Single vs Dual Subwoofer Car: Which to Go For?

Subwoofers are speakers made specifically to reproduce low-frequency bass sounds. Most people think that adding two subwoofers to the trunk will produce a richer audio experience. But a single subwoofer can easily handle the job.

So, should you get a single vs dual subwoofer car?

In general, dual subwoofers can enhance the stereo effect if you have enough room for them. Moreover, it provides less localized bass and reduces resonances. But a single good subwoofer in a parallel enclosure can deliver the same amount of power as two. For example, 15-inch and 18-inch Subwoofers.

Are you interested in upgrading the audio quality of your car by adding a subwoofer? In the following article, we evaluate the benefits of installing single versus dual subwoofers in any car.

Pros and Cons of Single Vs Dual Subwoofer Car

Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of these two setups-

Single Subwoofer CarDual Subwoofer Car
ProsSmall Amp is enough to run the setupMore RMS wattage
Lower power consumptionEnhanced stereo effect
Channeled audio for better qualityLess localized bass
ConsPronounced localized bass and basic stereo effectNeeds high-powered amp to support the setup
Decreased loudnessRequires extra space

Why Do People Prefer Dual Subwoofers Over Single?

When choosing a subwoofer, it’s a good idea to be aware of the acoustic benefits of going “dual.” So that you can have the best bass experience possible. Below, we’ve listed some advantages of dual subwoofers.

Increased Dynamic Output:

Increased dynamic output capabilities, or more headroom are the most obvious reasons to switch to a dual setup. Greater dynamic range is achieved by combining the power of two subwoofers.

single vs dual sub setup
Source: Pinterest

You can hear and feel the bass is deeper and more impactful. And it has better SPL capabilities as well. Additionally, it adds acoustic pressure throughout the area.

Smooth Bass Response:

This is arguably the most important for enjoying consistent low-frequency impact and depth across the listening area. Phase cancellation, or nulls, are eliminated by dual subwoofers to achieve a smooth bass response.

Frequency bass response of car subwoofer
Source: Best car audio

This happens when two subwoofer sound waves cancel each other out, lowering the bass you hear there. Peaks are “boomy” areas in an area where the bass gathers and becomes louder.

A single subwoofer is frequently at the mercy of the environment. Dual subwoofers, however, eliminate peaks and nulls while effortlessly delivering precise bass that takes over the space. 

This is why choosing between 1 large subwoofer and 2 small subs the latter is always preferred.

Bass Directionality: 

Simply put, locating multiple subwoofers is much more difficult than locating a single sub. Even with a relatively low speaker/subwoofer crossover frequency, a single subwoofer can usually be heard. 

Multiple subwoofers, on the other hand, are nearly impossible to localize. And they provide the sensation of bass coming from every direction. Listeners hardly switch back to a single subwoofer after experiencing the immersive low-frequency energy of two Subwoofers. 

Reduced Resonance:

When adding a subwoofer to your car’s stereo system, resonance is an important consideration. Cars are enclosed spaces, as opposed to large rooms.

So, the subwoofer’s sound waves are reflected by the interior of the car. As reflected sound waves bounce, bass reproduction will result in inconsistencies.

In this case, installing two subwoofers works like a charm. Adding more bass sources can enhance the overall sound balance by reducing frequency and sound wave interference. Consequently, your car’s front and back seats will experience smoother frequency transitions.

People’s preference for dual subwoofers is now clearer. But how does the dual vs. single setup differ? Let’s take a look-

Two 10-Inch Subs vs One 10-Inch Sub

Let’s look at the main differences between these two setups before we get into the specifics-

Differentiating Factors2 10-Inch Subwoofer1 10-Inch Subwoofer
Power Required500 Watt250 Watt 
Voice CoilsDual 4-ohmDual 4 Ohm
Driver Size10’’10’’
SPL Range0-148 dB74 dB
Frequency Range76Hz – 360Hz38Hz – 180Hz

One of the most popular subwoofer sizes is the 10-inch model. Because they provide a good mix of responsiveness and low-end extension. As a result, the sound quality becomes more versatile.

Dual 10-inch subwoofer cars
Source: YouTube

Additionally, they are a little bit punchier and more responsive than 12-inch subwoofers. Although these subwoofers support and play all genres well, Metal and Rock are best highlighted by these.

