Is An Amp Necessary to Use With a Subwoofer?

If you’re someone who’s interested in listening to music at the highest possible sound quality, you will have definitely considered using a subwoofer.

Regardless of whether you’re wanting to listen to music in the car, at home, or to watch movies with a more cinematic experience, the best subwoofers can enhance the way you hear the sound

Subwoofers, in particular, are what deal with producing those super deep bass sounds. Initially, subwoofers can seem pretty complicated – especially since there are so many options available. 

If you’ve been wondering about setting up a subwoofer, you should know more about the role that amplifiers play. We’re about to get into the details of amps and subwoofers so that you can feel more confident about your subwoofer knowledge than before. 

Amp Necessary to Use With a Subwoofer

Amps and Subwoofers

One of the most popular questions that people have when looking into buying subwoofers is whether they need an amp or not. 

In all instances, an amplifier is needed with all subwoofers. There’s no way around it. As we mentioned above, subwoofers can seem like complicated machines to begin with. However, let’s clear up why you need an amplifier with subwoofers.

The amplifier is the main element of a subwoofer that provides it with power. Since subwoofers are powerful devices, amplifiers are necessary to let them produce such loud bass sounds. 

If you’ve already been looking at subwoofers, Here we have a guide about everything you need to know about subwoofers.

you will have seen the term RMS a lot. RMS stands for root mean squared and it refers to the power in the form of watts. 

The RMS wattage of a subwoofer is determined by its amplifier. It’s the amount of power that a subwoofer can produce at a more continuous rate. When you’re playing music or watching movies, more times than not, you’ll be using the subwoofer at levels that aren’t extreme. 

So, the RMS rating is the continuous power that’s produced by the amplifier to let the subwoofer create low frequency sounds over a long period of time. 

You can think of the amplifier as being the middle parts between the power source that it’s plugged into and the subwoofer. Without an amp, your subwoofer wouldn’t be able to produce such loud sounds, regardless of how much power was available. 

In other words, the amp literally amplifies the sound so that it can transmit properly through the subwoofer. 

One aspect to lookout for when it comes to amps and subwoofers is that you need to ensure that the RMS of the amp and the subwoofer have a similar RMS rating. 

If you’ve purchased an amplifier with a lower RMS than your subwoofer, it’s not going to work to amplify the sound. Therefore, it’s crucial to check your subwoofer’s RMS rating and make sure that the amp has the same rating or higher. 

Different Kinds of Amps 

Now that you have a better idea of the role amps play with subwoofers, you may be wondering about the various types of amplifiers that are available. If so, we’ve put together more details surrounding the different kinds of amps below. 

The two most common amplifiers that you can find today are multi stream and mono amps. There are some complex differences between them. 

However, we can keep things simple by letting you know that the mono amps tend to be easier to use. This is because the multi stream amplifiers have a feature where they can be used to power multiple subwoofers at the same time. 

Whereas the mono amps are connected to just a single subwoofer. Therefore, if you’re a beginner to setting up subwoofers, you may find it a lot easier to use a mono amp to begin with. 

If you’re only using one subwoofer, there’s no need to overcomplicate things by using a multi stream amp. 

When you’re looking for a mono amp for your subwoofer, be sure to look at the RMS rating. As a general rule, you want to find an amp that’s at least 75% of the RMS rating on your subwoofer. 

Ideally, the ratings will be very close or the amp will be higher than the subwoofer. If you are interested in adding more subwoofers to your system, the multi stream amps may be a good idea. Although, professional help may be needed and the costs can be higher. 

An important factor to consider when setting up multiple subwoofers is that the impedance and coils must be the same. This will ensure that the power is able to be distributed between the subs evenly. 

Video: How to install an amp and sub in your car


That concludes our guide on whether it’s necessary to use an amp with your subwoofer. Hopefully, you’re now feeling a lot more confident about setting up a subwoofer system in  your home or in your car. 

The RMS rating of your subwoofer and amp matching is the most important element. If they don’t match up well, your subwoofer can be severely underpowered and it won’t have what it needs to produce the kind of sound that it’s capable of.

It’s an easy mistake to make for people who are completely new to setting up subwoofers. We recommend that you start with one subwoofer under $1000 to keep your costs down and familiarize yourself with these systems. 

Once you get more confident and want to boost the sound more, you can start implementing more subwoofers. 

There are subwoofers that already have amplifiers integrated. In which case, you won’t need to worry about finding an external amp.

Having said that, many people like the process of putting their sound system together on their own. They can find the subwoofer box and amp separately and integrate it all at home or in a vehicle.

Use the details found in this post to help you figure out the kind of amp that’s best for your subwoofer!