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Powered subs are a popular choice for people who want an easy route to adding bass. The subwoofer is mounted in a perfectly matched enclosure, and powered by a built-in amplifier. These all-in-one solutions usually take up less space than the average subwoofer box, so they're a great choice for smaller vehicles.
When shopping for a powered sub, there are two factors to keep in mind:
How much space do you have for a bass system?
Space is the important factor. If you don't want to sacrifice storage space, then look at compact powered subwoofers. They have the smallest form factor and can fit nearly anywhere. If you aren't worried about how much room the subwoofer will take up, then you have more options.
How much bass do you want?
Powered subs come in a variety of power levels. The more power it has, the more bass you get. If you're adding the subwoofer to a factory system, then any powered sub will do. If you have an aftermarket stereo or amplifier powering your speakers, then you'll want a more powerful subwoofer.
For more information about shopping for a car subwoofer, read our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.
Powered subwoofers provide musical bass fill without taking up all of your cargo space like large boxes loaded with large speakers wired to extra-powerful amplifiers do. In a powered subwoofer, the amplifier is built into the enclosure and prewired to the woofer. This makes for a smaller package and simpler installation. Compact powered subs fit in a lot of different places any in almost any vehicle.
Even little speaker cones can produce large bass sound waves, which are generally between 12 and 30 feet long. Such large sound waves will be unaffected by something as small as a car seat. They won't get reflected or absorbed and will be heard everywhere in your vehicle. The large size of bass waves also makes it almost impossible for our ears to locate their source precisely, so mounting positions for your compact powered subwoofer can vary with minimal adverse effects.
If you're handy with tools, you shouldn't have any problems. You'll need to run a power wire from your vehicle's battery to your powered sub's location, and then a ground wire from there to the chassis. You'll also need RCA cables to carry signal from your aftermarket stereo, or factory stereo interface device, to your new powered subwoofer. Don't worry — when you buy your gear from Crutchfield, our Tech Support people can help you if any issues come up.
You can install two powered subs in your vehicle if you have the space and your vehicle's electrical system can support them both. We recommend running the power wire for each sub from a power distribution block, which would get wired directly to the battery with a wiring kit built to handle the total amount of power of both subs. Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you get all the right installation gear you need to install your powered subwoofer.
The amount of power your powered sub needs depends on how loud you want your bass to sound and how much auxiliary power your vehicle can support. If you drive an all-electric or hybrid-electric vehicle, we recommend limiting the size to no more than about 300 watts RMS, so it won’t interfere with the electric vehicle's normal operation. Otherwise, 150 watts RMS will provide ample bass fill with a factory stereo, and up to 500 watts RMS delivers powerful bass for any stereo.
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