Soundstream ROK-13SB 13"
Soundstream ROK-13SB 13"
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Hyper.co.nz
Soundstream T5-12
Soundstream T5-12
$499.00
Gary Anderson

Car Subwoofers Buying Guide

While there are many consumers who frown over the bass pounding sound that comes from a subwoofer, the true automotive audiophiles know that this is an essential component in any serious sound system - whether in a car or even in a home sound system. Essentially, really good "low bass" is essential for a good experience, and even the finest car speakers are unable to create the lower frequencies that can only come from the subwoofer. This is why you do need to commit a bit of time to learning about subwoofers in order to choose the right one for your vehicle or home.


Sound systems are often a matter of finesse, particularly where the subwoofer is concerned. If you are not purchasing a package deal (and few audio system enthusiasts will make that choice), you are going to have to choose a subwoofer based on many different factors. While one of them is which product to choose when you are mounting it in an enclosure in a trunk or rear of a vehicle, there is a lot more to the issue than just that one factor.


What to Consider

To choose the right subwoofer means considering a few essential issues and these are:


Power

Just as car speakers will be able to perform to a maximum amount of power, your subwoofer will need to be a good match to the audio system components too. For example, when you look at the specifications for any subwoofer you will see the maximum output power that the unit can handle (usually described in watts), and you will also see the nominal output as well. There is also a sensitivity level for the subwoofers as well, and these too are explained in decibels.


Materials

Again, just as speakers must be made from materials that ensure the best sound translation (softer materials for woofers and harder materials for the tweeters), the subwoofers tend to need quality materials that ensure the best sound translation (softer materials for woofers and harder materials for the tweeters), the subwoofers tend to need quality materials that give good reproduction of those deep bass tones. The material known as MDF is usually used on the surrounds, while it is IMPP composite that is often used for the cones.


Space

While some speaker systems feature a subwoofer, when you are upgrading to a system with a subwoofer, it means you need to actually map out the entire system to be sure that this larger speaker can fit into the array. Many car owners end up mounting their subwoofer into a specially created enclosure because the component is not part of a larger package.


Enclosure

Constructed of materials that are good for the bass sounds, enclosures are often a necessity. They will usually refine and define the sounds coming from the subwoofer and tend to available as part of a package or sold separately for those who are upgrading. Because some subwoofers are sold without a cabinet, the enclosures become an essential part of the planning and design process.


Crossover

Just as the speaker systems need crossovers to help filter the sound, the subwoofers need to eliminate most higher-frequency sounds via the use of crossovers. Experts recommend the "low pass" filters to ensure that the subwoofers are projecting only low bass sounds. It is important to note that any sound system using more than one amplifier is likely to need the low pass filters to keep the quality of the sound.


Pricing Points

So, what will you have to pay for a good subwoofer? There is no single answer to such a question. This is because they do vary quite widely in size, design, and features. You can reasonably anticipate paying from over $150 to well over $2,000 for a subwoofer. This shows that you must do the research to be absolutely certain that you are getting exactly the features you want, and at a price that as reasonable.

A good way to do this is to begin by listing the specifications of your sound system. You can then go online and compare the subwoofers available in your price range. You will find many top names that include Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, Sony, Kenwood, Soundstream, Velodyne, and Dynaudio among others.

Use any feedback or ratings you find to discover what other buyers feel or think about the quality of the sound created with the subwoofer in question. This is often a good way to determine if your specific audio needs can be met by this particular unit or if there is another, more optimal product.