When shopping for a sub-woofer you may have come across some new terms such as P.M.P.O., channels, front-firing etc. and wondered what they mean in terms of audio experience.
What other factors should one consider? Let’s explore a few.
PMPO is short for peak music power output. Sometimes referred to as watts PMPO, this is a mathematical representation of a speaker’s maximum power output under perfect conditions.
The bigger the figure, the louder the subwoofer is.
However, rarely are there perfect conditions in normal settings, hence it may be hard to hit the figures in a home environment.
Bass is Non-Directional
Deep bass frequencies are below the level the human hear can discern which direction they are coming from, hence it is really difficult to know where the sound is coming from.
This essentially means deep bass does not depend much on which part of a room the subwoofer is placed.
Nonetheless audiophiles opine that best music experience is achieved when the sub is placed to the right or left of satellite speakers.
Front-Firing and Down-Firing Subwoofers
Front-firing subwoofers have speaker mounted so that it radiates sound from the front or side of the subwoofer body.
Down-firing subwoofers have a speaker mounted in such a fashion that it radiates sounds towards the floor.
Quality of bass output does not really depend much on whether a sub is front or down firing; reason being the non-directional quality of deep base (as explained above).
Wired vs Wireless
Most subwoofers in the market today offer wireless connectivity, mostly via Bluetooth.
Wireless connectivity is an attractive option given that it eliminates the clutter created by wires running all over.
However, wireless subwoofers are a little expensive than wired ones.
Powered vs Passive
Powered subwoofers have in-built amplification units. Passive subwoofers on the other hand rely on external amplification units.
Most standalone home subwoofers are powered hence no need for external amplifiers. Passive subwoofers are mostly suitable for professional audiophiles.
Subwoofer are categorized as 2.0, 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 etc.
A 2.1 channel configuration basically means the system comprises of a subwoofer and two satellite speakers.
5.1 means 1 subwoofer and 5 satelite speakers and so forth.
To achieve an immersive experience (surround sound), you are better off with a system with more than 2 channels.