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Kyler Telge

These are my subs.

By Kyler Telge, Staff Writer

There is just something so magical about being able to shake mailboxes as you drive down the street. In the pursuit of better quality audio and possible hearing loss I have begun looking into aftermarket audio for my car. Initially I thought “surely this will be affordable, or if not, reasonable enough that I can save for it” but so far I have had no luck in finding anything that doesn’t make me want to break down. Whenever you look into audio you should have an idea of what you want and give yourself options while you search, I don’t follow my own advice though so who knows what is a good idea.

A lot of what you want might rely on your personal tastes. If you want just a little bit of extra kick to your audio without messing with your highs an 8 inch subwoofer might suit you well. If you like country, rock, metal, blues, and pop you might want something like a 10 inch that gives nice lows and great quality bass that your stock system just can’t provide. Now 12 inch subwoofers are where we are getting into some major bass, like shaking mailboxes major, and yes this is not the limit to what you can do with your system. Of course money is almost always a factor, especially for  students who probably have other things like car and phone bills to pay.

Really it is like any other addiction out there. You might start out small but if you have a passion for audio you are going to want to upgrade either way.

Now that we have talked about size and how it matters the importance of boxes must be discussed. Do you want accurate and snappy bass that makes you want to bump with your friends on the way to a party? Then you might want a sealed enclosure that gets that deep bass at the cost of volume. If you are the type of person that likes to dwell on the past and wants bass to hang around for a while then an ported, or vented, enclosure might suit you better since it produces louder, and longer booms in its sound. Maybe you are a bit crazy and you want a bandpass enclosure “sure, why not?” you ask quizzically because you may not know what a bandpass enclosure even is. Well, a bandpass enclosure is basically half and half with one side sealed and the other ported in a dual chamber enclosure with double the volume and even better accuracy for the small range of frequencies it is tuned to.

High end and highly respected brands are definitely important to look at, as well as others that may typically be known for being on the cheaper side. These brands like JL Audio and Rockford Fosgate deserve their reputations as some of the greatest quality audio and you can verify it yourself when you check them out at a local store. Subwoofers aren’t the only part that you can upgrade either. If you want to fully upgrade everything in your car you might look into multi-channel amplifiers that can also power your door speakers. Typically door speakers don’t push out very good quality sound as they are set to basic levels and are designed to either be efficient or keep your speakers working optimally for a very long time so upgrading to after market tweeters and mid range speakers can really improve your sound and volume too so it isn’t drowned out by the bass that we all love so much. There is also the possibility to replace your center channel speaker if your vehicle has one as it can influence how everything sounds in the car as it tends to make passengers feel like they are in front of a singer or band. If you are going all out and upgrading everything there is a good chance your system might cost thousands of dollars since you have to think about each speaker you want, the subs and their box, a multi-channel amp that can power all doors and possibly an amp specifically for the subwoofer, and all the wiring and other small stuff that is still needed.

You might think that there are plenty of places to cut corners but there really aren’t. Every time you cut a corner you are increasing your chance of screwing something up like blowing out your sub or having it catch on fire. Don’t cheap out on your cables, your amp… actually don’t cheap out on any part of your audio system if you can because what is $50 more in a $1,000 system? Make sure and look out for great deals since a lot of companies do promotions and special deals that you might be interested in. Overall, a great reference or starting point would be this guide or this video.