While stock automobile sound systems are passable, they are far excellent. There are many things you need in order to upgrade the total sound system of your automobile. One of the most important things you need is a subwoofer. A subwoofer is responsible for giving your sound that huge, bass-laden low end that is so desired.
Subwoofers come in all different sizes, but the most popular size is 12 inches. There are a number of things to look for when trying to choose the right 12-inch subwoofer. This guide will provide you with the best of choice, but a compilation of the 8 best 12 inch subwoofers on the market as well.
|Product||RMS Watts||Amount of Voice Coils||Impedance (Per Voice Coil)||Sensitivity||Enclosure|
|JL Audio 12W0V3-4||300||Single||4||85||Sealed/Ported|
|Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch||300||-||-||-||Powered Sealed|
|Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3||750||Single||2||83||Sealed/Ported|
|CT Sounds Meso 2.0 12" D1||1500||Dual||1+1||86||Sealed/Ported|
|MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D||400||Single||Final 2||-||Sealed|
Dual 12" Loaded Enclosure
1. Pioneer TS-W304R – The Best Cheap Subwoofer
Looking for a high-quality 12-inch subwoofer on a budget? If so, you might consider purchasing the Pioneer TS-W304R. Though it carries a relatively small price tag, it offers high value in terms of power, volume, and overall sound quality.
It’s capable of being mounted inside either a sealed or ported box, allowing you to pick one of your choosing. With a seamless cone design, it reduces overall distortion while increasing overall efficiency. One of its true high points is its construction quality. Made out of tough polypropylene, it’s built to last over quite a long period of time.
This subwoofer sports a sensitivity of 95 dB. This is just about ideal. Any higher and you’ll be dealing with unwanted distortion. Any lower and you’ll be wanting for power. It should be noted that this subwoofer sports only a single voice coil. This will limit the overall power you can pump into it. However, despite the fact that it possesses only a single voice coil, it still provides huge, full low-end that will shake your entire vehicle.
If you’re looking for a great 12-inch subwoofer on a budget, the Pioneer TS-W304R is the subwoofer for you. While it’s not quite as powerful as more high-end 12-inch subwoofers, it still provides more than enough power to get your car shaking. Available for a very low price and coming with a 1-year warranty, it’s as good of a bang for your buck as you’re going to find.
2. JL Audio 12W0V3-4 – Best 12-inch Sub for the Money
Are you looking for a subwoofer that offers high-end value at a mid-level price? If so, the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 is just the subwoofer you’re looking for. While it’s very affordable, it still provides more than enough in the ways of power, clarity, and overall tonal quality.
This subwoofer can handle up to 300 watts of RMS power and 600 watts of peak power, making it both powerful and controlled. While it’s not quite as powerful as some other 12-inch subwoofers on the market, it provides more than enough boom for most users’ tastes.
This subwoofer possesses a sensitivity of around 85 dB, so it takes a little more power to successfully drive. However, the fact that it’s not such a high sensitivity ensures that it won’t easily distort or blow. It possesses a single voice coil, meaning that it’s limited when it comes to its amount of amp wiring configurations. But this doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to find an amp for it. It’s a 4-ohm subwoofer and accommodates plenty of amps.
Overall, the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 is a great 12-inch subwoofer for those who want high-end sound quality at a reasonable price. While it’s not quite at the level of some high-end woofers, it serves its purposes just fine.
3. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch – Powered Subwoofer
If you’re looking for the absolute best powered subwoofer on the market today, you can’t go wrong with the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch. This subwoofer may cost a little more than others, but it’s well worth the price.
It accommodates 300 watts of RMS power and is powered by a 300-watt built-in amplifier. This means that it is ready to go right out of the box. Of course, this also means that it can’t be customized to sync up with other amplifiers.
It possesses a 12 dB low pass crossover, allowing you to adjust it to best meet the bass specifications of your choice. Built with an auto turn-on/turn-off function, it is a high efficiency subwoofer with a quiet signal that won’t disturb audio quality.
All in all, the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch is the best powered 12-inch subwoofer on the market today. If you’re looking for huge, high-quality sound, this is the woofer for you. Though it’s a little expensive, it comes with a 1-year warranty.
4. Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 – Subwoofer for Powerful Bass
If you truly value sound quality, you’re surely interested in purchasing the best subwoofer possible. In our estimation, the best single voice coil subwoofer currently on the market is the Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3. Hugely powerful and capable of handling tons of wattage, it will have you automobile shaking like an earthquake.