Two 10-inch subwoofers need 500 watts of power. This is twice as much as one 10-inch subwoofer does. But, the dual setup has a wider frequency range and SPL range.

However, the 1 10-inch subwoofer comes with 74 dB SPL. This is a good range for SPL. The dual setup will undoubtedly cover a larger area and sound better with clarity and boost. This is a significant benefit to have in the case of outdoor parties.

But controlling these two 10-inch subwoofers can be a little tricky. They also require more powerful motor structures. Budget and size-wise 2 10-inch subwoofers will obviously need more than one.

There is also less room for adjustment when placing the two 10-inch subwoofers. But Boss Audio BAB10 and Skar Audio SVR-10 D4 are some of the best subwoofers for compact spaces. But, modern cars do have a somewhat wider trunk area, which can also be useful.

Winner: For a moderate music experience 2-10 inch subwoofers will definitely be better than one. Although there will be an extra cost for setup.

Two 12-Inch Subs vs One 12-Inch Sub

The 12-inch subs are also user-favorite subwoofers. Let’s check a quick comparison before we get into details on why users prefer these subs-

Differentiating Factors2 12-Inch Subwoofer1 12-Inch Subwoofer
Power required1400 Watts700 Watts 
Voice CoilsDual 2 Ohm 2 Ohm 
Driver SizeDual 12”12’’
SPL Range0-98 dB (A)0-49 dB (A)
Frequency Range70Hz-400Hz35Hz-200Hz

12-inch subwoofers perform reasonably well with any type of music. However, fans of Rap, R&B, Pop, Blues, and Jazz will undoubtedly prefer these. The output and punch they produce are really well-balanced.

12-inch car subwoofers
Source: Axleaddict

The power requirement for two 12″ subwoofers is unquestionably higher than for one. But it does provide more coverage than a 12-inch subwoofer.

The two 12-inch subwoofers are far superior in terms of coverage, bass depth, and volume. It also allows improved amp configuration for the bass guitar.

The ability to push air determines the coverage area. When it comes to covering a closed medium area, one 12-inch subwoofer works well.

But if you want subwoofers for outdoor use such as on the car two subwoofers are preferable. Because they are more capable of moving air than a single 12-inch subwoofer. That’s even more true for killer subs like Kicker 44DCWC122 CompC Dual 12-Inch!

The SPL range, on the other hand, also shows distinct differences. The two 12-inch have a higher SPL range. And we know that better sound quality is obtained by higher SPL. 

You can similarly be curious about whether to install two 12-inch subs or a big 15-inch one. 

To get an idea about that, check out this short video!

Winner: When it comes to the coverage area and audio experience, two 12-inch subwoofer setups are unquestionably superior. 

Two 15-Inch Subs vs One 15-Inch Sub

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at this subwoofer setup comparison-

Differentiating Factors2 15-Inch Subwoofer1 15-Inch Subwoofer
Power required2500 Watts1250 Watts 
Voice CoilsDual 4 Ohm Dual 4 Ohm 
Driver SizeDual 15”15’’
SPL Range0-184 dB(A)0-92 dB(A)
Frequency Range40 Hz – 500 Hz20 Hz – 250 Hz

Large subwoofers like the 15 inch are excellent at producing deep bass notes. They can produce their highest output while hitting deeper notes with ease. They do not, however, provide the precise responsiveness of smaller models.

Two 15-inch car subs
Source: YouTube

Dubstep, Rap, R&B, and Reggae are the best combinations for these 15-inch subwoofers. Two 15-inch with double SPL and frequency range are sure to excel in coverage and audio experience.

The tonal quality is more clear and crisper with two 15-inch subwoofers. However, you would need a higher power supply for these high-performance subwoofers.

This is a huge burden in sudden cases. And it can hamper your celebration with a sudden power shortage. The installation of two 15-inch subwoofers will be more difficult than the installation of one.

It is also more expensive to purchase two small subwoofers than one. As a result, if you don’t have the budget, it’s best to go with one 15-inch sub.

For example, something like the Massive Audio HIPPOXL152 will be just fine for your car audio setup.

Winner: Two Subwoofer setups may seem like a better setup. But Considering the price, installation area, and power requirement one is a better choice here.

