There’s no denying that finding the best subwoofer for your musical tastes is a difficult task. Because there are so many options on the market, even the most knowledgeable audiophile has difficulty with this. To top it all off, there are numerous misconceptions about how the size and type of your subwoofer will affect the overall sound quality of your system.
Sonic is here to help with this combined scenario, which results in an audio matching disaster. Most of you already know how to choose the best subwoofers for your car based on the available space and your budget. But how many of you think about the music you’ll be playing through your system?
See the Best Subwoofer For Home Theater
To maximize your audio experience, whether you listen to Rap, Electro, House, Dubstep, Alternative, Trap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Techno, Drum n Bass, Trip Hop, Experimental, House, Country, Classical, Heavy Metal, or even the Blues, you must coordinate your subwoofer with the genre of music.
This article will give you a detailed breakdown of how different sizes and types of subwoofers optimize different music selections.
DOES THE SIZE MATTER?
The size of a subwoofer determines how loud and low it can go. As a general rule, the larger the sub, the deeper the bass.
The available space, on the other hand, will be an important consideration, which is why you will need to take measurements before selecting the desired model. As a result, if you want the most powerful bass possible, you should go for the largest subwoofer that will fit in the available space.
CHOOSING SUBWOOFER SIZE ACCORDING TO MUSIC TASTE?
Whatever your musical tastes are, it is critical to select the proper size sub or subs. A larger subwoofer has a larger surface area on the cone, which results in more air displacement. While this contributes to a louder sound, many people make the mistake of assuming that bigger is always better.
When it comes to subwoofers, much more thought is required. Choosing the biggest, meanest beast on the shelf is rarely a good idea. Here’s how the various sizes perform with various types of music:
1. Best 8-INCH SUBWOOFER
8-inch subwoofers are one of the smallest and least expensive sizes on the market; most factory sound systems include one or two of these. Fortunately, this is the most straightforward aftermarket upgrade because your new 8-inch subs will fit right into the factory location.
While an 8-inch woofer provides excellent clarity and bass response, it produces very little extra power. This size focuses on clean, clear bass to complement the speakers. Punk, Country, Drum n Bass, Alternative, Classic Rock, and other music genres that aren’t concerned with overpowering bass will sound great with one or two 8-inch subwoofers.
2. Best 10-INCH SUBWOOFER
10-inch subwoofers are also simple to install and produce more bass than an 8-inch subwoofer. This is the size for you if you want a little more power without overwhelming your music or sacrificing sound quality. If you listen to metal, pop, jazz, or even the blues, this size will provide you with audio bliss.
3. Best 12-INCH SUBWOOFER
This is the most common aftermarket purchase, with only a few trucks and SUVs having it factory installed. It is difficult to install due to its larger size, but the benefits are obvious. A 12-inch subwoofer is known for producing extra bass with decent bass response.
Overall, the sound quality is not compromised, but if you play your sub at maximum power, your system will suffer. To get the most out of your woofer, it is always best to use the RMS Wattage. Drivers who listen to a variety of R&B, Rap, House, Dance, and even Funk prefer this size.
4. Best 15-INCH SUBWOOFER
A 15-inch subwoofer is becoming increasingly popular, despite the fact that no stock sound system comes in this size. Because of its larger size, this sub will take up the majority of your cargo or passenger space. When compared to the other sizes listed, this size produces a massive amount of bass.
While it excels at producing very low frequencies, it lacks the tight responsiveness of smaller sizes. You will need to upgrade your car’s speakers as well with a 15-inch subwoofer, but this does not guarantee that your music will not be flooded with bass. Hip Hop, Rap, Dubstep, Trap, and other forms of EDM benefit from such dominating bass.
Alternative Video: Subwoofer Size Buying Guide
CHOOSING SUBWOOFER TYPE ACCORDING TO MUSIC TASTE
Component or passive subwoofers are simply woofers. This speaker is powered by an external amplifier and requires an enclosure to keep it safe. This configuration will take up more space and cost more money, but believe me when I say you will notice a difference.
This is only for the most serious bass heads, but it will suit your needs depending on the genre of music you like and the amount of bass you want. Fortunately for the most knowledgeable audiophiles, this subwoofer type is highly customizable and can be tailored to your specific audio requirements.
