The Subwoofer Kick Drum Test

Background

This simple and enjoyable test checks if your subwoofer is used as it is supposed to be used. Many people rely on their subwoofer to add more bass to their sound system: what they are looking for, actually, is an equalizer! A subwoofer is not meant to play louder basses; it is meant to play deeper basses.

In other words, you should add a subwoofer to your main speakers to extend the frequency range of your system toward lower frequencies, not increase its bass level.

Give your subwoofer a kick (or two, or... six)

Our test files have been designed after the Roland TR-808 electronic drum machine, and its infamous analog kick drum.

Kick 1
→70Hz
Kick 2
→60Hz
Kick 3
→50Hz
Kick 4
→40Hz
Kick 5
→30Hz
Kick 6
→20Hz

Play these files, in two test conditions: first, with your main speakers only, then with your subwoofer turned on.

If your system has been properly set up, the level of all these kick drums should remain the same, whatever the file and condition.

You will hear a difference though, as each kick offers a different depth. A better subwoofer will discriminate among all the kicks easily. But remember, the only difference you should hear will be in the frequency range, not the loudness.

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