Best Brands for Sound Quality - Subs - AVS Forum
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Car Audio, Video, and Nav > Best Brands for Sound Quality - Subs
Zimmerman's Avatar Zimmerman 07:22 PM 10-16-2007
Ok well as the title says I am in interested in what brands produce the best audio quality while still having decent bass. My top three choices so far based upon what I have been told and price are Digital Design, Diamond Audio, and MTX. Out of those which is the best, or are all of those brands terrible? Also should I just trash my 10" box and jump to 12" woofers? Thanks for the help

My Current Setup:
Currently, I am driving a 01XC Volvo (Station Wagon) with my audio setup as a 7 speaker Bose and 2 MTX 10" 200Watts RMS each subwoofer(Sealed enclosure). The Bose system is power off the head unit while the MTX subs are running off of an MA AUDIO M600XE 700 WATT 2 channel Amp.

Lazonby's Avatar Lazonby 07:46 PM 10-16-2007
How should, to your ears, the "best audio quality" sound like? That's the most important question. I've met so many people with VERY different views on how their sound should sound like. So tell me, what do you listen to, and how do you think it should sound? If you were 100% happy with your current system, I suspect you wouldn't be asking this question.

And for the most part, I prefer Alpine heads, MB Quart mids/highs, and JL Audio subs. Electronics will differ depending on what kind of system I'm considering.
Steven Kephart's Avatar Steven Kephart 08:04 PM 10-16-2007
Digital Designs and MTX don't make very good SQ subs. Of the three, Diamond would be your best bet. As Lazonby suggested, JL makes some incredible sounding subs. The W7 is one of the best sounding subs on the market IMO.

If you don't mind waiting a short while, Exodus Audio will be releasing some awesome SQ subs. Here's the link: You will be hard pressed to find a better performing sub, and you won't find a better value.
Zimmerman's Avatar Zimmerman 10:22 PM 10-16-2007
Firstly, to answer the questions. I listen to mainly Rock, and I like my music to sound clear though still have nice bass. For example my friends car is very loud, but the bass is so muddy I cannot make any of the lyrics out. That is what I want to avoid. Honestly, audio quality wise I really like my current system, I just want it to be louder. I will take a look at JL tomorrow when I am a bit more awake, so thanks for the suggestion. The Exodus lineup seems very good and I am willing to wait up two two months to get my new setup so I will keep an eye on that. Anyway, besides JL and Exodus are there any other brands that are clean sounding? Thanks
naughty's Avatar naughty 11:48 PM 10-16-2007
well actually digital designs do make good sounding SQ subs - ive heard some that sound incredible when set up correctly - id tend to agree on the MTX bit though

as for JL audio - yes the W7 sounds great but it requires a monster amp to drive it - so in JL audio id look at the 10w3 v3 for a great sounding sub which doesnt need some hectic amplification if you want to keep your present amp and enclosure

just get someone to help you with impedances when purchasing dual voice coil subs and you will be okay
Lazonby's Avatar Lazonby 09:41 AM 10-17-2007
With JL Audio, it kind of depends on what sound you're shooting for. If you're not into the brain-numbing bass, you can easily get by on W1's or W3's. The W1's are a really clean sub that will play upper bass frequencies just as well as the lower frequencies. It gives up some power handling (SPL) and ultra deep bass you would get out of the W6/W7 series, but you do save some cash not only on the subs themselves, but the amp you need to drive them. Unless you're willing to fork out the money for the W6/W7's, the W1/W3 series will make a great 'daily driver.' (pun intended)

You mention wanting the overall sound to be louder. You can easily accomplish this by using outboard amplifiers. As far as clarity, that will depend on speakers, proper amp gain settings, and crossover points. I can't tell you how many people can't properly set a gain and as a result, muddy one-note bass and tons of distortion. Few take my advice, but when setting a low pass crossover point for a sub, use a low one, like 50-60Hz and use a high pass x-over at around 80-100Hz depending on your mid-bass/range driver. 'Cabin gain' more than compensates for the missing frequency gap, as verified by RTA tests. Subs that can't cleanly produce upper bass notes (80-120Hz) ruin systems.
G-force's Avatar G-force 02:41 PM 10-18-2007
Surprised nobody has said Image Dynamics.

If it's SQ you're looking for look into IDQ or ID Max. Done.
Zimmerman's Avatar Zimmerman 11:12 PM 10-18-2007
Thanks for the responses so far. Image Dynamics has me very interested from what little I have read so far. Though I am still trying to consider between them, JL, or Diamonds. As for wiring and setting the system up correctly, I will probably have a professional do it again so no worry there.
hometheaterguy's Avatar hometheaterguy 08:00 PM 10-25-2007
JL first, Eminence LAB 12 second runner up for SPL and quality.
JamezHill's Avatar JamezHill 02:07 AM 10-28-2007
What about Adire Audio? I think they just closed their doors though...
Steven Kephart's Avatar Steven Kephart 02:21 AM 10-28-2007
Originally Posted by JamezHill View Post

What about Adire Audio? I think they just closed their doors though...

The subs I linked above are based off the old Adire designs and use Adire's XBL^2 motor. Think of Brahma performance for $155.
Brandonw27858's Avatar Brandonw27858 09:59 PM 11-07-2007
For rock, you cant go wrong with the JL W1's as stated above. I had 2 10's in my Wrangler before they were stolen and I LOVED them. All I was using to drive them was a crappy Memphis 150 amp. I highly doubt you will be dissapointed by those subs for rock, clean strong hits are what you will get.
Kil4Thril's Avatar Kil4Thril 08:04 PM 11-11-2007
Originally Posted by Steven Kephart View Post

The subs I linked above are based off the old Adire designs and use Adire's XBL^2 motor. Think of Brahma performance for $155.

