can I use a subwoofer for mixing?

Some people swear to mixing with a subwoofer. Other men and women insist they’ll provide you a false picture of your mix that won’t translate well to other playback systems. So which is it? Low-end reproduction is catchy — there’s no way around it. Not enough, and your mix sounds lean, but also much, and it is boomy and muddy. In other words, it’s a bit of both, and sometimes it’s space and genre unique. Below, you will get some of the advantages and disadvantages of blending using a subwoofer.

difference between studio monitor and subwoofer

 Subwoofers Add Low End That Some Stereo Monitors Are Missing

If you are using smaller desktop speakers or affordable studio monitors in smaller enclosures. Then it is a fantastic bet that the compromises are in the bass frequencies. It follows that when you are mixing, you won’t get an accurate image of the bass. And you are going to wind up overcompensating. Resulting in mixes that sound good on your own bass-starved monitors but are bass-heavy anyplace else. Adding a subwoofer can deliver those frequencies back. Many smaller speaker monitor systems possess a subwoofer specifically designed with a crossover matched to the limitations of the desktop screens. You are also able to receive a subwoofer with an energetic (flexible ) crossover and set it to add the missing low end.

Do you have a room that appears to absorb the low frequencies before they get to your ears? If this is so, a subwoofer may be exactly what you need. A subwoofer with a dynamic crossover could be corrected to begin reproducing frequencies at whatever stage the very low end in the room starts getting weak and allows you to bring them back and flip them up to taste.

Disadvantages of using subwoofers for mixing

Doesn’t give the real sound of your mix

Club music and dance mixes contain lots of sub-frequency energy. On the other hand, acoustic, classical, choral, and jazz music has less subsonic information. If you don’t have your subwoofer dialed in just right, you’ll be mixing in a bass-heavy environment. This may lead you either to remove what bass energy does exist or to boost the treble frequencies to the point that your mix ends up top-heavy. This goes back to subwoofers being tricky to dial in. And in some cases needing to be dialed in repeatedly depending on the mix level and the genre.

Too expensive

Yes, you can buy a cheap subwoofer for mixing for only a few hundred dollars. But if you want a good subwoofer for mixing, one with an active crossover and other EQ features, as well as through jacks for surround monitoring and so on. The price quickly tops a thousand dollars and keeps creeping up. If you need a subwoofer for your studio. It’s worth the money, but if you’re not sure and just wondering what it might add. And you’ve already got good stereo monitors and your acoustic space isn’t swallowing the bass that money might be better spent on other components.

May problem to neighbors

Nothing annoys the neighbors like a subwoofer. I have a downstairs neighbor who’s just complained about two things in six decades. One was the subwoofer. The other was a flood. Subwoofers are seemingly so bothersome that only water damage compares. If you are in a project studio that operates from a residence. You need to be conscientious with your monitoring, or you might get kicked out. …Unless, of course, you are familiar with the sound laws in your zoning area. Having had less-than-scrupulous landlords in the past. I always familiarize myself with the legalities of my surroundings. Including what decibel levels are tolerable during working hours. I keep my setup inside these guidelines, in spite of a sub.

Difference Between Studio Monitor And Subwoofer

Why You Need a Subwoofer for Mixing

When a subwoofer is installed correctly for mixing. It is going to make your most important monitors seem like they are generating sub-bass frequency articles. A badly integrated subwoofer can overpower your main monitors. And create a notch in the crossover frequency between your subwoofer and principal monitors. If the subwoofer draws attention to itself, then it’s set up incorrectly. By simply adding a subwoofer for your own studio you can, unintentionally, create greater problems than you solve. And this is the reason why many men and women make the claim they don’t like working with a subwoofer.

The main reason why you likely require a subwoofer is that the majority main speaker monitors aren’t capable of producing frequencies below 30-40Hz; this applies to a number of the most popular studio monitors available on the market: Yamaha HS8s (30 Hz), KRK Rokit 8s (35 Hz), ADAM A7Xs (42 Hz), and Kali LP-8s (45 Hz).

In general, humans can hear frequencies from 20-20,000 Hz, which means that depending on the speakers you are using, you could be missing out on more than the entire octave of frequency content; E in 20.60 Hz up to another E in 41.20 Hz.

There are four distinct types of drivers found in speakers that are responsible for producing different frequency ranges. These drivers include subwoofers (around 20-120Hz), woofers (around 40-3,000 Hz), midsize drivers (around 250-4,000 Hz), and tweeters (approximately 2,000+ Hz).

Most studio monitor speakers use a two-way configuration consisting of a woofer and tweeter. Though some studio monitor speakers use a three-way configuration containing a woofer, midrange driver, and tweeter. In any case, another subwoofer must add up to the setup to take care of extreme low-end articles.

To generate low frequencies. Then you need to have the ability to move a great deal of air at a slow speed. The main reason that your studio monitors can’t produce frequencies around 20 Hz is their drivers are too small. Subwoofers are big which allows them to create deep bass frequencies. Fluance has a great movie which ensures crossovers and drivers in detail.

How to Set the Level of Your Subwoofer for mixing

Setting the degree of your subwoofer is not much tougher than conducting Room EQ Wizard and adjusting the level of the subwoofer until you reach a near-flat frequency response. If you aren’t using calibration applications, there is another way you can use to improve your monitoring situation radically. Believe it or not, all you will need is an iPhone app called Decibel X Pro: dBA Noise Meter.

Decibel X Guru is an SPL meter that lets you assess the sound pressure level in your area as time passes. Here is the weighting you’ll use to calibrate the level of your sub.

In The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook 4th Edition (p. 36-37) by Bobby Owsinski Media Group, Bobby Owsinski summarizes a rather simple process you can use to place the level of a single subwoofer:

  • Begin with your subwoofer and chief monitors turned off.
  • Perform some pink noise (available in Room EQ Wizard) and turn a few of your most important monitors on.
  • Place your cell phone in the position your head will be while mixing with subwoofer, and adjust the level of the screen until it reads 85 dB in your SPL meter.
  • Turn off the monitor you simply adjusted, and perform the identical procedure with another screen.
  • Switch off your most important monitors and then turn in your subwoofer. Adjust the amount of your subwoofer till it reads 79 dB in your SPL meter. This method works fairly well, but you might have to adjust the level of your subwoofer still a few decibels.
  • Attempt both polarities switch places to determine which setting has the most bass and sounds the smoothest in the crossover area; this really is the setting you’ll leave the polarity switched to.


If you are restricted in your ability to alter your studio room, either by building restrictions or budget, simply do your very best to boost your current set up. Rectangular rooms with drywall are complete acoustic nightmares, but this is the type of space that many people are working in.

Professional studios look to be rather straightforward, however. The magic is in their structural design and the materials they are made from. Folks pay a whole lot of cash to prevent the problems that come along with basic apartment studios. Each studio is exceptional, and I encourage you to choose the concepts covered in this guide and use them to boost your studio set up.

Check article Best Studio Monitors