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Lower Hz Means More Bass?

I get asked a lot of questions about speakers and stereo systems in general, but one of the most common happens to be… Is it true that lower Hz means more bass? While this makes a lot of sense, it’s not always that simple. We have to take into account frequency range, volume, crossover, and power when we’re talking about getting the biggest boom for your buck.

In this article, I’ll lead you through the banging forest of bass facts so that you can choose the best speakers for your setup. With a little technical knowledge of crossovers, amps, woofers, and subwoofers, you can get your stereo sounding super sick – in a good way!


What is Sound?

What is Sound?

It makes sense to know what bass is before we go around talking about which speakers make the biggest bass sound, right? To that end, let’s start by talking about what sound is.

Sound is energy that moves through the air (or other materials) in the form of waves. Sound that we can hear is the energy that hits our eardrums and causes them to vibrate. Our brains then interpret what we feel in our eardrums as sounds.

Pretty smart, huh?

These energy waves travel at different frequencies. What does that mean? High-frequency sounds have short wavelengths, the same way high-voiced mice are tiny. If we measure them in Hz, which means times per second, we find that lots of high-frequency waves can pass by a point in a single second. This is like thousands of tiny mice speeding past you in one second.

Low-frequency sounds have long wavelengths, the same way that low-trumpeting elephants are huge. If we measure them in Hz, we find that few low-frequency waves can pass by a point in one second. This is like only a few elephants tromping past you in that single second.

Welcome to the jungle!

[Nerd Note: However, this doesn’t mean that high frequencies travel faster than lower frequencies. The speed of sound is the same through the same air – 761 miles per hour (or 343 m/s in metric). 

If you had the same weight of mice and elephants running past you, it would probably take the same amount of time for them to pass, even though you’d only see a few elephants and a heck of a lot of mice. We can think of the amount of sound energy traveling from point A to point B in much the same way.]

Now, the range of human hearing, on average, is 20Hz to 20kHz. The ‘k’ stands for ‘kilo,’ which means 1000, so 20kHz is the same as 20,000Hz. This means that for anything lower-pitched than 20Hz or higher than 20,000Hz, we just don’t have the equipment to hear it. So when humans talk about “sound,” we generally mean energy waves between 20Hz and 20kHz.

Frequencies higher than 20kHz we call “ultrasound” and are used in things like medical scanners and dog whistles. Anything lower than 20Hz we call “infrasound.” Some big animals, like whales and our infamous elephants, use infrasound frequencies to communicate across vast distances.

What is Bass?

Bass is simply a range of low frequencies that we can hear (and feel!). Most audio engineers consider the range of bass frequencies to be between 20Hz and 250Hz. Some separate the 20-60Hz range as sub-bass because these are frequencies some people can’t even hear, and most of us feel even more intensely than we hear.

Bass is produced by long, deep instruments with heavy-gauge strings or big reverberation cavities. Some of the most common bass instruments are the bass guitar, stand-up bass, kick drum, and the low end of the piano. However, these days it’s more often than not produced by digital instruments, as in the case of hip-hop beats and EDM music.

Bass provides music with a heaviness, a gravity that we instinctively want to nod our heads and stomp our feet to. We can feel it in our chest cavities, and that stimulation gives us more excitement than music or movies without bass. Furthermore, without it, music feels hollow, thin, and airy.

Bass Speakers and power

So, what kinds of speakers handle bass output? There are two types: woofers and subwoofers.


Let’s talk about woofers first. Woofers are generally mid-sized (from 3-8 inches in diameter) drivers that handle the low and middle ranges of the sounds in your music and movies. Their range can generally fall between 50-2,500Hz, and higher frequencies are handled by smaller, chirpier tweeters.

Woofers are generally passive speakers. This means that they don’t have their own power supply to boost their signals. They can be powered through regular speaker cables using an amplifier.


Subwoofers are bigger and more powerful speakers than woofers, as their name suggests. They can produce sounds that range in frequency from 20 – 200Hz. So, if you really want to blast the bottom end, you’ll need a subwoofer to do it.

Subwoofers can be anywhere from 8 inches in diameter to 21 inches. And the bigger they are, the more power they need to move big blasts of bassy air.

