Low Frequencies, Efficiency, Small Enclosure: you can ONLY have TWO!


That_Old_Guy

CarAudio.com Newbie
Apr 8, 2021
4
0
Tacoma, WA, USA
I've spent the last couple weeks going through hundreds of 10" and 12" subs on eBay, Amazon, Crutchfield and Sonic and comparing specs for my upcoming purchase. When it comes to any speaker purchase for me, the specs I look for first are frequency response and sensitivity before how many watts they handle. Makes no sense to buy speakers that handle a ton of power if their efficiency rating is so low that you have to turn your volume way up just to get them to come alive. In my list of specs for brands costing $150 or less for 10's or 12's, I've started to quickly notice a pattern emerging. Apparently when you find a sub that hits lows down to 20Hz, the lowest the human ear can hear, the sensitivity is about the lowest on earth. Or, if you find a sub that handles mega wattage, the low frequencies aren't as low as I'd like. It's starting to confuse me a bit. So, I watched a few videos yesterday and finally figured it out when Mark from Car Audio Fabrication explained what's called "Hoffman's Iron Law". This simply means you can look for subs that hit way low, or that are super efficient, or that require a small enclosure, but you can ONLY pick TWO of those three! NOW it's all starting to make sense after that video! I'm saying this because all the subs I'm comparing that get down to 20Hz have super low efficiency specs, yet the ones that handle mega watts don't get as low in the frequency range. That video kind of explained it all. I've kind of narrowed my choices down to Pioneer's TS-A300D4 12's or their TS-A250D4 10's because they seem to be the only subs I can find in 10" or 12" that get down to 20Hz. Yet they have the worst sensitivity specs of ANY subs I've ever found! So this tells me if I want to get the lowest low frequencies, I'm going to have to crank my volume way up. My current setup, which consists of a Rockville powered 10" sub, seems to slam out some pretty decent bass at really low volume, like 4 or 5, but as I turn up the volume, the other speakers mids and highs overpower the bass and I stop hearing it. This is why I'm looking for a non-powered sub. I'd like to FEEL my bass a little more than HEAR it. But I have very limited space in my trunk, hence the search for a 10 or a 12.

I know, I could have just asked "Which is better, a 10" or a 12" sub?" like so many other people ask all over the internet. But I know the differences besides 2 inches in diameter. I'm not looking for SPL or huge bass to rattle windows as I drive down the road, just enough to get good bass guitar and bass drum beats. So I figure 10's will work. But WHY in the world do those Pioneers get such low frequencies yet have such low sensitivity? I'm starting to figure it out pretty fast. So it looks like I'm going to be stuck with either cranking up my sub amp gains or getting subs that don't hit very low frequencies. Apparently you can't have the best of both worlds, especially in a small enclosure.

Sorry about the mini-novel. This stuff is just irritating as heck. In my 45 years around car audio, this is the first time I've done so much comparisons on subs. I've always compared 6.5's and 6x9's before rushing out and buying the first ones I see, but this subwoofer decision is killing me! One final note: it seems to me that the more you spend on subs, the less low frequencies you get out of them! Some of the Alpines and Rockford Fosgates and Infinitys only go down into the 35-45Hz range yet cost much more than the same size sub that hits into the 20Hz range!

Okay, well, I have a head to go bang against a wall for a while as I get ready to narrow down my choice. UGH!
 

JRsmoothee

Think For Yourself, Question Authority - MJK
10+ year member
Aug 12, 2008
1,523
158
sitting on toilet
FYI.....you will be suprised at what little music content actually plays into the low 30's-20's
 
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That_Old_Guy

CarAudio.com Newbie
Apr 8, 2021
4
0
Tacoma, WA, USA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Are you asking a question or just thinking out loud?

I dont pay attention to blocks of text that large.
Welll then why did you take the time to post a reply? Just so you could watch your parrot GIF? LOL! You didn't have to read my post, but I'll bet you did. I was stating what I'm learning about sub choices. I wasn't asking a question. I was simply sharing what I've recently learned about subwoofer selection and that you can't have the best of all 3 worlds, you can only have 2. Some (or many) forum members may not realize anything I posted and might just find it interesting and helpful. Every car audio and mobile electronics forum I've ever seen or joined were places to share thoughts, ideas and tips. NOT just to ask questions. I didn't join to ask any questions either. I joined because I've learned a lot about car audio since I got into it back in the 70's, so I like to share some of what I've learned along with some of what I'm still learning. Didn't realize it would bother anyone. But not surprising that the FIRST reply to me FIRST post was from a troll who has nothing better to do than post stupid comments just to get other members to chuckle and see their GIF.
 

JRsmoothee

Think For Yourself, Question Authority - MJK
10+ year member
Aug 12, 2008
1,523
158
sitting on toilet
Welll then why did you take the time to post a reply? Just so you could watch your parrot GIF? LOL! You didn't have to read my post, but I'll bet you did. I was stating what I'm learning about sub choices. I wasn't asking a question. I was simply sharing what I've recently learned about subwoofer selection and that you can't have the best of all 3 worlds, you can only have 2. Some (or many) forum members may not realize anything I posted and might just find it interesting and helpful. Every car audio and mobile electronics forum I've ever seen or joined were places to share thoughts, ideas and tips. NOT just to ask questions. I didn't join to ask any questions either. I joined because I've learned a lot about car audio since I got into it back in the 70's, so I like to share some of what I've learned along with some of what I'm still learning. Didn't realize it would bother anyone. But not surprising that the FIRST reply to me FIRST post was from a troll who has nothing better to do than post stupid comments just to get other members to chuckle and see their GIF.
you wont last long here if your an emotional sensitive pussy
 
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