Top 6 Best Subwoofers For PA Systems

19 Comments

We take a look at the 6 best subwoofers available today and find out why you really need to invest in a good PA subwoofer if you want the best sound out of your PA system

best subwoofers

Whether you’re a venue owner, small pub or club owner or a travelling DJ, chances are you’ve got a set of PA speakers as part of your rig. But how many of you actually decide to invest in a good quality PA subwoofer? And do you understand the benefits of actually using one? Well, today we’re going to discuss the benefits of using a PA subwoofer and highlight our top 6 best subwoofers to give you a good idea of what types are out there and why you should invest in one if you want the best sound for your set up.

Do I need a Subwoofer?

We’ve already discussed the importance of using a subwoofer if you’re a producer, but right now we’re going to discuss why pub/bar owners, DJ’s and the likes of cover and wedding bands should add one to their own PA set up.

If you’re asking yourself “Do I need a subwoofer for my PA system?” chances are you probably do. Compact speaker PA systems do a great job of providing you with all the sound you need on stage and filling a room with your music or whatever it is you’re playing through them, but unfortunately some of them just can’t get to the lower frequencies anywhere below 32 Hz before the low frequencies roll off – not ideal if you want a full frequency bandwidth. If you’re a DJ this is not ideal, as all the bass sounds you’ve worked so hard on are not as good as they could be. As a wedding band, your bass sounds and kick drums will lack that life you need to sound your best.

If you’re lacking bass in the mix, or your PA speakers distort when you drive the lower frequencies, you’re obviously in need of a subwoofer.

A subwoofer fills in all those low frequencies that are missing from your mix and is dedicated to providing your sound with the deep bass that may be lacking from your sound. As almost all PA subwoofers solely produce the bass tones and never the midrange or high frequencies (with very few exceptions) this allows you to enjoy completely concentrated bass tones and accurately reproduced low-end energy within both live and recorded music.

Main PA speakers are often driven to their limit, so adding excessive bass into this mix will usually result in a distorted sound. So, it’s best to invest in a dedicated subwoofer, this way you have complete control over the bass via a separate speaker and can even place your subwoofer in the best area of the room for optimal bass sound.

Essentially you need a subwoofer if you want to enjoy the lower frequencies in your music accurately, you don’t want any unwanted distortion when driving your PA system’s bottom end and you want complete control over the bass frequencies. If you’re in a cover band, you’re DJ or you’re a venue/club/bar owner, a subwoofer is a must.

So show me the top 6 best subwoofers!

We’ve compiled our favourite options here to bring you the best subwoofers in price ascending order. These range from PA subwoofers ideal for small touring DJ’s and live bands to options that would be ideal for club and bar owners, all the way to festival organisers. They’ve also made our best subwoofers list thanks to their ease of use, high quality sound and reliability.

1. QSC KS212C Cardioid Active PA Subwoofer

QSC KS212C Cardioid Active PA Subwoofer

First up we have the QSC KS212C Cardioid Active PA Subwoofer, which is the most powerful active subwoofer we have in this list. You have a 3600 Watt Class-D amplifier module at your disposal, pumping out your music through dual 12-inch, long-excursion drivers via a dual 6th order band-pass design– your audience is going to “feel” the bass as well as hear it.

A very useful Scenes collection encompasses a range of settings for commonly-used applications ensures you're ready for a variety of different environments. Whilst the fact you can place it in vertical or horizontal positions or fly it via the M20 speaker pole fittings in either position make sit a great option for portable or static systems.

A rugged, robust, and lightweight ABS material makes it a solid, roadworthy companion for travelling musicians and DJ’s too. One of the best subwoofers for PA systems that need to be loud!

2. Alto TrueSonic 3 TS315S Powered Subwoofer

Alto TrueSonic 3 TS315S Powered Subwoofer

The Alto TrueSonic 3 TS315S Powered Subwoofer is ideal for both touring acts and venue owners thanks to its epic Class-D amplifiers, 15” Driver with High-Temperature, Long-Throw Voice Coil and huge 2000 W peak, 1000 W continuous output power. The interesting thing about this model is its cabinet. The cabinet is designed to be virtually acoustically perfect so not only is it strong, but also resonant-free. This means the Alto TrueSonic 3 TS315S absorbs less sound, trabnsferring it to teh crowd instead – you can rely on it even in the most crowded rooms. The added thermal protection and transducer overdrive protection means nothing is going to stop your show.

