The Best Car Subwoofer Guide to Bass
Not hearing the bass drum kick in twice before the clap?
Got the big disc brakes but not the bass?
If you invested in a brand-new subwoofer recently but find the bass to be anything but bone-shaking, then your subwoofer might be out of tune. Car Subwoofers are relatively complex pieces of musical equipment and need to be tuned appropriately before they start rattling your car’s windows.
To make sense of all those screws and dials and get the bass just right, read this guide and get fiddling because Freddie can’t wait to rock you!
How to get the best bass settings
1. Get rid of distortion
Distortion is what causes you to hear noise when you play music. It’s the hissing, breaking, buzzing, cracking (or any other unwanted irritating sound) that creeps into an ill-tuned music system.
In our case, distortion makes your bass go “I don’t feel so good” before it disintegrates into tiny little fragments. To make your bass and yourself feel good, get rid of distortion by following these steps:
If you have an amplifier:
Play some music on your receiver and set the amp’s gain to a low level. Increase the receiver’s volume slowly till you notice distortion. Back off the volume until the music is clean again and note the level. This level is your maximum volume.
Repeat the process with the amplifier. Ramp up the amp gain till you hear distortion and tone it down just a little. This level is your maximum gain level and your amplifier is tuned.
If you don’t have an amplifier:
All you need to do is find the maximum volume your receiver can go to before distortion sets in.
2. Flatten the signal more than a ballet dancer’s belly
Without any prejudice towards shapely ballet dancers, follow these steps:
- Set the sub-amp’s gain to as low as it will go
- Switch the LPF (low-pass filter) on and ensure it’s turned up to the max
- Turn off the bass boost (if available)
- If you have a remote bass level control on your receiver, set it to its flat/middle/neutral position
- If your receiver has a subwoofer level control, set that it to its flat position as well
- Turn the receiver’s LPF, crossover and bass boost (if you have those) off
3. Now tune the signal to perfection
Play music through your receiver at 1/4th volume. Turn the sub-amp’s gain up until it sounds louder than the rest of the speakers, ensuring distortion does not creep in.
Next, turn the LPF on your sub-amp on and decrease its frequency till you can’t hear all the mid- and high-frequency notes.
The reason for doing this is to prevent your subwoofer from playing those notes which you want your speakers to play. We want to have our bass played from the subwoofer (which resides in the low-frequency notes), and the LPF eliminates the mid- and high-frequency notes.
4. Turbocharge your bass
Regular unboosted bass not shattering your windows and eardrums yet? Turn the bass boost on!
Switch it on and increase the boost level ever so slightly. A slight increase in the boost level will increase the bass to a considerable degree, so be careful if you notice distortion, the sub-amp’s gain down.
Use a subsonic filter if you use a ported subwoofer. Adjust the levels to your liking and set the “looseness” of the bass. You’re almost there to having your own tuned pimping subwoofer setup!
5. Get the subwoofer gelling with the others
This is, by far, the most straightforward step of the guide but it shouldn’t be ignored.
Pump your receiver’s volume to as high as it will go before distortion rears its ugly head. Increase the sub-amp’s gain ever so gradually till the bass sounds commensurate with the rest of the levels. Set the remote bass level too while you’re at it.
And that’s it! Your ride should sound like a Pimp My Ride candidate and Freddie Mercury’d be proud to be vicariously singing in your ride.
- If distortion sticks like superglue, lower the sub-amp’s gain. If the bass gets minuscule, consider upgrading to a bigger setup.
- Reversing the sub’s speaker leads might help increase bass “kick”.
So, there you have it! A detailed guide to getting more bass from your subs. Try the steps out and let us know how it goes!