Enclosed or powered subs are the simplest to install and operate because they are powered by an internal amp and are housed within an enclosure to protect the unit and improve the raw quality of the bass. If you want to avoid the hassle of building an enclosure from scratch and running wires throughout your vehicle, this type is a must-have.
Having your enclosure matched with the right subwoofer will ensure that you get adequate bass response for your specific musical tastes, and thankfully, this subwoofer does that for you. This is a space-conscious option for those who don’t want overpowering bass.
The main concept behind powered subwoofers is compactness. A powered subwoofer houses both the woofer and the amplifier, eliminating the need for an external amplifier. As previously stated, powered amps are compact and won’t take up much space in your car, while also being able to be installed in places where other types may be impossible.
On the downside, their small amplifiers and drivers may not provide enough power, particularly if you want deep bass. They are, however, excellent bass producers, and their small size and ease of installation make them an indispensable addition to your factory system.
Subwoofers for specific vehicles can be powered or unpowered. They are designed to fit into the space available in your car model.
They are also usually color-matched to the vehicle’s interior. They, like powered subs, will meet your listening needs without taking up much space, but they are not the best choice if you want a lot of bass.
HOW TO CHOOSE A SUBWOOFER?
Purchasing a subwoofer is akin to navigating a minefield. You want the best bass possible, but you probably don’t want to install a rhinoceros-sized sub in your living room. We’ve broken down the key steps in selecting a subwoofer, from sound quality and volume to price and whether or not to buy a wireless subwoofer.
1. Sound Quality
The first big question that everyone has is, “Will a subwoofer actually improve my bass?” The simple answer is that a dedicated subwoofer will improve your bass regardless of how much or how little you spend.
It will become more meaty, richer, and deeper. Subwoofers are specifically designed to boost the low end, and they work extremely well for both music and movies.
2. Subwoofer Size
In the world of subwoofers, size matters. The size of your driver will have a large impact on the range and quality of your bass. The driver is the subwoofer’s speaker – the circular cone that produces sound.
It takes a lot of energy to move bass frequencies through the air. The larger the driver, the more energy it can produce, and thus the larger the cabinet. But just how big is big?
3. Power and Volume
Almost every subwoofer on the market is an active subwoofer, which means it has its own internal amplifier rather than relying on an external amplifier.
The internal amplifier is the beating heart of your subwoofer, and its primary function is to power the speaker driver. That power is measured in watts, and understanding it is essential for selecting a good subwoofer.
4. Wireless vs. Wired Subwoofers
Most subwoofers will need to be directly connected to a wall outlet in order to draw power, as well as to your amplifier in order to receive sound. The former is accomplished, obviously, with the power cable, and the latter with an RCA cable, which is typically included with your subwoofer. What if you want to go completely wireless?
5. Frequency Range
Every sound has a frequency – how high or low it is. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz), and understanding frequency is critical for subwoofers. Because bass notes have a low frequency, a subwoofer capable of reaching the lowest possible frequency is, by definition, a great subwoofer.
6. Front-Firing vs. Down-Firing Subwoofers
The main driver of a front-firing subwoofer faces forward. The driver of a down-firing subwoofer is located on the underside of the subwoofer, pointing down into the floor. There are only minor differences between the two, and which one you choose depends on where you intend to place your subwoofer.
If you know it will be close to the main speakers, you may want to consider a front-firing subwoofer. But, once again, you can choose either one without too many negative consequences.
7. EQ and Room Calibration
Bass, more than any other type of sound, is extremely sensitive to its surroundings. Because of its slow movement and heavy nature, it tends to react poorly in less-than-ideal environments, collecting in corners and becoming muddy and indistinct.
Subwoofer manufacturers are aware of this, which is why many subwoofers include DSP (Digital Signal Path) technology. It’s a method of improving and altering the sound before it’s pushed out the front of the subwoofer, so it interacts with your room in a more pleasing way.
8. Ported vs. Sealed Subwoofers
The world of subwoofers has an odd quirk: the more expensive they are, the more likely they are to have holes punched in them. These are referred to as ported subwoofers, and as the name implies, they have one or more ‘ports’ that lead directly to the interior.