Subwoofers can be active (featuring a built-in power source) if they’re smaller. Larger subwoofers, however, are usually passive speakers. That means they need their own dedicated power supply to get enough juice to rock the bass. This means that bigger, bassier speakers need to have extra power driven to them and therefore are more difficult to install in homes and car stereos.

Bass Power and Frequency

Bass Power and Frequency

Think of a 20Hz sound wave like an elephant. It would take a heck of a lot of power to toss one across the road, wouldn’t it? Compare that to throwing a thousand 20kHz mice across the road. Sure your arm might get tired after a while, but you would just need to use a teeny bit of power for each toss.

Bass is the same…

Big boosted bass sounds take more power to create. They need big speakers to move large amounts of air towards your ears. So as the frequency drops, the power consumption of your speakers rises. And while lower Hz means more bass, you have to be sure you have the power to produce it.

Subwoofers can use up lots of energy, which can drain your system if you’re not properly prepared. It can also cost you a lot of money. Electricity doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

Crossovers and the Best Bass

A crossover is essentially a frequency filter that lets some frequencies through to a speaker and blocks out others.

Why use crossovers?

Crossovers are essential for producing clear sound in a good stereo system. You don’t want those pounding bass signals sent to a tweeter because that tiny speaker couldn’t produce them, and you’d just get distortion.

You also don’t want the high end or even the mids coming to your sub-woofer because it wastes power to amplify them, and they won’t be produced properly anyway.

For a great bass sound

You need a low-pass crossover installed on your subwoofer. These are normally built into active subs, and on many, you can even select the crossover frequency you want. This will be the limit of the sound frequencies you let through to your subwoofer.

Even if your subwoofer has a range of 20-200Hz, you can set your crossover to 80Hz and let the higher frequencies go to your mid-range woofers and tweeters. This way, your sub will only produce the deepest bass notes, giving you more bass for the power you put into it.

Subwoofers for More Bass

Subwoofers for More Bass

If you want to add more bass to your sound system, a subwoofer is most definitely the answer. Whether for your car, stereo, or home theater, the extra bass is going to make your chest thump and your heart pound.

These days, wireless subwoofers are all the rage since they save you from having to run messy cables throughout your space. The Klipsch R-12SWi is a 12” wireless sub that draws 400 Watts of bass-blasting power. It has a front-firing driver that gives you a frequency range of 29-120Hz, keeping it deep and dank.

Options abound

If you want to move up to something more expensive, Bose makes the Bose Bass Module 700, a powered active subwoofer housing a 10” speaker.

Although it’s intended to pair with Bose soundbars, you can still match it up to your system. The crossover here is at 90Hz, which means this speaker only handles the thickest, juiciest bottom frequencies for clear and powerful bass.

For your car stereo

Shaking those seats is a must. The Sound Storm Laboratories Lopro10 is a 1200 Watt subwoofer that packs a huge punch with a very low profile. It is an active subwoofer and therefore requires a power supply. You get a low-pass and a subsonic filter onboard, both of which are adjustable, so you can tweak your system perfectly.

The 10-inch speaker can also give you an optional bass boost for when you really want to crank it. But be warned, whoever’s seat it’s installed under is going to shake a whole lot.

Looking for more Great Subwoofer options?

Then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best 12-Inch Subwoofers, the Best 15-inch Subwoofers, the Best Subwoofers for Music, the Best Car Subwoofers, the Best Under Seat Subwoofers, the Best PA Subwoofers, and the Best Competition Subwoofer you can buy in 2023.

You may also like our detailed KEF KUBE 10b Subwoofer Review, our Klipsch Sub-12HG Review, our Klipsch R-10B Review, our Sony STRDH590 5.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater Receiver Review, our Sonos Wireless Amplifier Review, and our Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel AV Receiver Review.

It’s True: Lower Hz Means More Bass

Down to the 20Hz point, of course. But, that’s not the only thing important in determining how well your bass comes through. The amount of power you can run to your subwoofer is crucial to ensure it has enough energy to produce those bottom frequencies.

You also need to set a suitable crossover frequency to ensure that the sub gets to handle only the lowest frequencies, so you get the purest, cleanest bass sound possible. If you want it to sound like there’s an elephant in the room, a subwoofer is mandatory. It will complete your sound system and give you the chest-rattling bass booms that you know you deserve.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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