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No matter what type of music you’re performing live, a subwoofer should be a key staple of your stage setup.
Low frequencies, like bass, toms, and kick drums can often get lost and muddled in the mix, outshone and overtaken by the higher-frequency instruments like guitars and synths. That’s where a good and powerful stage subwoofer is vitally important. The best stage subwoofers bring up the booming low end, round out the spectrum of sound in your songs, and can help instantly enhance your performance.
Adding a sub to your setup will dramatically enhance your sound, as well as your ability to connect with the crowd too. They’ll be able to literally feel what you’re putting out there, absorbing the punch of those thumping bass tones. And since it takes more energy to blast out deep bass that regular speakers aren’t typically equipped to handle, a designated sub takes the weight off your other amps too while handling all the low-end hertz.
Consider the type of music you’ll be playing, and your typical venue size as well. A bigger venue usually means you’ll need bigger bass to reach the back of the house. Wattage can also vary pretty widely depending on the size of the system and how much power you’re looking for – 100w (watts) to 300w is the typical range of a home system, while 500w should be more than enough to rock a small venue. For larger performance halls, anywhere in the 1000w to 2000w peak range should get the job done easily.
Size-wise, a bigger subwoofer has more surface to move more air, which ultimately can push out more sound – so go for an 18-incher if you’re looking to get loud, while a 12-inch sub will do just fine in an intimate setting.
Also be aware, a typical sub packs some serious weight – often around and above 30 pounds, so select something you’ll be realistically able to load in and out.
Bottom line on the low-end: a good subwoofer supplies the bass like nothing else, and once you’ve integrated it into your gigs, you’ll never look back.
1. Behringer B1200D-PRO Eurolive
If a big sub isn’t a good fit for your small stage, consider this powerful and more compact option. Behringer has been a reliable music gear manufacturer for decades, and this delivers the quality you’d expect from them at 500 watts. It’s about half the size of some other subs, but as far as sound is concerned, you’ll notice the obvious increase in bass as soon as you turn it on, and there’s even a specific Boost Button to instantly increase your selected frequency by 10db.
Inside, there’s one 12-inch woofer, as opposed to some other brands having two smaller woofers, meaning it delivers sound that’s still strong enough to shake the house. The unit also has built-in protection against clipping and overheating, as well as LEDs for signal and input overloads, to keep an eye on things when your ears are occupied.
It’s energy-efficient, and supports active stereo crossover mode, which is ideal for use with two-way loudspeakers. Plus setup with externals is easy thanks to its XLR inputs and outputs. And in case you do want something a bit bigger, Behringer also makes these in a 15-inch and 18-inch as well.
2. JBL Professional Portable Stage Subwoofer
JBL has been crafting quality audio equipment for over 70 years, so it’s no surprise that this 18-inch sub packs some beautifully crisp bass.
Construction of the casing is durable and solid, crafted from medium density fiberboard and covered in a layer of black carpet, with an 18mm steel grill to protect what’s inside.
The resulting sound is an efficiently-directed, low-end boom with a wide range, instantly enhancing any performance. It’s got non-resonant steel handles for easy loading, and it’s ready to be pole-mounted for an on-stage setup too. Be aware, however, that this is a passive speaker, so you’ll need an external amp to power it before getting any sound.
3. Alto Powered Portable PA Subwoofer
This absolute beast of an active stage sub can crank out 2000 watts of peak power – more than enough to reach the back row.
The Alto can easily handle all the bass you throw at it. The solid block of a sub comes with clip, thermal and transducer overload protection, and is constructed with quality components for a clean, un-muddled sound.
The unit contains XLR outputs for easy connections, an extended LF switch for increased EQ control, a volume knob, and a choice of six DSP modes to match crossover frequencies with your other hooked-up speakers. Externally, the hard outer shell provides a cool aesthetic while protecting the goods inside.