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Adding a subwoofer to your car audio system will let you hear the music that your other speakers can't reproduce – the low notes from the bass and the power of the kick drum. A subwoofer is a must if you want to hear the full impact of your music, be it the boom of hip-hop or the details of a jazz trio.
Below, we'll explain the different types of subwoofers that you'll find on our website. For more advice and tips on choosing your subs, read our subwoofer buying guide.
Also referred to as "raw drivers" or "subs", these are all the actual bass speakers. You can see them all or shop them grouped by size, from 5-1/4" to 18". The larger the woofer, the deeper the tones that it can play.
Voice coils – Subwoofers have either one or two voice coils. This is an important feature that greatly impacts the sub's performance in your audio system. Dual voice coil subs are popular among enthusiasts because they offer more flexibility when wiring the bass system.
Power rating – How much power do you need to make the subwoofer(s) sound their best? The closer your amplifier's power output is to the sub's max RMS power rating (not the peak power), the better it will sound.
Impedance – Most subwoofers are rated at 4 ohms impedance, but 2-ohm and 8-ohm subwoofers have become commonplace. When you've chosen a subwoofer, look for amplifiers that will match up to your sub in terms of power rating and impedance. There are a wide variety of amps available, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one that will bring out the best in the sub you've chosen.
Shallow mount – Some subwoofers are designed to work in tight spaces. If you're trying to replace that 8" sub in your car's factory system, then you'll need a shallow-mount woofer.
Subwoofer box – Your sub needs to be mounted in a sturdy enclosure in order to sound right. We make it easy to find the right box for your sub – just check in the subwoofer's "Accessories" tab. We'll list the boxes that'll work with that sub.
Ported or sealed? – A ported box will sound louder and give you more "boom." A sealed box delivers tighter, more-focused bass. This is an important detail for getting your music to sound the way you like it. See our article, "How to choose a subwoofer box" to learn more.
Enclosed subwoofers are pre-mounted into a box designed to accommodate that woofer. The advantage? The box is perfectly matched to its sub, eliminating the work involved in finding the right enclosure. Just add an amplifier, and you'll have great bass. [Shop for enclosed subs]
Powered subwoofers 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.
It's simple. A subwoofer gives you more bass, reproducing lower frequencies that your other speakers can't deal with. And subs aren't just for "bassheads." Filling out those lower frequencies will make any kind of music sound better. At Crutchfield, we love to see that look of surprise and joy on someone's face the first time they hear a sub in their vehicle!
The larger the woofer, the deeper the bass. A 12" sub will play louder and deeper than a 10" sub. A single subwoofer is all it takes to reinforce your music, but if you're looking for volume, then two subs are certainly louder than one.
A sealed enclosure will sound tighter and more accurate. A ported (or vented) enclosure makes the bass louder, with more boom, but with a slight loss of accuracy. A bandpass box is a combination of those two designs for even more output in a narrow frequency range.
First, figure out where a sub will fit. If you have limited space, consider a small powered sub. You'll be surprised how much bass you'll get. Also, what are your plans for your sound system? A small sub and amp will work great for adding some bass to a factory radio, but if you have plans to expand your system, go with the biggest sub that'll fit.
Yes, all subs need an amplifier. Some subs even come with an amp built-in (called "powered subwoofers"), so you don't have to match the sub to the amp. If you prefer to customize your system, make sure to get an amp that's powerful enough for your sub. The more bass you want, the more power you'll need.
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