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What speakers are good for bass?

Many factors contribute to how much bass a speaker delivers including: the size of the speaker driver, the frequency specifications of the crossover, the design of the speaker driver and the design of the speaker cabinet.

Speakers with larger than 5 inch woofers generally will deliver better bass than those with smaller drivers.  But that is not the only option for creating reasonable bass as mentioned above. The following speaker designs can fool you into hearing more bass. Some work well, some, not so much.

  • A ported speaker where the design has a hole in the back or front of the speaker cabinet can, in some instances, deliver greater bass response to the ear. These are referred to as bass reflex speakers. The general premise is the port allows for more air to be forced out of the enclosure to create more low end sound. The caveat here is that these ports are usually "tuned" to a specific low end frequency (like when you blow into a bottle). This is a cheap and effective way of delivering more bass at the expense of accuracy of bass frequencies. 
  • Crossover's are devices that sit inside your bookshelf, tower or even bluetooth speaker that decide which speaker in a multi-driver cabinet is getting what frequencies. They can even limit the low end frequencies from reaching the speaker to either avoid overdriving the speaker or creating a sound preferred by the engineer. 
Many bluetooth speakers use ported designs to give greater bass response to their design. Bose does this quite effectively in their soundlink mini and other products.

Are there any general guidelines to finding speakers with good bass response?

Not really. At one time some European speaker manufacturers produced speakers with less bass response do to regional tastes. This is no longer the case. 

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The best way to decide is to get the speakers in your home and listen to them. If all other things are equal you can always EQ the bass to your taste. The next best path would be to read forums to see what others think about bass response of different systems. The challenge here is it's difficult to tell by descriptors whether what they like is what you'll like.

As always, your ears are your best tool for choosing audio products. Note to readers, this blog helps keep us being able to not buy screw top wine. Clicking on links and purchase products my result us getting a small commission. Thanks if you do!

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