Bass, how low can you go? - Chuck D (Public Enemy)
Don’t worry, you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place. We’ve all dreamt about pushing the bass to the limit and feeling like our ride is about to shake itself apart as the air surrounding it begins to vibrate with the low frequency power that our systems are pumping out.
But for most of us, that dream of bass-heavy heaven is always going to be just a dream and nothing more, regardless of how much we want to smash our way through and shatter the SPL.
The problem with dreaming about it is that sooner or later those dreams will break through the sleep barrier and begin to constantly whisper sweet bass nothings in your ear and that will end up driving you crazy.
And when you see and hear your friends generating the sort of earth rumbling tones and frequencies that you’ve been fantasizing about, it just makes the problem a hundred times worse. If they can do it, why can’t you?
Well, we’re about to change your world. The good news is that you can do it and can easily achieve the same level of sonic notoriety that your peers have, and all you need to make the world shake is a good subwoofer. But you don’t want to just make the world shake, do you?
You want to make it tremble with fear as soon as you turn the bass up, and that’s why we’ve scoured the depths of the internet, talked to the bass happy burnout kings and queens who tear the local concrete up, and added a little bit of our volume know-how to the equation to find seven of the best competition level subwoofers that you can fit in your ride to really make it go boom.
Are you ready to turn the bass all the way up to eleven? Then let’s destroy the SPL...
OUR TOP PICK
Skar Audio was founded to combine the best in car audio engineering and design and world-beating customer service.
And those founding principles that meant, and continue to mean so much to them? They haven’t deviated from them by as much as a single degree since day one.
Without those ideals, they would never have risen to the top of the in-car audio mountain, and they wouldn’t have earned the respect of the worldwide car fraternity, and the fact that they’ve done both should tell you all that you need to know about them. Skar means business, and so do their subwoofers.
The VFX series was engineered and manufactured to be the ultimate in both SQ (Sound Quality) and SPL (Sound Pressure Level) subwoofers.
Featuring a super low FS (Full Scale) so that it can harness and tame the SPL with ease, it’s also able to power its way through, and hit all of the highs that a premium SQ subwoofer needs to.
Driven by a three-hundred-ounce ferrite motor, even if it needs to run for extended periods of time (which it will while you’re flexing and cruising), it’ll handle everything that you'll need and want it to with ease.
Boasting a maximum power rating of three thousand watts, the VFX can liquefy your rivals with a bass-heavy wave and a twist of a dial.
While it has more than enough wattage to eliminate anyone who wants to step up to the plate, it’ll run at a much smoother and more constant fifteen hundred watts when you’re just rolling through the streets.
With a three-inch high volume copper voice control cone and a four-layer spider underneath its fully stitched, high roll foam surround, this subwoofer was purpose-designed to kick you to the top of the bass-heavy league as soon as it finds a new home in your ride.
Skar Audio doesn’t play around, and they’re deadly serious about sound. If you want to compete with the best there is, the only name on your audio shopping list should be Skar.
- Rated at, and capable of handling, three thousand watts of power, if you want to break through the SPL, let the rest of the world know that you’re on your way and begin to forge your own bass legend, this is your ticket to the big leagues.
- Housing a competition-grade pressed paper cone, this subwoofer was made to turn every head you’ll pass while it’s comfortably pushing the bass up and out to anyone within hearing range.
- As American, as it gets, all of Skar Audio’s subwoofers are designed and manufactured in their one hundred thousand square foot facility that’s located in St. Petersburg, Florida. It's a bass-powered weapon of mass destruction that was forged right here in the US of A.
- Skar Audio’s customer service is second to none, they pride themselves on it. If you have any problems or issues with your VFX, you can get in touch with them and they’ll be happy to guide you through, and help you with, any problems that you’re having.
- Like all subwoofers, it's a heavy old beast and at nearly fifty pounds, the only place you’re really going to be able to install it is in the trunk. Or what was left of the rear street if you’ve stripped your car down to a two-person ride. Just be aware, that sometimes dreams come with more than a financial price, and in this case, that price is fifty pounds of additional vehicular weight.