Sealed subwoofers, on the other hand, are devoid of any ports. In general, most subwoofers are sealed – certainly, the vast majority of the models on our list of the best available right now meet this requirement.
9. Hi-Fi vs. Home Theater
Subwoofers are extremely versatile and can be used in music, movie, and gaming setups. The difference here is that when purchasing a subwoofer for a hi-fi system, you almost never need to purchase more than one.
This is not because one subwoofer will not suffice for music – it will – but because most stereo amps do not have the capability of transmitting sound to more than one subwoofer.
10. How Much Do Subwoofers Cost?
You should probably not buy a subwoofer for less than $100. We’ve heard a lot of things below that price point with mixed results.
The good news is that you can get excellent subwoofers for as little as $140, and the results are frequently fantastic if you spend a little more. There are hundreds of subwoofers available between $200 and $1,000, with some real bargains in the middle.
SUBWOOFER SIZE VERSUS LOW-FREQUENCY EXTENSION
When purchasing a subwoofer, you must consider how much space you are willing to devote to the enclosure. To produce the same amount of low-frequency output as smaller-diameter subwoofers, larger subwoofers require a larger enclosure. Let’s look at some examples to get a better understanding of this concept.
Assume we have enough space to construct an enclosure with an internal air volume of 2 cubic feet. This is a very versatile size because the subwoofer options are numerous. We could use a sealed pair of tens, a vented pair of tens, a sealed pair of twelves, or a single 12 in a vented design. Which is the most audible? Which is the best? Let us take a look.
The vented design improves total system efficiency at all frequencies ranging from 20 to more than 100 Hz. The dual 10-inch vented design comes out on top in this simulation. What about bigger woofers? Let’s see how a pair of Black 10 subwoofers compares to a pair of Black 12 subwoofers.
In the graph below, the yellow line represents the predicted output of a pair of Black 12V2 subwoofers. As you can see in this simulation, the response curve of the 12-inch subwoofers mimics that of the tens, but with a more than 3 dB increase in efficiency.
This is where things get complicated. What about a pair of tens in a vented case versus a pair of twelves in a sealed case?
WHAT ABOUT SUBWOOFER POWER HANDLING?
Power handling is the final consideration in this discussion of the best subwoofer for a given amount of space. With subwoofers, there are two types of power handling to consider: thermal and physical. Thermal power handling is primarily determined by the size of the subwoofer voice coil.
Larger coils can withstand higher temperatures. Both of the Black subwoofers in this article have a 3-inch coil, but the 12 has a 500-watt RMS power rating as opposed to the 10’s 400-watt rating.
In terms of physical power handling, this must be evaluated using simulation software. The graph below depicts the distance traveled by the woofer cones in relation to frequency. The sealed tens are shown in red, and the vented tens are shown in orange in the chart below.
The vented enclosure is good to around 22 Hz, with an Xmax spec of 16 mm. The cone may bottom out at that point. The addition of an infrared filter at this frequency would aid in damage prevention. In reality, unless you’re intentionally playing music with a lot of deep bass, you should be fine.
CONCLUSION: Best Subwoofer Size
A subwoofer can reproduce bass levels that regular speakers cannot. It’s a fantastic addition that will enhance your overall audio experience.
Choosing the appropriate type and size for the job will go a long way toward ensuring that you get the quality sound that you desire in your vehicle. But, at the end of the day, everything must be balanced with the correct speaker sizes and amps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are 15 inch subs louder than 12?
The question of whether 15-inch subwoofers have a better base than 12-inch subwoofers is not easily answered. The truth is that “better” is a matter of personal preference. Because 15-inch subwoofers are larger and displace more air than 12-inch subwoofers, the 12-inch subwoofer will have a crisper, sharper sound than the larger ones.
What size sub is best for bass?
A 12-inch subwoofer is known for producing extra bass with decent bass response. Overall, the sound quality is not compromised, but if you play your sub at maximum power, your system will suffer. To get the most out of your woofer, it is always best to use the RMS Wattage.
What sounds better 10s or 12s?
Subwoofer size frequently dictates loudness when designing or upgrading a vehicular audio system. That is, two 12s will be heard louder than two 10s. If your music does not require a deeper bass or a fast attack, the smaller subs will provide more sound consistency.
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