How to choose the right subwoofer for your car or truck | Crutchfield

Hey I'm JR, and in this video we're going to talk about how to choose the right subwoofer for your car.

First off, what is a sub and what does it do? A subwoofer is usually the largest speaker

in a speaker system, responsible for the lowest frequencies, the bass. Think about bass guitars,

the kick drum, and no matter what kind of music you listen to, there's bass in that music. Everything

from Mozart to Metallica has bass, and if you have a subwoofer you're going to feel a better

emotional connection to your music because typically those lower frequencies, you can

feel them as much as you can hear them. That's why a subwoofer is important for just about

every car stereo system. First let's talk about the different types of subwoofers available.

Every subwoofer speaker needs an enclosure and an amplifier, now how you get all of those

things varies, let's talk about the different types. First, you can purchase everything

separately, a component subwoofer, a box to put it in, and an amplifier to power it, and then

all of the wiring to make it all work. If you'd like to take a little bit of the guesswork

out you can purchase an enclosed woofer, which is a box made by the manufacturer that includes

the subwoofer, that way you don't have to match up the sub to the box. You can also purchase

a powered subwoofer, which is a woofer in a box with an amplifier also in the box, so you

don't have to think about how to match up the speaker to the amplifier. And lastly, there

are vehicle-specific or custom sub enclosures designed to fit into a particular location

in a specific vehicle. These are nice because you don't have to take up as much cargo space

with a large box in your trunk, they fit and they blend in with your interior, they're available

with subwoofers included and you can also get them as a fully powered system with the

amplifier and subwoofer included inside the enclosure. Next let's talk about where to put

your sub. If you're not going with a vehicle- specific sub, you're going to have to find

a place to put it, usually if you have a trunk or a hatch area that's probably where you

are going to want to put your subwoofer box. Keep in mind, the bigger the box the less cargo space

you'll have available for your groceries and golf clubs and such, so it's kind of a trade-off.

How much bass do you want versus how much cargo space do you need? If you have some space

under a seat, mini compact powered subwoofers are designed to go under your seat which really

doesn't take up much usable cargo space and gives you nice good accurate type bass.

If you have a pickup truck, especially if it's a standard cab pickup truck, behind the seat, and there

are many many boxes designed as truck boxes to fit behind the seat of a standard cab pickup

truck. And of course, those vehicle-specific subs make it easier. Now let's talk about a

component subwoofer system, this is where you get to pick out the specific components to

make sure they are to your liking and they're going to make your music sound the best. You

are going to pick out a specific subwoofer, you have many sizes to choose from, 8, 10, 12, 15, those are

the most common sizes, and then of course you have to choose how many. The larger the driver,

usually the deeper it will go. The more drivers you choose, the more air you are going to move.

That gives you more sound pressure, so it's a little bit of a trade-off. You need to decide if

you want bass to go as low as possible, or are you trying to move the most air as possible. And so that's

part of the decision of how many subs and what size subs to get. As you're choosing your

individual component woofer or woofers, you are going to see things like single voice coil

and dual voice coil. These exist simply to give you more wiring options, so most mono

subwoofer amplifiers are designed to give you the most bang for the buck, the most power

for your dollar, when the system is wired up at a 2 ohm impedance. We have separate articles

and videos that will cover that for you, and of course you can call and talk to an advisor,

we can help you make sure you get the right number of voice coils at the right impedance.

Once you have your woofer and number of woofers chosen, you're going to want to find a box,

and for many subwoofers that we choose, we have taken the guesswork out of that for you.

You can simply look in the accessories tab of whatever subwoofer you have chosen, and

we have put boxes there that we know that subwoofer will work in and sound good in. So

it's important to match the subwoofer to the actual size, the internal airspace of the

enclosure needs to be right for that subwoofer to move in and out and perform at its best.

You can choose a sealed box or a ported box, sealed boxes typically give you a tighter, more

articulate, more musical bass, ported enclosure typically boost efficiency of the woofer,

meaning it makes more use of that power and gives you a little bit more bass, and it may

be a little bit less accurate than a sealed enclosure, but both sound good. It may just

depend on the type of music you listen to. Once you've got your impedance figured out, you're going to need to

make sure your amp and sub match. Ideally, your amp should have about 75% to 100% of the maximum RMS

power handling of your subwoofer, with a combined total of your multiple subwoofers. For example,

if you had a subwoofer that can handle 200 watts, you should have an amplifier that puts

out anywhere from a hundred fifty to two hundred Watts at the impedance of your subwoofer. If

you like to take a little bit of the guesswork out of it, you might want to consider an enclosed

subwoofer, this is where the manufacturer has designed a woofer and a box to go together

and it is sold as a complete system. Of course, you'll still need to get the right amplifier

for the subwoofer in the box, and the same rules apply as regarding power matching up

the amp to the enclosure. Enclosed subwoofers are available in a wide range of sizes, everything

from small truck-style box or maybe even an under-seat enclosure to a large, dual 12-inch

ported sub box that just looks incredible. And now, the simplest option, a powered sub.

This is an example right here, this is a woofer in an enclosure with an amplifier

built in, so you don't have to worry about matching up the amp for the sub, it's a perfect

match, the manufacturer ensures that. And often times these are compact, but not always. You

can also get a very large powered subwoofer, so you can still get one that's to your liking

with enough bass for you, or a smaller compact style that will fit under a seat, behind your

seat in a truck, so powered subwoofers are available in a wealth of sizes, some of them

come with wiring, some of them you're still going to have to pick out all the wires to

go with them, but they are by far and away your simplest and often your least expensive

option to get that bass in your car. So when you put a sub in your car you need a speaker,

the enclosure, and the amplifier, you're also going to need some other stuff to make it work.

You're going to need wiring, because every subwoofer needs an amplifier, and every sub amplifier

needs a direct power wire all the way to the battery. I would recommend you get n amplifier

wiring kit, you can find them in the accessories tab on any amplifier available on,

that will make sure you are using the right size power wire, the right size fuse, and that

you have all the wires you need to get your amplifier hooked up to the power in your car.

If you're not using a powered sub you're also going to need some speaker wire to connect

your amplifier to your sub enclosure, we typically recommend a thicker gauge, like a 12-gauge

speaker wire to make sure you get all the power from your amp into your sub. So if you're looking

to find the right subwoofer for your car, you've come to the right place by watching this video.

There's plenty more articles and videos available on, there's an FAQ for subwoofers,

there's a article about the choosing the right enclosure for your subwoofers, matching your

subwoofer to your amp, subwoofer wiring diagram, plenty of information, but you might just want

to consider giving us a call. Any one of our advisors helping you can chat with you online,

call us, our advisors have been trained. I actually make sure of that, I'm the training manager

here at Crutchfield. You spend weeks talking about subwoofers, amplifiers, all the things

we've been talking about in this video in significant detail so that they can talk to

you about the music you listen to, the space you have available, what kind of bass you're

looking for in what vehicle you want it in to make sure you get the right subwoofer for

you, so give us a call, chat with us online, send us an email, let us help you pick out

the right subwoofer for you.