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How to Make Your Car Rock to the Music

They say music moves people emotionally; well, when you pack enough bass into a car you can move it physically. It's all about the subwoofer, that big speaker in a box that creates the booming sound you can feel in your core.

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is basically a large low-frequency speaker that reproduces the bottom end of the audio range. The key to understanding them is the fact that speaker size and sound frequency are interrelated; the lower the frequency, the more you benefit from a larger subwoofer like a 15-inch Cerwin-Vega. One catch is that to produce these frequencies you have to move more air; that's why most subwoofers need a dedicated amplifier. After size and power, the biggest thing that can affect your sound is the enclosure, the box that holds the subwoofer. There are two main approaches to consider:

  • Ported: Ported enclosures work well for music like rap and hip-hop. They use the port opening to tune the output for a deep boomy bass. They tend to be larger and louder than sealed alternatives.
  • Sealed: Sealed enclosures give a more accurate reproduction at the cost of volume. They also tend to use more power as the cone has to push against the internal air pressure. These subwoofers are better suited for jazz and classical music.

How Do You Power a Subwoofer?

The first step in looking for a subwoofer is to take a look at your vehicle. Not all car audio subwoofers fit in every car. Some are just too large for the space available in the vehicle unless you choose to put your car subwoofer in the trunk. You also have to figure out the electrical requirements for your car amplifier and that includes two factors, Ohms and Watts: 

  • Ohms: Ohms measure the impedance of your car subwoofer, which is its resistive load. Matching one sub to an amp is easy, but matching two subs or one with a dual voice coil takes more calculations. The key is that if you wire in series, you add the impedance ratings together, but in parallel you divide them. This can mean putting a 1-Ohm load on an amp rated for 2, which can damage it.
  • Watts: Watts equal amplifier power, and there are two areas to consider; peak power and RMS power. Peak output can only sustain for a short period, RMS power is continuous. You want to make sure the latter is high enough to push your subwoofer driver.

Getting the Sound

Hooking up a 15-inch Stroker Pro or even a 12-inch HED series woofer from Cerwin-Vega in your car can really put its electrical systems to the test, but the sound is worth the power. Dual coils give you plenty of resonance and frequency response, so you can get the most out of your music.

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