More About Subwoofers
Subwoofer SizesOne of the most obvious differences between subwoofers is the diameter of the drivers themselves. We offer subwoofers ranging from 6" all the way up to a 19" superwoofer from Rockford Fosgate. Generally speaking, the bigger the woofer, the more bass it will give you. As the diamter increases, the cone area increases exponentially due to the formula for the area of a circle. In addition, the larger the subwoofer, the larger the basket. As the basket increases in size, it allows for larger magnets and voice coils, which in turn allow for more power handling. More power = more bass. The drawback with the larger woofers is space. A 15 inch subwoofer is going to require more air space than a 12 inch subwoofer, which requires more air space than a 10 inch subwoofer and so on. Depending on your vehicle, your budget, and how much bass you really "need", you can determine the right woofer size for you. 10" and 12" woofers are the most popular, followed by 8 inch subwoofers.
Subwoofer Voice CoilsSubwoofers come in single or dual voice coil configurations. There is a bunch of science as to how it works, but that really isn't that important right now when it comes to subwoofers. What is important is knowing whether the subwoofers you want are single or dual voice coil, and the impedance of each of the voice coils on the subwoofer.
If there is only 1 woofer, a single, 4 ohm voice coil means that the amplifier will see a 4 ohm load and it will put out however many watts it is rated at RMS @ 4 Ohms. A single 2 ohm voice coil subwoofer will show the amplifier a 2 ohm load, and you usually get twice the amount of power at 2 ohms, that you do at 4 ohms, if there is only 1 woofer because of Ohm's law (Science!)
Now, with dual voice coil subwoofer, there are two sets of leads on the back of the woofer, a (+) and a (-) for each voice coil. With this, you will wire the two voice coils either in series or parallel to get your desired impedance. For instance, one subwoofer with dual 4 ohm voice coils can be wired in series to show an 8 ohm load to the amp, or in parallel to show a 2 ohm load. There are numerous tools that show how to wire in series versus parallel, but with most amps, the amp will put out 4 times the amount of RMS power at 2 ohms than it will at 8 ohms. If you have questions regarding subwoofer wiring, give us a call and we can help determine the best setup for your amplifier, or recommend a package to ensure you are getting the most from your setup.
Super Woofers, 6" Subwoofers and More.In addition to the standard, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 15-inch subwoofers, we also offer odd size and superwoofers. Subwoofers are available in diamters as small as 6" and as large as 19". These subwoofers sizes serve two purposes and they are drastically different. The 6" subwoofers are designed to fit in OE locations for new vehicles today. Examples are GM SUVs such as the Tahoe and Suburban. These vehicles when equipped with the Bose stereo upgrade, have a 6" woofer that is located in the factory center console. Our 6" replacement woofers allow you to improve the output over the stock speaker. On the other side of the spectrum are the 13", 16" and 19" super woofers that are available in the higher end models and for "Bass Heads" that want maximum bass output. These large subwoofers can handle extreme amounts of power for literally, earth-shaking output. For example, the 19" Rockford Fosgate T3 handles 3000W RMS and 6000W Max. Insane power and insane output.
Frequently Asked Questions
You will need an amplifier to power your subwoofer in some fashion or another. There are two ways to do it. You can buy a subwoofer or a loaded enclosure and use an external amplifier to give the subwoofer the power it needs to perform. The other option is to choose a powered subwoofer enclosure where the amplifier is built-in to the subwoofer enclosure. Either way, you will still need an amplifier.
Most car subwoofer require a box, or an enclosure to work properly. The subwoofer box, or enclosure, provides the subwoofer with a fixed amount of air space to optimize performance. Virtually all of the car subwoofer we sell require an enclosure. Many marine subwoofers are designed for free-air or infinite baffle applications and do not require an enclosure. You can purchase a loaded subwoofer enclosure to take the guess-work out of the box building process and ensure that you get a box that is perfectly designed and engineered for that specific subwoofer(s).
This is nearly impossible to answer, very subjective, and the prices differ quite drastically. However, the best subwoofer for your call will depend on the amplifier that you are using. If you have 300 watts RMS, a 600 watt RMS subwoofer is not the best subwoofer for you. If you truly have 1000 watts RMS, the best subwoofer for you will be a higher end model. Think of your subwoofer like a trailer and the amplifier as your truck. You don't want to try to pull a semi trailer with a 4 cylinder engine. At the same time, a 6.2L diesel engine isn't going to be ideal in a Honda Civic. The best subwoofer is one that meets your budget and that you can properly power with true, actual output, not 1000 watts because the box says it's 1000 watts.
A sealed enclosure is as it name implies, sealed. A ported, vented, or slotted enclosure has an opening that allows the subwoofer enclosure to push air out of the box. Sealed enclosures are usually tighter and punchier while ported enclosures tend to be louder and boomier. The recommended enclosure volume for a ported enclosure is typically larger than the recommended air volume for a sealed enclosure. Vented enclousres allow you to tune the port to specific frequencies and there are a ton of variable with regards to the port diameter, length, etc.
Low profile subwoofers are typically not quite as good as their full-size counter parts, but there are some exceptions to the rule. It used to be that thin-woofers sounded thin. The engineers have since found ways to make them significantly better so that you get full sized output from a low-profile subwoofer, but in general, the full size version will just sound better, all other things being equal. Some of the low-profile subwoofers that we really like include the JL Audio TW3, Kicker CompRT, Kicker L7T, Rockford Fosgate T1S, Rockford Fosgate R2S, and the Kenwood eXcelon 10" low profile. Most of the other shallow subwoofers sound shallow. We recommend the models we just listed if you are tight on space.
Double check your amplifier first! You want to make sure your amplifier is 1 ohm stable before wiring your subwoofers to a 1 ohm load. Many JL Audio, some Rockford Fosgate, and some Kicker amplifiers are not 1 ohm stable. You risk over-heating your amplifier if you don't double-check. We like to wire most subwoofers to a 2 ohm load. Yes, you can get more power from the amplifier at 1 ohm, but the amplifier is going to pull twice the current, run hotter, and probably not sound as good. If you are all about power and your amplifier is 1 ohm stable, go ahead and wire you amplifier to a 1 ohm load. Most of the Rockford Fosgate loaded enclosures are wired to a 1 ohm load as well. It's not that 1 ohm is bad, it's just that 2 ohms is just easier on the amplifier. If you have the budget to properly power the subwoofers at 2 ohms instead of 1 ohm, get the voice coils that allow you to wire to a 2 ohm load.