A subwoofer, which is also referred to as a complete loudspeaker, reproduces low-pitched audio bass frequencies. Commercial subwoofers have a frequency range between 20 and 200 Hz, while professional grade subwoofers range below 100 Hz. To add more bass to stereo systems, manufacturers began producing subwoofers during the height of the rock music craze of the 1960s. The introduction of Sensurround in films, such as “Earthquake”, brought subwoofer technology to the mainstream stereo system market. Compact discs revolutionised subwoofers by adding more low-frequency signals to audio recordings.
Car stereo aficionados can buy car subwoofers at a number of varied retail outlets that include electronics and auto parts shops. Some users purchase automobiles that already contain a subwoofer-driven stereo system. The best subwoofer bargains can be found on the leading online auction site, eBay. Before buying a subwoofer, car stereo buffs need to learn the four principal sizes, the steps required to seamlessly integrate a subwoofer into a car stereo system, and the mistakes to avoid during the installation process.
Car Subwoofer Sizes
Determining which size of car subwoofer to buy represents the most important step of the entire installation process. Car subwoofers that are too small can bounce around, and car subwoofers too large do not fit within the designated area of a car. The general rule regarding size is that larger subwoofers project more power, especially in the bass lines. However, that sheer power alone is not indicative of sound quality. In fact, many car audio buffs prefer smaller car subwoofers for their sound quality. Here are the four most common car subwoofer sizes.
20 Cm Subwoofer
This compact subwoofer projects the least powerful sound. Many users purchase a second 20 cm subwoofer to cover larger automobile interiors. The second 20 cm subwoofer also augments bass lines. While the sound is not relatively powerful, consumers prefer the smallest subwoofer for its lightweight construction and easy portability.
25 Cm Subwoofer
As the next largest size, the 25 cm subwoofer may combine the best mixture of audio clarity and power. Many car audio aficionados consider the 25 cm car subwoofer to be the industry standard, as it fits within more varieties of car interiors than other sized subwoofers. Most users should find this size to be more than adequate for their car stereo needs.
30 Cm Subwoofer
Consumers looking for a more powerful bass sound should consider 30 cm subwoofers. Some electronics experts criticise this size of car subwoofer for sounding imprecise and lacking clarity. On the other hand, users experience an excellent mixture of power and compatibility with most standard-sized car boots. This size of car subwoofer is probably too large to fit under most car seats.
35 Cm Subwoofer
The 35 cm car subwoofer projects amazing bass lines that tend to overwhelm other components of a car stereo system. Sound quality is typically unclear, but the booming bass alone attracts a number of avid car stereo buffs.
The Car Subwoofer Installation Process
Consumers should remember that car subwoofers rarely comprise the standard parts of a car stereo system. This means that they must purchase a subwoofer, and then install it within a car. Moreover, consumers may purchase a subwoofer as part of a car stereo kit that they design and build themselves. Installing a car subwoofer is not that difficult if users have the right hand tools and materials, and follow a few installation steps.
Tools and Materials
The first items to purchase include a subwoofer and subwoofer installation kit. The installation kit should contain detailed installation instructions. Subwoofer installation invariably involves connecting the subwoofer to an amplifier by using strong stereo system cables. Subwoofer installers most likely use screwdrivers, glue, enclosures, brackets, and a cordless drill to install their car subwoofers. Use a carpenter’s tape measure to procure accurate measurements.
If the car stereo speakers have been connected to the amplifier, then the amplifier needs reconfiguration to make room for the subwoofer. For example, speakers that attach to the front and back of a four-channel amplifier need to be reconfigured to only attach to the front of the amp, which allows the subwoofer to fit in the back of a car.
Reroute Amp Power
Reroute the power from the speakers through the subwoofer into mono. This procedure allows the power amplifier to double the power that moves through the subwoofer. Follow this step only if two subwoofers require installation.
Connect the subwoofer to the amplifier using strong 12-gauge wires. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to connect the wires to the correct inputs and outputs. The subwoofer and amplifiers must be made audio-compatible before performing this step.
Box and Enclosures
Drill the L-brackets that come with the subwoofer and the enclosures into the part of the vehicle that holds the subwoofer. This step requires an accurate measurement of the holding space by using a tape measure.
