A subwoofer is a loudspeaker driver element which is dedicated to the reproduction of low frequency audio referred to as bass. The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is about 20–200 Hertz, although specialized subs can reach into the subsonic range or in some cases, above 200 Hz into the lower midrange bandwidth. Subwoofers are intended to augment the bass response of loudspeakers, and provide a more dramatic ‘feel’ to the music or movie soundtrack being played. During the 1990s, subwoofers became increasingly popular in home stereo, theater systems and custom car audio installations. Today, nearly every home and movie theater employs subwoofers as part of the audio experience. Even stock car stereo systems often include subwoofers, and the custom car audio market has taken the genre to levels not for the acoustically faint-of-heart.
Automotive subwoofer applications generally consist of one or more woofers mounted in a loudspeaker enclosure, often made of wood. These subwoofer enclosures come in a variety of designs, including sealed, bass reflex (with a port or passive radiator in the enclosure), infinite baffle, horn-loaded, and compound or bandpass designs, each with unique pros and cons with respect to efficiency, performance, size and cost. Passive subwoofers have a driver component in an enclosure and are powered by an external amplifier. Active subwoofers have an amplifier built into the enclosure, such as the typical home audio ‘powered subwoofer’.
Subwoofers will make an enormous difference in how your system sounds, whether it is at home or in your vehicle. Nearly thirty percent of what we hear falls into the range of frequencies that can be reproduced by conventional subwoofers. If you do not have a sub, you are missing some part of the music to which you listen. Although the concept is simple on paper – picking a subwoofer that works well with an amplifier you already own or one that you plan to buy requires some expertise. Designing an enclosure that optimizes the operation of the sub and also fits into the designated space within your vehicle can be an added challenge. Finally, we must bear in mind the remaining elements of your system, such as the rest of your speakers, the characteristics of the vehicle’s interior, and the preferences of the user.
Armed with some of the industries finest subwoofers from JL Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Powerbass and more, and ranging in size from 6” micro subs to 15” earthquake machines, Communication Center staff will select the best subwoofer and enclosure to fit your vehicle, your system components, and your listening predilections. Stop by our shop to hear and feel what your system could do for you!
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