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Subwoofers are a specific type of loudspeaker for low frequency reproduction. Mobile 'subs' are not very different from any other application of sub in terms of construction. However it is more common in aftermarket that visual aesthetics take on a more significant role in design than other types of sub drivers, including high contrast paint schemes, grill covers, translucent or refractive materials. Typical subwoofer drivers range in size from an 8" diameter to 10", 12" or 15"; more rarely, some car systems may have 18", 21", 22", 24" or even 32" subwoofers.




A subwoofer is used when existing low frequency production is unsatisfactory, either in frequency range or in volume. Design goals have led to subwoofer, both driver's alone and whole packages, with some extreme difference from one another. Space conscious design has reduced some driver depth to 2" or less, or enclosure depth to 3". Pure loudness through increasing sound pressure has led to some drivers with excursions as great as 4" and vented components to cool the "motor" of the speaker. Quality and clarity has led to driver enclosures being tuned by construction to resonate or neutralize certain frequencies.




Woofer is the term commonly used for a loudspeaker driver designed to produce low frequency sounds, typically from around 40 hertz up to about a kilohertz or higher. The name is from the onomatopoeic English word for a dog's bark, "woof" (in contrast to the name used for speakers designed to reproduce high-frequency sounds, tweeter). The most common design for a woofer is the electrodynamic driver, which typically uses a stiff paper cone, driven by a voice coil which is surrounded by a magnetic field. The voice coil is attached by adhesives to the back of the speaker cone. The voice coil and magnet form a linear electric motor. When current flows through the voice coil, the coil moves in relation to the frame according to Fleming's left hand rule, causing the coil to push or pull on the driver cone in a piston-like way. The resulting motion of the cone creates sound waves as it moves in and out.




The frame, or basket, is the structure holding the cone, voice coil and magnet in the proper alignment, and must be as rigid as possible. Cast metal baskets are the most expensive and the most rigid in all directions. Stamped steel baskets are cheaper but less rigid, and cast plastic is cheaper still and has come into common use.

An important woofer specification is its power rating, the amount of power the woofer can handle without damage. The power rating is not easily characterized (see below) and many manufacturers cite momentary peak power ratings which would damage the speaker if maintained.

At ordinary sound pressure levels (SPL), most humans can hear down to about 20 Hz,.woofers are generally used to cover the lowest octaves of the system's frequency range. In two-way loudspeaker systems, the drivers handling the lower frequencies are also obliged to cover a substantial part of the midrange, often as high as 1000 or 2000Hz; such drivers are commonly termed mid woofers.












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