Selecting Car Subwoofers
Car subwoofers provide depth to the sound of your music by supplying accurate bass beats to supplement the high frequency musical tunes. We carry car subs in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your specific needs. When choosing car subwoofers, keep in mind the amount of space in your vehicle’s cab or trunk, as well as your preferred style of music.
- Built for Power
The RMS power handling rating refers to the amount of power a car subwoofer can handle on a continuous basis. Ignore the peak power ratings, these ratings are merely a marketing scheme used to grab your attention. They are totally insignificant when trying to match up an amplifier with subs and speakers.
We recommend slightly over-powering your subwoofer based on its recommended RMS power rating. This will help prevent over-powering or blowing your sub. You should select a subwoofer based on the amount of power output generated by your amplifier, the sub's impedance and the voice coil specifications.
The impedance measures the load value (in ohms) that the speakers present to the amplifier, or the amount of resistance to the current flow. Car subwoofer impedance can be rated at a 2 ohm, 4 ohm, or an 8 ohm load. When you are trying to match up a subwoofer’s power rating with an amplifier, be sure the power ratings are estimated at the same ohm load.
The number of voice coils allow for different wiring configurations. The type of voice coil setups includes single, dual, or quad voice coil. Dual voice coil subs have more wiring flexibility than single voice coils subs; however, single voice coil subwoofers provide easier hookup options for wiring multiple subwoofers in parallel or series. You may run a dual voice coil (DVC) sub in parallel, series, or combination. A quad voice coil has four voice coils and is equal to two dual voice coil subwoofers (in terms of wiring capabilities).
- Bigger is Better?
In the case of car subwoofers, bigger is not necessarily “better.” Besides power handling capability, the best subwoofers have high sensitivity ratings. A sensitivity rating measures how effectively a speaker converts power into sound. Subs with a higher sensitivity rating will play louder, given a set amount of input power. A sub with a high sensitivity basically maximizes the available power.
To demonstrate, consider the following example. If “SUBWOOFER A” has a relatively lower power rating than "Subwoofer B", but “SUBWOOFER A” has a relatively higher sensitivity rating, then “SUBWOOFER A” will play louder (assuming the sensitivity differences are substantial). Therefore, a smaller subwoofer with higher sensitivity ratings can boom louder than a larger subwoofer with terrible sensitivity.
- Do I need an Enclosure?
Component subwoofers should be mounted in an enclosure for optimal performance. We advise you to choose a sealed, ported or bandpass box based on your subwoofer specifications and available vehicle space. We also offer premade package deals under Subwoofers with Enclosures. These Enclosed Subwoofer Systems include subwoofers prebuilt into a box.
If space is at a premium, we offer powered subs, which are essentially enclosures loaded with an amplifier and a woofer. We also offer vehicle specific subs that are specially designed to save space and match the interior of your vehicle. For the ultimate luxury, check out our BassForms fiberglass enclosures featuring a lifetime warranty.
Make sure you plan your budget ahead of time. To power your car subwoofer, you will need an amplifier, speaker wire, wiring kits and other install accessories. If you need help along the way, give us a call at 1-877-289-7664.
About the Author
Written by Gary Brikowski. Check out our Component Subwoofers section for more information.