- While it’s incredibly rare, the cone on the woofer can crack. We wouldn’t have believed it if we hadn’t found out about it for ourselves, but it has happened. We can’t even begin to imagine the level of power that the victims of VFX cone failure were trying to pump through it when it fractured and just thinking about it is scary, and if we’re honest a little exciting, at the same time.
Kicker was there when big rig audio systems for cars were born, and they’ll still be around long after most of their competition has faded into the annals of history.
Beginning life as a two-man operation that worked out of a single car garage in Stillwater, Oklahoma in nineteen seventy-three, Kicker’s then co-founder and now company President Steve Irby invented the first full range frequency speaker box for cars and trucks.
Kicker quite literally changed the vehicular audio game, and if it wasn't for them, you wouldn’t be able to bring the heavens crashing down around you with a fully armed subwoofer.
The good news is, this subwoofer is intended for shallow mount boxes and only needs around five inches of clearance to sit comfortably in your box. And the bad news?
Well, there really isn’t any, as it’ll pump out one thousand watts of power when you crank it up and will run consistently at five hundred watts, which means that it’s competition-ready and raring to go.
The injection-molded polypropylene cone uses high-temperature voice coils which increases the Kicker’s ability to handle all the bass power that you can throw through it when you roll up to wherever it is you're going.
Its rubber surround is fully weatherproofed, so come rain, snow, or shine, you’ll still be able to turn your system up. Whatever the weather, this subwoofer can take everything in its stride and just keep on doing what you need it to, namely toying within the SPL like it owns it.
Whether it’s because they know how changeable the weather can be, or just understand the value of a dollar and what it takes to make it stretch as far as you can, the folks at Kicker have built this subwoofer to last and bring you countless hours of bass powered pleasure.
- Turn it up and it’ll handle the benchmark competition requirement level of one thousand watts, and maybe a little extra if you push it harder. It’s been made to bring the bass at a price you can readily afford.
- And it’s weatherproofed too, so if you’ve got your trunk open and your system turned up when the sky starts crying, you don’t have to worry about its tears halting your woofer in its tracks. It’ll just keep on pumping the bass out as long as it's powered up.
- Did we mention that it can be controlled wirelessly too? That’s right, Kicker has dragged subwoofer control kicking and screaming into the digital age, and now you can control your subwoofer in the same way as everything else in the modern world. Directly from your phone.
- There have been some queries about quality control, as some of these subwoofers have failed and given up the bass ghost in record time. While Kicker has undoubtedly got the issue under control and made sure that it won’t plague any more of their products in the future, it’s a little worrying, given their reputation, that Kicker took its eye off the ball and allowed it to happen in the first place.
With a name like Rockville, you know straight away that the only thing that this company could possibly do is make the sort of audio equipment that’s designed to peel your face off at a thousand feet.
Reaching into every area of home and auto audio production, this New York based company prides itself on the fact that it continually strives to expand its customers' expectations, because they cherish the same things that you do. Value and performance.
While the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) has tagged the Destroyer with a two-thousand-watt rating, Rockville is more than happy to point out that its program power rating is actually four thousand watts and at peak output, it can channel up to eight thousand.
If you want to grind the SPL into dust, one of the easiest ways to do it is with the Destroyer.
Its three-inch, four-layer aluminum-bound USA Voice Coils are built to withstand temperatures of up to three hundred and fifty degrees, so they’ll easily soak up all of the power that you push through the subwoofer and will keep on asking for more.
And the more power you give the coils, the happier the Destroyer is.
Its extra thick foam surround mount means that it produces a crystal-clear sound with minimal distortion, while the rubber mounting gasket makes it easy to install and ensures an airtight seal.
Rockville has also fitted the Destroyer with a Nomex Spider that makes it tougher than regular cotton and poly-cotton spiders and more resistant to tearing which increases its reliability and lifespan.
It’ll bring the bass and turn the SPL inside out for as long as you want, or need the Destroyer to.