You can pair the Alto TrueSonic 3 TS315S with any speaker system effortlessly and utilise the 2 x XLR/1/4" Combi Jack Inputs with 2 x balanced XLR Line outputs to create your ideal PA setup. Although slightly heavier at 35.6kg it is capable of touring with you thanks to the rugged construction, but it would ideally sit static in a venue or club. Big power, a 15” woofer and 3” (76 mm) voice coil and max SPL of 131 dB, makes this an extremely powerful, but still affordable PA subwoofer.

3. Yamaha DXS12 Active PA Subwoofer

Yamaha DXS12 Active PA Subwoofer

The Yamaha DXS12 Active PA Subwoofer is one of the best subwoofers available thanks to its compact size and immense capability. The 12” active subwoofer makes a great option for small to medium size venues as its capable of producing 950w of pure bass power – more than enough for venues, DJ’s and pubs.

The Yamaha DXS12 Active PA Subwoofer features a high-efficiency 950W Class-D amplifier as well as a 12" high-output woofer that brings out a surprising amount of bass considering its small and compact size and allows you to select from 3 different bass settings depending on your needs, your environment or musical taste. The NORMAL, BOOST and XTENDED LF settings give you a choice of a balanced low-frequency (Normal), a boosted and tightly focused bass (Boost) or a dropped low-end frequency for those super low bass lines and sub drops (XTENDED LF). This basically means you get an extremely powerful subwoofer that can cater to a wide range of different scenarios – ideal for professional musicians and venue owners.

Although they’re designed to accompany the DSR and DXR PA speaker systems, the DXS12 Active PA Subwoofer will easily integrate into your existing PA set up and provide you with high quality bass sound wherever you decide to place it.

4. RCF SUB 705-AS II Active PA Subwoofer

RCF SUB 705-AS II Active PA Subwoofer

We're getting into the realms of larger venues and outdoor shows with the RCF SUB 705-AS II Active PA Subwoofer as it’s packed with a 1400 watt digital amplifier pumping out sweet bass through a 15” high power woofer with 3” voice coil. If you want your bass lines to be felt, then this is one of the best PA subwoofers for under £1,000. The RCF SUB 705-AS II has been specifically designed with superior SPL levels for outdoor and long distance, so live gigs are more than easily covered.

There’s a built-in digital stereo crossover with adjustable crossover frequency which means you can set it up as a sub-satellite speaker system and integrate into your RCF PA setup or any other PA system you might have already.

You have plenty of control and connectivity options with a LINK/XOVER OUT SWITCH which will high pass the output link when engaged, an XOVER Switch that sets the crossover frequency of the output at 80 Hz or 120 Hz as well as a PHASE SWITCH that can reverse the phase of the output signal, keeping your system sounding great. There’s also a Stereo XLR input, Stereo XLR signal outputs and a limiter Status LED that will keep your system safe.

A max SPL of 131 dB, 40 Hz ÷ 120 Hz Frequency response and 1400w peak total power will be more than enough for most clubs and venues, whether indoors or outdoors.

5. Bose F1 Subwoofer

Bose F1 Subwoofer

If you don’t have a lot of room but need a lot of power, the Bose F1 subwoofer is a great choice, especially if you’re planning on coupling it with the Bose F1 Model 812 Flexible Speaker Array to create a complete, highly portable PA system!

However, if you just need a sub that you can take everywhere with you, the Bose F1 Subwoofer is great on its own or as part of your wider set up thanks to its easy to carry construction and compact design, making it ideal for houses of worship, mobile DJs, schools and even business presentations.

Again, its best paired with the F1 speaker array, so we’d suggest using it with that, but it makes our best subwoofers list thanks to the fact it’s got 1000 watts of power ready to pump out the bass via 2 x 10” high-excursion drivers – you’ll be surprised at just how well this sounds considering its smaller size (27” H x 16.1” W x 17.6” D (688 x 410.16 x 448.5mm).