Two 18-Inch Subs vs One 18-Inch 

Before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at this subwoofer setup comparison-

Differentiating Factors2 18-Inch Subwoofer1 18-Inch Subwoofer
Power required12000 Watts6000 Watts
Driver SizeDual 18”18’’
SPL Range0-282dB(A)0-141 dB (A)
Frequency Range40-400Hz20-200 Hz

The 18-inch also produces extremely deep bass notes. Rock, reggae, and R&B all sound fantastic when played through these subwoofers.

Two 18-inch subwoofers will be your best choice if you’re searching for a larger cone area. However, if you have a low power requirement, one 18-inch subwoofer is the better choice.

A larger frequency range of 40-400 Hz is available with two 18-inch subwoofers. With a regular waveform, this higher frequency range will deliver meaningful music.

A more immersive audio experience will be provided by two 18-inch subwoofers. As these subs have an SPL range of almost 300 dB(A). You will undoubtedly be able to cover a larger area with a massive gathering with these subwoofers.

However, a single 18-inch is also not bad. Despite the high price tags on both of these, having one is obviously cost-effective. The SPL and Frequency range of a single 18-inch are quite good as well.

And the funny thing is you can get away with 18-inch subs such as Skar Audio ZVX-18v2 D1 without any issues at all. So, why bother going for the costly dual setup for this one right?

Winner: This one totally depends on you. If you have the money and space then definitely go with a double setup. But a budget-wise one is better.

So Which One Is the Right Pick?

Some people prefer having two subwoofers working hard rather than pushing one to its limit. So ultimately it comes to your own preference and needs.

However, using two 10 and 12-inch subwoofers is preferable for coverage area and audio quality.

Although two is always preferable, one 15-inch and 18-inch subwoofer can also be a good sound setup. But if your budget supports it then definitely go for the double setup.

Best Subwoofer Placement In a Car

The best place for subwoofers in a car is something that most people are unaware of. Whether you want to install two or three subwoofers, the front and trunk are the best choices.

Car sub placement
Source: Gomechanic

But there are other places where you can mount your subwoofer. Let’s look at which location is best for subwoofer placement.

Rear Seat:

This is one of the most common locations for subwoofers. The majority of car owners use this position to improve sound distribution and bass output. The sub is put in the trunk facing the driver’s or front passenger seat.

Front of the Car:

The most unusual place to put a sub is in this position. The front subwoofer of the car must be placed invertedly to utilize this setting.

It will be facing both the driver and passenger seat at once. This position is suitable for you if you don’t want to hear a lot of basses.

Trunk Corner:

This is by far the most common location for a subwoofer. Due to its placement in the back and away from the view it is most preferred. Car owners use this position to maximize the amount of space in their vehicles.

When subs are faced upward and installed into back seats they produce high-quality, space-efficient low pitches. It also offers crisp treble sounds that won’t shake the corner of the trunk.

You must pay attention to the sound delivery and the impact when experimenting with this position. For instance, if the subwoofer is angled to the right, the sound will be louder for the driver. But the low-frequency sounds will be better for the passengers.

Under the Seat:

Your subwoofer can also go underneath the car seats. You’ll get outstanding sound quality if you point your subwoofer in this position.

If you want to conceal your subwoofer, this is the most popular method. To improve sound delivery and execution, you should place your subwoofer under the back seats. 

Pro Tips: It’s best to go for either under-the-seat or rear-seat placement to get the most vibrant sound experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Subwoofers Harm Your Alternator?

Subwoofers on their own will not damage your alternator. But your alternator may get damaged by subwoofers and their amplifier. Because it can drain too much power from the battery. And this could cause the alternator to overheat and eventually destroy it.

What Ohm is Ideal For Subwoofers?

The answer is subjective and depends on what you want in a subwoofer. A 2-ohm subwoofer will produce more volume than a 4-ohm subwoofer. This makes it the better choice for those looking for higher volumes. However, a 4-ohm subwoofer may provide better sound quality.

Do Subwoofers Deplete A Car’s Battery?

Subwoofers can indeed drain a car’s battery. Simply put, a car battery is drained when it is not sufficiently charged. When you install a subwoofer in a car, you’re essentially adding another load to your electrical system. So the battery is drained faster when a subwoofer is added.

Parting Words

That was our take on a single vs dual subwoofer car. There are many different subwoofer configurations. You can choose between two small or one large subwoofer.

You must decide which option is best for you based on your budget and coverage area.

Until next time, Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *