Do I Need A Subwoofer In My Car?
It ought to be said: Most newly purchased automobiles on the market these days—even non-used models, fresh off the assembly line—are going to have poor sound systems in lieu of significant investment by you, the customer.
Car manufacturers tend to treat a quality sound system as a quasi-luxury item that the buyer has to opt into, and, thus, spend a lot for in addition.
This is okay with a large number of people, frankly, who mainly use their car speaker systems to listen to programs that do not require a good pair of high fidelity speakers. A lot of folks like to listen to the radio, or, maybe a little bit of music of their own (inputted through an auxiliary cord most of the time), but don’t require a lot more than that. For these customers, a basic speaker system is sufficient.
Other customers, however, will want a sound system that delivers a stronger, more comprehensive sound.
Do I Need A Subwoofer In My Car?
If you’re a musician yourself, or a music journalist, or just an avid listener, you’re going to want to upgrade your speakers from the bland default apparatus that the automaker is going to fit you with initially, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you have a trained ear, your favorite music is just going to sound worse through a poor sound system, and you’re right to want to correct that.
You should invest in a high-quality sound system for the same reason you would (or, perhaps, would not) invest in a high-quality pair of headphones: namely, that is, because you’re interested in how the music sounds on a more minute level.
Once you’ve decided you want an upgrade, though, there are a number of different directions in which you can decide to head.
If you’re a fan of heavy rock, hip hop, or electronic music, for example, you might want some degree of added bass on your sound system.
If that’s the case, then you might decide you want a subwoofer in your car.
Subwoofers are the perfect amenity for the avid listener who wants a little (or a lot) of additional bounce in their step.
That said, it’s simply not enough to know that you want a subwoofer, since subwoofers can do numerous different things; they can either pat you on the back, all nice and easy, or, proverbially speaking, slap you open-handed across the face.
How Much Extra Bass Do You Want?
That’s the question you have to ask yourself once you’ve decided you want to opt into a subwoofer, and the answer you concoct is going to determine what sort of subwoofer you decide you want to buy.
First off, it’s worth summarizing what a subwoofer is, what it will run you in terms of cost, and what sort of equipment you’re going to need to purchase in order to operate your own subwoofer.
The subwoofer is going to add a whole lot of bass to your car stereo system, true. But how does it do that exactly?
A subwoofer, basically, amplifies the current that your car stereo emits, and then gives that current an output, resulting in increased bass output.
Your car stereo produces a limited amount of roots-mean-squared (RMS), which is the quotient that determines how heavy the car’s sound is going to be. Your car speakers, working in congress with the source of the current, will only be able to output so many RMS.
Basically, your car sound system can only create and handle so much sound on its own, and that total amount is pretty limited. What a subwoofer does—in congress with an amplifier—is make that sound bigger by increasing the RMS present, and then by giving that current an output source in the form of the subwoofer itself.
So, if you purchase a subwoofer, you’re probably also going to want to purchase an amplifier, which will give your subwoofer the energy it needs to add bass to your system. There are certain stipulations as to which amplifiers you should and should not buy, but the gist of it is this: If you want more bass, get an amplifier that creates more RMS, and get a set of subwoofers that can handle more RMS than its competitors. Additional RMS, in a general sense, equates to additional bass. The more RMS, the more bass. It’s (almost) that simple.
Ultimately, automakers are right to treat sound systems as an added amenity that consumers have to opt into, since different consumers have different needs and desires.
Whether or not to have a subwoofer in your car is a choice you have to make on your own, but this article should give you a general idea of what a subwoofer is, when it might be necessary, and how to go about getting one for your vehicle.