Over To You: Should I Buy A Sub-Woofer With My New PA System?

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pa systems powered subs sub-woofer
Last updated 30 August, 2017

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A sub can add considerable “thump” to your PA system, but at often considerable additional cost too. Is it essential, asks our reader today?

Reader Jon Baker writes: “I’m relatively new to the digital DJing scene, and as such haven’t got my own PA system yet, although I plan on investing in one shortly. I tend to play predominately music which is very bass-heavy, yet only have a budget of around £350 for a pair of preferably powered PA speakers (poor student times). I usually only play gigs in small to medium sized venues. As my music is so bass-heavy, would it really sound OK on such a budget system, ie one within my price range, or should I wait considerably longer and purchase a powered sub at the same time? Any views appreciated.”

Digital DJ Tips says:

It’s true that you can get away without one. Speaker positioning is a real essential, and get this right and even with a modest PA it is possible to cover a small area – ie your dancefloor – reasonably effectively. However, especially when you haven’t got much raw power to spare, having the extra warmth in the bass can make all the difference.

Bass is not very directional, so the full ‘thump’ of you sub-woofer will carry throughout a venue, then you can use your mid/top cabinets to provide the clarity and fill the sound in where it matters most (again, decent positioning will cover your dancefloor). This way, a modest PA can actually just about suffice in situations where a two-speaker PA without the extra bass wouldn’t.

For weddings and such? Definitely not worth it. For bass-heavy music like you play? I’d instinctively say it’s worth having the sub.

Over to you: Should Jon add extra bass in the form of a powered sub, or invest in a sub-less PA and maybe add it later? Have you done one or the other? What was your experience? Please let us know in the comments.