Subwoofer Bottoming Out [CAUSES & FIXES]

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What causes a subwoofer to bottom out?

Bottoming out issues in your car’s subs will prompt mechanical failure to the internal components of the speaker over time. A subwoofer generally bottoms out due to excessive cone excursion beyond the mechanical limits.

Subs are a huge value addition to any car audio system for reliable, loud bass once everything has been perfectly set up. Subs and bass management, however, can be difficult to manage at times. And people frequently ask, “Why is my subwoofer bottoming out.”

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To address these genuine concerns of people experiencing issues with their subs, I will be answering some subwoofer bottoming out FAQs including what it means, its causes, how it sounds, and how to stop it from happening.

What Does Subwoofer Bottoming Out Mean?

The definition of subwoofer bottoming out needs to begin with an explanation of the speaker cone’s excursion. The excursion of a speaker cone is the length it travels while moving. The speaker cone of a subwoofer must move more air than other speakers.

It occurs because subwoofers are required to produce low frequencies and sub-bass. The air is moved due to the excursion of the speaker cone. However, only a certain amount of speaker cone excursion is required or expected. A subwoofer will bottom out if there is too much of it. This is also known as over-excursion.

What Causes A Subwoofer To Bottom Out?

The following are some common reasons your sub is bottoming out.

You Are Pushing Your Sub Beyond Its Limits

The most common cause of a subwoofer bottoming out is that it is being pushed too hard. Low-frequency reproduction necessitates a significant amount of power. You will be pushing your sub beyond its max power handling and physical limitations if require too much power from it or power it isn’t built to handle.

Excessive volume necessitates more power, pushing your amplifier to its maximum wattage. Subwoofers are frequently paired with external amps for in-car audio. Increasing the volume in your car for loud bass will pull more power. Simply increasing the volume for one song may cause a sub to bottom out.

Faulty or Mismatched Components

Bottoming out can also be caused by faulty or mismatched components. Depending on the material and size of the speaker cone, some necessitate more excursion. This excursion requires a large enough sub-box or enclosure. It may also bottom out if it is not.

What Does Subwoofer Bottoming Out Sound Like?

When this over-excursion or bottoming-out occurs, it can cause noise. Usually, this is caused by the voice coil on the driver’s end physically striking the rear or bottom of the sub box.

Because the materials used to make the speaker cone parts differ, the sounds produced may also differ. A hard or softbox bottom will produce slightly different noises. When the voice coil and box collide, it usually makes a clacking or thumping sound.

How To Stop Subwoofer From Bottoming Out?

There are several ways for you to prevent your subwoofer from bottoming out. You must test each one individually to determine which solution is best for your specific situation.

Use a Subsonic Filter

Low frequencies have more excursion, which can cause most subs to bottom out. You can use a subsonic filter to prevent extremely low frequencies around 25 Hz and below from reaching the subwoofer, making the sub less likely to bottom out. Most amplifiers have this feature, which is enabled by pressing a switch.

Lower the Gain

If you are pushing your speaker by more than 50%, you will need to reduce the gain slightly. Too much power flowing to the voice coil inside the speaker, more than what it is classed for, will push it beyond its limits. Always try to match the power handling of speakers and amps while keeping RMS in mind.

Upgrade Your Sub

Are you attempting to max out your 8″ subwoofer with a powerful external amplifier? You most likely require a larger subwoofer. The top-of-the-line subwoofers can handle more power than less expensive options. They can also handle lower frequencies, allowing you to avoid your subwoofer bottoming out.

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