- It might be rated at two thousand watts, but if you push it to its peak output it will pump out nearly eight thousand watts of bass-driven audio power. Your car’s windows and windshield will disintegrate before the Destroyer reaches its full potential. In other words, it brings the bass and it brings it hard.
- The Destroyers voice coils have been built to withstand temperatures of up to three hundred and fifty degrees, so the more power you push through this subwoofer, the happier it is.
- This fifteen-inch woofer has been made to be easy to install, and its design ensures that it’ll form an airtight seal wherever you fit it, so it won’t vibrate or lose any of the power and wattage that you force through it.
- With great power, at least as far as the Rockville is concerned, comes great weight and if you’re going to strap it into your ride, you’re going to need to be aware that it weighs fifty-two pounds. It’s loud, and it’s incredibly heavy.
- Rockville is a brand that seems to have more than its fair share of criticism, and while the complaints about the Destroyer are incredibly rare, most of the issues that their clients seem to have are centered around their apparent lack of knowledge and customer follow through. It might be something worth considering if you’re thinking about fitting a Destroyer in your car.
Planet Audio was founded almost a quarter of a century ago by a group of like-minded car audio enthusiasts who were determined to prove to the industry that performance, value, and appeal shouldn’t be out of the financial reach of the vast majority of car owners.
Their bold and audacious plan worked and Planet Audio has been transformed the little speaker centric car firm that could, into a huge subwoofer powered mobile entertainment powerhouse.
This dual coil-driven subwoofer that’s more commonly known as the Anarchy can push out fifteen hundred watts of pure bass bliss at peak performance.
Its two coil system has been designed to resist high temperatures so the to drive as much power through them and not have to worry about them falling, or any fluctuations in the subwoofer’s performance, and no matter how hard you push it, it’ll just keep on doing what it does best, bringing the noise and kicking against the SPL.
Its polypropylene cone has been tested to the point of destruction, and didn’t crack or fail, which means that if this hardy beast didn’t fail the tests in the laboratory, it won’t fail you when you turn the volume up and the air starts to vibrate.
Admittedly, it’s a little smaller in stature than the other subwoofers we searched for, but it earned its place in the subwoofer hall of fame purely because of the way it performs.
The thing is, we’d never have stumbled across this subwoofer were it not for the fact that Planet Audio is one of the only brands to tell their customers the truth and warn them that all auto subwoofers need to be broken in before they can reach their maximum potential and that if you crank them up to their full setting before you’ve primed them for a couple of hours at a lower volume, there’s a good chance that they’ll blow, or the cone will crack.
That advice? It’s worth its weight in gold and should be taken to heart by every auto audiophile.
- The Anarchy will pump out fifteen hundred watts of pure bass-driven power at peak performance and that's more than enough to shake the doors off of any car.
- The dual coil system that the Anarchy is powered by is made to withstand incredibly high temperatures, which means that you can power your system up and it will do the rest and bring the bass and low-frequency rumble with enough force to batter the SPL into complete submission.
- The price point that Planet Audio has set for this subwoofer is, compared to rival systems, ridiculously low and it won’t just make all of your bass dreams come true, it’ll also make your bank manager and pocketbook happy too.
- It seems like Planet Audio has also been visited by quality control gremlins, which has led some unhappy customers to say some very unpleasant things about them. As we can’t find any indication of whether or not Planet Audio has actually addressed these quality control issues, it would lead us to believe that there might actually be some truth in the old adage about getting what you pay for. Still, the woofer does sound good and as long as you follow Planet Audio’s advice, for the price that you’ll pay for this subwoofer, it’s definitely worth your while to start believing in anarchy.
Power Acoustik may not be one of the biggest players in the auto audio industry yet, but mark our words, they will be.
With an all too rare fire in their hearts, they’ve challenged the electronics business stereotypical way of doing things by claiming that the only thing that remains unchanged in the way it’s run is change itself.
That’s why they’ve based everything they do on innovation and development and making sure that the people that matter the most, their customers, are always the guiding light in their plans for the future.
And that desire to push the boundaries of innovation within their industry?
