Car Subwoofers FAQs & Guides

Car Subwoofers

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When buying your first Sub, I’m sure you’ll have several questions that pop to your head. Like where do you even begin? What size should you get? What kind of factors increase or decrease performance?

If your entirely new at this, sometimes you won’t know what you don’t know! Not to worry. In this guide, we highlight some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to Car Subwoofers. Enjoy.

Q: What Do Subwoofers Do?

A: A Subwoofer(or sub) is a dedicated low-frequency component which covers deep,low frequency ranges that typical car speakers can reach. Car subwoofers come in various designs,size and configuration.

They’re designed specifically to reproduce the deepest notes in the musical spectrum. So a subwoofer is certainly part of the picture (but not all of it) of a realistic stereo-imaging. Although admittedly, most car speakers tend to lack the ability to play deep, sometimes you can even feel that your tweeters are pretty bright, for this reason ,you’ll need an external subwoofer to back them up.

By leaving bass reproduction up to subwoofers, your other sound system components can focus on frequencies they’re best equipped to handle.

Car Subwoofers
MTX Terminator Series TNE212D review

Q: What type of subwoofers will sound the loudest ?

A: That’s not an easy question to answer,simply because many factors come into play including sensitivity, enclosure type, power handling and… etc.

With that being said, make sure the subwoofer you’re about to purchase is highly efficient (high sensitivity rating) and housed in a ported or bandpass box. Next, consider a powerful outboard amplifier – by this, we mean an amp with an output power rating within your sub’s recommended power range.

Also, bear in mind that an amp with a “bass boost” control will come in handy; allowing you to fine-tune your sound.Additionally,if you’re an audiophile seeking ground-pounding bass , you’ll want to consider multiple subs.

Q: What factors affect subwoofer performance ?

A: Almost all of the following can affect your car subwoofers performance :

  • Sensitivity
  • Frequency response
  • Cone build material
  • Enclosure Type

If you’re looking for car subwoofers that can hit deep lows, then consider a subwoofer or multiple subs designed for use in a sealed box, with the lowest frequency range possible. Bear in mind, the larger the subs, the better the bass.

Q: Is there any difference between a woofer and a subwoofer ?

A: To put it simply, a woofer is part of the subwoofer. Technically, a sub consist of one or multiple woofers mounted in a box or enclosure. The box acts as a resonance chamber, allowing more airflow (SPL: sound pressure level) to the back of the speaker cone, which results in a significant increase of sound pressure level (SPL) and eventually richer and more full bass.

Q: How much power is required to drive my sub(s) ?

A: Well, when you’re shopping for a subwoofer, it’s very recommended to pay attention to power handling rating,specifically RMS (Root Mean Square).

RMS refers to the amount of power that a subwoofer can handle on an on-going basis. Unfortunately, on your quest to find the best car subwoofer that meets your needs and fits your vehicle, you’ll often find that brands like to brag about their sub’s Peak power handling, which isn’t by any means an accurate measurement of how powerful your sub can play as opposed to RMS.

With that being said,you’ll want to focus more on subs with high RMS rating. Additionally, you’ll want to pair your car subwoofers with an amp of a similar or a bit higher rating. The higher the RMS on both ends (amp & sub), the higher the sound volume.

Q: What’s the best : a single 12″ sub or dual 10″ subs?

A:  This is a very popular question, admittedly it’s not easy to answer definitively. There are so many factors to be taken into account, including power handling, size, and enclosure type, as well as your specific application and your individual perception.

But technically(and generally speaking), a dual 10″ inch subs will sound a bit more cleaner and punchy, simply because their combined cone surface area yields more sound pressure than a single 12″ inch subwoofer. A single 12″ inch subwoofer that can hit deep notes however might sound a little deeper.

Car Subwoofers
What’s the best : a single 12″ sub or dual 10″ subs?

Q: Is an aftermarket stereo required to hook up my amp and sub?

That’s possbile but it can be a bit tricky for non-experienced people. For this reason, we highly recommend buying an aftermarket stereo as your first step in upgrading your sound system.

Speakers and headunits are the most cost-effective sound system upgrade that can make a huge difference in your overall listening experience. However, if you still want to stick to your factory system for some reasons, here’s how to kook up your amp and sub to a factory system :

The very first thing you’ll need to do is to tape into your car’s speaker wires in order to get to the high-level signal your stereo puts out.Next, use a line output converter and send the signal to the amplifier. Finally, another workaround consists of using an amplifier or a powered subwoofer with speaker-level inputs.

Q: I have very little space inside my car – Any solution ?

Car Subwoofers, especially larger ones take so much space. Sometimes the whole trunk.However,brands and manufacturers have anticipated the need for smaller subwoofers.

Thus, they’ve came up with various options to cover different setups and applications. Among these options, there are powered subwoofers, shallow mount subwoofer, enclosed subs and underseat subwoofers. There are also 8″ and 10″ inch regular subwoofers.

Car Subwoofers
Kenwood KSC-SW11 mounted underseat

Q: Can I still hear the bass even if my subs are in the trunk ?

A: Absolutely. As long as your trunk isn’t sealed and soundproof, you’ll be able to hear the bass without any problem. Usually, bass travels through the materials separating the trunk and passenger seats. In case you think the bass reaching the front seats isn’t as full as when you’re close to the subs, then you can alleviate the problem by making a few small holes in the rear deck and covering it with an acoustically transparent material.

Q: Does vent(port) location make any difference in terms of sound ?

A: It shouldn’t matter as long as airflow coming from it reaches internal structure of the sub.

Q: What’s the best subwoofer box — ported, sealed, or bandpass?

This question is (and always has been) an evergreen discussion topic on the internet. It’s also one of the most common question asked by enthusiasts seeking the best car subwoofer for bass.

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Sealed boxes : Deep, precise bass

A sealed box (sometimes referred to as closed) is an airtight enclosure – assuming there are no air leaks- in which your subwoofer is mounted in.Sealed boxes tend to sound tighter and more accurate when compared to ported boxes , which makes them best suited for any music that demands tight and precise bass. In addition, the more air trapped inside the enclosure, the better the subwoofer performs.

ported vs sealed vs bandpass subwoofer

Ported boxes : I like it loud

Ported boxes (also known as vented, or bass reflex).These boxes use a vent (port) to allow more airflow to pass through it.This reinforces low bass response – which means you can get more sound output than you would from a sealed box given that the sub and the amp in both sealed and ported boxes have the same specifications. As a result, people who like listening to heavy metal,rock, or any hard-driving music usually opt for subs housed in ported boxes instead of sealed boxes.

Bandpass boxes: Maximum slam

Bandpass boxes are a special type of ported boxes. Unlike sealed and ported boxes,a bandpass box consist of dual chambers ,one ported and one sealed, with the woofer being mounted in between.

The sound waves emerging from the ported side is aggressive and extra loud, which makes these bandpass boxes a great option for rap, reggae, and hard rock. Bear in mind that not all subwoofer can work in bandpass boxes. [/table-of-contents]

Car Subwoofers

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