General car subwoofer buying guide
Choosing the best subwoofer for car can be a little hassle and a complex process for many, this is because high-quality subwoofers need a combination of other important technology for the features to function fully. Some of these technologies include an amplifier, high-quality head unit, and bandpass boxes. Our complete outline in this article, “car subwoofer buying guide” is to help you know how to choose the right subwoofer for your car. Lastly, if you are building a new car system, this will guide you to know all the components needed before you start.
If you are planning to upgrade your car sound system or have a new car audio system but need a bit of an informative guide on how to buy car audio, then you are at the right place. As you may have seen, we at Best Sound Systems are audio enthusiasts just like you, we enjoy sound so much we had to put it down in writing. This general car subwoofer buying guide is meant to educate you so you are aware of all the various upgrades needed with differences between all other components.
The first step in upgrading or buying a new sound system for your car is to do typical research on different product options, including receivers, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and car enclosure types. But first, we will target each one after the other.
The first in line is the car receiver, a car receiver is a unit on the dash of the car, it allows you to control different options and functions in the car. Car audio systems include the car radio (AM/FM), DAD radio, CD player, and MP3 player. If you are buying or upgrading, knowing the features you want in the receiver will save you time and money. This also includes knowing whether you require a DVD player, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, GPS display, and remote control. There are all-in-one best car stereo receivers you can buy online, and some other companies also provide car receiver installation guide.
An amplifier is basically a device that turns low voltage signals from an audio source into a high gain signal which is used to power a subwoofer. Other functions include: It allows you to select multiple inputs and the level of gains known as a preamplifier. It increases the power and adds the gain to the signal used to power the subwoofer.
Types of car amplifiers
There are three types of car amplifier, they are listed and explained below:
- Multi-channel amplifiers
- Mono amplifiers
- Dual-channel amplifiers
What is a multi-channel amplifier?
A multi-channel amplifier is used to reproduce and distribute the same audio source to multiple speakers and at the same volume. An example of a multi-channel amplifier is the DS18 Hydro NXL800.5D 5-Channel 1600 Watts Max Multichannel Amplifier.
What is a mono amplifier?
A mono amplifier or monoblock amplifier is a single channel amplifier used to reproduce low-frequency sound and distributed to either a single subwoofer or two subwoofers. Mono amplifiers are more stable in maintaining electrical current resistance, delivers efficient power, and cost less. An example of a monoblock amplifier is the BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Monoblock Car Amplifier, this has an 1100 watts output, a stable 2/4 Ohm, and with remote control.
What is a dual-channel amplifier?
A dual-channel is an amplifier with two amps that are contained in one chassis. The dual-mono amp has two separate mono amps built into one enclosure and share the same power supply/cable, but shares other things separately. An example of a dual-channel amplifier is the Dual Electronics XPE2700.
The second in line is the car speakers, knowing more about the car speakers needed like the size, shape, and depth is also vital. But firstly, there are mainly two types of car speakers you should know about, the two-way speakers and three-way speakers.
- Usually, the follow-come speakers or factory fitted speakers are two-way speakers, they are called so because each of the speakers has two drivers or speaker cones. One of the drivers or cones handles higher frequencies while the other handles lower frequencies.
- For the three-way speakers, each of the speakers has three drivers that control the narrowband frequencies for a more powerful and clear sound.
You can sometimes realize that one of the speakers got damaged or begin distorting sound, what caused this distortion is the RMS wattage when this wattage doesn’t match the car speakers from the car receiver output. When such issues arise, it can easily be fixed either by installing after-market speakers or making an extra bigger hole to compensate for the extra size. This is when knowing the size of the speaker you require is important, either you are replacing or buying new ones, it is easier to measure once you get to the existing speaker hole. Also, this is where you decide on the depth and shape of the speaker for the car.
What causes speaker distortion
What causes audio distortion is the RMS wattage when this wattage doesn’t match the car speakers from the car receiver output, either the audio signal is too strong or too high for a component handle, losing some of the signals and causing distortion. When such issues arise, it can easily be fixed either by installing after-market speakers or making an extra bigger hole to compensate for the extra size.
The next in line is the car subwoofer, but before you start looking for different types of car subwoofer to buy, there are other options that can easily enhance the sound of the car audio system. Using a processor can really enhance the car audio system, examples are an equalizer, line driver, bass enhancer, signal processor, and crossover. These processors also come with their own pros and cons, but weighing in on your options will make such a huge difference.
If you decide to add a subwoofer to get more heavy deep bass sound, then you should also know what subwoofer is right for the car. The first thing you will need for a subwoofer is an enclosure where the sub will sit and remember just having or using the car stereo only can not power a subwoofer. While some subwoofers may come with their own power, if not then you need a car amplifier to help power the subwoofer and speakers. Amplifiers can power the speakers and subwoofers which help to stop overloading of the car stereo with power requirements.
