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FAQs about Subwoofers

by Paul Sanders

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Bass level is one of the most important factors affecting your home and car audio. Subwoofers are responsible for reproducing those immersive low-frequency sounds in your car stereo. To help you find the ideal subwoofer speakers for your system, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about car subwoofers and how they fit into your car audio system.

Subwoofers Explained:

  1. What is a subwoofer?
    Subwoofers are speakers, typically 8 inches or larger, that produce the low-frequency bass sounds for car audio and home stereo systems. It's those low-frequency sounds that give gravity to the pounding bass in your music. By leaving bass reproduction up to subwoofers, your other speakers can focus on the mid- and high-range frequencies.

  2. Do differently shaped subwoofers produce different sounds?
    Somewhat. Triangular and rectangular subwoofers are shaped more for style than anything else. Triangular subwoofers can fit in spaces where round speakers cannot. Round subwoofers do produce more accurate sounds, but subwoofer cone construction is probably more important than shape when it comes to sound quality.

  3. What's the difference between a woofer and a subwoofer?
    "Woofer" is a term used to describe the actual driver of subwoofers. Technically, a subwoofer consists of one or more woofers installed in a subwoofer box or enclosure. The box acts as a resonance chamber, providing more air pressure to the back of the speaker cone, which affects the sound pressure level (SPL) and causes the bass sounds to have more impact or volume.

  4. What factors affect subwoofer performance?
    The enclosure type, cone material, impedance, frequency response, and power rating can all affect your subwoofer's performance. If you want really deep bass, you'll want a very low frequency response. Subwoofers in sealed enclosures have a lower frequency response than other speakers, and the larger the subwoofers, the better they can reproduce low bass frequencies.

  5. How much power does my subwoofer require?
    Subwoofers have power ratings, measured in watts. This is usually labeled as the RMS output. You'll want to pair your subwoofer with an amp of a similar rating. The higher the RMS is on both the amp and the subwoofer, the higher volume you can play the audio at without damaging the woofer or the amp.

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