There are many types of subwoofers out there and the more you know about them, the better you will be able to find the subwoofer that best meets your needs.
Subwoofers by Voice Coils
Every subwoofer has at least one voice coil and the voice coil(s) of a subwoofer determine how you will need to wire it up.
Single voice coil
Dual voice coil
Subwoofers by Impedance
Each of the subwoofer’s voice coils are engineered to a specific impedance. This impedance plays a major role in accurate subwoofer wiring and connecting it to the amplifier.
Subwoofers by Size
Every subwoofer has a size that is defined as roughly the diameter of subwoofer cone. The different subwoofer sizes can impact the acoustic properties and change how the subwoofer will sound.
Subwoofers by Sound
All subwoofers make sound, but not all bass is created equal. Some subs are designed more for loud sound levels, while other subwoofers are designed for accurate musical replication. The type of subwoofer you want will depend on the objective of your build.
Installing a subwoofer in your car can be one of the most musically rewarding upgrades that could be made to a car. That is because most factory car audio systems do not include a subwoofer and are unable to accurately play the lower frequencies of music. When a sub is installed in the car, the overall frequency response of the car widens and the user will be able to hear the bass notes along a wider range of viable frequencies. This page is dedicated to helping you understand how to install a car subwoofer.
What you will need:
Quick Disconnect Connectors
Industrial Strength Velcro (optional)
1. Wire the subwoofer to the correct impedance
The most important part of installing a car subwoofer is making sure the sub is wired to the correct impedance. This is very simple if you follow the wiring instruction that came with the subwoofer or view my wiring diagram pages. Make sure that the RMS wattage and final impedance of the subwoofer(s) match the RMS output of the amplifier at that same impedance.
For example, if you have a 500 watt dual 4-ohm subwoofer that is wired to 2-ohm, make sure that the amplifier puts out roughly 500 watts RMS at a 2 ohm impedance.
I recommend using 12 AWG speaker wire for making these connections. Only use thicker gauges in rare cases when the RMS of the subs are 1500+ watts. Failure to properly wire the subwoofer will result in improper wattage seen at the subwoofer and can cause permanent damage to the subwoofer and/or amplifier.
2. Mount the subwoofer in the box
Once you have wired the subwoofer to the proper impedance, you will be ready to mount the woofer to the box. Start by connecting the positive/negative speaker leads from the subwoofer and connect them to the inside of the subwoofers terminals. Usually this is done easily with quick disconnect connectors. With everything wired up, line the box with a healthy dose of polyfill (optional).
Assuming your box has a cut out the same size as the subwoofer, you should be able to simply set the woofer in the box cut out and prepare to screw it in place. Make sure that the subwoofer is lined up properly and not upside down. Then use some standard wood screws to mount the subwoofer to the MDF box. Be careful to not over tighen, but create a secure fit.
3. Connect the subwoofer to the amplifier
On the outside of the subwoofer box terminal (that has been connected to the speaker wire used to wire the subwoofer), you will be able to run positive and negative speaker wire to the amplifier. At this point, I recommend double checking all the connections and sending signal to the subwoofer to test it out.
4. Tune the Subwoofer
With everything connected, you can now tune the subwoofer to your liking by adjusting the subwoofer settings on your amplifier. This includes frequency response, bass boost, gain, subsonic filter, and other settings depending on the amplifier.
The information on this website is based on my experiences and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a professional installer before doing anything on your car. LearnCarAudio.com is not responsible for any typographical, conceptual, or visual errors on the website.