For real music lovers, the simple speakers in the car are often no longer enough. Fans of car HIFI systems want both lifelike sound reproduction and bass amplification. Musical taste and preferred music genre are usually one of the main determining criteria when deciding on the right subwoofer system for the car.
As important as musical taste and the desired listening pleasure are for choosing the right subwoofer, so are some other criteria for the decision of a car subwoofer. Of course, some factors go hand in hand:
the larger the car, for example, the greater the scope for installing a high-quality subwoofer system.
Which subwoofer now best suits personal needs can be found out with the help of a small priority list. Which factors are most important?
Listening pleasure: from sound experience to pressure and decibels
If you just want a bit more bass for a better listening experience, you will certainly achieve this goal with an active subwoofer or a bandpass. Real techno fans or even classical music lovers will probably not be satisfied with this solution. Those who not only value a perfect sound experience have once again very special requirements for the power handling and performance of a subwoofer.
Space: From the under-seat woofer to the spare wheel well
Space in the car plays a decisive role for a good subwoofer. Even though there are now quite space-saving variants on the market such as free-air woofers and under-seat woofers, they are not always the optimal solutions. It doesn’t always have to be subwoofers in huge enclosures that reproduce the perfect sound. If space is limited, the spare tire well can also be used effectively.
Competition Subwoofer – Best Choice
Best Competition Subwoofers on the market:
Rockville Destroyer Competition Car Audio Subwoofer
Harmony Audio Car Stereo Competition Carbon Subwoofer
Car Subwoofer for Competition by Massive Audio
Harmony Audio Competition Subwoofer Bundle
Even if you have a good audio system in your car, you may want to give it an extra punch. Something that with a good subwoofer you can easily achieve. If you want to take the leap, we offer you our guide to buying the best car subwoofer on the market, especially considering your specific needs and some elements of importance in your decision.
For the effect of the subwoofer to be adequate, the subwoofer must have adequate power. Power, as always, is measured in watts and is the key element of any car subwoofer comparison you can find. The higher the wattage, the greater the bass boost effect, so the higher the wattage, the more the speaker “booms” and the more surround you get.
However, it is important that you check that your car audio system and its installation allow you to install a car subwoofer of the power you are looking for. If the system is the home system, an economical or simple system may need some additional elements such as an amplifier or a fuse, for example. Confirm this with the specific characteristics of the product before buying.
This is another important element when making your purchase. Beyond how much the chosen car subwoofer costs, you need to see that its dimensions fit what you can afford.
In many cases, the subwoofer is mounted on the rear tray, where the rest of the electrical installation is also mounted, so if the measurements are not the right ones, you may need to do some DIY for the adjustment. Still, have no fear, as these products usually include a reference template to help with the necessary cutting and fitting.
If the problem is by default, because the subwoofer is smaller than the gap, usually you will not have problems because the brands have accessories for mounting and to disguise the excess space, leaving a perfect result. Do not forget to leave enough space for the speaker to “dance” once it is in operation.
How to choose a car subwoofer
The first thing you need is some kind of loudspeaker system. The optimal solution would be 5:1. In this case, two speakers are located at the front, two more at the back plus a subwoofer. It is important to remember that the subwoofer should not only reproduce the “lower” frequencies but also supplement the already available upper frequencies (200-80 Hz).
And if you install a subwoofer and high-frequency speakers, the sound will be unbalanced. For quality sound, you need to have well-represented bass, midrange, and treble.
Standard speaker sizes are 8, 10, 12, and 15 inches. Do not be too hard, because the more “bottoms”, the more the car itself will resonate when playing audio content. This will cause rattling of doors, plastic trim, and everything else that is non-monolithic in the car. And the sound will be “dirty”.
Optimal size speaker – 10-12 inches.
When choosing a subwoofer, do not forget to ask the seller what material the suspension is made of. Rubber will be stiffer and will cost you less, while rubber will be softer and more expensive.
The sensitivity should be 80 dB or more. This will put less load on the amplifier Maximum sound pressure, in other words, maximum sound power. This indicator is important only for fans who participate in special auto sound competitions.
