Do Soundbars Have Bass? Do you need a subwoofer?

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Soundbars are very popular when it comes to home audio, however, before someone buys one they want to know they are getting a high-quality product.

One of the many questions that consumers have is do soundbars have bass?

Soundbars have limited bass capabilities, it is recommended that you pair one with a subwoofer.

You can customize your bass levels on your soundbar by adjusting the bass and treble controls on your remote/app, this is common with most modern soundbars.

Bass Response in a Soundbar

While soundbars excel in providing clear dialogue and mid-range frequencies, their compact size poses limitations when it comes to producing deep, booming bass.

With this being said there have been advancements in technology have led to innovations like built-in subwoofers and passive radiators, enhancing the soundbar’s bass capabilities.

However, for many who want to experience the bass they are accustomed to in say a Movie Theater this won’t be enough.

Fortunately, a lot of soundbars allow for external subwoofer connectivity, offering users the option to amplify low-frequency sounds for a more immersive audio experience.

Do soundbars have bass and treble controls?

Yes, many modern soundbars come equipped with bass and treble controls, offering users the flexibility to customize their audio experience according to personal preferences.

These controls allow fine-tuning of the sound profile, enabling users to adjust the balance between low and high frequencies.

Additionally, some soundbars offer advanced equalizer settings or preset sound modes tailored for specific content types, such as movies, music, or dialogues.

These settings automatically adjust bass and treble levels to optimize the audio output for different scenarios.

Does a soundbar need a subwoofer?


If you want to experience low-frequency sounds with heightened bass response you will eventually need to buy a subwoofer.

Luckily many soundbars will allow you to bundle a subwoofer with your purchase, you can even add satellite speakers as well.

I would recommend buying a subwoofer if the presence of one does not overwhelm your room.

For example, if you are in a small bedroom a soundbar and sub might not be ideal, especially if the acoustics in the room are not ideal.

However, if you live in a place with shared walls like an apartment then you need to be extra cautious about getting a subwoofer.

I wrote a separate article about having a subwoofer in an apartment that you can read here.

I highly recommend reading this as you need to be considerate of your neighbors and I don’t want you to purchase a soundbar or subwoofer that makes your neighbors hate you.

I should mention only you know the acoustics of your room and if your neighbors will hear your soundbar or subwoofer so feel free to dismiss what I said if it does not apply to you.

Best Soundbars for Bass

  • JBL Bar 5.1: JBL products are well known for their bass and this is no different with the JBL Bar 5.1 (affiliate link). This soundbar is optimal for living rooms as it can fill up large rooms with its overwhelming bass response. This is a great option for those looking for a budget option as getting stellar bass from a soundbar can get quite expensive.
  • Samsung HW-Q990C: The Q990C (affiliate link) is critically acclaimed for a reason, the bass response will leave your room shaking. The soundbar has 22 speakers that fit snugly inside. It also includes a separate subwoofer and satellite speakers, providing for an immersive home cinema experience that is second to none. It is pricey but if you want the best possible bass response from a soundbar this is it.
  • Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra: The Shockwafe Ultra (affiliate link) is of a 9.2.4 configuration and comes with dual subwoofers and 4 satellite speakers. This is about the best surround sound experience you can get from a home theater system with a soundbar. Like the Samsung Q990C it is very expensive but it’s worth it. If you don’t know what soundbar channels are (9.2.4) I suggest you read the following article.
  • Klipsch Cinema 600: The Cinema 600 (affiliate link) is a 3.1 soundbar from the renowned audiophile brand Klipsch. The Cinema 600 has the ability to reach impressive volumes, making it ideal for lively gatherings and crowded parties where the sound needs to fill the room.


In conclusion, while soundbars have become a popular choice for home audio enthusiasts, their bass capabilities are inherently limited due to their compact size.

While adjustments to bass and treble levels can enhance the soundbar experience, those seeking deep, cinema-quality bass should consider investing in an external subwoofer.

Fortunately, modern soundbars offer customization options, allowing users to fine-tune their audio profiles according to personal preferences.

The market also boasts exceptional choices for those prioritizing powerful bass, such as the JBL Bar 5.1, Samsung HW-Q990C, Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra, and Klipsch Cinema 600.

Each of these options provides varying levels of bass response, catering to different room sizes and preferences.

Ultimately, understanding your specific audio needs and room acoustics will guide you in making the best choice for an immersive and satisfying home audio experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do soundbars have subwoofers built in?

Some soundbars come with built-in subwoofers to enhance bass output. However, these built-in components have limitations in reproducing deep, booming bass.

For a more powerful and immersive bass experience, it’s advisable to invest in a separate external subwoofer, which many soundbars allow you to connect.

How do I add bass to my soundbar?

Adjusting the bass settings on your soundbar, a common feature in modern soundbars, allows you to fine-tune the low-frequency levels to your preference, enhancing the overall bass performance of your audio setup.

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