Subwoofers are usually designed to improve the bass of music coming from the radio (the deep sound). In many scenarios, they are paired with an amplifier to boost the sound.
However, if you cannot afford the luxury of both components, you can still connect a subwoofer without an amplifier.
In addition, connecting a subwoofer to the car’s audio unit will depend on the subwoofer type.
Types of subwoofers
- Powered subwoofers- a powered subwoofer already features an in-built amplifier that saves your time and space. Their downside is they don’t hold as much power as a subwoofer that has an external amplifier.
- Subwoofer for drivers- they are the simple types that come in an enclosure. They also require power from an external amplifier.
- Vehicle-specific subwoofer- these are subwoofers designed specifically for your car. They save your space, are affordable, and have an appealing appearance.
Methods of connecting subwoofers
- Connecting passive subwoofers.
- Connecting powered subwoofers.
The main difference between the two is that powered subwoofers have an in-built amplifier while passive amplifiers don’t have amplifiers.
Also, as a general principle, connecting a subwoofer to the car stereo without an amplifier needs an active subwoofer. If you have a powered subwoofer, connecting it is easy, and all you need to do is plug its jack wire into the installed stereo.
A subwoofer is an electronic device that provides the car with the low sound from the music notes. That is why most people don’t mind spending a whole lot of money to get a good and durable audio system for their car.
If you love music a lot, installing a subwoofer in the din of the head unit of your car will be your best bet. When a good subwoofer is installed, it ensures power and balance to the car sound system.
How does a car subwoofer operate?
If you are a novice to the car audio concept, you might be wondering how a subwoofer works. A subwoofer provides you with deep thumping bass that ordinary speakers cannot produce. Any sound system lacking a good subwoofer could sound flat and not dynamic.
A subwoofer delivers low-frequency sounds, leaving the high-frequencies to the tweeters. The low frequency we are talking of is normally in the range of 20 HZ-100 Hz. Humans have a hearing range of 20Hz- 20,000Hz.
Moreover, the advantage of having a subwoofer to enhance your bass is they don’t depend on the placement. It doesn’t matter where you place them because low frequencies don’t need to be strictly directed towards the ears.
Also, even though most subwoofers are mounted in the trunks, you may find them below the seat or inside the spare wheel.
The loudspeakers in the back deck and the side panels (or roofs in Jeeps) will not provide as much bass.
Getting to make the bass come out is also an important aspect of the subwoofer.
The best subwoofers in the market today include Rockville RWS10CA Slim 1000 Watt 10″ Amplified Powered Car Subwoofer Enclosure&Rockford Fosgate P300-10 Punch Single 10″300 Watt Amplified Subwoofer.
In this article, a powered subwoofer is recommended to eliminate any need for an aftermarket amplifier to power the big speaker attached.
A powered subwoofer provides built-in amplifiers that allow users to save a lot of space, thereby making it unnecessary to buy an amplifier that also comes with the ability to produce good sounds for midrange frequencies while taking lots of space and power from the car battery. It may also require one to purchase an extra battery.
I recommend MTX Audio RT8PT Universal Powered Subwoofer Enclosure, Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Powered Loaded 12-Inch Subwoofer Enclosure, Kenwood KSC-SW11 Compact Powered Enclosed Subwoofer for CAR& Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10″300W Powered Subwoofer (Black) as the best-powered car subwoofers in the market today.
How to Determine the Right Subwoofer for Your Car
After settling on buying a certain subwoofer and you think it will even look good in your car, have you checked if it is the right one for your car?
So, you will look at the following to know if the subwoofer is right for your car:
- The enclosures– some subwoofers come with an enclosure while others don’t.
- Shape– there are two major shapes, with round subwoofers being more popular in the market. Nevertheless, if you researched subwoofers, you will find that there are square ones too. The latter are considered longer lasting with better performance. Some are even compatible for installation with a factory stereo.
- Voice coils– some are single while others are dual, which provides flexibility with wiring.
- Sensitivity rating is also crucial since it directly affects the power needed to operate and pump the bass.
How to hook a subwoofer to a car stereo without an amplifier
To get the job done, you will require these tools:
Before you start, ensure that all the tools are present, correctly arranged, and are placed within your reach.
Ensure battery safety
First, unscrew the hood to separate the negative cable from the negative terminal of the battery. In a car’s electrical system, the negative acts as a ground.
Connecting or disconnecting any vehicle electrical component using the grounding cable connected to the battery can cause a short circuit in the vehicle.
Therefore, you must remove the fuse from the fuse holder on the terminal of the amplifier wire harness. The circular end is what gets the power to the powered subwoofer.
