If you’ve spent any time cruising through town or listening to your favorite songs on the way to work, you might’ve wondered if there was something you could do to get a better sound quality out of your speakers.
With the different settings built-in, can you improve the bass coming out of your speakers?
As a general rule, to improve the bass in your car speakers, adjust other levels on the equalizer, purchase amplifiers, and subwoofers, and install a new audio system. While some options produce better results, each can provide an extra boost in the sound quality.
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- What are those extra settings or configurations to get the best bass from your speakers?
- Do you need to purchase additional equipment first?
Read on, and I will walk you through all the different aspects to improve your speakers’ bass and optimize the sound.
Read Up on Your Equipment
Your vehicle currently has an audio system built-in. Some newer vehicles can come equipped with a Bose speaker system already installed, while others have a generic sound system.
To get the most out of your sound system, consult your car manual to learn more about the current equipment.
If you’re already considering installing new speakers, subwoofers, or amplifiers, you’ll need to determine what’s best suited for your car. If you drive a tiny Mini Cooper, you won’t have the same space or capability as a large Chevy Tahoe when it comes to your sound system.
You, of course, have options available, but it’s essential to get a general scope of your space before considering any purchases.
Check Your Current Equalizer Settings
Before you dive further into the world of car audio systems, check on the car’s current equalizer levels.
There should be some audio menu or knobs in your car that allow you to adjust the settings for treble, mid, and bass frequencies. Once you locate the menu, you can now change the different frequencies to your liking.
If your audio quality has only recently seemed to decrease, someone may have accidentally adjusted a level, now needing a reset. If you’ve purchased a used car or have never explored the audio menu, a previous owner may have modified the settings. Still, it may not sound very pleasing to you and may need additional adjustments.
Luckily, both of these scenarios are easy to fix. Here’s how you can adjust them:
Sound is categorized into frequencies. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, we can hear, and process sounds from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (20,000 Hz). Music can range all across this spectrum. Sound will transmit bass notes on the lower range between 20 Hz and 300 Hz, mid-range can vary between 300 Hz to 4 kHz, and treble is considered anything about 4 kHz.
There are more granular subsets when it comes to sound and frequencies, but you’ll likely only reference the bass, mid, and treble levels without getting too technical.
Your car equalizer may have defaulted to each level being in the middle. If the levels have been previously changed or aren’t at the same level, adjust all settings to the same starting position to establish a baseline for adjusting.
Take some time to make minor adjustments as you listen to music. While some genres may sound great with higher treble, others may sound scratchy or too-high pitched.
Stray away from turning your bass up to boost the bass in your speakers. Yes, it’ll increase the bass. However, it may also distort the song by having the levels so drastically different from one another.
You may need to repeat the process with trial and error and adjust and readjust as necessary to get your desired mix. If you regularly listen to multiple genres, sample a few different songs with the mix to see any other necessary adjustments. Continue making minor adjustments to the bass, treble, and mid-levels as you listen to the audio.
There isn’t one “right” way to set your equalizer. If you specifically want more bass, you’ll first double-check that someone didn’t turn down your bass level. Adjusting the levels to find the perfect mix will take some time and patience.
Find a good spot to park your car, turn on your favorite music, and start adjusting. Begin by lowering your mid and treble levels to increase the bass inadvertently. Continue with this method until you achieve the desired sound.
Swap New Equipment In
If you aren’t delighted with the levels after adjusting the internal equalizer, you may want to consider swapping out your current equipment.
You can switch out the speakers in your car door and other areas without buying the additional subwoofers and amplifiers. Installing new equipment can help boost the overall quality and help with the desired sound.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing new equipment:
If you’re looking to invest in a new set of speakers before installing any subwoofers or amplifiers, look no further. Amazon.com offers the JBL Stadium GTO620.
JBL boasts an impressive lineup of quality audio devices and speakers. Their JBL GTO629 speakers are right in line with its excellent sound quality and reputation for great products.
The JBL GTO629 speakers feature larger cones than what’s typical in that class size, which allows for more air to move and, in turn, increases the bass.
