The capabilities of the many different speakers vary when they handle different notes and sounds. This is the reason why many singers, DJs, and other stage performers use many different kinds of speakers for the show. To achieve a quality sound system, they will use tweeters, subwoofers, woofers, and mid-ranges.
The common mistake people do with woofers and subwoofers is that they think both are the same. Even if they appear identical, there are some factors in which they differ. Below is an elaborate explanation of where they differ.
To put it simply, a woofer is a loudspeaker that produces low-frequency sounds. They can range from 40-2,500 Hz. The sounds with very lower frequencies than this cannot get reproduced by the woofer, but a subwoofer can do that job. Generally, the range of a subwoofer is 20-200 Hz.
The frequency range of the woofer is wide, but for a subwoofer it is narrow. That is why a subwoofer can give you constant bass. For most uses, the frequency range of woofers can be ideal. But for music who are into bass, it is best to add a subwoofer because it can produce fuller bass than a woofer.
The size of the woofers is built smaller than subwoofers. To give low frequencies needs a large volume of air. For this, the device needs a large, powerful magnet and large cone surface area. This is why the subwoofers are large to give very low frequencies.
The powering of woofers and subwoofers differ. Passive bass drivers are woofers, meaning that they get powered by an external amplifier. You can use the same amplifier of a regular speaker to power the woofers. But the subwoofers are either active or passive powered. The working of the passive woofers is the same as that of passive subwoofers. Only active subwoofers are different.
Active subwoofers come with their inbuilt amplifier inside the box. For this to work good, it requires a connection with the amplifier. They also require a connection to a power source and the head unit. That is why it is more demanding to set up than its contemporaries.
Generally, a woofer demands less power than a subwoofer. The subwoofers use a lot of power because it takes a lot of it from the amplifier. Sometimes you may need a capacitor if you are using a subwoofer.
Number of Drivers
Most woofers have either a 2-way or 3-way driver system. The 2-way setup has a tweeter and a woofer are the 2 drivers of the speaker. Meanwhile, the 3-way setup has a midrange driver, tweeter, and a woofer. Some models come as a 4-way driver system with an additional driver called super-tweeter.
The subwoofers have only a single driver system. You can have many subwoofers, but each one will be a single driver system.
From the above technical aspects, it is easy to see that both are quite different. So, depending on the kind of bass you want you, go for the one that meets your needs.