Gauging Size for Your Car Subwoofer Enclosures Gauging Size for Your Car Subwoofer Enclosures

If you'll be adding a subwoofer to your car's audio system, you will need to consider the various sizes of car subwoofer enclosures that are available. There are many variables to consider when choosing an appropriate sized enclosure for your subwoofer, and this article will offer some information and insight into how to best determine an appropriate sized enclosure for the subwoofer in your vehicle.

Larger Subwoofers Require Bigger Enclosures

Generally speaking, the larger the diameter of the subwoofer, the larger the enclosure box will need to be. As a general rule of thumb, two components are needed to create very low levels of bass sound: a speaker with a very large surface area and a significant amount of air volume to help resonate or vibrate the speaker cone. Therefore, a subwoofer with a larger diameter requires more air volume to drive the speaker than does a subwoofer with a smaller diameter.

Since most car subwoofer enclosures are simply closed boxes with the speaker installed in the front, the only volume of air available to move or resonate the surface area cone of the speaker is that contained within the box. Hence, a larger speaker usually requires a larger box. It is not uncommon for cars with 12- or 15-inch subwoofers installed to have an enclosure that takes up the entire trunk area of the vehicle. On the other hand, smaller six- or eight-inch subwoofers can usually be placed in boxes that can fit behind the seat.

Making Smaller Enclosures More Efficient

Although a closed box enclosure is the simplest way to install a subwoofer, it is not very efficient and requires a very large container. Therefore, it is important to find other ways to make the design more efficient. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create what is known as a ported box. A ported box is a box with a hole located beneath the speaker driver with a plastic or cardboard tube attached to the hole. This allows the speaker to draw in additional air needed to resonate or move the cone surface of the speaker.

With a ported box design, a shorter tube will allow air to enter the cabinet area of the speaker faster than a ported box with a longer tube. However, depending on the specifications and capabilities of the speaker, too much or too little air may have unexpected and unwanted results in sound quality. Therefore, it is important to be able to properly tune the port design correctly. In many cases, complicated computer software and advanced mathematical algorithms are needed to tune a ported box properly. However, when a ported enclosure is tuned properly, it can help drastically reduce the size of enclosure needed to house a car subwoofer.

Consider the Music You Listen To

In addition to the technical aspects of choosing the correct sized enclosure for your subwoofer, you should also consider the type of music you listen to. If you listen to music that is heavily dependent upon a large amount of bass, such as dance or R&B music, you will usually need a larger enclosure. On the other hand, if you listen to music where bass doesn't play such an integral role, a smaller enclosure for your subwoofer will usually suffice.

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