How To Choose The Right Car Subwoofer

How To Choose The Right Car Subwoofer-The Bottom Line Read this review to find out how to choose the right subwoofer(s) for your car.

Choosing a subwoofer can be a very difficult but interesting task. When you're choosing a car sub, you need to know what you really want. It depends what kind of music you listen to, and other factors.

-Your Car Is Not A House-
*I have heard subwoofers in big rooms in houses. The subs for example were 8", and the rooms were large. The bass was terrible because it wasn't able to fill the room or anything. The vibrations and everything that the sub had to do was not there. The car is a completely different environment. Bazooka makes popular subs, and a lot of people buy their 8" amplified tubes, I have heard these tubes in Jeep Wranglers and in a lot of SUVs, they can make the cars shake and vibrate, and get people to stare. Car subwoofers can also be as small as 6.5"... So as you can see, the bass reflects of more areas in a car, thus giving a drastically improved bass response because the smaller area. So you don't need to get a 10" or 12" neccassarily to get your car to vibrate.

-Tubes VS. Box Enclosures-
*Tubes - The only brand that makes tubes is Bazooka. Many of the tubes have built-in amplifiers, they are easy to move, and they are quite inexpensive. They are popular because of their simplicity and price. These will create bass, but not the cleanest or lowest hitting bass out there. So if you're into music, then these aren't for you. If you want something to just pound, then these are quite good. However, you can do better with box enclosures.

*Box Enclosures - Box enclosures are when you buy either a ported or sealed enclosure, and put in however many drivers the box can hold. You can get one that holds either one, two, or three. Many people uses sealed enclosures because they are the smaller one of the two, but I use a ported in my car. Unlike tubes, with boxes, you can add whichever brand of woofers you want, and your own amplifier. However, this can be a more difficult task than just putting in a tube. But, you get much more versatility. Whether you're setting up a budget or audiophile sub hook-up, a majority of the people will use box enclosures.

-The Different Materials-
*Different subwoofers are made out of different materials. Many of the more inexpensive and common subs are built out of paper cones. These will generally handle the job well, but there will be more distortion, but the price difference is quite large. Polypropylene is becoming quite of a popular polymer, it is higher quality than paper, and still quite inexpensive. The best of the new subwoofers are alluminum subs. I use a single alluminum Audiobahn 12" in my Pathfinder off of a Kicker amp, and I love it. The sound quality that it gives me is very clean and smooth. The surrounds around the voice coils are usually rubber. Other brands may use other types of surrounds, but rubber is still the most commonly used and most durable.

-Voice Coils-
*The more layers and space that you have, the better sound quality you get. There are two kinds of bass, clean bass and "ghetto bass". Clean bass subs include brands such as Nakamichi, McIntosh, Blaupunkt, Audiobahn, Infinity, and other higher end brands. They usually have dual-voice coils and give very clean bass. There are also such things as "ghetto subs" which can handle enormous amounts of power, such as 1000 Watt+ RMS, but their bass is very dirty and distorted, it's not good for real music. I've seen very expensive subs that have quadruple voice coils (Sony Mobile ES), but a majority of the high quality subs will have dual-voice coils, but you can definitly do with one.

-Driver Sizes-
*Well, as you can see, in the car an 8" sub will make the car vibrate and do everything that someone would want a subwoofer to do. However, the larger the subwoofer, it can get: Louder, cleaner, hit lower frequencies, and handle more power. If you've got a tight budget, an 8" will do the job, but if you're an audiophile or are really into music, then bass is would be very important to you. I think the ideal size for any subwoofer is 12" because it can hit the lowest notes without using all that much power. A 12" can certainly reach lower notes than an 8". If you can hear the difference in frequencies or need that "bang", then you should get a larger subwoofer. However, if you just want to fill in some lower notes but aren't expecting that much, then go for a 8" subwoofer or something like that. It would save you money.

-Amps and Power-
*The power of your amp should depend on the size of the driver or how much bass you want. I use a fairly powerful amp to power my Audiobahn. I know people that are car stereo crazy, and they power over 1000 Watts to some of their subs, but that is over-kill. It can break the glass on a car, and if the subwoofer is poorer quality, there is a huge amount of distortion. You should never exceed the RMS rating on your drivers, because one day your sub will go "pop!", and there will be nothing left. I think something around 200 Watts per driver should be enough for most people. Most amps that have much more power than that are over-kill I think.

-In Conclusion-
*I hope that this review has helped you in finding the perfect subwoofer for your car. If you have trouble finding the right brand or anything, just look up consumer reviews or get advice from friends. My personal advice is that Audiobahn or Blaupunkt are both superb brands and you'll definitely get a lot for your money. But, most brands will make consumers happy. well, good luck!
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