Boom-boom-boom, gotta get that.
In all probability, the Black Eyed Peas were singing about subwoofers.
A subwoofer is a type of loudspeaker which is dedicated to playing low-range frequencies. In other words, a subwoofer is a dedicated bass-playing box.
What is bass, you ask? Pronounced like “base”, it is best described as the deep “thump” that you hear in, say, hip-hop music or music with heavy usage of percussion instruments. Bass, however, isn’t limited to those kinds of music and contributes to the overall “richness” of regular music as well.
So, bass makes your music “thump” and a subwoofer increases bass.
But do you need a subwoofer? With all things considered, a subwoofer, despite the tradeoffs, is highly recommended for your car’s audio setup.
While they are tacky to install and slightly costly, installing them is a good idea, which is why you should check out these car subs of 15 inches.
The advantages of subwoofers:
- A subwoofer might make you rediscover your music
A properly-tuned subwoofer might make audible some inaudible parts of your favorite song. Regular car speakers are not designed to amplify low frequencies (say, below 80Hz), resulting in your listening experience turning out to be entirely different from what your artist intended it to be.
The remedy, a subwoofer, is designed to reproduce those certain frequencies only and, when properly tuned, can make you experience your music as if you’re listening to it for the first time.
- Subwoofers reduce the demand from your regular speakers
Since your regular speakers are no longer tasked with playing the difficult low-range frequencies along with the mid- and high-range frequencies, they can play the mid- and high-range frequencies better.
Conversely, this means better reproduction of the low-range frequencies as well, since they have their standalone speaker.
- Subwoofers reduce distortion
A properly-tuned and well-integrated subwoofer goes a long way to reducing distortion and lets you play your music as loud as you want.
What is distortion, you ask?
Ah, distortion is what makes you hear noise when you want to listen to music. It is the cracking, the hissing or any other unwanted sound which detracts the experience of listening to music in your car.
Subwoofers reduce distortion by reducing the main speakers’ load and playing bass more effectively.
- Subwoofers allow for flexibility with placement
Often, when regular full-range speakers and placed and positioned, there’s some compromise to be made. The position ideal for, say, tonality, may not be so for bass and the user has to settle for a position which balances all the aspects, essentially, a compromise.
With subwoofers, no such compromise has to be made (at least as far as bass is concerned). If you place and tune them correctly, they will deliver the best bass that your setup (and the Black Eyed Peas) are capable of providing.
The disadvantages of subwoofers:
Depending on how spacious your car’s interior is, a subwoofer can impact the practicality of your car. If you plan on lugging tons of luggage in your car, you might have to make another trip if you mount a subwoofer.
To complicate matters further, subwoofers are usually accompanied by amplifiers, which take up yet more space.
A subwoofer is not a plug-and-play piece of equipment; far from it.
Before a subwoofer can even begin to be tuned, it has to be appropriately mounted. Proper mounting is essential to ensure it does not impede with accessibility and delivers good bass at the same time.
Further, we get to the wiring. Once the subwoofer is mounted, it has to be appropriately routed throughout the car (usually across the length of the car) and involves resolving a web of wiring.
Lastly, a subwoofer has to be tuned. Tuning involves configuring the subwoofer to play only low-frequency music. Improper or no tuning may result in distortion and audio quality might be worse than original.
All that rich, thumping aural goodness does not come cheap. It’s not uncommon for a good subwoofer setup to cost upwards of 100 dollars.
However, it is to be noted that the money spent on a subwoofer is well-spent as it delivers the maximum gain in sound quality per dollar than any other upgrade. Even if you’re not a hardcore vehicle audio enthusiast, you’d appreciate the substantial increase in sound quality.
Subwoofers are one of the best upgrades you can buy for your vehicle’s audio setup and go a long way towards improving sound quality. They reduce distortion and increase the intensity of the low-frequency notes while leaving the main speakers to deal with the mid- and high-frequency notes more effectively.