Introduction to Subwoofers: What You Need to Know About Your Vehicle Audio System

JL Audio subwoofers allow you to upgrade your vehicle's stereo system. Here are some details you need to know when selecting and installing audio equipment in your vehicle.

What is a subwoofer?

In audio equipment, a woofer is a speaker driver that converts electrical audio signals into audible sound waves. They are found in many consumer products, including home theater equipment and vehicle audio and stereo systems. A subwoofer or sub is a loudspeaker component that is specifically designed to reproduce low pitch audio frequencies to create bass and sub-bass sounds.

What are the different types of subwoofers available?
  • Component subs: These allow you to build a customized vehicle audio system. To work properly, you'll need to mount it in a subwoofer box and connect it to an external amplifier as the power source. You can select from low- or high-power options as well as various impedance and voice coil configurations.
  • Enclosed subs: These provide a simple solution for those who dont want or need to design a more complicated audio system. Theyre pre-mounted so youll save time building and installing them. An external amp is required to power an enclosed sub.
  • Powered subs: These include an amplifier and the woofer built into a single enclosure. Since youll only need one piece of equipment, powered subs are easy to install. They are generally smaller than component and enclosed subs, making them a good choice for smaller vehicles or as simple add-ons to enhance a factory-installed audio system.
What determines the size of audio subwoofer needed?

JL Audio subwoofers are available in 8 to 15 inches. Choosing the right size sub depends on several factors, including how much space you have, where you want to install the sub, and how loud you want the sound to be. If you listen to several musical styles, listen to talk radio, or play video in your vehicle, 12-inch subs offer more flexibility for improving audio tone and quality. See the manufacturer site for details.

What features are important when choosing a JL Audio subwoofer?
  • Power handling and sensitivity: Check the RMS power rating and match it to the power output of your amp. Keep in mind that a higher-sensitivity sub requires less power while a low-sensitivity sub will require a higher power output.
  • Frequency range: The average frequency range for audio subs is between 20 Hz and 200 Hz. See the manufacturer site for details. Consider how low you want the sub to play and understand that how the sub is mounted will also affect its performance.
  • Impedance: There are two-ohm, eight-ohm, and most common, four-ohm ratings for audio subs. Be sure to select amps that match the impedance and power level of your sub.
  • Number of voice coils: Single-voice coil subs are the most common. There are also dual-voice coil subs that support more flexibility in wiring your audio system.
Can a subwoofer be added to a factory-installed audio system?

JL Audio subs and amplifiers can be installed alongside your existing audio system without the need to upgrade to your audio system. They work with your vehicle's existing wiring and dashboard controls. You can purchase components to install yourself or have them professionally installed at a car audio shop.

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