What we have for you today is a brief explanation of the most common questions like – What is an SPL subwoofer? What is an SQ subwoofer? What are the main differences? – as well as a rundown of some of the best SPL subs that are currently available.
Table of Contents
The SPL Subwoofers Compared
|Image||SPL Subs||Available Sizes||Power||SPL Sensitivity|
|RMS: 1500 W|
|from 84.9 dB to 92.3 dB|
|RMS: 1500 W|
MAX: 3000 W
|from 90.3dB to 93.8dB|
|RMS: from 900 W to 1600|
MAX: from 1100 W to 3200 W
|from 80.0 dB to 87.4 dB|
|RMS: from 800 W to 1600|
MAX: from 1100 W to 3000 W
|from 83 dB to 86 dB|
|RMS: from 750 W to 1250 W|
MAX: from1500 W to 2500 W
|from 85.9 dB to 89.7dB
Sundown Audio U Series
The Sundown U series was probably one of the market’s most anticipated debut of its time. Once we finally got our hands on these woofers, it was a relief to discover the series offered a lot more than we had anticipated. With an authentically functional design, these speakers spit loud and clear. They also pride themselves on their ability to function flawlessly even in extreme conditions.
They say old is gold and the U series comes swinging in total agreement. These woofers have that traditional suspension design which promotes extra-high excursion. In the face of modern speaker designs, these speakers prove that you can never go wrong with a calculated combo of both the old and new.
With 4 badass speakers on its table, the U series brings us unimaginable power in rather teeny packages. The speakers are 10″, 12″, 15″ and 18″ in size. They feature a thoughtful T-yoke design that’s very efficient in sieving out the heat. On that same note, they feature high-velocity pole vents backed by air gap vents for further heat management. Notably, the woofer bodies consist of double-stacked Y35 grade ferrite magnet systems which reinforce their strength and performance. Their 1500 Watts worth of power is both mind-blowing and satisfying. Anyone looking for a hard hitter will love any of the U series bad boys.
In place of a regular cone, the U series components use a fully custom-tooled aluminum diaphragm for reproduction. That paired with a double stitched surround gives these speakers incredible production abilities. They also feature a high-strength cast aluminum frame and an aluminum surround bolt-on ring. Ultimately, there very few other speakers with the kind of specs that the U series speakers all so proudly hold. These are worthy purchases; they just might forever change the musical realm for you.
SUNDOWN U SERIES video review
Massive Audio SUMMOXL Series
Massive Audio, for well over a decade, has perfected the mastery of sound reproduction. The SUMMOXL is like none other we’ve encountered before. And guess what, it rocks. These speakers will have you stunned with their rugged yet sleek appearance.
Their looks are not the only thing they have going on for them. They sound so good you might just have an out-of-body experience. Yes, that’s how clean, detailed and polished the SUMMOXL sound is.
The series is comprised of three speakers; the SUMMOXL104 (10″), the SUMMOXL124 (12″) and the SUMMOXL154 (15″). Each of these beauties houses a 4Ohm voice coil which makes them high-grade workers. A Kevlar fiber, non-pressed paper cone sets the SUMMOXL speakers a long way aside from others. These cones are laced with a red-stitched edge for consolidated support. The cone sits in EROM foam surround. This combination is the recipe for powerful, unsullied reproduction regardless of the volume.
Featuring an aluminum die-cast basket, these are speakers rock solid. The speakers also come with a cooling T-yoke design which dissipated heat as it builds up. Reinforced fiberglass woven dust-cap promotes high-power applications without the possibility of burnout. There’s also the triple-stacked high-energy magnet and oversized mirror image dual polyNomex spider.
All these features combined create a powerful sound-box that will shatter the glass of your windows at high volume. It is no surprise then that each comes with a power handling capacity of 1500Watts and 3000Watts at its peak. When it comes to output, you have got to love their low enriched dissemination of pure chords. Do you want that next-level kind of sound? Look no further.
Massive Audio SUMMOXL video review
Skar Audio ZVXv2 Series
Skar Audio sure has a strong grip on exactly what we audiophiles out there love. The ZVXv2 series is far from a joke. In fact, every sub-woofer from this series is nothing if not phenomenal.
Packed with legitimately solid bass, these little monsters are rattlers on a whole new level. Did I mention they’re very pocket-friendly too? No wonder it got our number one trophy.
First of all, let’s talk about size. In total, the ZVXv2 series is comprised of 4 different-sized subs. Namely, these are 8″ (1100 Watts max), 12″ (3000 Watts max), 15″ (3000 Watts max) and 18″(3200 Watts max). Each of these subs carries within them tremendous resonance. The ZVXv2 subs run on a high-grade paper cone center with a high roll form stitched surround. That alone gives them unbelievable throbbing faculties. They pack a tighter punch than most others within their class.