Its construction is top-notch, with a tough cone made out of durable plastic and a voice coil made out of anodized aluminum. It’s designed to be mounted inside of both sealed and ported closures, ensuring that you can use it to get the bass sound of your choice.
Possessing a single voice coil, this subwoofer possesses an impedance of 2 ohms. Its incredible 750-watt power handling capacity makes it one of the most powerful of all 12-inch subwoofers. In fact, if you maximize its full power, you’ll likely be pulled over by the cops. It’s loud, powerful, full, and everything else you could ever want from a subwoofer.
In essence, this Sundown Audio subwoofer is the best single voice coil 12-inch subwoofer on the market today. Though it may be a little expensive, its audio quality, construction, and durability make it well worth its price. And with a 2-year warranty included, you can’t go wrong.
5. CT Sounds Meso 2.0 12″ D1 – Best Sub Overall
Let’s just put this simply: the CT Sounds Meso 2.0 12” D1 is the best 12-inch subwoofer on the market today. Incredibly powerful and masterfully constructed, it’s designed not only to shake your car, but last for years of use.
It’s capable of handling an incredible 1,500 watts of RMS power as well as 3,000 watts of peak power. This makes it far and away the most powerful subwoofer on our list. Whether you’re listening to rap, rock, country, or classical, this subwoofer will give you huge, well-rounded sound.
With a double stitched paper cone, it offers some of the most nuanced sound you’ll ever get from a subwoofer. Made out of heavy-duty plastic, it’s designed to withstand a great deal of wear and tear.
If you’re looking for the absolute best 12-inch subwoofer on the market today, this is the one you’re looking for. Hugely powerful, well-constructed, and as nuanced as they come, it will turn your sound system into a complete monster.
6. Rockford Fosgate R1S412 – Shallow Mount Subwoofer
Perhaps you’re looking for a shallow mount 12-inch subwoofer? If so, the Rockford R1S412 is the subwoofer for you. Mounting at 5.5 inches, it fits in the majority of cars, whether they be big or small. And for its price, it offers superb sound quality to boot.
Let’s first talk about this subwoofer’s power handling capabilities. It possesses RMS power of 200 watts. While this isn’t as powerful as other woofers on our list, it’s still plenty powerful enough to get a large, well-rounded low end sound.
Possessing a single voice coil, this subwoofer has an impedance of 4 ohms. While it isn’t as powerful as some subwoofers, it will still easily get the job done. Its voice coil is made out of anodized aluminum and is designed to hold up well over time.
If you own a small car in which you can’t fit a larger subwoofer, the Rockford R1S412 is the subwoofer for you. Shallow-mounted, it takes up very little space, yet still provides a full, rich, booming sound. Available for a very reasonable price, it’s quite the bargain as far as 12-inch subwoofers go.
7. MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – Pre-Enclosed Subwoofer
Are you looking for a great pre-enclosed 12-inch subwoofer that can be powered by an external amp? If so, the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D is the subwoofer for you. This monster is available for a mid-level price, and is capable of supplying quite a bit of power and volume.
The cones of each woofer in this subwoofer are made of tough, durable polypropylene, ensuring that they last over long periods of time. With a sealed enclosure, this subwoofer offers controlled, punchy, and nuanced sound.
Each woofer in this subwoofer contains a single voice coil. Considering the 200 RMS power of each woofer, this is all they need. You should be able to get quite a big sound by driving an amp through both of these woofers at the same time. You certainly won’t be wanting for more volume.
8. Kicker 43CVR124 – Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer
If you’re looking for a powerful dual voice coil 12-inch subwoofer at an affordable price, the Kicker 43CVR124 is just what you’re looking for. While it doesn’t provide quite the same quality of sound as a high-end woofer, it still provides plenty of value for its price.
This subwoofer possesses RMS power of 400 watts and peak power of 800 watts. This allows it to handle all types of music, from rap, to rock, to classical, to jazz, and more. Its possesses dual voice coils, and is has an impedance of 4 ohms.
Because its dual voice coils are made out of anodized aluminum, they can withstand quite a beating. This subwoofer has a sensitivity of around 87 dB; a nearly perfect sensitivity that can get very loud without distorting.
All in all, the Kicker 43CVR124 is a terrific subwoofer for those who are looking for maximum power on a budget. It can get extraordinarily loud, and can provide a ridiculous amount of low end. It might not be quite as nuanced as a high-end subwoofer, but it’s nuanced all the same.
Difference Between a Passive and Powered Subwoofer
Subwoofers are operated in one of two different ways: passive and powered.
First, let’s talk about passive subwoofers. Passive subwoofers contain enclosed woofers which must be powered via an external amplifier. Typically, passive subwoofers provide cleaner sound, and are more flexible in terms of overall wiring configurations.