As stated earlier on different types of speakers, to avoid damage and distortion, you will need to match the RMS rating with the car stereo system, subwoofer, and amplifier.
“If you are getting a new sound system or just upgrading the sound system of your car, it is best to make sure it is durable and safe by using insulated wiring, or a complete rewiring of the car audio system, this is to get the best output from the installation.” You can also CONTACT US to help you with the right specialist installation.
Now that we are clear on the different product options which include receivers, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and car enclosure type, you are now ready to do some subwoofer buying, but first, what are the types of car subwoofer?
Types of car subwoofers in detail
It is time to learn about all the different types of car subwoofers out there, no matter what audio or type of car, there is just a perfect subwoofer for it.
When choosing a subwoofer, sound quality comes first which hugely depends on my next point, “the enclosure”, what type of enclosure you mount the subwoofer on will hugely determine the quality of sound you get. There are five types of speaker enclosures.
The main types of subwoofers for cars
- Component subwoofers.
- Enclosed subwoofer.
- Powered subwoofer.
- Vehicle specific subwoofer.
The component subwoofer
For a more personalized sound system built from the ground, the component subwoofer is the right sub. Component subwoofers are speakers that require a subwoofer enclosure for it the produce desire sound and purpose. Component subwoofers require an amplifier to power them, and these subwoofers can perform in any enclosure type on both high power and low power. An example of a component subwoofer is the Kicker CompC 44CWCS84 8″ 4-ohm Component Subwoofer.
The enclosed subwoofer
The enclosed subwoofer or subwoofer with a box comes pre-mounted in a specially designed box and is component subwoofers. With this enclosed subwoofer, you don’t need any more designing and building, saving you time and money, the subwoofer has just as much bass as the subwoofer was meant to. Only thing is, you can’t compare the component vs enclosed subwoofers when it comes to quality sound and bass production and you still require an external amplifier to power the subwoofer. An example of an enclosed subwoofer is the MTX Magnum MB210SP Dual Subwoofer.
Types of speaker enclosure
- Sealed enclosure: The sealed enclosure or box is what brings out the deep and accurate bass sound.
- Ported enclosure: The ported enclosure is made for loud music, with ported the main purpose is always volume.
- Dipole enclosures.
- Horn enclosures.
- Quarter wave enclosure.
The Powered subwoofer
The powered subwoofer car is the combination of components, enclosed, and amplifier into one enclosure providing compactness and minimizing space. The powered subwoofer car can fit into most spaces in the car because that is how they are designed, to be compact. The only thing is you can compare them to component subwoofer because the woofer, drivers, amplifiers come in small sizes so it fits the box, this reduces the heavy bass if that’s what you are up to. But for a normal deep bass fan, the powered subwoofer should be right for you because of the size, ease of installation, saving money, and blends easily to the car stereo system. An example of a powered subwoofer is the Rockford Fosgate P300-10 Punch Subwoofer.
The vehicle- specific subwoofer
The type of subwoofer can either be a powered or unpowered subwoofer, they are designed to fit in different location of the car or truck and usually match the interior color of the car or truck. This type of subs usually don’t take up spaces in the vehicle and produces compelling sound but not as powerful as the component subwoofer.
Car subwoofer size
When it comes to the car subwoofer sizes, this is very important as the size determines how loud and how low the subwoofer can sound, which brings us to the main secret, “the biggy the subwoofer size the bigger bass”. Before buying a subwoofer, measuring the space you have is important, knowing the size is first, followed by the desired model. If you are looking for the biggest and boldest bass, then you should go for the biggest subwoofer simple.
Types of car subwoofer sizes
- 8-inch subwoofer.
- 10-inch subwoofer.
- 12-inch subwoofer.
- 15-inch subwoofer.
The 8-inch subwoofer
The 8-inch subwoofer is the cheapest and most affordable subwoofer you can find, they are usually the subs that come with a new car as factory fitted speakers. The one thing about this 8-inch subwoofer is that it can easily be upgraded and installed in any space in the car including under the seats. Just having the subwoofer is not enough, for optimal performance, you will need to have door speakers that a good. The 8-inch sub is the ideal speaker if you are not into heavy bass, the size is perfect for bass response, clarity, and clean sound. An example of an 8-inch subwoofer is the Kicker 11HS8 8″ Hideaway Car Audio powered subwoofer.
The 10-inch subwoofer
The 10-inch subwoofer offers more bass response than the 8-inch subwoofer, but it is a compact and seamless installation. 8-inch vs 10-inch subwoofer, the power from the 10-inch subwoofer is a little more with better sound quality and providing extra bass. They make music more lifely than 8-inch and have a quick response.
The 12-inch subwoofer
The 12-inch subs work really well with different frequencies, handles a wide variety of music, versatile, and generates extra big bass and ideal subs for people who are into bigger bass than 8-inch and 10-inch subwoofers. The size may somehow be a problem, because of the size it may become less responsive.
