In this post, Hooke Audio will provide an easy-to-follow guide on how to install subwoofer. The process of installing a subwoofer can be tedious and inconvenient for those who are unsure about the best way to tackle the project. To help, we’ve created a step-by-step guide that will tell you the easiest and most professional way to install your new subwoofer. Keep reading this article to learn how to complete the install and enjoy all your music with added bass!
It is possible to install a subwoofer in even small cars. You have a few options for where to place the subwoofer, including behind the back seat or in your trunk. Your vehicle’s design will determine the best place. The subwoofers’ sound quality will depend on the car’s design and the fabric used inside. To get the best sound, move the subwoofer around in your car before you settle on a single location.
Types of subwoofers
There are several types of subwoofers. A car amplifier-powered subwoofer is the most popular option for car enthusiasts. The active powered subwoofer can be used in both vehicles and home theater systems. You can use active powered subwoofers with or without amplifiers.
How To Install Subwoofer
Step 1: Parts
- What are the steps?
- Subwoofer box
- Subwoofer speaker (see the next step)
- Amplifier (see the next step).
- Wiring Kits (or any combination of the above)
- For power, -10 gauge or thicker, 20-foot insulated wire
- Ground wire, insulated wire 3 feet in length (ten-gauge or thicker)
- 18 or 16 Gauge, 15-foot wire
- RCA cables 15 feet long or longer (you will need two or more or one with red and white).
- In-line fuse 50 amps and higher
- Some speaker wire
- 4 small wood screws
- Basic tools
Depending on the amp’s power, thicker wires will be needed for the ground and power wires. For amps with extremely powerful amplifiers, you may need a wire of 0 gauge.
Walmart also sells amplifier kits, as do other stores. These kits will tell you how much power they can handle.
Step 2: Selecting an amp and speaker
This step can be tricky. It is important to select the speaker and amp that produce the most power without blowing each other.
You want the RMS values of the amplifier and subwoofer speakers to be the same. RMS refers to the maximum power that a speaker can send without it going down. The RMS also refers to the power that an amplifier can output without heating up.
Do not focus on the peak power when looking at amplifiers and speakers. An amp or speaker can only be powered at peak power for approximately one minute before it stops working or heats up. Subwoofers should be run on their RMS rating, not the peak rating.
Keep the impedance (Ohms), the same for the excellent sound.
Let’s take, for example, the Kenwood KFC W3011. Its ratings are:
- 400w RMS
- 1200w Peak
- 4 Ohm Impedance
The Rockford is a good amp for this speaker, assuming that it is the only one attached to the amp. When it is in “bridged” mode, the amp has these ratings.
- 400w RMS
- 4 Ohm Impedance
It is important to choose the right size speaker. Although smaller speakers, such as the 8 or 10 inch, respond faster and punch more than larger ones, they are still not as loud. The louder ones, like the 15+ inch, can be more annoying than the smaller ones with the same wattage. However, they have a slower response and sound more muffled. They also perform better at handling lower frequencies. For a basic system, 12 inches speakers make a great compromise.
You should ensure that the hole in your subwoofer box is the same size as your speaker.
Step 3: Run Wires
Wiring the power source from the battery is the first step. It is crucial to use the power source from the battery, not the fuse box. The fuse box can often be “unclean”, and your engine noise could be amplified through your speakers. You can also blow a fuse easily by using the small ones in the fuse box.
Find an opening in your car’s firewall. This is the opening under the car’s hood, closest to your windshield. The inside of your car should be on the other side of this firewall. I chose to use a hole behind my glove box that was easy to reach from the engine compartment.
The majority of the power cables should be run through the firewall. Make sure you leave enough wire for the battery.
The insulation at the end of the wire where the battery is should be removed. If the fuse is not already attached to the wire, connect the in-line fuse. The fuse should be as close as possible to the battery. Don’t connect the wire yet to the battery. You should tape the area where the fuse was connected to the wire so that you don’t have a short.
The remaining wire should be run under the car’s carpeting or through a wire channel if one exists. This wire should be connected to the trunk.
Once you have the carpeting removed, run the 16 – 18 gauge wires and the RCA cables from your trunk as close as possible to the back of your car stereo head unit. Leave a little slack on both ends.