Powered subwoofers contain enclosed woofers which power the subwoofer themselves. While these subwoofers are a little easier to understand and operate, they typically don’t provide the same level of sound quality provided by passive subwoofers.
Sealed vs. Ported Enclosure
Typically, subwoofers are enclosed in one of two different ways; they can be either sealed or ported.
Let’s begin by talking about sealed subwoofers. Seal subwoofers typically offer clearer and more controlled bass. They keep air locked in tight, allowing sound to be nuanced, punchy, and responsive. However, they also require a great deal more power to operate.
Ported subwoofers allow air to move in and out freely. This has both its benefits and drawbacks. While ported subwoofers don’t require as much power to operate, they don’t offer quite as clear a sound as you’ll find with a sealed subwoofer. Whereas sealed subwoofers are best used for classical and jazz music, ported subwoofers are best used for rap, rock, and other raw-sound music.
Single vs. Dual Subwoofer Voice Coils
Voice coils are the wires wrapped around a subwoofers speaker cone. These voice coils connect to amplifiers, allowing the subwoofers to be powered and operated. In general, there are two different types of voice coils: single and dual.
Let’s begin by talking about single voice coils. Single voice coils are typically less expensive, but also don’t work with as great a number of amplifiers. This can present a problem if you don’t have the correct amplifier on hand. However, there are plenty of amplifiers available which accommodate single voice coils.
Dual voice coils are more expensive, but are also capable of more wiring configurations. This allows them to connect to a greater diversity of amps than single voice coils. This will make it easier to find an amp when you need to buy one.
Wiring Dual Voice Coils
|Parallel Wiring||Series Wiring|
|Dual 2 Ohm Voice Coils = 1 Ohm Load||Dual 2 Ohm Voice Coils = 4 Ohm Load|
|Dual 4 Ohm Voice Coils = 2 Ohm Load||Dual 4 Ohm Voice Coils = 8 Ohm Load|
|Dual 1 Ohm Voice Coils = 0,5 Ohm Load||Dual 1 Ohm Voice Coils = 2 Ohm Load|
When it comes to subwoofer power handling, there are two different types of power to consider: RMS (root mean square) and Peak. RMS power refers to how much power a subwoofer can handle consistently over time. When choosing a subwoofer, this is the most important number to consider. The higher a subwoofer’s RMS, the louder and more powerful it can consistently be over time.
Peak power refers to the maximum amount of power subwoofer can handle in small bursts. This will be higher than the RMS, but is not as important to know as the RMS. Finding a subwoofer that can handle the power provided by its amp is an absolute necessity.
Subwoofer sensitivity refers to how much power a subwoofer needs in order to produce volume. The higher a subwoofer’s sensitivity, the more volume you can get out of less power. Ideal subwoofer sensitivities range from around 80 dB to 99 dB.
You would think that the more sensitive a subwoofer is, the better. However, this is not always the case. Some subwoofers are so sensitive that they become easily muffled and distorted. In general, you’re going to want to look for a subwoofer that has a sensitivity of around 90 dB. This is the ideal sensitivity.
Matching Subwoofer’s Impedance with Amplifier’s Impedance
The most complex part of buying a subwoofer is matching it with the correct amplifier. In order to do so, you must take both device’s impedance into account. First, it’s necessary to find your subwoofer’s RMS wattage. After you’ve found this, you must find an amp which can supply between 125% and 200% of the total RMS wattage on the subwoofer.
The second thing to look for is ohms. Most mono amps are capable of 2 ohm loads. Although, most 2 or 4 channel amps are not 2 ohm capable when bridged. You can’t connect low impedance than it can an amplifier.
Single voice coil subwoofers can only match with amps that have the exact same number of ohms.
For instance, a single voice coil subwoofer with 2 ohms can only match with an amp that has 2 ohms.
Dual voice coil subwoofer you can wiring in series or in parallel.
So, for instance, a dual voice coil subwoofer with 4 ohms in series wiring: 4+4 = 8 ohm; in parallel wiring: (4*4)/(4+4) = 2 ohm. It should, however, be noted that it’s best synced up with an amplifier that possesses less ohms. The lower the number of ohms, the greater the power overall.
If you’re looking for big, rounded, full sound, a subwoofer is an absolute necessity. The most popular sized subwoofer available is the 12-incher. While you could go bigger or smaller, you’ll be sacrificing either power or money. There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right 12-inch subwoofer. But, if you take all of these things into consideration, you should be able to find a subwoofer that fits your sound system perfectly.