How Do Car Subwoofers Work?

person holding a connected car subwoofer

Breaking Down the Characteristics of the Best Car Subwoofers and How They Function

If there’s one universal request that car owners have, it’s this – they all want better sound in their vehicles. For some, that means getting crisper vocals and more nuanced instrumentals. For others, improved sound is a matter of accomplishing higher levels of volume that fill the interior.

And, of course, nothing says “superior sound” quite like deep, powerful bass that pulses so hard you can feel the vibrations in your skin. For decades, car subwoofers have served as an avenue to deliver quality low-frequency playback to drivers and their passengers. In fact, some of the best car subwoofers can be heard right here on the streets of East Brunswick and Brick.

However, as music enthusiasts and audiophiles know, car subwoofers aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. To select the right set for your musical preferences, it helps to have a basic understanding of how a subwoofer works and the main types of car subwoofers.

Subwoofers Defined: What They Are and How They Work

A subwoofer is a type of loudspeaker that is specifically designed to reproduce low frequencies, which generally fall in the 20 to 200 Hz range. Car subwoofers work in concert with mid-range speakers and high-frequency speakers (tweeters) to provide comprehensive and balanced playback of all frequencies.

What’s unique about subwoofers is their construction. The driver consists of a diaphragm that is typically made of paper, plastic, or high-quality composite materials that are attached to a coil of wire. When an electrical current flows through the coil, it interacts with a magnet, causing the diaphragm to move back and forth, creating sound waves.

However, the trademark heavy bass sound cannot be achieved without the enclosure, which is the subwoofer’s housing unit that determines its sound characteristics. Enclosures come in two types – ported and sealed.

Sealed subwoofers use an airtight enclosure and run smaller in size. They provide tight and accurate bass playback. On the other hand, ported subwoofers are vented and run larger in size. They provide throbbing playback that’s louder than sealed subs, but much less precise.

Determining the Best Car Subwoofers

Now that you know the basics of car subwoofers, naturally, you’re probably wondering which ones are best. However, “best” is highly subjective when discussing car audio equipment. What sounds great to you might sound awful to someone else. To point you in the right direction, it helps to review the list of pros and cons when making the ported versus sealed subwoofer comparison.

Ported subwoofer pros:

Ported subwoofer cons:

Sealed subwoofer pros:

Sealed subwoofer pros:

As you can see, both vented and sealed subwoofers have their strengths and drawbacks. Vented subwoofers excel in producing loud, booming bass, while sealed subwoofers offer tighter, more accurate bass. Your choice depends on your specific audio needs, the available space in your vehicle, budget, and personal listening preferences.

How to Experience Car Subwoofers in Person

If you’re new to the world of car subwoofers and living in East Brunswick or Brick, New Jersey, the best next step is to consult with a company that is experienced in car audio and carries a large selection of aftermarket car audio products. Established car audio companies typically carry the best car subwoofers from the leading manufacturers in the industry, both ported and sealed. Vehicle brands like Mercedes, Audi, and BMW can be elevated to new heights with the right set of car subwoofers.

Some of the top car audio brands to explore include:

The advantage of visiting a car audio company in person is that it gives vehicle owners the opportunity to try before they buy. Considering that most of what makes a subwoofer sound good is subjective to the listener, this is an important step that should not be skipped.

Additionally, most car audio companies have their own in-house installation team. Once you decide on the brand and type of car subwoofers you want, you should have the option to get them installed right then and there. A professional installation ensures your car audio products are mounted and wired correctly and quickly, which will get you back on the road in no time.