Frequency range. The optimal range is 30-60 Hz. Most car subwoofers sound in the 40-200 Hz range.
When choosing a subwoofer, also take into account the volume of your car’s interior. Simply put, do not install a huge, powerful sub into a small interior. Do not forget that the interior of the car is also a kind of “sound box”.
Do not ignore such a factor as the absence of seams and cracks in the case of the subwoofer. Everything should be fitted as much as possible, as well as fastened with liquid nails. The ideal option is to additionally treat the seams with epoxy resin.
The speaker itself should fit as snugly as possible into the case. The slightest gap or loose element will make whistling, slapping, and other unpleasant sounds. Moreover, the tightness of the entire structure will eliminate the “rear bass” effect and the listener will lose the clear understanding that the bass is coming from the subwoofer.
How to install a car subwoofer
- Check the instructions for the user of your product
It is very important to review the user manual of your product, so you know a little more about the features and specifications of power supply, voltage, type of installation required, if your equipment needs an amplifier, among others.
- Gather the necessary tools for the installation of your product
To install the subwoofer in your car, you will need at least one wiring for the power supply, another for the amplifier, the player. Make sure you have these accessories before proceeding with the installation. In case your subwoofer needs an amplifier, you should use one.
To do this, place it in the right place inside the car, this is usually in the trunk or on the floor. Then, locate the wiring that goes from the amplifier to your car’s battery, so that it can receive power.
You may need to drill holes with a drill to hide the cable under the trunk or inside the car doors, so it is recommended that this type of work is done by a specialized workshop. Don’t forget to connect a ground wire to your amplifier.
- Connect the auxiliary cables to the player in your car
Here you will need another installation of a cable running along the surface of the car, but you should make sure that the auxiliary cable running from the amplifier to the player is away from the power cable, so as not to cause interference.
Depending on the model of your product, you will need to locate the subwoofer in a place in your car. Those that are extra-flat, with a metal box, can be placed under the seat or in the trunk near the amplifier. Then connect the subwoofer to the amplifier via an auxiliary connection, depending on whether your product model is single or dual channel.
Other subwoofer models will require the placement and installation of a crate, this type of work should be done by a specialized car sound shop. You may need to use a capacitor to prevent voltage variations from occurring while using the subwoofer, for example, when you turn on the lights and use the subwoofer at the same time.
- Turn on your player and enjoy your new sound
Once the subwoofer is installed, along with the amplifier, you can enjoy surround sound quality with quality bass from your car stereo. Some models of this type of product have a remote, which you can connect to the subwoofer via a 3.5 mm jack cable. You can use a cable extender to keep this remote handy and make it easier to control the subwoofer.
What safety precautions should be observed when installing and operating subwoofers?
- When placing the enclosures, make sure that there are no visual obstructions for the driver.
- Subwoofers may only be installed and operated in vehicles with the appropriate type of onboard voltage.
Protect subwoofers from moisture and humidity.
- The subwoofer must not be modified or converted, and the housing must not be opened.
- Ensure that the device is commissioned properly according to the operating instructions and, if in doubt, consult a specialist. Also, observe the safety instructions and operating instructions of the other devices that are connected.
- During installation, the negative terminal (ground) of the car battery must be disconnected. Do not reconnect the negative terminal of the battery until you have fully connected the device and checked the connection. Before disconnecting, you should find out whether there are any components in the vehicle that lose their settings/access data when the onboard voltage is disconnected. Appropriate data should be kept on hand.
- Cables that you route in vehicles must not be crushed or rub against sharp edges. Use rubber grommets to feed through body parts.
- To reduce interference from the vehicle’s electrical equipment, the subwoofer should be powered directly from the onboard battery. Other consumers (e.g. fans, windshield washer system) must not be supplied with voltage via the same cable as the subwoofer. Use cables with as large a cross-section as possible to connect the subwoofer. Install an additional fuse in the positive supply line of the subwoofer according to its current consumption.
- After installation, perform a short function test of the system at low volume. Also, ensure that the subwoofer is securely fastened.
- Improper electrical connections in motor vehicles can result in significant hazards. This applies especially to safety-relevant assemblies.