Ska Audio designed the ZVXv2 series as a particularly ferocious bunch. These subs retain smooth performance even in extremes such as high volume and temperature. Fitted with high-temperature voice coils and gigantic triple stack motors, you’ll marvel at just how far these subs can go.
Each of them features a unique basket engineered as an advanced airflow cooling system. Even with the staggering amounts of power they all possess, you never have to worry about them crumbling under pressure. With RMS ratings between 900 Watts and 1500 Watts, this series was not made for the faint-hearted. If you love loud music with heavy low undertones, you’ll love these subs.
The ZVXv2 series will take a brutal beating without flinching. The reproduction remains both powerful and incredibly decorated even after years of performance. The best part is that they are all fairly priced. Also, they possess a trendy flair that we love all too much.
Earthquake Sound SubZero Series
At first glance, you can tell that the Subzero series speakers are mean performers. The SubZero series is in every way one of a kind. Engineered for resounding proficiency, these Series speakers will blow you right off your boots when cranked all the way up. Their bodies are made with an industrious whiff that enables them to work tirelessly for hours on end. The series prides itself on unsullied proficiency and durability. We couldn’t agree more.
The SubZero series features 3 speakers; subzero10″ (1500Watta max), 12″ (1200 Watts max) and 15″ (2500 Watts max). I know I know, the power handling figure list is unbelievable. But here’s the gist, it’s all true. Their aluminum voice coils stand strong while the speakers run. Heat is not much of a problem thanks to the Turbine Cooled Transducer (TCT) coil and the additional pole cooling technology. Switching between stereo and mono impedance is done by simply flipping the fuses. This is thanks to its ingenious Parallel Series Parallel terminal block.
Its paper-pressed composite woofer cone works in a foam woofer surround to create mad reverberations. With a dual Nomax/Romax spider construct, the SunZero speakers pound unforgivably when given the chance. They retain clean sound through all volume levels. Indeed a worthy purchase.
Earthquake SubZero bass test
CT Sounds Meso Series
Available sizes: 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, 18-inch
CT Sounds bring us the Meso series, a compilation of 6 remarkable subs that have quite literally turned the market tables. The Meso series speakers subtle in appearance but quite the jaw-dropping punch. They drop heavy bass regardless of the circumstances surrounding their rendition. This series is a sure promise of value for your money; go on ahead and take the leap.
A series with such a wide range of subs is a rarity. The six speakers are sized as follows; 6.5″ (400 Watts max) 8″ (1600 Watts max), 10″ (3000 Watts max), 12″ (3000 Watts max), 15″ (3000 Watts max) and 18″ (3000 Watts max). Each is fitted with high-quality temperature voice coils that faithfully keeps the party going. A Y35 graded triple stacked ferrite magnet decorates its base and solidifies its reproduction powers.
A double-stitched treated paper cone with composite foam surround pounds hard for a clean delivery. A strong arm-styled basket frame holds the speaker components militarily at all times. These speakers are an understated bunch that truly deserves a lot more credit. They all deliver diligently with a prowess rarely seen.
CT Sounds Meso video review
What’s the difference between SPL and SQ?
If you really don’t want any distortion muddying your music, then an SQ (sound quality) subwoofer may be the way to go. However, if you’re after powerful bass that you can feel in your gut, then you need an SPL (sound pressure level) subwoofer.
Unlike sound quality which is largely subjective, the sound pressure level can be objectively measured in dB.
What is an SPL subwoofer?
If you habitually play the music that has a lot of thumping bass in your ride then you are going to want to outfit your car or truck with SPL subwoofers.
The SPL refers to ‘sound pressure level’, which is the force exerted by a sound wave on a surface perpendicular to the direction the sound is traveling in.
As their name quite rightly suggests, these subwoofers are designed to maximize the ‘sound pressure level’ (how loud the subwoofer is producing sound – can be measured); if you want deep, bumping bass that you can really feel in your body then you need these speakers as part of your car audio set up.
There are even SPL subwoofer competitions all across the USA in which car audio enthusiasts compete in order to see whose car audio system has the best bass response.
What is an SQ subwoofer?
SQ stands for ‘sound quality’ (which is a subjective term – can’t be measured), and SQ subwoofers are designed to reproduce frequencies with special attention paid to spectral balance and tonal accuracy, sound imaging ( the relative position of different musical instruments on a soundstage), linearity (the relation between the input signal and output signal, in which the perfect linearity occurs when these two signals are the same), and greater noise reduction.
Need more options? Check our competition subs list.
What we have here are the best SPL subwoofers in three different sizes (15, 12, and 10 inches).
You may not win any competitions, but if you’re looking for the most bass for your buck then these are all good options.
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Last update on 2022-07-05 / Affiliate links / *Image Disclaimer: We use images/data from Amazon Product Advertising API solely on products that link to Amazon. On products with the "Price at Crutchfield" button, we use images/data from Crutchfield.com as per the partnership deal.