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What You Should Know Before Selecting an Auto Subwoofer?

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 7/22/2009

A lot of thought should go into selecting a subwoofer for your automobile. You have to decide what size and power you need, where it will go, and how you will mount it. The location of the subwoofer can make a big difference in how it sounds, and there are so many available options.

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    Size Isn't Everything

    One thing you should know about subwoofers is that bigger isn’t always better. With the brilliant ways speakers are designed, you can get a lot of thump out of a smaller subwoofer. The days of putting two giant 15” speakers in the trunk of your car are pretty much over unless you want to make all your neighbors mad or get to know all your local police really well. With the right kind of system, you can get a lot of sound from an 8” or 10” subwoofer, and those are a lot easier to put into a vehicle without taking up too much space.

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    Big Sound

    The first step in selecting a subwoofer is to decide what kind of sound you want. Do you want something that can be felt by your neighbors, or do you just want to fill out the lack of bass in your current system? This will determine how many subwoofers you wish to add, as well as what kind of amplifier you will need. Don’t forget that you or someone else will have to wire all this stuff, too. You’ll need power running to the battery, a ground, and of course something for connecting it all back to your head unit to get the audio. Many people also replace the factory stereo system in their vehicle in order to get more out of adding a subwoofer. It all depends on your system.

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    The next step is to figure out where you want to put the subwoofer. If you have a car, the most common place is somewhere in the trunk so that it’ll be out of the way. In a pickup, you can put the speakers in the back of the cab or behind the seat, depending on how big a truck you have. The more space you have, the better. If space is a limitation, there are compact style subwoofers that can fit under car seats and be out of the way. Subwoofers are best located where they can’t be seen, because you want them tucked away someplace for the bass to resonate inside the vehicle.

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    Amp Power

    Another thing to consider when selecting a subwoofer is that it also needs power. This means you will either need to get a powered subwoofer, which has its own built-in amplifier, or you will need to buy a separate amplifier to power your sub. Sometimes people mount the amp right on the side of the sub box, but it all depends on size, space, location, and whether or not you want your stuff to be seen. Depending on where you live, you might not want to have a bunch of high-dollar stereo equipment just laying around in the back of your car to serve as an invitation for thieves.

    Adding a subwoofer to your car’s audio system makes a big improvement to the sound, but knowing a little about your needs and limitations before you make a purchase will save you a lot of headache when you get ready for installation. Crank it up!