Why did we build the world’s most powerful portable subwoofer? Because we could!

Some years ago we at Danley Sound Labs heard about a requirement for a military “subwoofer” which was so large we had no immediate sense at all of what it would take to accomplish the task, but it would be a giant monster of a subwoofer; if it could be built at all. As we like “big stuff” and because revel in the hard, “you can’t do that, are you out of your mind” engineering challenges, we decided to build one on our own. Our chief designer Tom Danley had already worked with a lot these type challenges having become the first person to figure out how to build an acoustic levitator which was used with the NASA space shuttle project as well as having designed a Sonic boom generator to study the effects of repeated exposure to this phenomenon and even a ground zero bomb simulators used by the military to test the muster of troops when absolute deafening chaos ensues.

The Matterhorn Subwoofer had multiple challenges. It had to produce a very low distortion sine wave, anywhere between 15Hz and 20Hz and to do it on a 24/7 duty cycle. It also had to be omni-directional, able to change frequency quickly and fit within and a standard shipping container. The really hard part was that it had to do all this at a minimum of 94dB and ideally 104dB at 250 Meters!

The Matterhorn project deals with much higher sound levels than most ever encounter. For example, at the mouth of the horn which is an 8’ by 8’ opening, at its highest output the sound level is around 152dB which applies about 18 pounds per square foot of pressure on the structure. As the horn path is wrapped around if one measures some 32’ back into the monster at beginning of the Tapped horn, the peak pressure is even greater and reaches about 50 pounds per square foot. Due to the increased efficiency of the Tapped Horn we actually have close to 10 dB of headroom over the desired specification.


40                       15” Transducers 65 lbs each 2600 lbs

40                       1000 watt amplifiers

1400’                  12 Gauge Loudspeaker Wire

1                         20’ Shipping Container with doors on both ends

1                         20’ Shipping Container Trailer Assembly

680                     Labor Hours

53                       4’x8’ 18mm 13 ply Baltic Birch plywood sheets

645’                    3”x3” ¼” angle iron

23’                      4”x4” square steel tubing

39’                      1”x1” ¼” angle iron

23lbs                   .030 welding wire

95                       tubes heavy duty construction adhesive

1000 lbs              LineX Truck Bed Liner to coat the entire unit interior and exterior

Approx 5000        mechanical fasteners (1/4” and 3/8”) screws and bolts

How it was made Video

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