If you planning to build a proper car audio system you must have a subwoofer because those speakers are very important part of the perfect sound and feel of the music. Without a good bass speaker, no sound system is complete and able to deliver the full audio experience. That is why we are going to introduce to subwoofers, technology behind it and help you find the best subwoofer for you.
How Do The Subwoofers Work
Subwoofer works on the same principle as any other speaker which means that make sound by moving air. However, the construction of the subwoofer is a little bit different than regular audio speaker and subwoofers are designed to move more air producing more powerful but not louder sound. This is why the subwoofers are perfect for low bass sounds and for producing strong and low frequencies sometimes below the level of the human ear. The sound that subwoofers produce is low and strong bass sound and sometimes you can not hear it but you can feel it since its audio waves are stronger than from regular speakers. This is why the subwoofers and the bass sound are very important in creating a full sound.
The subwoofer’s speaker cone is larger than most speakers are in order to provide more movement. Subwoofer speakers are contained inside a specially designed box called an enclosure. The enclosure needs to separate the air movement from the front and back of the cone. If the air is not separated properly, the sound will not be delivered as it should and the subwoofer will not produce desired sound. The most common types of subwoofers are:
If the subwoofer has its own power or amplifier source build in subwoofer it’s called “active“ or “powered“. The powered subwoofer is often the whole set with all needed bits already installed.
If the subwoofer needs to be powered by outside source or amp it is called passive. The passive subwoofer is basically only a speaker which needs to be connected and powered to be operational.
Car Subwoofer Buying Guide
Since we explained to you the basic things about subwoofers, in general, it is time to concentrate of car audio. The car subwoofers are very important part of good and quality car sound system. You can not have a full sound or good bass effect without one and every true car audio fan knows that. That is why the subwoofer market is big and there are a lot of different products to choose. Follow our buying guide and find the best car subwoofer for you.
Work The Numbers
First, see what the kind of system (power and capability) you have in your car and what kind of subwoofer you can have. There is no use of buying big subwoofer on a weak system with a weak amplifier or overpowering small subwoofer. The numbers are pretty straight forward so even if you are not the audio expert you will understand what to do. The most important index is RMS or Root Mean Squared which signifies the power put out by an amplifier when powering a vehicle or other audio system. This means that you must match up the RMS of the subwoofer to that of the amplifier. If you don’t pay attention to RMS index, the speakers can sound underpowered and if you send too much power you can cause serious damage.
Easy To Install Or Custom Made Subwoofer?
The answer to this questing depends on of your approach to the car audio system build. If you want easy to install, pre-build and off the shelf components that choose enclosed subwoofers. This is basically bass speaker pre-mounted into a box designed to produce the best and the best air flow. You just need to put it in the trunk of your car and connect it to the rest of the sound system and you are good to go. However, if you want a custom made stereo in your vehicle, you might go the other way and buy just a subwoofer speaker without any box or enclosure. In that case, you will need to make some kind of box and find the place to mount it inside of your car. For most users, of the shelf components are perfect since they are easy to install and remove but demanding users and people that are making show style audio systems will go with the subwoofer speakers without the box.
Size And Dimensions
The dimensions of the subwoofer sometimes are limiting factor in buying. If you have a small car or there is just no place in the interior to put a big subwoofer kit some manufacturers produce compact size subwoofers designed especially for actual car make and models. In that case, maybe you should first check if the subwoofer kit for your car and model year is available and what are its specifications before you buy aftermarket system.
But there is also a question of the size of the subwoofer speaker itself and the four most common subwoofer sizes are 8, 10, 12, and 15 inches (diameter of the speaker). The 8 inches subwoofer are the smallest and often found as a part of the stock audio equipment of modern cars. Also, the 10-inch subwoofers could be found as standard audio equipment. The most common aftermarket dimension is the 12-inch subwoofer which is big enough for really deep and strong sounds but still compact enough for installation in most vehicles. However, the biggest subwoofer is 15 inch and it is really a big speaker with enormous potential in playing low and strong tones. The 15-inch speakers are powerful and loud but they are not exactly the clearest sounding units due to its construction.
Check out advantages of shallow mount subwoofers & top rated underseat subwoofers here!
Step-by-Step Guide to Subwoofer Installation
For a proper installation, you will need few things before you start. Besides the tools you need a wiring set (to connect all the components) and some glue or silicon paste and these instructions:
Disconnect The Car Battery
Since you are working with electricity and you do not want any short circuit problems, first and foremost you should disconnect the car battery. This way you will be safe.
Running The Wires
The most boring and potentially dangerous part of installation are the wires. There are a lot of them and you need to run and connect them properly in order to function correctly. Our advice is to choose quality wires with good isolation since the audio impulses will run trough them and the better the wires the better the sound is going to be. Be sure that you run the wires trough the interior of the car without crossing any other ones or previous car installations. You do not want that since it can cause problems. The wires must be fixed and protected from rubbing against other parts of the car.
Connecting The Components
Next step is to connect all the components and those are the cd/mp3 player, amplifier, speakers and the subwoofer. For that, you must pull the cd/mp3 player out of the dashboard since the connecting jacks are hidden behind it. First, connect the player unit with the amplifier and then connecting the speakers and subwoofer. Be patient and be sure that everything is connected properly since you won’t get any sound if you missed something.
Installing The Subwoofer
After you have connected everything you should install the subwoofer into the trunk of the car. If you are using enclosed subwoofer simply put the box in the trunk and be sure that the box is not lost and it can not move freely inside the trunk. You need the subwoofer to be static at all times and this is where you use the glue or silicon paste to glue it to the bottom of the trunk. When you put the subwoofer make sure that there is enough space around it since space will provide the sound. If you put subwoofer close to the sides and cover it with the stuff you have in the trunk, the sound will be affected and you wouldn’t get wanted results.
Connect The Battery
If you are sure that everything is connected as it should, you can connect the car battery and play music and play it loud. This way you can hear all the benefits of the subwoofer in the trunk and you can adjust the balance or equalizers of your stereo system.
Which is the Best Car Subwoofer Brands in 2017?
There are a lot of manufacturers that are producing subwoofers and other audio components, however, just a few can be considered the best and the most respected by audio fans. Here is our top five:
American company specialized in speakers and amplifiers is well known for its quality products and wide selection. Very active on subwoofer market, MTX with its subbrand Kicker has some of the best subs available and loyal following among buyers.
Another American company, active since late 60’s and very famous among audiophiles for perfect quality and the crystal sound of their products. Infinity has a nice selection of all kinds of speakers especially subwoofers and you can not go wrong with this manufacturer.
Not so known as other famous companies, JL Audio is active since 1975 and was constantly improving its products. Today it offers a good selection of car speakers and subwoofers and it is a company which deserves more recognition.
We have already written about this American company. With is line up of upscale products and audio components, Rockford Fosgate is among the best manufacturers in the world and every their product is a quality item.
If you want the perfect sound in your car, you’ll need a good subwoofer. However, in order to get the perfect results you need to learn more about the types, dimensions, and the principle of working as well as installation and how to buy the best car subwoofer to suit your needs. Only then you’ll understand the importance of subwoofers in a symphony of sounds and how you can improve your car audio experience. Follow our buying guides and informative articles to learn all there is to subjects of car subwoofers.