A polarity switch helps correct the low frequency overlap between your speakers and sub whilst the Line Output EQ allow you to set the F1 sub’s output to high-pass filter or full range, meaning you can select crossover options a lot easier. In addition, this is a 2 input and 2 output sub allowing you the option of using 2 speakers and 1 sub for a complete venue worthy sound. Great Bose sound in a small and compact box.

6. QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer

QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer

Finally, we have the QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer which is one of the most powerful subwoofers available, and by far the toughest. With this model, you have 2000 watts of pure power at your disposal, making it an ideal choice for venues and festivals and one of the best subwoofers for church sound systems too. The QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer has a max SPL of 135dB as well as a woofer size of 18”.

It's pole mountable, light enough to be part of a portable PA system at 83 lb / 37.6 kg and has a frequency range of 37 Hz to 129 Hz making it an extremely capable subwoofer that can cater to a wide variety of sounds. Whether you're busting out huge basslines and EDM music or you want to be able to hear all the subtle nuances of "Lady In Red" from a distance, this thing will handle anything you throw at it and keep your sound clean, clear and concise.

However, it’s the rugged construction and 6-year warranty that will appeal to travelling musicians and venue owners. The QSC KW181 sub is made from birch plywood that allows for greater resonance and protects all the drivers and inner workings whilst the rugged powder-coated steel grille keeps your speaker safe at all time – perfect for those who will be moving the speaker around a lot. In addition, QSC have provided owners with a 3-year warranty that can be extended with an additional 3 years once registered, making it a great choice for club and pub owners that need that extra peace of mind – that’s 6 years of cover!

If you want a totally professional set up that can be both a static and highly portable option, the QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer won’t let you down and will keep your music sounding great at all times.

Shop a complete range of PA subwoofers over at PMT online today and get the best option for your set up. Alternatively, call our team today on 0151 448 2089 to discuss your needs and let us help you to find the right option.

BEST PA SUBWOOFERS

Here at PMT, we specialise in supplying DJ's, pubs, clubs, rehearsal rooms, venues, houses of worship, schools, travelling musicians and so much more with complete PA systems. If you want to discuss your PA System solution, or need advice on what the right set up might be for you, call in to any of our PMT stores across the country or call us on 0151 448 2089.

Our PA experts will be able to help you with your PA System and PA Speaker needs. We can supply everything from small set-ups, complete venue PA System solutions to entire festival backline and PA Systems.

PA-LIVE

Updated 2019-07-10

19 Comments on “Top 6 Best Subwoofers For PA Systems”

  • Lallie Wadham
    23rd February 2020

    Hi, I’m currently using 2 x Yamaha DXR8 speakers as FoH for a band consisting x 4 vocals, live keys, guitar (not through desk) and backing tracks. They can usually handle crowds up to about 200. Would adding a DXS12 give us some extra oomph when we have slightly bigger crowds - and would one be sufficient, or do we need 2? Thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      28th February 2020

      Hi Lallie, this depends on the size of the venue. One would definitely give an extra boost in the low end, but with 2 you can ensure that everything is on point and you have a good balance in both Left and Right on FOH.

  • Zoe
    15th February 2020

    Hi I currently use two Bose S1 s and am looking for a base speaker to add a bit more oomph I usually perform in small to medium venues what would you suggest, thanks in advance ?

    • Lee Glynn
      28th February 2020

      Hi Zoe, if you already have a Bose set up it makes sense to stick with Bose. We recommend any of these: https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/bose-l1-system-b2-bass-module-subwoofer, https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/bose-l1-system-b1-bass-module-subwoofer, https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/bose-f1-subwoofer

  • Bradley C. Helsel
    15th November 2019

    Yea Sam if you want to get one really good sub for your system that will more than cover the size of room you are talking about, it would be either the JBL VRX 918, or the JBL SRX 818. They are not cheap. Do not get the powered. You want the passive speaker. And if you are only using one sub than just get an amp that will give you 1.5-2x the continuous rating in Bridge Mono of the speaker. Both the VRX and SRX have continuous ratings of 800w-1000w @4ohms, so the amp you want to use should be 1200w-1600w @4ohms in Bridge Mono. The Mackies and QSC's are all good speakers. but nothing holds a candle to the Neodymium drivers that the JBL Speakers have. I do live sound in venues that are 500- 4000 people, and even though you are not in that size of venue, there is nothing better than the JBL.

