From gentle bark to deep woof: How to choose the right subwoofer for your car

CAC Admin |

Cars and music just work together. From putting restive children in a more parent-friendly mood to providing an opportunity to recreate that scene from Wayne’s World, music while driving feels right.

Naturally, getting the most from your music collection requires speakers that are up to the task. What follows is a guide to finding the right version of a key speaker: the subwoofer.

Why do I need one?

Subwoofers are designed to boost the sound quality of low frequency notes, much like tweeters do for high frequencies. Enhancing music at the bottom of the frequency range of human hearing has a knock-on effect for the rest of the song too.

It’s why portable speaker systems come with the option to ‘boost bass’ and sound equalisers on programs like Windows Media Player and iTunes offer the chance to optimise frequency outputs.

Which one should I get?

This really depends on two things: how much space you can realistically use and what type of music you want to play.

If you don’t have a lot of room, then under-seat units are probably best. Although they are less powerful and have less frequency ranges, they will make some difference to bass notes.

They also offer noticeable (but discreet) improvements to the sound quality in general, as the music will sound more balanced. This is ideal for enhancing music that doesn’t rely on low ranges for its sound.

However, if you’re aiming to enhance music that features prominent drum beats and bass lines from multiple instruments then something bigger is required.

Larger, enclosed subwoofers not only have greater frequency range but also use self-contained amplifiers to boost volume without the need for any additional kit. If you’re serious about making the most of your music, this is probably the right option.

Is that it then?

No, not exactly, but its most of the hard work done. The next part is considering technical specifications, such as output wattage; frequency range and spatial dimensions.

However, after-market specialists offer product reviews, detailed performance breakdowns and expert advice to get you the best product.

For example: an under-seat 200W, 50-100 Hz speaker is ideal for boosting the sound balance of classical or pop music without filling the boot.