If you are an ardent music lover, you need to invest in quality equipment. A subwoofer should be top of the list. It plays low-pitched audio or what is commonly known as bass. Classically 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subwoofers are utilized in car and home setting – however choosing between them can be a confusing task.
When shopping for a subwoofer, you will see the ohms rating unit. Ohms express the electrical resistance of this appliance. It shows the subwoofer’s power holding capacity and how much power it can convert to sound. You have to be keen on this value if you want to have the best music-bumping experience.
Does a large or small value of ohms affect the quality of music? Let’s find out what exactly these values mean.
The subwoofer’s electrical resistance is its impedance. When you understand the subwoofer’s impedance, you will get an idea of how it works and the best choice for you when shopping for one.
Impedance is the same as resistance and is represented by the omega symbol. The difference between the two variables is that impedance changes with frequency. The consistent change of a subwoofer’s frequency means the impedance also changes frequently.
The common subwoofer impedance values are 2 and 4 Ohms, though you may find others with a higher value of up to 8-ohms. A thing to know about impedance is that the lower the value, the louder the sound. The converse is true for subwoofers with high resistance. The downside to a lower resistance is that the sound quality may be pretty low.
As earlier mentioned, the 2 and 4 Ohm subwoofers are the most common in the market. It brings us to our main topic, 2 Ohm vs. 4 Ohm, which is the best? Stick on as we look at the two subwoofer ratings, to see which one you should get.
The 2 Ohm Subwoofer
We start our discussion by looking at the 2 Ohm subwoofer. It is a powerful subwoofer value, owing to its low resistance. The low impedance means more current to the sound system, translating to a greater load and increased power production.
The sound is louder, suitable if you want the music or what is playing in the sound unit to reach a bigger audience. The good thing about this low impedance value subwoofer is that you get what you feed it. Give it more current and more power you receive when you turn it on.
So the main benefit of having a 2 Ohm subwoofer is that you nail it when it comes to volume. On the downside, it may consume more power and the sound quality may be wanting.
The 4 Ohm Subwoofer
On the other side of the debate, we look at the 4 Ohm subwoofer. Many people go for this subwoofer as it has an excellent sound quality. As such you will mostly find it in cars and homes.
It is not as loud as a 2 Ohms one, but the bass is amazing, especially if you love slow-moving musical pieces. The high impedance translates to less current; hence, a smaller load and decreased power.
The high resistance value means that the 4 Ohms subwoofer uses less power. Many people love the fact that it is economical.
Main Differences Between 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm Sub-Woofers
After looking at the brief overview of the two subwoofers, it is prudent to look at more elements to help you with decision-making when you want to pick the best.
You should never compromise when it comes to sound quality if you want a befitting subwoofer. On the 2 Ohm vs. 4 Ohm sound quality subject, you put a lot of factors to test. If you want a smooth time as you bump to your tunes, the 4 Ohm is the better option.
The 2 Ohm sound system is the go-to choice if you want the sound to be loud. A lower impedance means the resistance is low and the power emitted directly reflects the one fed to it.
So, which one should I go for? The best answer to this query is that it depends on your preference. The 2 Ohm subwoofer will do an excellent job in a large room, where you want everyone to hear the sound. The 4 Ohm type is suitable for a smaller space; hence its profound use in cars.
For most of us, price is the number one factor we look at when purchasing a sound unit. We tend to go for the cheapest most of the time, understandably so, because we work on a budget. However, you should not always consider price, rather the value. Go for a subwoofer that is affordable when weighed against its features.
The 4 Ohm and 2 Ohm subwoofers do not have much of a difference when you look at cost. It depends on the brand you go for and the features it sports. The price ranges between $20 and $200. The cheaper ones are okay, but you may find that they have a limited lifespan.
When getting a subwoofer, the intention is that it serves you for a long time, without signs of degradation. It can be quite frustrating when the subwoofer gives in. It means you will have to stay for a considerable time without a source of entertainment.
A look at 2 Ohm vs. 4 Ohm subwoofer discussions on durability, many agree that the latter comes on top. The logic is that the 2 Ohm subwoofer takes in more current, making the entire system prone to breaking down. The low impedance forces the supporting units, like the amplifier to overwork, as the power resistance is low. The result is that the amplifier will overload and potentially blow.
However, this should not discourage you from getting a 2 Ohm subwoofer as top brands have systems in place to prevent an overload.
Besides checking on the impedance to determine durability, also check the quality of the material. Touching the subwoofer’s casing and cables will help you know the quality of the construction. If the materials appear cheap you should avoid the appliance, as there is a high chance it will disappoint you.
Using an Amplifier and Subwoofers of Varying Resistance
Can I use a 2 Ohm amp with a 4 Ohm subwoofer or vice versa? It is advisable to use appliances with the same resistance values to avoid any hitch. For instance, a 2 Ohm amp on a 2 Ohm subwoofer will offer you excellent service.
You can use 2 Ohm speakers on a 4 Ohm stereo system, but you have to be keen on the setup to prevent any electrical havoc. Use a series wiring on the speakers to have a higher resistance matching that of the system. If you are not sure of the connections, you can ask a professional to handle them for you.
If you have a low resistance stereo system compared to that of the speaker, you can arrange it in parallel to increase its resistance. This wiring can be pretty hectic and draining. So, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to ensure that the subwoofers and sound systems have the same resistance values.
The Essence of Wiring When Using Multiple Subwoofers
As previously hinted, if you have a situation of mismatched impedance values, the wiring will help sort out the issue. You have to match the values of the subwoofer to that of the sound system. There are two ways to go with wiring, either series or parallel.
Series wiring requires you to connect the subwoofer one after the other. Here, the negative terminal of one appliance connects to the positive terminal of the other. Series arrangement translates to a higher resistance value.
