Two 12 inch Subwoofers vs One 15

Two 12 inch Subwoofers vs One 15

We’ve recently written about whether is a 15-Inch subwoofer too big and if you do find it to be so then you should look at other alternatives. You probably have a medium or large-sized room to think about integrating a 15″ subwoofer but may be facing space constraints currently and can’t accommodate a single bulky sub. The next best course of action is to integrate smaller subs and you can choose to go for two 12 inch subwoofers.

They may be smaller than one 15-inch subwoofer but since there are two 12″ subwoofers, they do have their own distinct advantages. More importantly, they are able to cover the room with bass energy and have a more even in-room response than a 15″ subwoofer could muster. Let’s do a direct comparison between these 2 choices and see which is better.

Two 12-Inch Subwoofers or One 15-Inch Subwoofer

Let’s say both 12″ and 15″ subwoofers are well-designed and are made by reputable companies. If that’s the case, there is a higher chance it will cost more to own two 12-Inch subwoofers than a single 15-Inch subwoofer. For listeners who have a tight budget, it will be wiser to stick to one high-quality subwoofer than two low-quality subwoofers.

A 15″ subwoofer will usually be able to dig deeper into the bass extension than a 12″ subwoofer. If you have a requirement of how deep you need the subwoofer to go due to certain musical instruments or other reasons. You should check the frequency response specs of the potential subwoofers you are planning to get before proceeding.

The 15″ subwoofer should have a higher SPL than a 12″ subwoofer but when there are two 12″ subs, it will be a different story. As two 12-inch subwoofers would have more amplifier power and headroom than one 15-inch sub. This allows you to crank up the volume higher and also dual subwoofers are more capable of handling music/movie peaks.

Two 12-Inch Subwoofers or One 15-Inch Subwoofer

When talking about more even in-room bass responses, two 12″ subwoofers will usually be the ones to achieve this. Furthermore, having 2 subs make it easier for auto room correction technologies to calibrate the LFE and provide a more optimized bass performance. This will allow every listener to hear and feel the same level of low-end delivery within the room.

Having two 12-inch subwoofers may not have greater punch and impact than a 15-inch sub. Though, the two subs may provide a more weighty and aggressive midbass. Another performance aspect that is uniquely different will be that 12″ subs tend to have a slightly tighter bass response than 15″ or larger subs. We are comparing subs of equal caliber and are also well-designed. Low-quality subwoofers no matter the size is likely to deliver sluggish performance.

You do need an AV receiver or amplifier with dual subwoofer outputs which can be quite rare for the latter. If your sound system already has such a feature then it would be great. If not, more costs will be incurred, for example, you will need to get a new AV receiver with dual sub outs.

Without using any auto room correction technology, finding the optimal placement for a single 15″ subwoofer would be a lot easier than two 12″ subs. We are talking about using the subwoofer crawl method.

For listeners who focus more on listening to music, having two 12″ subwoofers can give you the opportunity to set up stereo bass which will provide more accurate low-end cues. A single 15″ subwoofer can only produce mono bass and is not as immersive when compared to the stereo bass quality of two 12″ subwoofers.

To Conclude

There are advantages when using dual subwoofers set up or a single large 15″ subwoofer. The quality of the subwoofers plays a big part and the comparison is based on both of them having the same level of standard. Your own requirements and situations could influence whether to go for two 12 Inch subwoofers or one 15 Inch sub.

Sometimes listening to how they perform will provide a clearer picture. If you have friends who own either setup, you might want to drop by and have a listen. This will give you a rough idea of the difference in using one 15″ or two 12″ subwoofers. Why we say a rough idea is because you will still need to test the performance on the potential subwoofer models you are intending to buy. Unless you are going for the ones which your friends own then you probably should do a thorough subwoofer audition there. You can check out our list of the best movies to test subwoofer here.

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