The fuse must be removed from the fuse holder and not replaced until the sub is connected to the power cable.
Restore the fuse as the last step in the installation process.
Disconnect the stereo
The powered-sub connects to the stereo sort of a loudspeaker versus another class of speakers.
Remove the stereo from the car stereo mount to access the ports on the stereo’s rear panel. Some stereos are equipped to receive an amplifier (and a powered subwoofer, during this case) that plugs directly into the stereo itself. Other units cannot receive wires without the employment of transformers.
Disconnect the stereo wires from the unit, and reconnect them through the wire pigtail adapter. The adapter provides the leads and ports needed to attach the signal cable and the powered sub’s steering mechanism.
Stereo adapter attachment
Here, you combine the stereo cable and the adapter. This will provide the ultimate power source required to operate your subwoofer through a specific cable.
An adapter offers a power source or connection for the subwoofer.
Next, extend the cable to where the subwoofer is placed and ensure it is tightly connected to the output connector on the subwoofer.
Mount the subwoofer
Install the subwoofer at the car’s rear, either behind the seat or within the trunk or rear enclosure of a wagon, SUV, or hatchback.
Run the wires from the car stereo and power supply cable to the situation of the sub.
Feed the signal cables and playback wire from the stereo through the rear of the stereo base. The rear of the dock provides a way to pass cables from the stereo to the vehicle floor on the vehicle’s passenger side.
Once the wires are within the foot-well, hide the wires under the rug while guiding them to the precise location of the subwoofer.
Route the facility supply cable that’s fed through the firewall into the vehicle on the opposite side of the vehicle to avoid interference with the signal within the signal cable.
To create really powerful car electronic equipment, you wish to own a good range speaker setup and the right power to drive these speakers.
Most vehicles are equipped with a series of door panels and rear speakers. Optional stereo systems often include subwoofers and amplifiers.
If your car doesn’t have upgraded electronic equipment, you’ll be able to install the speakers and subwoofer yourself.
To save a lot of time and space, a well-liked solution may be a powered subwoofer. The powered subwoofer may be a sub that comes with an in-built amp.
Powered subwoofers are easier to put in and save space within the trunk or rear cargo deck.
Reinstall the detached components
You must reinstall all the detached parts or components at the beginning of the connection process to their different compartments.
For example, you should put the fuse, battery cable, and stereo back correctly.
Ensure all things are in order
This is the simplest part of the entire process.
In this stage, the general assumption is that all the key connections have been made.
Now, you are required to check if the subwoofer will operate according to your expectations and preference.
To know this, you can play your favorite music and listen keenly to the audio quality delivered.
The connection will be considered successful if the sound delivered is distortion-free, uniform, and has amazing bass.
After checking the subwoofer’s performance, hide all the cables or cover them under the carpet to enhance safety.
Enclose the subwoofer
Once you are done with every other step and the connection is correct, enclose the subwoofer and place the speaker back in its location.
The steps above are considered the standard techniques. Furthermore, there are other connection techniques that you can apply.
Even though these steps are simple, you require some necessary connection points readily available on your vehicle stereo and subwoofer.
Use the low-frequency effect (LFE) cable
The LFE port enables easy connection of the subwoofer and the stereo.
Therefore you can adopt this method if your subwoofer and stereo have this port.
The LFE port is built as an output on the car stereo and an input for the subwoofer.
You will easily identify this port by looking for a spot labeled ‘”Sub out or Subwoofer” on your subwoofer.
When you identify it, extend the LFE cable from the stereo and connect it to this port on your subwoofer.
Once all that is done correctly, your subwoofer has been connected successfully and is ready to operate.
Use the RCA Cable
If your car has no LFE but has the L & R connectors, you can apply this technique.
Extend the RCA cable from the stereo’s L & R output and extend it to the subwoofer’s L & R connector.
Once you ensure the cables have been plugged in correctly, your subwoofer will be ready for use.
Use Spring Clips
You might also find a subwoofer that uses a set of spring clips to connect to the speaker wire.
In this case, you will use your car stereo’s output jack to connect with the subwoofer.
Check out the subwoofer box. If you find two sets of spring clips, ensure that you hook one of the speakers to the subwoofer that joins with the car stereo. This is key for transmitting the audio signal.
Nevertheless, if there is only one set of spring clips, you require a similar recipient for the speaker connection.
With the information provided above, you now know how to connect a subwoofer to your stereo without an amplifier. Therefore, it will not require you to spend any extra cash on an external amplifier to improve the bass of your audio system.