Active vs Passive Subwoofer : what is the difference?

Active vs Passive Subwoofer

Owning your own home theatre system is exciting and intimidating at the same time. Because there are so many different factors to take into account. I had a lot of questions when I first started constructing my home theatre system. This is particularly true now that I understand the value of a subwoofer in a home theatre setup. You must know the difference between an active vs passive subwoofer in order to set up a home theatre system perfectly. Otherwise, you risk buying the incorrect passive subwoofer and having a system that is incompatible.

There are typically two types of vs subwoofer systems: passive and active. You might be considering whether there is a significant difference between the two and which is superior.

In order to clarify the distinctions and resemblances as well as benefits and drawbacks, we have prepared this article.

What is a Subwoofer?

Let’s begin by defining a subwoofer before moving on. It is the component of your home theatre audio system that can replicate low frequency sounds from the media. A subwoofer is not the same as a woofer. Although they are both in charge of low frequencies, the subwoofer has the capacity to go even lower than the woofer. there are also subwoofer with built in amp.

Subwoofers are an essential component of the bass in a surround sound speaker if you prefer high-quality music and are a stickler for mid-range to low frequencies. We will now go into more detail about the two main categories that subwoofers fall under.

let’s look at the types of subwoofers.

What Is A Passive Subwoofer?

A passive subwoofer is one that needs to be powered by an additional device, like an amplifier or receiver. Home theatre designers prefer passive subwoofers because they are perfect for large spaces that may require multiple speakers.

Active vs Passive Subwoofer
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Both speakers and subwoofers require power from a source in order to produce sound, despite the fact that they are primarily different in terms of frequency range as we explained in our guide. It’s crucial to choose an amplifier or receiver for passive sub woofer that can output enough power to sustain the deep tones your speaker system produces.

If you plan to use it with the rest of your passive subwoofer home theater sound system, you should also think about how much power your speakers will need.

When it comes to connecting the various components, a passive subwoofer might seem more difficult. This is so that you have both the additional amplifier and the source components. You will therefore require more cabling.

The majority of people who have custom home theatre system installations use passive subwoofers. In fact, as part of a unique installation, many passive subwoofers are mounted in or on a wall. Although passive subwoofers on their own are frequently less expensive than active subwoofers, custom installations and a more potent receiver may increase this cost.

You can connect multiple passive subwoofers together to create larger or more dynamic home theatre spaces. As a result, you can distribute the bass throughout the space without worrying about muddying the sound or uneven distribution.

READ MORE svs 3000 micro vs sb 2000 pro 2023 : the best value for money subwoofer

What is An Active Subwoofer?

what is a powered subwoofer? well, Powered subwoofers and active subwoofers are synonyms. They have a built-in power source, such as an amplifier. They are used more frequently as single units because they are simpler to install. For active power subwoofer systems to produce the best sound, it is crucial to choose the proper location.

Active vs Passive Subwoofer
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The built-in components are typically optimised in active subwoofer configurations. Active subwoofers are a one-stop shop for many home theatre owners and designers because the integrated amplifier is perfectly matched to the speaker’s power requirements.

There are fewer cables needed for powered sub woofer than for passive ones. This implies that setup is frequently simpler as well. Consequently, an active subwoofer needs more power (watts) to operate. Even though some people’s power bills may make this seem insignificant, it is still important to mention it here.

Active subwoofers require fewer cables than passive subwoofers. They are consequently much simpler to set up. However, they consume a lot more power, which means your energy costs will probably go up.

In addition, these subwoofer passive vs active systems tend to cost more because they frequently include a number of the essential parts that are internally built.

Active vs Passive Subwoofer: which is better?

passive subwoofer vs active ,It is obvious from the brief definitions and descriptions that each of the two subwoofer types has advantages and disadvantages.

It is crucial that you consider each option’s benefits and drawbacks in light of your particular situation before deciding which is better.

It is a fact that many people purchase subwoofers in order to get a fantastic bass driver that will transform their listening experience.

However, whether a subwoofer system is passive or active has no bearing on the specifics of the model you select for sound quality. (Active vs Passive Subwoofer)

With regard to each subwoofer type passive vs active subwoofer, there are advantages as well as cons. You should weigh each of these factors to determine which subwoofer is ideal for the application you have in mind. passive vs powered subwoofer, An obvious consideration when looking for the ideal subwoofer active vs passive is sound quality. Quality varies depending on the specific make and model you select, not the subwoofer type. The six essential characteristics are, in addition to sound quality:

Amplifier: Is an external amplifier necessary for the subwoofer? If so, how powerful must it be?