On the other hand, parallel connection involves connecting the positive terminals of the subs together, the same to the negative terminals parallel arrangement of the subs will bring lower resistance values.
You can use this knowledge when you have dual voice coils for the best sound quality.
Using 2 Ohm Instead of 4 Ohm Subwoofers
Something you should know is that you can use a 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subwoofer in the same system. For instance, in the car, you can have the high resistance subs in the front and the low resistance once at the back. The result is a balanced sound, where you get it loud in the back for a booming effect, while you enjoy the smoothness of the pitch at the front.
Additionally, you can use the 2 Ohm sub in place of the 4 Ohm sub. The key to nailing it is to ensure the values are much that of the amplifier and entire sound system. Go the wiring way, which is reliable and ensures there is no case of overloading that can blow up any element of the sound unit.
Before using one in place of the other, it is advisable to seek the advice of a professional, who can check the system and see if you should proceed with the move.
Taking Care of Your Subwoofer
Be it the 2 Ohm or 4 Ohm subwoofer, you need to be keen on maintenance for longevity. There are several measures to perform regularly for this sound system to serve you well. Let us look at some of them.
When you get your subwoofer, you have to break it in. This refers to playing different frequencies in ascending order to loosen the spiders. It makes the fiber less stiff and it will produce an amazing bass, suitable for your tunes.
You have to be careful when breaking to prevent damaging the fiber. Take note of the resistance levels so that you do not go overboard when breaking in as you may burn the subs.
You should perform this practice over a two-week period for the best outcome. You can use a tone generator, which is the fastest way of loosening the subs’ speaker fibers.
If you do not break in the subwoofer, you may end up with burnt or unwound coils. It comes from the heat buildup brought by the inflexibility of the fibers.
Placement is also crucial if you want the undisturbed performance of this sound unit. Install the subs in an area with no obstacles to get the finest sound quality. If you place the subs in the trunk, have it in a dry place, where it won’t come into contact with your luggage. Your cargo should not bounce on the system as you drive as it may hasten the wear process.
You can go the extra mile and place the subs in specially-designed cages to shield them from mechanical impact.
Also, you should check the electrical connections of your subs regularly. Inspect the wires to ascertain that they are in excellent shape. in case there is any damage, you rectify it immediately to prevent accidental short-circuiting.
Also, as per this piece’s information, see that the resistance levels of your appliance are matching. That is if you have a 2 Ohm subwoofer, you use it with a 2 Ohm amplifier. Do the same for 4, 8, or 16 Ohm systems. It shields you from the hassles of wiring, which can be pretty stressful.
However, if compelled, you connect using the series or parallel arrangement, depending on if you want an increase or reduction in resistance levels.
Like most home or vehicle utilities, the subwoofer can get dirty. This is due to dust buildup and other mess. If left unchecked the dirt may affect the sub’s performance and lower its aesthetic appeal.
The good thing is that cleaning it is an effortless process. You use a damp soft cloth to clean it. Do not use a lot of water as it may lead to short-circuiting and rusting of metallic components. A blower can do well in removing dust, especially on the circuit board.
Once cleaned, place it in an area where it is less prone to getting dirty.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is The Difference Between A 2 Ohm And A 4 Ohm Subwoofer?
When you closely look at a sub, you will see written information explaining its specs. Among the details is impedance, represented as ohms. It is a variable similar to resistance, the only difference is that it changes with change in frequency.
The difference between the 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subs is that they have varying resistance levels. The former has a low resistance, meaning it allows for more current. As such, it is pretty loud. The latter has a higher resistance, so a low current passes through, with the pitch being low.
2. Which Is Better Between A 2 Ohm And 4 Ohm Subwoofer?
The 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subs each have their selling points. The 2 Ohm is loud, making it suitable for large rooms and audiences. The 4 Ohm sub has a lower pitch, but with excellent sound quality. It is good for small spaces, like in a vehicle.
The 4 Ohm appliance is also less prone to breaking down due to its high resistance. On the best one, it depends on what you are looking for. For maximum sound volume, go for the 2 Ohm. If you want the finest sound quality, look no further than the 4 Ohms sub.
3. What Is Breaking In A Subwoofer And Is It Necessary?
When you get a new subwoofer, you will notice that the sound quality is relatively low, compared to those used for an extensive period. The solution to this problem is breaking in it.
Here, you play varied sound frequencies on your subwoofer for an extended time to help loosen the fibers. Other people say it loosens the spiders to make them flexible and easy to accommodate higher frequencies.
Do the breaking-in process for around two weeks and everything will be in excellent shape.
It is a necessary step as a rigid fiber leads to heat accumulation. It may lead to the burning of the coils and reduce the life of the sub.
4. Is It Healthy To Use 2 Ohm Subs In Place Of 4 Ohm Subs?
The subs you use should have the same frequency as the stereo system you are using. In summary, use a 4 Ohm sub on a 4 Ohm rated sound unit, and the same if you have a 2 Ohm system. A mismatch may be too much for the amplifier to handle and can overload it.
In a situation where you do not have an option but use the systems interchangeably, you rely on the wiring trick. You arrange the subs in parallel to lower resistance and in series to increase it. Seek the assistance of a professional if you are not sure about the wiring.
This piece takes you through the two subwoofer ratings giving you information on how they work, as well as their benefits and downsides.
You learn that the 2 Ohm sub has low impedance, allowing for high current. The converse applies to the 4 Ohm subwoofer, which has a high resistance. On which one to go for, the 2 Ohm will do you justice if you wish for a larger room-filling sound. 4 Ohm subs won’t disappoint when it comes to sound quality. Pick a preferable sound system and enjoy its service.
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