If there’s one thing that can add emotion and excitement to your music, it’s adding a little more bass. Bass frequencies, especially those below 80 Hz, can be felt as much as heard at a higher volume level. The tingling in your amps and vibration in your back make a night at a club, your favorite concert or a high-end car stereo system some of the most enjoyable musical experiences available. The problem is, adding bass isn’t always easy. Let’s look at how many people do it and offer a few suggestions for enhancing the low-frequency performance of your car stereo.
Making Bass Takes Power
If you are an avid reader of our articles, then you know that it takes significantly more power to drive a subwoofer to an output level of 90 dB than it does for a set of tweeters. You can find out more about the physics behind that phenomenon here.
Unless the stereo system in your car has a dedicated amplifier with a switching power supply, it’s likely with 6.5- or 6×9-inch speakers as the largest size, it takes a lot of power to move the speaker cone enough to produce the bottom few octaves of our music.
Imagine “Thunderstruck,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Yeah!” by Usher comes on Pandora and you can barely hear the bass line. Instinctively, you look for a way to turn up the bass with the tone control or EQ built into your car radio. More often than not, you are rewarded with a garbled mess that sounds less like music and more like the performer is munching on a rubber floor mat.
As much as this isn’t any fun, it’s really no surprise. That tiny little amplifier built into your radio is designed for moderate listening levels with fairly neutral overall tonal balance. That means, not a lot of bass relative to the mids and highs.
Problem defined. How do we fix it?
Does Adding Power Make More Bass?
What if we visited our local car stereo shop and asked to have a 75-watts-per-channel amplifier installed between the factory radio and the speakers? Now, any signal that comes out of the radio is amplified and we don’t run out of power when the bass line kicks in, right?
In the simplest of terms, sure, adding an amplifier to your factory speakers helps a lot. With that said, you are still limited by the small size of the speakers. Worse, you are asking those relatively tiny woofers to move really far to produce bass, as well as midrange information. Unless someone has come up with a way to defy the laws of physics, more excursion always results in more distortion.
Adding an amp added a little bass, but made the midrange sound worse.
Will Upgrading Speakers Add Bass?
Let’s say you skipped the amplifier idea and decided that upgrading to high-quality speakers was a better bet. Do better or more expensive speakers produce more bass than less expensive offerings? There’s almost no definitive way to answer that question in a single paragraph. Some speakers produce less midrange relative to the amount of bass they produce. There are also speakers that play lower than factory speakers. In both cases, the new speakers are typically less sensitive (require more power) than what’s already in your car or truck. In short, you may get the perception of more bass, but more often than not, you’ve ended up with less midrange.
The good thing about upgrading your speakers is that they can likely handle the power from an amplifier with fewer complaints and stress. So, if you upgrade your speakers and add an amplifier, your system might sound pretty good.
The Best Way to Add Bass is to Add a Subwoofer System
Adding a subwoofer and driving it with a dedicated amplifier, even if the selection is modest, will offer an impressive improvement in the reproduction of bass in your music. A powered 8-inch subwoofer that fits under a pickup truck seat or in the corner of your truck is a perfect starting point. Best of all, you can turn the bass settings on the radio back down and let the small speakers in your car do their job of reproducing midrange and high-frequency information. The result is a car stereo system that plays louder and sounds amazing.
Of course, there are an unlimited number of options for generic, vehicle-specific and custom subwoofer systems to add more bass to your car stereo. Your local specialist mobile enhancement retailer can help you choose a solution that will meet your needs. Drop by today and have a listen to what they have to offer.