Secure the Subwoofer
The final step in the installation process is to ensure the subwoofer fits snugly into its holding space, without having to force it inside. Push all of the wiring behind the subwoofer, and then secure the wired subwoofer with the brackets. Seal the subwoofer in the proper position and secure with a screw of the correct depth.
Car Subwoofer Installation Tips
Before securing the car subwoofer, place it in different locations within the car’s interior to ascertain the best location that produces high-quality sound. The type of car interior plays a huge role in determining the quality of car stereo sound. Some car subwoofers work best when aimed at the front of the car interior, while other subwoofers project stronger audio from positions in the trunk or backseat area.
For testing the best subwoofer crossover point, set the low-pass amplifier crossover at 100 Hz, and then play a song on the car stereo system. Carefully watch the movement of the subwoofers. Lower crossover point frequencies create less subwoofer movement. Most subwoofers run optimally between 80 and 85 Hz.
To minimise vibrations, spray the trunk with a polyurethane product. Some car stereo buffs spray foam insulation to protect against subwoofer vibrations, which is a cheaper alternative than spraying polyurethane. Always check around areas that require a drill or screwdriver to prevent cutting wires or a car’s gas line.
The Four Most Common Car Subwoofer Installation Mistakes
The installation of a car subwoofer not only requires patience and diligence, it also requires abundant preparation. Subwoofer installers must understand the wiring of an entire stereo system and know how to install an integrated amplifier. The ramifications of improper preparation include in an inoperable subwoofer, or a subwoofer blowing out and receiving irreparable damage. Here are four common mistakes that can ruin a car subwoofer during the installation process.
Forgetting the Amplifier
It may seem incredible, but many car stereo buffs forget to install the amplifiers before they install the car subwoofer. Consider the amplifier as the heart of the car stereo system. Amplifiers regulate subwoofer power, and the lack of an installed amplifier leads to uncontrollable subwoofer power levels.
Incorrect Amplifier-Subwoofer Connection
Another amplifier issue deals with the connection between it and the subwoofer. Incorrect or missed connections cause the subwoofer to receive less power than it should. Re-channel the speakers through the amplifier before connecting the subwoofer.
Shut off Power
A dangerous mistake is not disconnecting a car battery before installation. Turning off the power source dramatically reduces the threat of electrocution and it prevents unwanted energy flow to certain parts of a car’s operating system.
The common mistake of improper mounts requires reiteration because the ramifications may be detrimental. The ramifications of improper mounts range from rattling noises coming from the location where the subwoofer shakes, to permanent subwoofer damage.
Buying Car Subwoofers on eBay
Finding the right car subwoofer that meets your shopping criteria is as easy as typing a few keywords into eBay’s powerful search engine. Once you type in the keywords, you can then navigate through the search result pages to find sellers who match your buying needs. Try to specify keywords to reduce the number of search result pages. For instance, type "Bose subwoofer" or "wireless subwoofer" to narrow the search window. Once you find the right seller, click the seller’s product page icon to review accepted payment methods, delivery terms, and return policies.
Consider buying from eBay’s Top-Rated Sellers. These sellers have earned reputations for selling high-quality products at reasonable prices. eBay designates the top-rated sellers by placing an electronic ribbon icon next to each qualified seller product photograph. You can also review customer feedback that eBay collects on seller product pages. Look for eBay sellers who have received positive feedback over the past year and have received some positive feedback for selling stereo components. Once you forge a business relationship with an eBay seller, ask that seller if he or she runs an eBay Store where you can buy products directly.
Car stereo buffs who want to enhance the power and quality of the bass sound in their systems should consider buying one, if not more, subwoofers. Car subwoofers come in four different sizes that produce varied levels of power and sound quality. For instance, the smallest 20 cm subwoofer is short on power, but it provides strong sound clarity. On the other end of the size spectrum, subwoofers that measure 35 cm boom the bass, but project muddled clarity. For the best clarity to power balance, many experts suggest buying a 25 cm subwoofer.
The car subwoofer installation process requires car stereo buffs to prepare their cars for the new stereo component. They must decide the best location for projecting balanced audio. Some car subwoofers work better near the front of a car, while other car subwoofer produce the best sound pointed towards the front of the car from inside of the boot. The correct tools and materials used to secure a subwoofer make a huge difference in the ease of which a subwoofer is installed. The speakers may require configuration and most important, car subwoofer installers should never forget to include an amplifier in the new car stereo setup.