That drove them to create the MOFO, a subwoofer that’ll pump out three thousand watts of gloriously heavy bass at peak performance and operate at a more far sedate, but still skull-crushing one thousand four hundred when you’re just rolling with your friends in your car.
Using a cloth and paper composite cone, heat-resistant voice coils, dual Conex spiders, and their own patented heatsink technology, the MOFO is a devastating subwoofer that’ll rattle the fillings out of your teeth and cause space time to collapse with its relentlessly heavy bass attack.
Power is everything and the MOFO has been engineered and manufactured to put all of the low frequency power in the place where it can best be savored, your hands.
With the MOFO fitted in your car, you’ll be able to flex to your heart's content and leave everyone else scrabbling around in the dust in a desperate attempt to keep up with you.
- While it’ll only push out a measly brain-melting fourteen hundred watts during recommended constant operation (or RCM as the audio folks like to call it), when you push the MOFO hard, it’ll push right back with three thousand watts of sonic force.
- Easy to mount and simple to use, the MOFO is a combination of technological development and prowess and pure brutal, bass power. If you want to rattle your peers and challenge them to up their bass game, this is the subwoofer that will help you to do it.
- For such a powerful, unchained low frequency fueled monster, it’s surprisingly light and weighs in at just thirty-three pounds. That may sound like it’s a lot, but in the subwoofer world, it's next to nothing.
- It’s going to start to sound like we’re constantly repeating ourselves as Power Acoustik seems to suffer from the same sort of complaints that every other audio brand does – manufacturing woes. However, reading between the lines, there does seem to be some commonality that links the voices of dissent that are rallying against Planet Acoustik. In our humble, and it is incredibly humble, opinion it seems like the bad reviews all stem from the fact that the customers in question tried to push too much power through their MOFO’s. And that’s the reason why they failed.
With nearly nine decades of audio design and manufacture in their collective pocket, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Pioneer is responsible for creating one of the best enclosed subwoofers that you can lay your hard-earned dollars down for.
Flexing and showing off your low frequency muscle is just as popular in the land of the Rising Sun as it is in the United States, so Pioneer rose to the challenge and built the sort of competition subwoofer that legions of bass fanatics lust after.
Capable of pumping out thirteen hundred watts of bass driven power at peak performance, Pioneer's subwoofer system has a built-in amplifier that's simple to use and master and easy to fit.
It even comes with its own already carpeted base, so that when you do find a place for it in the trunk of your car, it won’t scratch, dent, or damage the bodywork.
In fact, this subwoofer is all about control and includes an LPF (low pass filter), phase control, and bass boost to let you set it up the way you want so that it will sound the way you want it too, when you want it too.
Opting for a far more sedate approach to subwoofer design, Pioneer has proved that you don’t need to go all out with a hundred different tricks and gimmicks in order to bring home the devastating full force bass that you’re looking for.
This subwoofer will nestle respectably in the trunk of any car and corroborates the old saying that you should never judge a book, or in this case a subwoofer, by its appearance.
- It may not look like much, but when push comes to shove, and the Pioneer is turned up, it’ll pump out thirteen hundred watts of low frequency perfection and shake your automotive world to its foundations.
- Easy to fit and even easier to use, this subwoofer has been designed to let you fully control and explore all of the bass fury that you'll ever need, or want to.
- Eighty years and some change of audio creativity have given Pioneer an edge that a lot of its rivals can’t hope to compete with, which probably explains why this incredibly functional and efficient subwoofer only weighs fifteen pounds. You won’t even notice that it’s in your trunk until you turn the bass up and all hell breaks loose.
- While it’s capable of cranking out thirteen hundred watts of pure low frequency beauty at peak performance, it’ll only deliver three hundred watts in its recommended operational mode. That’s not a lot and in order to get the sort of performance that you’ll need, and want, from the Pioneer, you’ll need to push it to its limits.
- Even Pioneer can’t escape the subwoofer curse and have succumbed to the inevitable manufacturing issues that every brand seems to be plagued by. It isn’t a common problem, but it does happen, so once again, it’s something worth thinking about before you invest your time, money, and dreams in Pioneer’s subwoofer.