Additionally, they use the patented UniPivot technology that allows the sound to be directed at your ears even when installed closer to your feet. The listing includes a car selection tool to determine if these are compatible with your vehicle.
Bass, Car Speakers, & Subwoofers
Subwoofers are particularly useful if you’re trying to improve the bass. A subwoofer is designed to produce lower audio frequencies and boost the bass sound throughout your vehicle.
There are a few different types and multiple characteristics to subwoofers to be aware of as you search for the perfect one. Subwoofers improve the bass in your car and add a rounded and rich tone to your audio.
Types of Subwoofers
- Passive subwoofers are powered externally with an amplifier. The amplifier helps produce enough power for the lower frequencies and prevents your amplifier from becoming drained.
- Powered subwoofers will house both the subwoofer and amplifier in the same cabinet. They won’t be connected externally and instead need power and an outlet to function.
The subwoofer’s design can vary quite a lot. Each design focuses on a particular aspect of the audio experience.
- Ported subwoofers have a port in the body that allows air to escape. The design is typically a tube and can immensely improve the quality of sound. The port allows for bass frequencies that may not have a clear escape to be funneled through the opening. Overall, this will produce a clean, rich sound.
- Sealed cabinets are the standard speaker enclosed in a box. The box does not have any holes or tubes for the bass to escape. Instead, the bass will only pass through the speaker itself rather than through the tube. While ported subwoofers allow for extra passing of frequencies, the sealed enclosure will act as a cushion or shock absorber for the sound. This design allows the subwoofer more control with fewer booms in the bass.
- Front-firing and down-firing refer to the internal speakers’ placement within the cabinet. Typically, they’re placed in the front and therefore referred to as front-firing.
- Down-firing speakers are placed at the bottom of the subwoofer. While you may think the down-firing subwoofers would dampen the sound, the cases will have legs attached on the bottom so the sound can still project out from the speaker. A benefit of the down-firing speaker is that the design will naturally protect itself. If someone hits it or your trunk opens during the rain, the casing will cover it.
- Bandpass subwoofers are more complex than the previous versions and typically are used in professional settings for concerts and other events. The chambers and design allow you to specify the bass levels and give more autonomy to the user. This design will enable professionals to precisely fine-tune the equipment and get their selected sound. These speakers have two separate chambers included in the design.
- Horn-loaded subwoofers have a unique design. These subwoofers have angled or horn-shaped compartments that focus the sound on extending in a specific direction rather than being released in multiple directions. These can sound louder than the previous versions and are typically used for events or larger venues. The shape will allow the sound to travel farther while still preserving the high-quality sounds.
- Subwoofer size can vary depending on the enclosure and your needs. Subs will vary in sizes and typically come in either 8 inches (20.32 cm), 10 inches (25.4 cm), 12 inches (30.48 cm), or 15 inches (38.1 cm). The size you select will depend on the enclosure and space available in your vehicle.
While each of these subwoofers will help increase the bass from your car speakers, you may still need to pair them with an amplifier. This additional equipment will require you to be mindful of your space when selecting a subwoofer.
Where Should I Put My Subwoofer in My Car?
For the subwoofer to achieve optimal performance, placement in your car is critical.
If you have a front-firing subwoofer, you’ll want to be sure it’s sitting in the upright position instead of facing down. You don’t want your speakers to be pressed directly against a wall of your car, either. Otherwise, the position may muffle the sound.
Subwoofers are usually placed in either the trunk or installed on the floor. It all depends on your space and needs.
There are a few places in your trunk that you install your subwoofer. Corner loading refers to installing the sub in the rear side panel. This structure allows the subwoofer to be as far back as possible and limits the rear sound waves that could interfere with the bass.
You can also load the subwoofer in the top part of the trunk right up against the rear seats. This position allows you to install against a flat surface and still allows room for cargo space if needed.
Both will produce quality results, and placement may ultimately be determined by the size of your casing and the available space. You can always try to place the sub in different areas around your trunk and test out the sound once inside to determine what works best for you.
You may be able to install subwoofers on the floor of the rear of your vehicle.
While this option may be attractive to conserve as much space as possible in your car, it may come at a costly price to cut out part of the floorboard and get everything hooked up and installed.
