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Car Subwoofer Speakers

Updated on February 1, 2011

Ever wonder what all the big fuss is about when it comes to car subwoofer speakers? If you want to start or upgrade your automobile’s factory audio system, you will surely encounter the world of car audio subwoofers. In this hub, I will try to discuss the basics involved when it comes to adding a subwoofer speaker in your car—as well as its relationship to upgrading the entire system. Also, as always, you will encounter some recommended products after to give you an idea on options.

What is a subwoofer?

A subwoofer is a speaker that delivers only low frequencies or bass frequencies—bass guitar, drums, percussions, etc. A subwoofer on its own does not sound good. If you at least have a decent home speaker, you will notice that the entire fixture is made up of individual speaker components—usually three—in different sizes. The smaller the speaker, the higher the frequencies it produces. The biggest speaker in a speaker system is the subwoofer.

While there are speakers that produce all the sound frequencies in a spectrum, advanced designs with separate components produce better results. In this setup, each speaker (in a system) is only concentrated in its given sound tasks which means more versatility and less stress on the whole speaker.

Why are subwoofers popular in car audio?

Due to odd and limited speaker installation options within a car, an additional sub—usually located in a large free space—makes the car audio system’s sound more complete. The most common installation locations for car speakers are doors and dashboards, and, since a subwoofer normally starts at 8 inches, it would be hard (and unpractical) to fit them in such locations.

Why are subwoofers positioned in odd places?

Good observation. Subwoofers are usually installed in trunks. It actually does not matter much where a sub is installed because bass frequencies are not directional. What that means is that low frequencies can be heard from anywhere, and they usually travel through solid materials. This makes custom subwoofer install options virtually limitless.

What’s with the whole subwoofer craze?

If you’ve encountered very loud booming cars, it is because subwoofer speakers have a special place in the car audio world. There are literally exclusive competitions for such where louder is better. People go through great lengths just to install many big woofers just so they can have a go at being the loudest. If this is what interests you, I suggest you read more on car audio loud match or bass competitions.

What if I’m only interested in getting a good sound?

You would still need subwoofers. Some great-sounding car audio systems are not meant to be loud, just give good sound quality. By the way, there are also competitions for this—sound quality. A great sounding audio system sounds just right and transparent, and from a beginner’s point of view, it would seem that a subwoofer is not present.

So, what do I need to start?

Aside from a subwoofer, you would need an amplifier to power it. A good car audio head unit (radio) is also in order, to have the most options when it comes to connecting different amplifiers and sound tuning. Subs also need enclosures to sound good. And enclosure is usually a custom-made box made from wood or fiberglass. Also, before you add a subwoofer, make sure you have good speakers to begin with. It would be wasteful to add just a subwoofer to your current system as factory systems are full-range to begin with. If you add just a subwoofer, you will end up with too much bass. To compliment a subwoofer, you would need speaker systems, or separates, that are comprised of a tweeter (high frequency) and a midrange or mid bass speaker (middle frequencies).

Well, at least now you have some background and you can go on exploring some more options on amplifiers and the like. Either way, below are some good subwoofers you can consider after you’ve designed a system.

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