Step 4: Connecting the Car Audio
Now you need to remove the stereo head unit. You will need to either remove the front console or use a tool that allows you to slide the stereo out using special clips.
Once you’ve taken the stereo apart, take a look at its back. You should see 2 RCA connections. The RCA cables should be run through the back console. They should then be plugged into the two connections at the back.
These connections are not available on your stereo so you will need to connect the wires to the rear speaker wires. You can also get a new stereo with RCA connections. These aren’t too expensive.
Step 5: Connect the remote
The center console will also need the 16-18 gauge wire. This wire informs the amp that your stereo is on and the amp should be.
You should see 1 or 2 of the blue wires coming from the back of your head unit. These wires are known as remote wires. These wires can be labeled with:
- Power Antenna
- Pwr. Ant.
- Or something similar.
If there are two wires, one should be labeled Amp. You can use one of the blue wires. You will need to connect the power antenna’s blue wire to the amp. Connect the 16-18 gauge wire to the appropriate blue wire. The amp will turn on when the stereo turns on.
If the car has a stock stereo and no power antenna, connect the 16-18 gauge wire to the fuse box. The fuse will turn on when accessories are turned on. It will always turn on when the car is turned on. However, it should not make any noise so it’s OK. You can add a switch to turn the amp on/off if it makes noises (e.g. from the engine).
Step 6: Place the speaker in the box
This is fairly obvious, but it’s worth mentioning for those who aren’t sure:
Place the speaker in the box. Make sure that the thin, fragile gasket is attached.
Make sure the connectors that are on the box’s exterior are connected to the speaker within.
Use the holes at the outer rim to secure the speaker in the box.
Place the subwoofer in your trunk.
Step 7: Connecting the Amp
Okay, now that we have all the wires in place we can wire the amp.
Connect the power cable to the battery at the spot marked with one of these markings.
The 16-18 gauge wire should be connected to the spot marked:
Connect the 3’10 gauge wire to the marked one (do NOT connect it to speaker negative).
Connect the other end to a bolt nearby that connects to your car’s body.
Connect the speaker wire with the + and the – markings for the speakers on the amp. You may have 2 channels. If you have 2 channels, bridge your amp. Bridging is something I will not explain, but it is easy to do and you can Google it.
Connect the speaker wire at the other end to the +/- connectors on the box. Make sure the amps + is connected to the speaker box’s +, and vice versa with the -.
Step 8: Adding power
Connecting the power cable to your battery is the final step. Just insert the wire between the battery clip & the post.
You should ensure that a large fuse is kept in the fuse holder.
Install a Subwoofer in Your Home
Although it’s easier to set one up in your home than in your car for these sonic devices, it is equally rewarding. It’s nearly as simple as setting up a wireless speaker. Even though they may look similar, subwoofers and wireless speakers are quite different.
Subwoofers must be placed with precision. Speakers have a tendency to “set it anywhere”, but wireless speakers are more flexible. Subs let you “feel” the 20-30 Hz tones within your space. They are not only able to hear the bass but also allow you to feel them. This means that you need to be right in the right place to get it. Poor installation can result in poor quality of sound and even earache.
You need to decide where you want it to go. It takes a lot of trial-and-error, as well as crawling on the floor to find out how it sounds in different places. For more bass, it is a good rule of thumb, to begin with, areas near corners or walls. But, more bass does not always equal better bass. There are other factors that can influence the bass quality, such as walls and barriers creating standing waves (a “booming”) and bass nulls (sound waves canceling each other out).
Use your sub with a soundbar, speaker system, or soundbar near the TV. You can start by placing your sub behind your couch, or where you normally sit. Play some music and then place it there. Then, move around the room and listen. What is the best sound quality? Is there any bass? Not necessarily the loudest, but the places where you feel the best texture or tonal quality.
You can still ask how to install subwoofers if you are still unsure. Follow the same steps, but place the subwoofer a third from the wall. Are you still having trouble? Start with the corner placement and work your way up.
After you have found the perfect spot, adjust the “gain”, also known as the volume. Play your favorite music or a movie, and then adjust the volume until the bass is barely audible. You’ve reached the perfect level of gain when the sound is clear but still fills the bass.