If you utilize the floor placement, I’d recommend installing a subwoofer that includes an amplifier so both can sit in the same enclosure.
The Kicker 44TCWC104 combines the subwoofer and amplifier in the same casing, making it an ideal floor-mounted equipment solution.
Bass, Car Speakers, & Amplifiers
Car amplifiers can either be included in the subwoofer enclosure or installed as separate equipment, depending on your system.
The amplifier works to boost the audio signal to high volumes as it travels to your subwoofers and out of your speakers. Amplifiers work in conjunction with subwoofers, so I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a stand-alone amp in an attempt to boost your internal car speakers, as they may not be able to handle that output.
How to Install a Subwoofer in a Car?
If you decide to purchase a subwoofer system, the next step will be the installation. There are multiple tutorials to help with the installation and a few primary steps involved in the installation.
- If you decide to purchase ready-made subs, you will save a few steps in the installation process. The manufacturer makes ready-made subs, which already have everything built to the exact specifications, with the correct speaker for the given enclosure.
- If you purchased the subwoofers and enclosures separately, your first step would be to combine the two and get everything mounted together correctly.
- You will need to install the wiring to get everything installed and actively working. You may consult with the instructions book for your specific speakers or seek out additional subwoofer wiring diagrams.
- Mounting the powered sub will round out the installation process. After everything is wired together and is working correctly, you’re ready to mount it in your car and enjoy the new system.
Do I Need a Professional for Installation?
Installing the subwoofer system can be a tedious process. Doing it by yourself may sound tempting to save extra money. However, the installation can become complex and very strenuous if you aren’t familiar with the products or make a complicated sound system with many amplifiers and subwoofers.
While it seems like only a few short steps, it may be beneficial to consult a professional to assist, as each step is crucial. For example, if the wiring is incorrect, the entire system won’t be functional.
Consider contacting local electronics professionals who mainly specialize in car audio. Not only can they help with the installation, but they may also assist with purchasing a high-end system.
Electronic stores that sell car audio systems may offer free or discounted installation with a purchase, so be sure to ask those businesses to see if they provide these incentives.
Other Ways to Improve Bass From Car Speakers
A notable step for improving your car’s overall sound quality is to install sound dampening material to reduce noxious noises outside.
Even though the sound of the highway as you drive may never be eliminated, working to reduce the outside noise will help produce a more crisp and vibrant audio experience.
One of the few things to help you reduce the noises from outside is the Kilmat Car Sound Deadening Mat which you can find on Amazon.
Installation is really straightforward and can be done in few simple steps:
- Clean the surface
- Cut the material to the desired size.
- Peel off the adhesive paper
- Install the material on the desired surface
- Use a roller to flatten out the foil texture on the mat.
The foil will show you if it’s pressed down and correctly installed. The Noico Metal Barrel Roller Installation Tool works perfectly for sound deadening installation.
If you’re playing audio via Bluetooth to your sound system, you may find the audio is too compressed. Consider plugging your phone directly into the system to reduce the audio compression or use higher quality audio files when listening to music.
As you see, there are multiple options for improving bass from the car speakers, with the cheapest and fastest being adjusting the equalizer levels.
You can also opt-in for upgrading the current speakers or revamp your space by adding subwoofers and amplifiers. To add these enhancements, you’ll need first to determine how much available space you have.
While larger cars can allow for more complex systems, smaller vehicles may require more compact equipment to achieve the desired result. Electronics professionals may assist in selecting the perfect subwoofers and amplifiers to fit your specific needs.
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- Crutchfield: Undercover subwoofers
- Sound Solutions Audio: Subwoofer Placement
- Best Car Audio: What Size Subwoofer Should I Buy for My Car Stereo?
- World Wide Stereo: The Best Car Subwoofers of 2021
- Audiophile Review: Subwoofers: Front-Firing or Down-Firing?
- Noisy Labs: What Are The Down Firing Subwoofer Advantages?
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- Music Critic: 10 Best Car Speakers for Bass in 2021
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- NCBI: The Audible Spectrum
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- Teach Me Audio: Audio Spectrum