Poor Audiophile

Best Subwoofers Under $1,000

Now that we’ve covered the best subwoofers under $500, what are the best subwoofers under $1,000?   While we were very careful with our recommendations in the under $500 category, once you get past the $500 threshold and can spend up to $1,000 you start to have some legitimate subwoofer options. In general, subwoofers between the $500-$1,000 price range are high value models that are best suited for small to midsized rooms.

Often, subwoofers in the $1,000 and under category will feature a 10″ or 12″ woofer with fairly decent amplification. The best subwoofers in this category won’t try to do it all. Rather you’ll find that they try and do the basics well—they will have clean amplification, quality build materials, variable phase, and variable crossover options.

Subwoofers in this price range will tend to be made overseas–primarily China. The cheaper labor will help keep the price-point down. However, you’ll need to make sure that the subwoofer manufacturer and the particular model have a good reputation for ensuring solid build quality for overseas manufacturing.

While you’ll typically get decent build, you won’t necessarily have the top notch enclosure or driver materials. In other words, the manufacturer will need to make some strategic trade-offs. The subs listed here in the $1,000 and under category will typically be great for home theater, but will leave the serious audiophile somewhat disappointed. If you’re a picky audiophile, you may want to play two channel music without a sub, or you’ll need to pay particular attention who is particular about their two-channels music, then the subs in this price-range may leave you a slightly disappointed.

Here’s a short-list of the best subwoofers under $1,000 that we think are worth your attention.  Each sub listed may be better suited for different applications and environments.  Here they are listed by price:

REL-T7 Subwoofer System

REL-T7 (MSRP $999)

Two REL models made the cut for the best subs under $1,000. The REL-T7 is all REL without the more expensive price tag that REL subs have typically commanded. The Ultra Long Throw (ULT) Bass Engine driver used in the T-Series went through 11 generations of prototyping. The T-Series actually makes use of two drivers; an active downward-firing ULT and a passive forward-firing ULT. Like all REL subs, the T7 is not considered a subwoofer, but a subwoofer system that is intended to work seamlessly with the main speakers. All REL Sub-Bass systems offer two types of connection, a unique High-Level (Speaker Level) connection and a .1/LFE connection (RCA), each with their own volume controls. The T-Series has an additional input, a Low level input (RCA). The High-Level connection is highly preferred as it connects the REL directly to the system’s amplifier, allowing the REL, chameleon-like, to take on the sonic character of the entire system. The REL-T7 features an active, 8″, down-firing, ultra long throw woofer, a 10″, passive, front-firing woofer powered by a 200W Class A/B amplifier in a sealed design. This is one subwoofer that is at home with both the finest symphonic details or assaults of home theater. This isn’t a sub that attempts to do it all but rather focuses on doing its fudamentals exceptionally well. It is only rated at 30 Hz at -6 dB in room so it won’t push the lowest octaves of and low frequency effects (LFE) movie channel. However, if you prize smoothness and fitness over brute assault, this subwoofer may be the perfect match for you.

MartinLogan Dynamo 1000w (MSRP $995)

I’m such a huge fan of the MartinLogan Dynamo that I felt all the models should be considered in this list. Ranging in price from $295 to $995, the Martin Logan Dynamo should be on any poor audiophile’s short list. The MartinLogan Dynamo line has the perfect trade-off of price and performance giving you a taste of what high-end subwoofers will deliver without the high end price tag. Dynamo 1000w and 700w models features a wireless RF receiver that gives you the ultimate in placement flexibility and convenience. The Dynamo 1000w features a 12” high-excursion polypropylene cone and the Dynamo 700w’s cone is 10”. The Dynamo subwoofers can also be configured in a front-firing or down-firing position to aid in your placement options. Many years ago, a MartinLogan Dynamo was my first serious subwoofer. I’ve been a huge fan ever since.  Try one for yourself and you’ll understand first-hand.  If you love MartinLogan subwoofers and the Dynamo 1000w is just out of your price-range, then consider auditioning the  Dynamo 700w (MSRP $695).

The Sunfire HRS-10 Subwoofer

Sunfire HRS-10 (MSRP $949)

Sunfire was originally founded by legendary amplifier designer, Bob Carver.  There’s always been a direct correlation between a subwoofer’s size and it’s performance.  However, large subs have always been hard to place and not the most wife-friendly pieces of audio equipment.  If you wanted to make subs smaller, then you needed to significantly increase the amplification to move the surrounding air.  That’s exactly what Bob Carver did with Sunfire.  He made ridiculously powered subwoofers in an incredibly small form factor that were able to compete with significantly larger and more expensive subwoofers.  While Bob sold Sunfire many years ago, the HRS-10 continues that legacy.  The HRS-10 comes with a 10″ woofer and an amplifier capable of delivering 1000W of continuous power.  It comes with a variable crossover from 30-100Hz and a phase control from 0-180°.  The HRS-10 is rated to deliver bass down to 20Hz in a tiny, wife-friendly, 11.5″ cube, sealed design. The HRS-10 is a true David among Goliaths.
The SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer

SVS SB-2000 (MSRP $699)

The SB-2000 has absolutely no right whatsoever to sound as good as it does at this price point. I shake my head in disbelief every time I think about it. What can I say except that SVS has done it again.  Well-known in the home theater and audiophile circles, SVS has solidly established themselves as the maker of high-value, premium subwoofers that continue to compete against subwoofers and speakers costing 2x – 3x their price.  The SB-2000 proudly continues that tradition.   This sub is a movie-lover’s dream that reaches down to a real, you-can-feel-it 19 Hz +/-3dB.  The SB-2000 features a 12” driver with a 500W amplifier capable of delivering 1100 W peaks. Paired with monitors or full-range speakers, the SB-2000 is an unbelievable value for those in small to midsize rooms. For the record, I was able to get the SB-2000 to seriously pressurize a 24 x 30 foot room. Impressive, most impressive.

REL-T5 (MSRP: $699)

The REL T-5 subwoofer
British audio manufacturer REL Acoustics makes only one thing, subwoofers.  And that one thing they do extremely well.  REL subs are coveted by audiophiles for their musicality and nearly seamless integration with main speakers.  The REL-T5 won’t go down as deep as many of the other subs on this list, but, you won’t be disappointed in this sub.  The REL-T5 uses a down-firing, steel-stamped 8″ Ultra Long Throw (ULT) driver.  Unlike other subs, REL uses Class A/B subwoofers and powers the T5 with a high current 150W Classs A/B amplifier.  Beyond the specs, the T5 conforms with REL’s overall philosophy that you’re not purchasing a subwoofer but rather a subwoofer system that integrates in as part of your entire speaker setup so that  by connecting at high level, the sub will reproduce exactly the same character of bass as the main speakers. This is an approach and philosophy that has won the ears of audiophiles the world over.  While you won’t get the lowest bass with the T5, you also won’t get the sloppy or boomy bass that can often characterize so many subs in this price-range.  What the REL T5 does, it does exceptionally well.

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