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Competition Grade V.S. Standard Subwoofers

So you want to step it up and bring your a-game to the competition? You wake up at night in a cold sweat having dreamt about the loudest or best sounding system in the world being yours. While there is nothing wrong with having grand dreams, what good does it do if you don’t bite the bullet and take the plunge? So what is the deference between a competition grade subwoofer and a normal subwoofer?

Competition grade is not a “real” classification. It generally refers to high output, high powered woofers that are pretty hefty in weight. There are no distinct guidelines and technically anything that can be used in a competition is competition grade. There are of course woofers that have been designed specifically for use in competition settings, like the HCCA Series and Solo-X woofers. These competition grade woofers have available recone kits that allow you to fix the woofer in case of damage, which is likely in competition settings. Even competition woofers can be used in your commuter car for every day listening. When it comes to competition or normal woofers, the box plays an extremely important role in the sound properties of the woofer. Follow that up with quality gauge wire and the correct amount of power.

Being that there is no classification, if you see a subwoofer with the title of “competition grade” it most likely follows these guidelines for SPL (Sound Pressure Level) competitions:

  • Subs with power handling at or above 1000W RMS
  • Subs with a voice coil larger than 2.5″
  • Subs with an Xmax excursion of 1”( 25.4mm) or more
  • Subs with spiders larger than 7″
  • Subs featuring composite cones or any very strong material

If you find a woofer with a large excursion and high power handling, it tends to fit into all of the other categories automatically. So to wrap it all up, does this mean you could technically get $25 subwoofers and enter in a competition? Yes it does, you most likely won’t succeed but you could do it. Should you try to buy “competition” grade equipment? It does not matter so long as it fits the two most important specifications (power handling and excursion) and you get a great box builder. Oh and one more thing, if your new to competition, go to a few events and talk to the pros before even considering building your system, there is a lot to it!

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Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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