Some of you know me, some don't. My name is Johnathan Demuth, and I am absolutely obsessed with car audio and learning about what makes speakers great, and what makes them perceived to be great.
So, I have been reading a lot of stuff on forums about Subwoofers that will handle high power levels. I have also noticed how mis-informed and mis-guided the majority of the people discussing this topic actually are.
I know many people will disagree with my thoughts, and that is OK. People also doubted my 4.25" coil and 10.5" spiders for SPL and SQ....Ofcourse they never knew that my 4.25" coil weighed 40% less than most 3" coils....or that my suspension will freely move twice as far than the competition. Now they are copying it....makes me feel good.
We have won 14 World Championships in SPL, 37 World Records in SPL, and 4 SQ World Championships!! in only 3 years!!!! Am I cocky? No..... But I am glad my non-stop efforts eventually pay off....
As a speaker designer and from my learnings in real world use (which is where most of my actual useful knowedge has come from in the trenches working side by side with SPL guys and world champion SQ guys), I will mention a few thoughts (very random) that I have on Subwoofers that handle 4K, 5K and any other currently impossible claims that exsist out there. Most of us think that "wattage" is the rule of thumb that blows woofers up. This is incorrect. It is amperage and time playing that heats a coil up, that blows your woofers.
A subwoofer is somewhat like a car and its driveline....in generating horsepower.... and using horsepower.
Every subwoofer has limitations....
The trend today is for companies to design a subwoofer coil to basically be a big "heat sink". Which increases its power handling ability "horsepower" ofcourse.... But have we ever thought about how much the moving assembly "car" weighs? Or where does the "car" stop increasing in mph "output"? Even though you might have "1000hp" or "6k watts"...It might peak at "180mph" with only "600hp" or "4k watts".... and the rest is wasted into heat conversion..... I have seen woofers with 2" voicecoils that are 70mm tall wire!!! and only 1 inch of peak to peak excursion? Why? To be a heatsink and dissipate heat.... Sure it handles alot of power.... most converted into heat to warm the vehicle.
It is very simple to design a subwoofer to handle a ton of power (i/e 4k, 5k, 6k RMS). Just give it a huge and heavy 8 layer coil that is like 80mm tall.... and stiff spiders. Basically design the woofer coil to be a big heatsink of power conversion.... from power to heat dissipation. Have we ever thought about where this super heavy coil and mis-designed suspension actually stop increasing in output?? Why have a 1000 hp "car" that stops at 180mph when you can have a properly designed 600hp "car" that exceeds the first ones output.
When we go out and buy that amplifier "horsepower" that costs us a fortune.... we want to use every last watt that we paid for correct?? Not waste 40% of the power on a big heavy coil that converts it into heat dissipation.....
When shopping for a subwoofer, we should do our research.
We should buy a woofer that uses every watt that it possible can....
There are a few great woofers out there that offer a nice well designed lightweight coil and good suspension system. Even woofers using only 2K watts that will exceed the output of "heatsink" woofers with 4k watts. Yes there are 2, maybe 3 great 4" coil woofers out there that use more of our power efficiently and give us our moneys worth.... and not just bragging rights on how many "watts" of heat your woofer will dissipate...
If we drag race 2 cars with identical 300hp engines.... 1 is a school bus, and one is a honda civic.... guess which one wins......
Same goes for speakers both in SPL and accurate sound reproduction.
We should realize that to brag about power handling of a 8 layer coil for spl.... with its tall wire "heatsink" design..... it actually not anything to brag about.
Now bragging about a 4 layer coil and super light moving mass that exceeds the others output, might be cool to do.
When we go buy these HUGE amps to do HUGE power, lets make sure that we can convert the power into sound, not heat. We pay alot for these woofers....ask about weights of coil...moving mass... layers of wire, height of wire. Demand less for your money! Weight that is...lol
Next time we see a woofer that boasts "4,000 watts RMS".... or "6,000 watts RMS".... or some of the silly claims..... lets ask ourselves.... which one uses the wattage I am buying to the most potential both in excursion and sound output..... not which one handles the most horsepower.... because horsepower not going to the pavement, is wasted horsepower indeed.
Until next time I have a random thought,
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"Technological advancement is like an axe in the hands of a mass murderer" ; Albert Einstein