The 15-inch subwoofer
The is the biggest subwoofer which lacks responsiveness because of the size, unlike the 8-inch subwoofer. They have the most powerful and biggest bass due to the size of the speakers and they do take up large spaces. Installing a 15-inch subwoofer in your car will require a complete car speaker upgrade, but may lose those crisp sound because of the heavy bass it produces. The 12-inch can move some level of air required to reproduce heavy bass, but the 15-inch is capable of moving an even larger volume of air that’s needed to reproduce synthesized bass common with Hip Hop music.
What to look for when buying a subwoofer?
After you have decided on the best car subwoofer size to buy, the next stage on the shopping list is a specification and comparison. Why we identify this as something you must do is to further help you in your decision making.
- Frequency range.
- Voice coil.
- Enclosure type.
- Subwoofer size.
Power: This is what makes the speaker produce unprecedented sound, the RMS power ratings are what handles the power-output. The RMS power rating should be able to handle the power output from the amplifier.
Sensitivity: Also called efficiency SPL (sound pressure level) quoted in dB (decibel), the higher dB means enough to amp power to sound. There is a difference between high sensitivity and low sensitivity, high sensitivity subwoofer requires less power to produce sound while a low sensibility requires more amplifier power to get the same loudness to the subwoofer.
Frequency range: The frequency range tells you the lowest to highest a subwoofer can play or reproduce, this also depends on the vehicle with the sub, the box (enclosed), and the crossover point.
Voice coils: There are a single voice coil and dual voice coil, most subwoofers use the single voice coils, but with dual voice coils a subwoofer use two different voice coils. Each of these coils has separate connections that are mounted on a single cylinder and connected to a cone. The dual voice coil is common among heavy sound lovers because they have much easier wiring.
Impedance: The impedance and power also work in hand, they are rated 2-ohm, 4-ohm, 8-ohm which are most common, you will need an amp to match the subwoofer impedance and power, this is what will help produce the sound you want.
Enclosure type: The subwoofer enclosure you are buying and where it will be mounted will also play a role in the sound. For more volume, the bandpass, and ported enclosure are ideal, for accurate and deep bass, the sealed box will be ideal.
Subwoofer size: To determine what size of the subwoofer is right for your vehicle, if you prefer subs that play loud and low, and you have a reasonable space, you may go for a larger subwoofer. But there are things you should consider, the enclosure type, power, and sensitivity, don’t just go for larger subs because even a well-powered sub with the right enclosure will produce a powerful sound too.
What size subwoofer should I get for my car?
To determine what size subwoofer you should get for your car, firstly if you prefer subs that play loud and low, and you have a reasonable space in your car, you may go for a larger subwoofer like 10-inch or 12-inch subwoofer. But there are things you should consider, the enclosure type, power and sensitivity, dont just go for lager subs because even a well powered sub with right enclosure will produce a powerful sound too.
How do I choose a subwoofer for my car?
When choosing a subwoofer for your car, you should consider the type of subwoofer you want, the enclosure type, RMS rating, sensitivity, frequency range, and impedance. Another thing is the type of car you have, this is because of space. Check out car audio subwoofer under 200
What size subwoofer is best?
The best size subwoofer for you depends on the car you are using, you need to take measurements, decide on whether you want powered subs or enclosed subs. This is the first step and easiest way to decide the best subwoofer for your car.
Are 15-inch subs louder than 12?
The 12-inch subs can move some level of air required to reproduce heavy bass, but the 15-inch subs are capable of moving an even larger volume of air that’s needed to reproduce synthesized bass common with Hip Hop music and they are much louder.
What are the different types of subwoofers?
Here are some of the different types of subwoofers you find, Component subwoofers, Enclosed subwoofer, Powered subwoofer, and Vehicle specific subwoofer. The subwoofers come in different sizes, 8-inch subwoofer, 10-inch subwoofer, 12-inch subwoofer, and 15-inch subwoofer.
We have covered all there is to know on Car Subwoofer Buying Guide, we have everything including the steps in upgrading or buying a new sound system for your car, types of car subwoofers, car subwoofer sizes, what to look for when buying a subwoofer like power, sensitivity, frequency range, voice coil, and impedance, enclosure type.
- General car subwoofer buying guide
- Car receiver
- Car amplifiers
- What is a multi-channel amplifier?
- What is a mono amplifier?
- What is a dual-channel amplifier?
- Car speakers
- What causes speaker distortion
- Car subwoofer
- The main types of subwoofers for cars
- The component subwoofer
- The enclosed subwoofer
- The Powered subwoofer
- The vehicle- specific subwoofer
- Car subwoofer size
- Types of car subwoofer sizes
- What to look for when buying a subwoofer?
- What size subwoofer should I get for my car?
- How do I choose a subwoofer for my car?
- What size subwoofer is best?
- Are 15-inch subs louder than 12?
- What are the different types of subwoofers?