When most people consider purchasing a subwoofer for their car or home theater, the first question that comes to mind is how loud it will be. Does this sound familiar to you?
Because that’s the only reason, you’d buy it in the first place. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably seeking an answer to how loud a subwoofer should be, which may be labeled 1200 watts, 1500 watts, 2000 watts, etc.
A speaker’s wattage label may show how much power it demands or can handle over time.
On the other hand, Loudness is primarily determined by two factors: the Efficiency of the speaker and the amount of power given to it.
So does that mean that the wattage indication on the sub is completely useless? Or, in the case of a subwoofer, what role does it play?
Don’t worry, and I’ll explain everything to you in detail, so let’s get started without further ado.
How Loud Is A 1200 Watt Subwoofer?
This question of how loud a 1200 watt subwoofer is somehow meaningless because the thing you should be concerned about is what makes it loud? Regardless of what wattage label is given on its back.
Every subwoofer has a wattage rating, which manufacturers declare at release. The amount of power your 1200 watt subwoofer can manage is determined by the wattage of your subwoofer, which is an important factor in determining the volume and Loudness of a subwoofer.
Three factors mostly determine Loudness of 1200 watt subwoofer:
- Subwoofer power handling
- Sensitivity of the Subwoofer
- The Efficiency of a Subwoofer
Let’s look at all of them separately to see how they affect the Loudness of a subwoofer.
Related Posts: What Size Amp Do I Need For A 1000 Watt Sub?
What Determines How Loud A 1200 Watt Subwoofer Is?
1- Subwoofer Power Handling
Manufacturers usually give subwoofers two power figures.
Nominal power(RMS): The peak power that a subwoofer can control for an extended period without being damaged is referred to as the root mean square power (RMS).
Peak power: This is the maximum power that a subwoofer can manage.
A watt label on a subwoofer may indicate the amount of power it requires or can handle. Still, as mentioned previously in the article, the manufacturer’s marketing staff can put whatever they want on it. So, what does a 1200 watt label on a sub mean?
Some argue that the watt label is worthless and that SD (cone surface area measured in square centimeters) and XMAX (how much optimum linear excursion a subwoofer can handle) are the factors that determine how loud a sub is.
But If that’s the case, why is a $2000 SPL sub so much louder than a typical $200 sub? They both have the same sd and Xmax; hence their displacement is the same.
That is Because the SPL sub has 5000w Rms and the inexpensive sub has 300w Rms; this is the fact.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that lower programme watt subs will reach their thermal limits at higher frequencies much before reaching xmax.
That 5000-watt sub may have the same output at 20hz as the 300-watt sub because it will be excursion limited well before it hits 5000 watts. However, even if the sub is only sweeping 5mm of air at 45-50 Hz, the 300-watt coil will burn out.
On the other hand, because the 5000w subwoofer has the power handling to do so, it will be able to hit its excursion limit at a higher frequency.
As a result, the wattage indication plays a role in deciding the sub’s Loudness because the higher the sub’s power handling capability, the more power it will draw through it, and the more power it draws, the louder it will be.
Note: High power implies more sound, but if you don’t pay attention to the power ratings on the subwoofer and apply more power without increasing the amp gain, you’ll end up with a blown subwoofer.
These forms of power handling are just telling you a part of a story. When examining a subwoofer’s performance details, some buyers are disappointed, believing that the RMS and peak power numbers are not very high. This is because you’re overlooking the most crucial aspect of all that is: Sensitivity.
2- Sensitivity of the Subwoofer
RMS and peak power management are just two of the many aspects of making that sound you love.
The sound pressure level is also extremely important. The sound pressure level is measured in decibels, and the greater the decibel value, the louder the subwoofer.
A subwoofer’s sensitivity rating refers to the number of decibels it can generate per watt of power at a distance of 1 meter.
Any sub’s sensitivity rating can usually be found on the product label. You can also discover them on subwoofer product sites online.
For example, If a subwoofer has a sensitivity of 50dB, it will play audio at 50dB loudness one meter away from the speakers with one watt of power. You’ll hear a 50dB strong audio if you’re standing a meter away from the speakers.
If you wish to increase the decibels by three, you must double the power. What exactly do I mean by this? Consider the preceding example once more.
If you want to raise the volume from 50dB to 53dB a meter away from the speakers, you’ll need to use 2 watts on the same speakers. The speaker requires 4 watts to go from 53dB to 56dB. From 56dB to 59dB, it takes 8 watts of power, and so on.
I’m hoping you get the idea. As you can see, the power can quickly build up to a large quantity.
Each subwoofer has a unique sensitivity rating. And the amount of power consumed by the subs will evaluate how loud your subwoofer will be; remember that more power equals more sound.
Let me give you another example. Imagine you have two separate speakers: Speaker A and Speaker B.
Speaker A has a sensitivity rating of 74dB, while Speaker B has an 85dB rating. Let’s imagine we want to crank up the volume on these speakers to 95 decibels.
