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What Is a Flat Subwoofer?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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A flat subwoofer is a type of speaker that is used to produce low-frequency sounds. In the past, the housing around these types of speakers made them relatively box-shaped, but modern innovations have led to the creation of subwoofers that are much thinner than they are tall or wide. As with a standard subwoofer, a flat subwoofer is used to amplify the base in an audio recording or in a live audio performance. They generally only produce sounds that fall into the 20 to 200 hertz range.

There are a few different components that make up a subwoofer. The first is a diaphragm, which is a conically shaped surface that is found on the outermost portion of the subwoofer. The diaphragm is attached to a frame through a suspension that can bounce up and down. Behind the diaphragm and suspension, a driver or voice coil is used to create vibrations in the diaphragm, which in turn produces sound. These components are housed in a firm protective casing.

Standard subwoofers are box-shaped because the diaphragm and driver require some amount of depth in order to work properly. Advancements in technology have allowed for the creation of drivers and diaphragms that are much flatter than they used to be. A flat subwoofer with a diameter of 9 inches (22.9 centimeters), for example, may only require a depth of about 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) in order to produce low-frequency sounds.

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Like any subwoofer, a flat subwoofer is designed to produce low sounds. The exact range of sounds will vary considerably from device to device, but in general, the sounds produced by the subwoofer range from the lower extreme of what the human ear can hear, which is 20 hertz, to the middle of the range of human speech, which is 200 hertz. Higher quality and professional subwoofers produce sounds only below 100 hertz, making the bass quality more pronounced.

The benefit of choosing a flat subwoofer is that it does not take up as much space as a standard subwoofer. Subwoofers are usually placed on the floor so that their vibrations can be felt as well as heard, and a flat subwoofer can usually fit under a piece of furniture such as a lounge chair or couch. In a car, a standard subwoofer often takes up a lot of space in the trunk. Using a subwoofer that is not as deep can free up trunk space.

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