Sound Deadening Install Goodbye to Subwoofer Distortion

sound deadening speaker

Understanding Subwoofer Distortion

One of the most frustrating issues Soundproof Barriers car audio enthusiasts face is subwoofer distortion. Not only does it ruin the listening experience, but it can also damage your speakers over time. So what exactly causes subwoofer distortion and how can you identify it?

Subwoofer distortion occurs when a subwoofer is pushed beyond its power handling limits. This overexertion causes the speaker cone to move in an abnormal pattern, distorting the sound waves produced. Some common culprits include:

Excessive power

Pushing too many watts to your sub can blow it out quickly. Always stay within the manufacturer’s rated power handling.

Faulty wiring

Under-sized or damaged wiring cannot deliver clean power to the sub. Use the minimum gauge recommended for your setup.

Improper setup

Incorrect box size, placement, or settings forces the sub to work too hard. Proper installation is key.

But vibration and resonance also play a large role. The sound from your subwoofer causes the vehicle’s metal panels to vibrate. This unwanted vibration muddies up the sound. Over time, it can damage mounting points as well.

The Role of Sound Deadening in Reducing Distortion

While proper subwoofer placement and installation techniques help minimize unwanted vibrations, Sound Deadening takes it a step further by directly dumping those vibrations at their source. This section reduces distortion levels even more.

What is Sound Deadening?

Sound deadening, or soundproofing, material is applied to vehicle panels and surfaces. It’s a butyl rubber-based product that changes the material’s rigidity to be less prone to vibrating at specific frequencies.

Application Tips:

Cut material at least 1″ larger than panel sections and overlap seams. Smooth out air bubbles with a plastic squeegee for maximum contact. Apply in multiple thin layers for better vibration damping than one thick application. Treat entire surfaces rather than just mounting points for a cohesive damping effect.

Benefits Beyond Bass:

Sound deadening enriches all music and media by reducing exterior noise entering the cabin. It also strengthens panels to lower road and wind noise over time. Properly using sound-deadening materials is an often overlooked part of any high-fidelity audio build. It’s recommended for any system prioritizing clarity and control.

Choosing the Right Subwoofer for Your Vehicle

When shopping for a subwoofer, it’s important to select one suited for both your musical tastes and vehicle. Consider these key factors:

Power Needs

It’s important to estimate your subwoofer power needs based on your goals. Are you prioritizing SPL (volume) or SQ (quality)? SPL setups may require more power (500w+) compared to 250w for everyday listening.

Driver Type

Subs come in different driver types – coated paper, synthetic, and carbon fiber woofer materials each have their strengths. Carbon and synthetic offer a more dynamic range but cost more. Know your budget.

Enclosure Bracing & Porting

Sealed boxes provide more controlled bass but less output. Ported extend lower and louder typically but require tuning the port diameter/length. Bracing the enclosure prevents distortion from vibrations. Vented buckets allow some air movement without being fully ported. These provide a balance of control and output.

Mounting Locations

Where the sub is placed also matters for sound quality. Locations like under seats or sideways in corners tend to distort less than rear walls or hatch areas prone to rattles. Isolating it is ideal.


Options include 10″, 12″, and 15″ diameters. Sealed enclosures emphasize midbass but ported allow deeper extension. Measure your vehicle’s spare tire well or storage area first.

Proper Subwoofer Installation Techniques

Once you’ve selected a subwoofer suited to your needs, the next crucial step is a proper installation. Where and how you mount the sub can either amplify or eliminate distortion. Here are some key techniques:

Choose a Stable Location

The trunk floor, rear deck, or folded-down rear seats typically make the most vibration-isolated areas. Avoid rear window mounting.

Secure the Enclosure Tightly

Lag bolt, screw, or strap the sub box in place using existing mounting points if possible. Brace against two solid points to prevent flexing.

Seal Gaps Around the Box

Use closed-cell weather-stripping foam to create an airtight seal between the box and the mounting surface. This stops panel vibration from muddying the sound.

Avoid Walls & Partitions

Distortion occurs when vibrations transfer through other surfaces. Isolate the sub from contacting walls, rear deck, etc using mounting gaskets/strips.

Properly Terminate Wiring

Use quality connectors, solder or crimp, and heat shrink to prevent loose signal paths. Keep wiring runs short for minimal power loss.

Amp/Subwoofer Placement

Mount the amplifier in the trunk for the shortest possible signal paths. Consider amp/sub combos for a cleaner install.

Brace the Rear Deck

Use a sound deadener mat or decoupling material under and around mounting points. Prevents unwanted resonances from panel flexing.

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