Lanzar believes the only way to deliver audio perfection is through a combination of craftsmanship, accuracy, and quality.
And it’s a rule that any audio equipment that leaves their factory adheres to, and one that has been the guiding principle of the company since they unleashed their first speaker on the auto world.
Their flagship twelve-inch subwoofer has been imbued with all of the ideas that Lanzar holds dear, and is capable of churning out sixteen hundred watts of bone shaking bass power when it’s turned all the way up.
Its heat resistant coil can cope with as much power as you want to feed the subwoofer and day after day, will turn the juice that you feed it into soul vibrating bass driven majesty.
Using a pressed paper cone design to enhance the quality of the sound that it delivers, Lanzar’s subwoofer is an easily affordable solution to the subwoofer conundrum that’s been driving you to distraction.
With a six-inch mounting depth, it should be easy to find the ideal place to install the Lanzar in your car.
And while we’re talking easy, Lanzar supplies everything that you’ll need to install and set your subwoofer up along with the low frequency miracle that'll change your life and make all of your bass dreams come true.
- Sixteen hundred watts of heavy bass mayhem is more than enough to put a mile wide grin on the face of any low frequency devotee. And what’s more, at the price that Lanzar is charging for it, we wouldn’t blame you if you ordered two and held one in reserve, just in case. After all, you never know when you’re going to need more bass, so it’s always better to be prepared and ready for any low frequency emergency.
- Easy to use and simple to install, Lanzar supplies their subwoofer with everything that you’ll need to fit it in your ride. And once it’s in place, you can switch it on, turn it up and tremble in the face of pure, unadulterated low frequency power.
- You already know what we’re going to say, don’t you? It’s the same old story, but in Lanzar’s case it might be due to people expecting far more from the subwoofer than it’s actually capable of delivering. Is it a case of getting what you pay for? Almost certainly, but just because it’s affordable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this subwoofer isn’t able to do what you need, and want, it too. Manage your expectations, and you’ll be just fine with Lanzar.
Best Badass Competition Subwoofers Buying Guide
Which SPL Destroying Subwoofer Is the Right One for Me?
There’s only one reason that you want to fit a decent subwoofer in your ride, and that’s to completely and thoroughly destroy the SPL.
While we’ve offered a couple of more affordable options on our list of subwoofers, unless your budget doesn’t have any flexibility or room for maneuver, they won’t really help you to fulfill your low frequency dreams.
That’s why we’d always recommend that if you’re going to announce your arrival in full SPL destroying glory, there’s only one competition ready subwoofer to do it with, and that’s the Skar Audio VFX.
It’s a world shattering, paradigm changing subwoofer that’s been designed and manufactured by car fanatics for car fanatics, and it will, beyond any shadow of a doubt, make all of your SPL fantasies come true.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a speaker that has been purposely designed to reproduce low frequency sounds that are commonly known as bass and sub bass.
Having been a must have part of the home audiophile's set-up since they were first launched in the mid nineteen sixties, subwoofers are, according to devoted music fans an indispensable addition to any stereo system as they allow you to experience music as it should be heard.
Adopted by car culture, subwoofers are used in auto audio set-ups to help drivers to flex, or show off, to other car owners.
Made to create the sort of low frequency rumble and bass driven sounds that draw attention to their vehicle's owners, subwoofers have, much like they did when they first appeared during the home stereo craze of the nineteen sixties and seventies, become a compulsory part of the modern car fanatics arsenal.
What Is SPL?
SPL is a commonly used abbreviation that refers to the sound pressure level. A logarithmic measurement of the effective level of localized sound in any given area, SPL is used in its most basic form to explain the idea that sound travels in waves and that it is the fluctuating nature of these sound waves that allow us to hear and interpret different sounds.
The term “destroying the SPL'' is usually used to describe a loud and obtrusive noise that is deliberately created to attract and draw attention to whoever is making it.
Twenty-first century car culture uses the term to describe the heavy, bass driven music that drivers use subwoofers to create in order to flex (show off) to other drivers and their fellow car obsessives.
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