When is a passive subwoofer a good option

When is the Passive Subwoofer The Better Option?

on March 23, 2023

Having a great sound allows you to enjoy music even more, and having a subwoofer as part of your audio system is a big necessity for achieving that sound.  The bass, the clarity, the balance—they’re all aspects of the sound that only a subwoofer can bring to your favorite music.   You may have a great variety of choices when selecting a subwoofer, however, you should only focus on these two types:  An active subwoofer (also called a “powered subwoofer”), which relies on a built-in power source, and a passive subwoofer, which is powered externally through an amplifier.  The last one is the choice of many music lovers, however, there’s a lot to consider before you decide.


The Nuts and Bolts of Installing a Passive Subwoofer

One big advantage of passive subwoofers is that the chassis is relatively small and can be conveniently mounted just about anywhere.  They’re lighter, less bulky, and just easier to install.   They work well in either large or small vehicles, although they are often a popular selection for smaller-size interiors for the sound to move around in. In addition, they’re compact, especially considering the depth and richness of the bass they deliver.

The flip side of that is there’s a lot of connective equipment (wires and cables) that you’ll need to install.  In extremely larger vehicles, you’ll need to stretch plenty of high-quality cabling to make sure the signal carries free of distortion from the receiver/amplifier, which may require a bit of work to place everything just right in order to distribute the sound well, as too loud, highly concentrated sound can cause hearing damage to you and your passengers over an extended period of time.  In short, wiring distribution is everything.   

How to install a passive subwoofer


You Have Options!

While passive subwoofers do require more extra installation work than powered subwoofers, there’s one sweet advantage:  They provide you with lots of options when building your system.  For example, you may decide to connect several subwoofers, or add other sound components, such as tweeters to offset the deep bass sound of the subwoofers.  It’s really all about what you want, how much you want to invest, and what your vehicle will accommodate. Furthermore, as an added benefit, the compact size of subwoofers makes them easy to mount just about anywhere, and they can be installed all the way from the trunk, if your car has one.  So maybe a little extra work isn’t really a disadvantage after all!


Passive subwoofer: The Question of Power

To get a true bass sound, you need power!  The rich, lower frequencies that add to the robustness of music like jazz and blues depend on an amplifier that can channel enough juice to the speakers.  In other words, you need an amplifier that can handle the right amount of power. Moreover, since we’re focusing on power, there’s a couple of other good things about passives:  they stay cool—electricity is not concentrated in them like it is in active subwoofers—so they don’t heat up.  And, since they draw power directly from the amp, they can be tied directly into that.   Buying the hardiest cables to tie your system together will also help ensure a fantastic sound, excellent functionality, and longevity even if you tend to drive over rough terrains.


Cost—Pro or Con?

As a rule, passive subwoofers are less expensive than their active subwoofer counterparts, that’s definitely a plus.  But when you think about all the peripherals you also have to buy--like power and signal cables--then that expense begins to add up a bit.    Then there’s also the cost associated with power—you need a unit that’s compatible with the rest of your system, and one that will give you the sound you want without drawing an excessive amount of power from your battery.  Spending a little more upfront for a reliable system will pay dividends; you don’t want to have to replace anything after-the-fact that’s not just right.

Passive subwoofers characteristics


The Bottom Line

Whether it’s for a car, SUV, truck, or whatever it is you’re driving these days, subwoofers add a quality you just can’t live without.   It’s all about making the right buying decisions, which sometimes that can be a little overwhelming with all the choices that are available.  You need a reliable, expert supplier of audio equipment to make your selections—and Genius Audio is your source.

Genius Audio offers a full range of subwoofers, from 6.5-inch to 18-inch sizes (up to 6,000 maximum watts), with high-quality dual coils, copper wires, and every accessory you could possibly need.  And we’re not limited just to subwoofers, either…we’ve got a full line of car audio tweeters, sub boxes, drivers, midrange speakers, amplifiers (Class D and Class AB), car audio coaxials, and more for your car audio systems!  Let Genius Audio help you today!


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