Speaker A’s sensitivity rating is 74dB, so driving them to 95dB will take 128 Watts of power. On the other hand, Speaker B has an 83dB sensitivity rating and will require only 16 Watts of power to play at 95dB.
A speaker’s sensitivity rating determines how much electricity it uses and how loud it can play.
Most speakers have a sensitivity value of 87 to 88 decibels; a sensitivity rating of less than 4 indicates poor sound quality, while a sensitivity level of more than 90 indicates excellent sound quality.
3- The Efficiency of A Subwoofer
Even though they express the same concept, Efficiency and Sensitivity are technically different. Sensitivity specifications can be converted to efficiency specifications and vice-versa.
Keeping it short, Sensitivity is the sound pressure directly in front of a speaker (dB) concerning the amount of power input (say 1 watt) at a given distance (usually 1 meter).
Whereas, Efficiency is the amount of power going into a speaker that is actually converted into sound
You can’t tell which subwoofer is louder just by looking at the power usage; you also need to know how much air the subwoofer can move, which impacts how much power is turned into sound.
Let’s say we have two subwoofers, A and B. Subwoofer A can handle higher power, but it has a stiff cone assembly that prevents it from passing the most air through it.
On the other hand, Subwoofer B can’t handle as much power, but its cone assembly is lighter; thus, its XMax is better than Subwoofer A. As a result, it would move more air and be more efficient than A.
Other Factors That Account For The Loudness of Subwoofer
Along with the power handling and Sensitivity of your sub, many other key elements determine how loud is your subsystem going to be; they are:
- Type of Ported Enclosure
- Size of subwoofer
- Voice Coil Length – Magnetic Gap Height / 2, 70 percent bl
- T/S parameters (such as Qes, Qms, Fs, and so on)
1- Ported Enclosure Type:
Is it really necessary for a subwoofer’s enclosure to be large in order for it to produce low frequencies and play loudly?
Yes, size matters a lot when it comes to subwoofers, and the box size is determined by the size of the subwoofer you have.
The bigger the subwoofer, the more space you’ll need around it. For example, if you have a 12-inch subwoofer, the suggested box volume for a 12-inch subwoofer is 1.25 cubic feet.
Similarly, The volume recommendation for a 10-inch woofer is 0.625 cubic feet, and for an 8-inch sub, it’s 0.375 cubic feet.
In ported enclosure boxes, a vent (called a port) is used to solidify low bass response.
At any provided amplifier wattage, you get some more output than you would from a sealed box.
Ported boxes can produce deeper bass than sealed boxes, but they must be considerably larger in size.
To generate a lot of sound, it’s best to have an appropriate cone and a well-built box. Because an insufficient section will not improve base quality, you must also be aware of ported boxes.
2- Size of subwoofer
The two most significant aspects of a subwoofer’s performance are low-frequency extension and sound pressure level (SPL).
According to the principles of physics, a big subwoofer driver may produce higher SPL and deeper bass than a smaller subwoofer driver.
This is because of the fact that a larger subwoofer has the ability to push more air through it, making it louder than a smaller subwoofer.
For instance, if we have a 10″ and a 12″ subwoofer, the 12-inch model can do everything the 10-inch model can, but the 10-inch model can’t do everything the 12″ can.
Because the 12-inch subwoofers can take more power, they play louder, boomier, and many people find that they simply sound better.
3- Voice Coil Length
The larger the voice coil, the more power it can handle, but at the same time, the more heat it generates. Smaller coils have a higher resonance frequency, but larger coils offer better control.
And since we all know that more power equals more sound, a larger voice coil on your subwoofer will be able to handle more power and, as a result, will play louder.
4- T/S parameters
Thiele and Small parameters (also known as T/S parameters) are used to describe the technical electro-mechanical characteristics of a subwoofer. Advanced buyers typically use these specifications to know how well a subwoofer performs at low frequencies.
A manufacturer will undertake a series of experiments to determine the specifications of the loudspeaker, and this information will typically be printed in the subwoofer’s product manual.
Intermediate to advanced vehicle audio box builders use this information to create a subwoofer enclosure that meets the subwoofer’s exact specs.
The ratings are given to A.N. Thiele and Richard H. Small, the two men responsible for these extensive parameters.
The numerous types of criteria that manufacturers might use to describe their subwoofers are listed below.
Fs: The subwoofer’s free-air resonance frequency, measured in Hz. At this frequency, the mass of the moving components is equally balanced with the subwoofer suspension framework.
Q: This relates to a loudspeaker’s relative dampening. The “Q” in the other Q parameters is this one. The damping effect is reduced when the amplitude of oscillations within the subwoofer.
Qms: The subwoofer’s relative damping (Q) at the resonant frequency (Fs), including mechanical losses. Also known as the subwoofer’s mechanical dampening. The range of this unitless measurement is usually between 0.5 and 10.
