Active vs Passive Subwoofers: Which are the Differences?

In order to set up an excellent home entertainment system, a subwoofer is an essential buy.

A subwoofer is a particular speaker which is made to reproduce intense low frequencies.

Whether you’re listening to songs which produce an electric base or have low bass volume or watch films that include explosions, cannon fire, wars, games or any action scene, the subwoofer is the device which gives the feeling of rumble!

So the next question would be:

Active vs Passive Subwoofers, which one is for me?”

Active vs Passive Subwoofers

Still, before you may have fun with this almost all, you need to merge the subwoofer with the rest of your system, and the way you connect a sub to the rest of the home cinema setup is determined by whether it is Powered or Passive.


Passive Subwoofers


Just like the others of the sound system in a conventional home entertainment setup, you attach speaker cable of an amplifier to the passive subwoofer.

Preferably, you ought to very first link the subwoofer line results of the home entertainment AV preamp processor or receiver, to line inputs of the outer subwoofer amplifier – you after that link the passive subwoofer to the subwoofer terminals supplied on the amplifier of the subwoofer.

Passive subwoofers are mainly utilized in customized set up wherever the subwoofer can be mounted in the wall; however are a few conventional cube-shaped subs which are additionally passive.

Additionally, a few affordable home theater subwoofer include a passive subwoofer, for example, the Onkyo HT-S3800.

Active/Powered Subwoofers

As a side advantage, a powered subwoofer requires a cable connection from the home theater surround sound processor/preamp line or receiver output (also known as a subwoofer LFE output or preamp output).

This particular setup requires a great deal of the power load from the receiver and permits the own amplifiers of the receiver for powering the tweeter and mid-range speakers without difficulty.

For those who prefer visual explanation, here’s how the setup would be with powered subwoofers:

Active vs Passive Subwoofers: Which are the Differences? 1

Active vs Passive Subwoofers: Differences In Price

Active subwoofers and Passive subwoofers are quite similar in terms of price. Both subwoofers can be purchased at a low price compared to others in the marketplace.

However, you will notice a little bit difference between these 2 subwoofers when it comes to price. For the better performance and high-quality features, you may be charged a little bit high price, but you will get the best.

Read all our Ultimate Guide on choosing the best subwoofer  in order to choose the perfect one for you.

Differences In Quality And Overall Experience

Active vs Passive Subwoofers

An adequately configured subwoofer might make excellent low frequencies, filling up your room with the fuller, crispy yet meatier bass, while a not too much tuned one might imply bloaty-boomy bass; more like a noise compared to being it. Based on your specifications and experience, each has its benefits and negatives.

  • Passive subwoofers are run by an outer amplifier. Subwoofers need to have more power than any other speakers to recreate lower frequency sounds. The receiver or amplifier must be in a position to output sufficient power to maintain bass effects produced by the sub without the need of exhausting itself on the power supply.

  • To deal with the compatibility and power issues, powered subs (also referred to as the active subwoofers) are used. This particular kind of subwoofer is the self-contained amplifier or even speaker settings in which the features of the subwoofer and amplifier are suitably put and are both encased in the similar enclosure.

  • Another feature of the powered subwoofer is the straight forward single cable connection to surround sound preamp or home theater receiver. Powered subwoofers considerably lose the power load off the receiver, permitting effective capacity to mid-range tweeters and audio speakers.

Still whether or not a subwoofer is active or passive is not whatsoever a parameter of its quality and performance. It is about accuracy and convenience. For an audio system to sound its best, this is essential to set up it perfectly and even that is just where the active ones rank over the passive.

Setting a passive subwoofer up indicates you should have the precise information of the rate of the frequency range and power to link this to a suitable exterior amplifier.

A mismatch might lead to blowing the entire effort up. Still, in case you can say for certain how you can set up things appropriately, then the passive subwoofer can be a lot better than the active; providing you a much better control of the frequency and power calibration.


Additionally, utilizing a passive subwoofer is a costly proposition in comparison to the active one. The passive subwoofer needs a devoted exterior amplifier, which in many instances is more costly compared to the subwoofer on its own.

Whenever buying a subwoofer to make use of with your home theater, determine in case your AV receiver or home theater has a sub preamp output (frequently labeled as LFE Out, Sub Out, or Sub Pre-Out). In that case, you can make use of the powered subwoofer.


There are a couple of different kinds of enclosures, out of box enclosures to the tube enclosures, and everything has its benefits. Subwoofers may be powered or even passive, based on their usage.

Passive subwoofer has a speaker driver in the enclosure with an outer amplifier offering an increased signal. Powered subwoofer consists of an amplifier and speaker driver in the enclosure. These 2 types of subs both make use of amplifiers; however, the powered subwoofer is efficient and generates a more powerful bass effect.

Pros & Cons

Including an active subwoofer can significantly boost your dynamic range of the system, midrange clarity, bass extension, and capability to play more loudly without the need of strain. The extra low-frequency driver and amplifier power permit the system to recreate musical peaks at the higher levels.

At the same time, eliminating low frequencies coming from the signal generating the primary loudspeakers allows them to play louder simply because they do not need to reproduce the low frequencies. Mid-range frequently gets clearer simply because the cone of the woofer is not intensely moving backward and forward, attempting to reproduce lower bass.

This particular enhancement in the performance of a little speaker may be spectacular. The excursion of the small woofer is no more a restricting element in exactly how loudly the home theater system is going to play when the low frequencies are filtered from signal driving. This pretty much happens with every single one in the best 8 inch subwoofer list. The mid-range is cleaner, along with the entire system seems like a full-range and large speaker.

At this point for the unfortunate thing: Most of the time, subwoofers can lower the musical performance of a playback system. Possibly the subwoofer is badly engineered (most are), setup improperly, or even, as more and more common, it is made to reproduce explosions in the home theater system, not resolving the musical subtleties.


Active vs Passive subwoofers is one of the most hot topics in many sound equipment conversations. If you’re a music fanatic, then you should get the right subwoofer to meet your requirements with so many other benefits, and at the same time, the subwoofer must be under your budget.

In this website, we have posted some top and most selling active and passive subwoofer reviews so that you can read them out and choose the perfect one for you.  You need the one out of the competition subwoofers. Find out more about active and passive subwoofers here.

Both active and passive subwoofers have their particular features, pros, and cons. You have to identify the right one for your needs. In this post, we have described about Active subwoofers and Passive subwoofers in-depth. Please let us know about your opinion on active and passive subwoofers in the comment box. I will read them and reply to learn more from you.

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