  • David Campbell
    29th October 2019

    I am looking to add subwoofer(s) to the PA for our covers band. We currently have 2 x Mackie SRM450 speakers and will be getting either a single larger sub or a pair that will take a pole to mount the SRMs. We play pubs and small halls mainly but have a new year ball coming up in a larger venue. Storage is tight so size is a constraint. I was considering a pair of Alto 12” speakers. What would you recommend?

    • Lee Glynn
      22nd November 2019

      Hi, it's always a good rule of thumb to ensure your sub is always of equal or greater size.
      For example:
      8", 10" and 12" tops.... 12" sub
      12" top - 12" sub or 15"
      15" top - 15" or 18" sub

      We recommend:

      https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/alto-truesonic-3-ts315s-powered-subwoofer
      or
      https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/alto-truesonic-3-ts318s-powered-subwoofer
      https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/mackie-thump-18s-active-subwoofer

  • Ryan smith
    19th September 2019

    Hi, I am looking for a sub for a covers band to help with low end /drums+bass in small /medium venues. I like most of the speakers in your list however our price range is around 300-400. What do you recommend for around this price? Ryan

    • Lee Glynn
      23rd September 2019

      Hi Ryan, for that budget, you're looking at the Alto TrueSonic 3 TS312S Powered Subwoofer - a great option that's fine for small/medium venues. You can check it out here: https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/alto-truesonic-3-ts312s-powered-subwoofer

  • Lyndon
    9th September 2019

    Hi, can a bose b1 or b2 bass sub woofer be used with yahamah 12 ch powered mixing desk, using the sub woofer output from the desk. Thanks lyndon

    • Lee Glynn
      23rd September 2019

      Hi Lyndon, we'd need to know a little more about your mixer. If you call us on 0151 448 2089, our PA experts will be able to advise on this and help you. -Lee

  • Sam
    29th July 2019

    Looking for 1 x powerful sub for my function band.

    We already run RCF 732A tops and need to add some big low end. The whole band goes through the PA and we're considering RCF 8003-AS-II but reports say it clips too easily?

    Small/Medium sized rooms with 100-200 people.

    Thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      19th August 2019

      Hi Sam, any in this list would work well. But if you want big low end the QSC KS212C Cardioid Active PA Subwoofer is great https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/qsc-ks212c-cardioid-active-pa-subwoofer . Alternatively the RCF SUB 905-AS II Active Subwoofer has 2200 watts of power https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/rcf-sub-905-as-ii-active-subwoofer . I Hope that helps. Lee

  • Lee M
    20th July 2019

    Hiya, I’m really struggling to choose between the KW181 and KS212C. We are an 8 piece 80’s party band using an electronic drum kit. Looking to pair a sub up with a pair of K10.2’s or K12.2’s for small to medium venues. Which would you recommend?

    • Lee Glynn
      26th July 2019

      Hi Lee, the QSC KS212C Cardioid Active PA Subwoofer would work well and allow you to play all types of venues. You have 3600 watts at your disposal. However, if you think you'll only need something for smaller venues, the 2000 watt QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer will be fine. Both great subs. Just comes down to size and power really. -Lee

  • Don Grossman
    27th May 2019

    Looking for a good sub to go with my Roland KC 600, which I use as an electronic drum amp.

    • Lee Glynn
      3rd June 2019

      Hi Don, we love the QSC E18SW 18 inch Subwoofer https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/qsc-e18sw-18-inch-subwoofer a perfect addition to any set up!

  • Ebou
    27th February 2019

    Hi I am looking for the best bass bin 18 subwoofer. I mean real beast with huge sound thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      1st March 2019

      Hi there, aside from the ones in this blog we also recommend the following QSC KW181 Active Subwoofer http://bit.ly/2IHvsTn, QSC E18SW 18 inch Subwoofer http://bit.ly/2IIC5F6, RCF SUB Series 8003-AS MKII Active Subwoofer http://bit.ly/2ILNaFf, RCF 4PRO Sub 8003 AS Active PA Subwoofer http://bit.ly/2IHJLqY . I hope that helps!

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