Power: Make sure your amplifier can handle the amount of power indicated by the wattage of the subwoofer you’re about to purchase.

Connectivity: Take into account the kind and quantity of cables needed.

Installation: Installing the subwoofer should be simple. Does it just plug in and work, or is there a more involved setup process?

Cost: One important factor is the subwoofer’s price. The price of other parts, like extra cables, should also be taken into account.

Design: When choosing a subwoofer system, it’s equally important to take into account your home’s décor, particularly the interior design. Purchase a system that blends in with your decor seamlessly or is at least more customizable.

Active vs Passive Subwoofer

Advantages Of A Passive Subwoofer

Additionally, because they use less energy, they won’t really affect your overall power bill.

They are also much less expensive. Additionally, they are simpler to set up since every receiver has a subwoofer output.

The topic of connectivity is the last. Passive subwoofers are a good choice if you prefer to drown out your living room with loud music because they provide extended connectivity options and the ability to combine multiple subwoofers.

Disadvantages Of A Passive Subwoofer

No matter how cheap passive subwoofer systems are, the extra components needed to complete the connection will increase the overall cost.

As a result, they are typically thought of as being expensive because other parts, like the price of additional cables, drive up the cost.

The additional components could make setting up the system more difficult. Furthermore, since the cables will be used to power the speaker and transmit the necessary audio signals, they must be of higher quality.

Additionally, the power requirements for both the receiver and the subwoofer should be taken into account.

The full loads must be taken into account to make sure that each additional component receives enough power to function properly because each additional component is a separate power sink.

Advantages Of Active Subwoofers

They are simpler to connect because they are used in home theatres with only one subwoofer.

Furthermore, special or extra cables are not required to finish the setup. Therefore, active subwoofer systems are more straightforward and simpler to install.

However, they are primarily LFE channel dependent, and frequencies are best from a single speaker.

In addition, everything is built-in, so you don’t need to figure out which amplifier will produce the best sound with your sub.

Active subwoofers can be placed at any distance from the receiver because they don’t need signal cabling.

The distance to the speaker has no effect on audio signals. Additionally, because active sub woofer systems are frequently small, you can put them anywhere in the room to suit your design and décor needs without sacrificing the sound quality.

Disadvantages Of Active Subwoofers

Comparatively speaking, active subwoofers cost a lot more than passive ones(non powered subwoofer). They are more hungry for power. Placement becomes a problem because only one sub is used if you need to fill a big room with music or if you have additional rooms to fill with music.

Active vs Passive Subwoofers Wireless Connections

Active vs Passive Subwoofer: When it comes to electronics, wireless connectivity is becoming more and more common. This also applies to your subwoofer. Currently, only active subwoofers are natively capable of supporting wireless connections.

This feature is built-in to some of the more recent models. For older models with AV processor, LFE, or home theatre receiver ports, wireless transmitter/receiver kits are also offered.


Choosing a subwoofer is ultimately up to you, but active subwoofers are currently the most common kind used in home theatres. Active subwoofers optimise designated bass frequency channels and improve the performance of your home theatre system. They are simple to use, comprehensive, and small.

Although careful placement is required, most owners find that their active subwoofer is the ideal addition to their home theatre. Although the upfront cost might seem higher than that of a passive speaker, keep in mind that you won’t require extra power from your receiver or amplifier.


How do I know if my subwoofer is active or passive?

If an amplifier or receiver is present, you will be able to tell if your subwoofer is active or passive. Your subwoofer is considered a passive sub if it lacks one. It is an active or powered subwoofer if your subwoofer has a single integrated amplifier or receiver.

Does An Active Subwoofer Need An Amp?

Subwoofers are designed from the start to reproduce low-frequency sounds. Active subwoofers can run independently of an amplifier. Therefore, they do not require an amp to function.

Is It Dangerous To Connect A Passive Subwoofer To A Receiver?

Yes, connecting passive subwoofers to a receiver can become dangerous because they need much more power to reproduce the bass. As a result, there’s a chance that your receiver won’t distribute enough power for your subwoofer to perform optimally.

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