A car subwoofer plays an important role in as far as the sound of your music is concerned. It adds some extra oomph to your car audio system and gives your music the required depth thus giving you complete sound.
Choosing the right subwoofer for your car can be a complex process. While it’s okay to say that there’s no single subwoofer that is perfect for every car, there are some that work better in certain circumstances than others. As such you need to do some research before you pick the perfect one for your car audio system.
There are some key factors that you need to keep in mind regardless of whether want to add a subwoofer to an existing sound system or you are looking at developing the system from scratch. In this article, we are going to look at the different types and sizes of car subwoofers and how they optimize your listening experience.
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Types of Car Subwoofers Explained
There are many types of car subwoofers for everyone’s audio needs. The sound quality is largely going to depend on the kind of enclosure in which the sub is mounted. You will either have a sealed enclosure or a ported enclosure. A sealed box will ensure that you get deep and accurate bass while with the ported one you can play louder music where volume is the key consideration. Having said that, these are the main types of car subwoofers;
A component sub is just the speaker itself. It needs to be placed in a subwoofer enclosure for it to operate properly. These subs are designed to operate in different types of enclosures and also on both low and high power. You will also require an external amplifier to power the sub. Component subs are an ideal choice for those who want to build a truly personalized system, i.e. to develop the system from the ground.
Enclosed subwoofers, essentially, are component subwoofers that come pre-mounted in a tailored box. This type will come in handy if you want to enhance the bass quality but don’t have much time to design and build your sound system from scratch. The downside of these subs is that they cannot match the raw quality bass production of component subwoofers. Besides, you will still require to add an external amp to power them.
Compactness is the main idea behind powered subwoofers. A powered sub will have the woofer and an amplifier in the same enclosure eliminating the need for an external amplifier. As mentioned, powered amps are compact and won’t take up much space in your car and at the same time, they can be fitted in places that other types may prove impossible. On the downside, their small amplifiers and drivers may not deliver enough power especially if you are looking for big bass. They are, however, very good bass producers and their small size and simple installation makes them an invaluable addition to your factory system.
Vehicle-Specific Subwoofers can either be powered or unpowered. They are engineered to fit in the space of your car model. Also, they are usually color-matched with the interior of the vehicle. Just like the powered subs, they will take care of listening needs without taking a lot of space but they are not the best choice if you are looking for really big bass.
Does the Size Matter?
The size of a sub will determine how loud and low the sub can go. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the sub, the bigger the bass. However, the available space will be an important consideration which is why you will need to take measurement before you pick the desired model. As such if you are looking for the boldest bass that you can possibly get, then you may want to go for the biggest subwoofer that will fit in the available space.
This is the smallest and cheapest size available. Most car factory systems come with one or two pre-installed ones. They are also the easiest aftermarket upgrade as they fit perfectly onto the factory location. Besides, they can also be installed under seats.
This size provides excellent clarity and bass response; which is a perfect combination for those who are not necessarily looking for big bass, but rather, clean and clear bass. This size is best suited for fast-paced music genres like Country, Punk, Classic Rock, among others.
The small cone in the 8-inch subwoofer delivers a quick and detailed response to the frequencies that these music genres contain. However, this subwoofer size requires a good set of door speakers to ensure optimal performance.
10-inch is also a common size due to its compactness and easy installation. Subs of this size offer more bass response when compared to 8-inch subwoofers. In addition, it is a perfect size you are looking for a little extra power without compromising sound quality or overwhelming your music.
Typically, 10-inch subwoofer are the true definition of well-rounded sub that will bring your music to life whether you want to listen to jazz, pop, metal, and even blues. It is capable of drawing in the additional air that is needed to keep a perfect quick response to the heavy drums found in this type of music.
This is probably the most versatile size as it can handle a wide variety of music. It is a common aftermarket purchase and it is popular with audiophiles with a bigger bass appetite. A 12-inch subwoofer is great for generating extra bass and it works wells with a lot of frequencies.
Subs these size are less responsive due to the big size, and as such, they are best suited for slow paced music such as RnB, Rhythm, Blues and even Rap.
15-inch subwoofers offer the most powerful and deepest bass owing to their big size. They, however, lack the tight responsiveness of their small counterparts. These subs will take much of your passenger or cargo space which is why they are commonly used in large trucks and SUVs.
With subs this size, you may be required to upgrade your car speaker, though, this may lead to a situation whereby your music will be flooded with bass. If you like listening to Hip Hop, Rap and other EDM genres then you should go for this particular type. A 15-inch sub is capable of moving large volume of air required to reproduce the heavily synthesized bass that is found in this music types.
The Bottom Line
A subwoofer provides a level of bass that ordinary speakers cannot reproduce. It is a great addition that will improve your overall audio experience. Choosing the right type and the correct size for the job will go a long way in ensuring that you get the quality sound that you want in your vehicle. But at the end of it all, everything will need to be balanced with the correct speakers’ sizes and proper sized amps.