize throughout the seasons.
A great plus is when you purchase GS5's, you receive 2 weatherproof cable connectors.
Weighing in at only 8 pounds, the GS5 gives quality with quantity. 2 GS5's can fill up your whole backyard with sound if you place them right, and you can't say that about every subwoofer.
2. Polk Audio AM3386-A Atrium Sub10 Speaker
The Sub10 is another great outdoor subwoofer.
If you're looking for something robust, and versatile. This is your product.
Taking a quick glimpse of the product, you can see the color is brown. Even though that wouldn't blend into your garden, it can blend in with tables.
Truth be told, it can also work as a stool because of how robust it is. Shoot, it even matches a stool size by the way it's shaped. This is what we mean by versatility. Although it's main purpose is to provide earth-shattering bass, it can complement your outdoor events in other ways.
Besides its versatility, the Sub10 is also durable. We say that because it's weatherproof. You can literally place it in rain, snow, or thunder and it'll still be standing.
The shape of the Sub10 is no coincidence. With its lower base comes the advantage of not being able to be easily tipped over which would come in handy if there are drunk people at your party.
If that isn't enough to satisfy your hunger, consider the frequency range of 50 Hz-110 Hz.
This is another great option for subwoofer if you're looking for something with some punch.
3. Niles GSS10 Speaker
The Niles is an in-ground subwoofer designed for the outdoors.
It's not better than the GS5, but it can provide a sustainable foundation for your audio system if you give it a chance.
Complete with the best warranty in the business, Niles also comes with strong resistance against the weather.
Made from the same material as plumbing and irrigation systems, the Niles is made from uPVC.
uPVC is known as unplasticized polyvinyl chloride. It's a strong, rigid, and durable type of material. This is what makes the Niles great against the weather.
4. Bose Free Space 51 Outdoor In-Ground Speakers
10-100 watts of power is what you get with the Space 51.
One distinct feature of the Space 51 is the rugged and flexible design. With this design, it can withstand -40-150 degrees Fahrenheit of weather.
Another unique feature of this outdoor subwoofer is the radial design surrounding the speaker. The 360 degree pattern surrounding the speaker enhances the rich undertones for the subwoofer making it enjoyable in any backyard.
Plus, if you're lazy, the installation is made easy. But this doesn't include the setup of your wires, so remember to take that into your calculation when deciding whether to buy this or not.
5. Klipsch AWR-650-SM Indoor/Outdoor Speaker - Granite
A subwoofer that looks like a rock? Sign me up please!
All jokes aside, having a subwoofer which looks like a rock can blend in your backyard.
The downfall to that is some people might mistake it for an actual rock and sit on it, or worse, pick it up and throw it.
Besides that, the Klipsch contains great features.
A subwoofer which has a 6.5-inch dual voice coil polymer woofer and dual 3/4-inch polymer dome tweeters.
With the 3/4-inch dome tweeters comes the ability to play both left and right speakers with accuracy and clarity.
Compare the Klipsch AWR-650 to other subwoofers and you'll notice it can cover a wide range with its frequency. It has the same capability as two or more low quality speakers depending on the brand.
What's even more enticing is it's built to last all year long. Whether it's the dreaded winter, or the scorching summer, the Klipsch AWR-650 is built to withstand all types of weather.
What keeps it so durable is the UV-resistance enclosure. This is the same type of material used for outdoor playgrounds.
When you see those slides and jungle obstacles at the playground, remember that it contains UV- resistance. Without the UV-resistance, the Klipsch AWR-650 is prone to change colors during the transition of seasons.