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Subwoofers are an integral part of any audio system. Adding these units allows each component to focus on producing the frequency range they are best suited for. Have you ever been in a car with a basic audio system with no subwoofer? If you turn up the music or dial up the bass on the EQ, the music becomes unfortunately distorted. Rather than hearing the harmony of balanced acoustics, you end up hearing a mishmash of mixed-up frequencies. The speakers are over-worked and under-suited. In order to play music at its finest, you must have a component specific system; whether or not you want your car to shake the block with bass, it is important to respect the low frequency tones.
When looking for the best car subwoofers, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. For most people, power and price lead the decision-making process. It is important, when considering power, to look at not just the peak power but also the RMS power. The RMS (root mean square) will give you an indication of continuous power, not just maximum capacity. Additionally, the number of voice coils is often overlooked. Though a dual coil will not produce more bass than a single coil, a dual coil will create less electrical resistance, meaning more power to the sub.
The beauty of car audio is that the customization process has near limitless permutations. Different pieces come together to produce masterful melodies. Each piece of the system plays its part and the collaboration within the system makes each piece better. Think about if a violinist had to play the drums at the same time. It would be very difficult and certainly neither instrument would sound its best. That’s the benefit of building a component system and adding a subwoofer; every other piece of sonic equipment is left to play to the best of its caliber, while the bass machine lays a foundation.
Subwoofers come in various sizes – measured by the diameter of the cone. They typically start at 8” and progress through 10”, 12”, and 15”. While 8” and 10” subwoofers are an easy install and add tight punchy bass to a stock system, a 12” subwoofer is considered by many to be the most versatile size. Creating enough bass to satisfy low frequency enthusiasts, it is not overpowering and maintains quality balanced bass throughout a variety of music genres. Here are the best ones to get.
1. Rockford Fosgate 12-Inch Subwoofer
Proclaimed as the “best performing Punch series subwoofer,” the P3D4 epitomizes Rockford Fosgate’s meticulous craftsmanship, while staying true to their industry reputation of providing exceptionally high-quality equipment with value in mind.
At 1200 watts of peak power, the P3D4 produces beautifully balanced and powerfully finessed deep bass. The P3D4 uses a rigid anodized aluminum cone which maintains proper structure even through extreme conditions. The oversized rubber surround allows for up to 25% greater cone area than similar sized subs, which means the P3D4 can push more air for bigger bass.
Rockford Fosgate engineered the P3D4 with more space for the cone to travel, producing cleaner and deeper bass without bottoming out.
PROS: Multiple engineering features make this ideal for those who want to really use this sub for extended play at the far end of the power spectrum. According to the manufacturer, unique spider venting keeps the motor cooler than previous versions.
CONS: Users have mentioned that installation can be tricky and that professional installation is worth it.
2. MTX Audio Terminator Series 12-Inch Subwoofer
For more than 40 years, MTX has been “serious about sound,” as their slogan goes, and the Terminator series certainly packs a serious punch. The twin 12″ cones produce clean and crisp kicks. Rated with a peak power of 1200 watts, the dual sub design means that neither cone is going to be taking too much of a beating at the top of the volume range.
MTX’s proprietary spider plateau venting combined with their Asymmetrical Linear Drive System means that the bass will continue to bump clean and clear even during extended play.
PROS: The unit is a quick and easy addition to a vehicle; add an amp, wire the unit into the system, and hit play.
CONS: The box can be a bit bulky for cars with smaller trunks.
3. Planet Audio 12-Inch Subwoofer
Planet Audio has managed to jam 1800 watts of peak power into a 12″ subwoofer. Simple and straightforward in its construction, the AC12D is a monstrous addition to any car audio system.
A key feature of the AC12D is the use of dual voice coils. Dual voice coils will not produce more bass. Rather, a dual coil system will reduces the electrical resistance through an amplifier. Less resistance means more power; more power means bigger bass.
PROS: A super budget friendly option for hard hitting, deep bass.
CONS: The manufacturer suggest breaking in the subwoofer over many hours of low to medium volume; definitely something to take note of in order to be able to get reach maximum low frequency capacity.