Qes: Relative damping (Q) of the subwoofer at the resonance frequency (Fs), including electrical losses. Also known as the subwoofer’s mechanical damping. The unitless measurement ranges from 0.5 to 10 in most cases.
Qts: The subwoofer’s relative damping (Q) at the resonant frequency (Fs), incorporating all dimensionless losses.
MMS: The subwoofer’s entire mass, including the cone, coil, and other moving elements. The weight is measured in grams.
Rms: The subwoofer’s mechanical resistance, considering the driver’s suspension losses (damping). It’s measured in kilograms per second.
Vas: This is the volume of air with the same rigidity as the subwoofer’s suspension. The lower the stiffness and the larger the suggested enclosure, the higher the rating. Liters are the units of measurement.
Xmax: The greatest linear excursion that a subwoofer can achieve. Millimeters are the most widely used form of measurement. The excursion refers to how far the voice coil may move in a straight line. A high point is another term for maximal linear peak.
D: This is the subwoofer’s effective diameter. It is typically measured in metric units; however, some manufacturers may specify it in other measurements.
Sd: The cone’s surface area, expressed in square centimeters.
Vd: This is the maximum linear volume displacement that the subwoofer can achieve. It’s the entire amount of air that the subwoofer’s cone will move in cubic meters. The surface area (Sd) is multiplied using the formula Xmax.
Re: When measured using an ohmmeter, the amount of DC resistance of the subwoofer. This will usually be less than the subwoofer’s impedance rating.
BL: In Tesla meters, the total magnetic strength of the motor structure is measured.
n0: The system’s reference efficiency. It is presented as a percentage and is often more accurate than the manufacturer’s sensitivity rating.
SPLo: Represents the sound pressure level of the subwoofers (SPL). The rating is based on a 1-watt measurement taken one meter in front of the subwoofer.
Pe: This is the subwoofer’s thermal capacity. Using the driver at greater speeds can result in damage and failure. Watts are the units of measurement.
Pt: This is the subwoofer’s thermal power handling, commonly measured in watts and is the subwoofer’s recommended RMS rating.
Most of the definitions should be familiar to you, and some may be unfamiliar, but if you are a budget person, you should be aware that all of these criteria have a role in choosing how loud your subwoofer plays.
Because it is mostly mentioned on branded and expensive subs, you may not have heard the term Xmech before, but it is a factor that has a lot to do with the Loudness of your sub.
Xmech is the maximum distance a subwoofer can travel before bottoming out, whereas wattage is usually a heat rating rather than a rating before the device bottoms out.
You’ll have more Xmech if you put more power into the voice coil. Your sub will be louder if you have more Xmech.
The subwoofer may become nonlinear, generating distortion and possibly burning the voice coil if the suspension is unable to control the power.
The Xmech standard is easily calculated by subtracting the thickness of the top plate from the height of the voice coil winding and dividing it by two.
This calculation determines how far forward the subwoofer cone can move while the voice coil remains inside the magnetic gap.
Is 1200 Watts Lot For A Subwoofer?
An amplifier is what determines whether or not 1200 watts is enough for your subwoofer. Whether you’re buying a subwoofer for a car or for a home, you’ll need a powerful class D amplifier for this.
If your sub is rated at 1200 watts continuous, you’ll need a bigger amp to handle short transients of over 1200 watts without distortion or loss of control.
Watts are just one element to think about. SPL, or sound pressure level, is computed using watts and the subwoofer’s Efficiency at that wattage.
That’s about the same as how much water a hose can create. Then there’s dispersion, which refers to the pattern-dictating nozzle on the hose’s end.
In systems incorporating subwoofers, separate watts are required to drive subs that handle the low end of the frequency spectrum: A 1200 watt subwoofer can handle up to 1200 watts of power.
To get a good sound out of a subwoofer rated at 1200 watts, you’ll need a power amplifier that can output at least 1200 watts. You’ll need an amp that can generate at least 2400 watts if you have two 1200 watt subwoofers.
However, keep in mind that if your amp produces more power than your sub’s manufacturer recommends, the speaker may be destroyed. To avoid hurting the amp and reducing the sound quality, choose one with just enough watts.
So far, we’ve looked at every component that influences how loud a 1200 subwoofer can be. To do so, you must first comprehend what produces the subwoofer’s high sound pressure level and power handling.
As a marketing technique, certain audio manufacturers may use irrational Peak Power numbers to mislead buyers that their equipment is better, louder, and more powerful.
However, if you sit down and look at the strange arithmetic computations they came up with, you’ll see that the numbers aren’t quite right.
Because most audio systems lack specialized subwoofer connections, subwoofers must be connected to separate AC outlets than the rest of the system’s components in order to provide the greatest quality and volume without distortion.
We also talked about how T/S characteristics affect subwoofer sound and how enclosures size and subwoofer size affect subwoofer loudness.