Does a Soundbar Need a Subwoofer?

When looking at information regarding soundbars, one thing is clear, all pieces of information and pictures include a subwoofer. So, the natural question is, does a sound bar need a subwoofer?

No, soundbars to not need subwoofers to work. Subwoofers produce low frequencies such as bass and sub-bass. A soundbar, however, includes speakers uses speakers in an enclosed box to replicate surround sound or a stereo effect.

Continue reading to learn more about using a soundbar without a subwoofer, I will also discuss why someone may not want to use a subwoofer and the advantages of using a subwoofer.

Before we get started, let’s quickly define what a sound and subwoofer is.

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What is a Soundbar?

A soundbar is a set of speakers grouped together by a rectangular enclosure. Soundbars are designed to bring surround and stereo sound to a small space. Soundbars can connect to other devices like TVs, DVRs, Blue-ray players, and gaming consoles.

You would use a soundbar if you feel like the audio coming from your TV is poor, or you want speakers that provide an extra kick. Soundbars are ideal for small to medium-sized rooms, apartments, or dorms.

Soundbars are closely related to surround sound, except soundbars, have all their speakers in one box, whereas surround sound usually includes multiple speakers spread around a room.

What is a Subwoofer?

According to Wikipedia, a subwoofer “is dedicated to the reproduction of low-pitched audio frequencies Kenosha as bass and sub-bass.” Basically, this means that subwoofers are designed to emit low sounds like a pack of motorcycles rumbling down a highway, or thunder brining in a summer rainstorm.

Why are subwoofers Important?

In technology, specialization is important, and a device that can specialize will work much better than a device that attempts to do a little bit of everything. As I mentioned, subwoofers specialize in lower sounds, allowing other speakers to emit higher frequencies.

Where To Place A Subwoofer?

The placement of a subwoofer depends on a few factors, including the length of subwoofer cord or wireless signal strength. Most often, subwoofer users place the box right next to the TV or TV stand.

In addition to this common practice, you can place your subwoofer in these locations:

  • Corner of the room
  • Raised
  • Behind the primary seating

Corner of the Room

Placing your subwoofer in a corner away from your TV and soundbar may benefit your listening experience because it can help with simulating a surround sound experience.


Another place you can install your subwoofer is raised and mounted. Installing your subwoofer above your head, and pointed down, can help increase the projection of the sound emitted from the soundbar. Just make sure that there is at least a two-foot clearance between the ceiling and the top of the subwoofer.

Behind Primary Seating

Another possible location to place your subwoofer is behind your primary seating. While this is the least common place, placing your subwoofer behind your seating does have a few benefits.

What’s the Difference Between a Subwoofer and soundbar?

The biggest difference between a subwoofer and soundbar is the sound frequencies the two speakers’ output. While soundbars do output lower frequencies, subwoofers are specifically designed for outputting the lower sound.

According to Wikipedia, “subwoofers include a special speaker drier, an and the speaker driver is mounted in a speaker enclosure.”

How Do I Connect My Subwoofer to My Soundbar?

There are two ways to connect your soundbar to your subwoofer: wired and wirelessly. The wired connection used will vary based on your manufacturer. Usually, the cable enquired is supplied by the manufacture.

As I mentioned, you can also connect your subwoofer to your soundbar wirelessly using a technology called Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless signal that connects two devices. Your soundbar and subwoofer should be paired (connected together) out of the box.

What Happens if You do not Connect a Subwoofer to a Soundbar?

If your soundbar does not have or is not connected to a subwoofer, a few things can happen. The first and most likely option is that your soundbar will continue to work, but without some of the lower tones. While you will still hear the lower frequencies, they will be less noticeable.

Another thing may happen is an error or notification will appear that the subwoofer is ‘missing.’ This message may appear on the TV screen or on the soundbar. You can opt to cancel and ignore the warning.

The final, and least likely, to happen, is your soundbar stops working. If your subwoofer is disconnected, and your audio stops, you must reconnect the subwoofer to hear the audio again.

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When to Use a Subwoofer With a Soundbar?

Although a subwoofer is great in all situations, it is especially useful in these situations:

  • Playing video games
  • Watching Movies
  • Listening to music

Video Games: Video games are designed to take advantage of a range of frequencies, it a subwoofer is especially useful when playing action games like racing and first/ third-person shooting games.

Watching Movies: Like video games, movies are designed with audio in mind. Movies like “Fast and Furious” sound much better with a subwoofer.

When not to Use a Subwoofer with A Soundbar?

You may not want to use a subwoofer in the following instances:

  • You live in an apartment
  • You live in a small room/ apartment
  • You are watching TV shows

Apartment living: If you live in an apartment, especially if you live above someone, it might be annoying to your neighbors if you have the subwoofer rumbling. At the very least, rumble during appropriate business hours.

Small Room/ apartment: The subwoofer may overpower the other speakers if you have your system in a small room or apartment. Consider turning your subwoofer down, and the speakers up.

Watching TV shows: If you are watching regular shows like sitcoms of day time talk, you don’t need the bass. Consider turning your subwoofer off, or down.

Where to Use A Subwoofer?

Below are the best rooms to use your soundbar and subwoofer combo.

  • Medium to large sized rooms
  • Theater room
  • Outside (covered)

Medium to large sized rooms: Medium to large sized rooms allow your sound system to project properly without overwhelming the listeners.

Theater room: You could use a soundbar and subwoofer in a theater room, but you want to try something a little bit bigger

Outside: Another good place for your soundbar and subwoofer is on your patio or deck. The soundbar will be loud enough for all your guest and still quiet enough not to bother your neighbors

Examples of Soundbars Without Subwoofers

Below are just a few examples of soundbars that don’t require a subwoofer:

  • Samsung HW-MS60 Soundbar
  • Q Acoustics M4 Soundbar
  • Sonos Playbar
  • Denon HEOs Bar
  • Focal Dimension


To conclude, no, soundbars to not need subwoofers. It is possible that the soundbar you have or planning to purchase will work without ever connecting the subwoofer.

In this post, we learned the purpose of both the soundbar and the subwoofer. In addition, we learned the benefits to have each device. Also, we learned the main differences between the two devices.

In addition, discussed when you should and shouldn’t use a subwoofer. We also covered instances when the soundbar would be an asset to your listening experience and possible situations when you may not want to use a subwoofer.

Do you have a soundbar? Does it have a subwoofer/ Do you use the subwoofer? Why or why not?

Comment below!

Additional Questions

Do I Need a Receiver for My soundbar?

No, you do not need a receiver to use your soundbar. You can connect your soundbar directly to your TV or other devices. Having an additional soundbar can increase routing and efficiency in your home audio setup.

Is Sound Supposed to Come out of a Subwoofer?

Yes, low frequencies like bass are supposed to come out from the subwoofer. For example, if you are watching a movie that has motorcycles or thunder, the lower rumbling sound should emit from the soundbar.

If no sound is being produced from the subwoofer, maker sure that the subwoofer is turned on, and the volume is turned up. Additional configurations may be needed. Check your soundbar’s manual for troubleshooting your soundbar/ subwoofer.

Are Soundbars Good?

In general, yes, soundbars are good because they enhance the audio and increase your viewing experience. Soundbars are better than most current speakers included with flat screen TVs. Flat screen TVs, when compared to CRT TVs, produce a low-quality audio output.

The reason the output is so poor is because the depth of the flat-screen TVs is too small for quality speakers and necessary hardware.

Soundbars work to increase the audio drop off caused by flat screen TVs. While soundbars to have their limitations, it is a much better option than the speakers included on with the TV.