Oh, like you would know It's still a shame.
Sr SQ's Avatar Sr SQ 09:55 AM 11-12-2007
To the OP, sorry for the long post but there is no simple answer to your question.
Though new to this forum (trying to learn about HT) I have been involved in the car audio game for over 20 years and IMHO there are very few bad subs, there are however poorly matched/installed units. Even some of the lowest priced offshore subs can do their job when mated to the rest of the system. Each driver is built with design specs that need to be adhered to so if it was designed to work in a small sealed enclosure and you land it in a large ported one chances are you wont be happy with the result. Balance is also key so having 1kw going to your sub bass and 10w going to your mid bass will sound like crap. In the automotive environment there are many hurtles to overcome since you simply cant move the speakers around easily to come up with a good sound like you can in your living room, cancellation is a big one so its important to match the pieces carefully and install them with purpose. I seen a hatch back import with 3x12" woofers and 1300wrms that had no bass until he opened the hatch, simply turning the enclosure around so it loaded of the back glass resulted in the owner selling off 2 of the subs and getting a smaller amp. It sounds to me like you already have way more sub bass than the rest of your system can handle. I would first start by getting a outboard amp on the mids and mid basses since the stock Bose system doesnt start with much, then ensure your enclosure for the subs has the right volume for the model you have. Then play with the location and direction that the sub loads at, you will be very surprised at the differences. Just my $.02 on this subjective topic
troy_audi0's Avatar troy_audi0 01:55 PM 11-12-2007
Hey guys,
Troy Here from Axxis Audio..

I would say as some of the others have MTX & DD dont make the best SQ Subs.. My list is kinda short but Iv Used most of them & Like them ..
Focal (Any Of them)
Image Dynamics IDQ300-500Rms or IDMAX 500-1000Rms
RE Audio SE,MX or XXX
JL w6 or w7
Alpine Type X
thats all I can Think of at this time..
Dont for get to get a quality Amp..
Audison,JL, US Amps, Alpine, Tru tech, Arc Audio..
Anything like that..
JamezHill's Avatar JamezHill 05:22 AM 12-30-2007
I can get good prices on Kenwood Excelon equipment and speakers/subs. Are these decent? Would they be the same/comprable to Alpine gear?
policy's Avatar policy 01:22 AM 01-03-2008
Kenwood=Poop. I wouldn't buy a Kenwood.

You can find really nice grey market Alpine stuff online:

They also have Alpines mid-line. That is a $500 Subwoofer btw.
razel's Avatar razel 10:31 AM 01-03-2008
Originally Posted by Sr SQ View Post

there is no simple answer to your question...

...there are however poorly matched/installed units.

..cancellation is a big one so its important to match the pieces carefully and install them with purpose.

I couldn't agree more. Instead of focusing on brands, focus on finding the correct sub for it's enclosure which means using a program like WinISD and finding all the sub drivers that fit your enclosure volume and entering it's parameters and using WinISD (or any other program) comparing which one is best. After that just like in HT you'll need to find the 'best' placement in your car, then of course after reaching a certain about of bass you'll want to improve the sound environment which means... reducing rattles.

From your choice of music, you may want to skip the sub and replace or your BOSE setup. I've driven many cars with a BOSE setups. One is a fantastic 1990 BOSE the later ones were post 2000 BOSE. Another car with a modest aftermarket (headunit, amp going to stock speakers) setup that kills the post 2000 BOSE easily and has greater potential for more. Rock bass can be easily enjoyed by 6 1/2 or 6 3/4 speakers with the right crossover cut-off in the amps.
nvmeplz's Avatar nvmeplz 12:12 AM 01-04-2008
I am rocking a Kenwood CD player along with the good ole Alpine Type-R sub powered by a 600watt amp with alpine type-s components around. Suits my needs more then enough. Can play hip-hop to rock with out a problem. All who ride in my car are certainly blown away by the loudness and clean sound.

I would say stick with Alpine and other top name brands. Can't go wrong with proven stuff.
Rock_the_Bass's Avatar Rock_the_Bass 09:17 PM 01-23-2008
If you are looking for a great sound quality sub definetly go for the phenix gold subs they have clean and crisp bass for a cheap price
randyrsx's Avatar randyrsx 04:29 PM 01-25-2008
Old thread, but I'll put my two cents in and say Diamond Audio has served me very well.
G-force's Avatar G-force 09:08 PM 01-25-2008
Just as a note, I recently put a JL 10W6V2 in my new truck with 600 wts feeding it. Comparing it to a Alpine type X (1000 wts) in another vehicle left me very underwhelmed with the JL. I was pretty surprised with the lack of clarity and depth, from all the praises I hear to JL. Unfortunately I dont have the enclosure depth for a type X in this vehicle.

Did you end up deciding on something?
raaj's Avatar raaj 08:56 AM 01-28-2008
I will second Troy_Audio's recommendations of Image Dynamics IDMAX (I have it, it's awesome !!), the RE XXX and JL W series (particularly 13W7). Also throw into the mix - Arc Audio, Alpine Type X and Oz Audio Matrix Elite. Phenomenal SQ subs.

A bit pricey, but you get what you paid for. Please don't visit the usual brick and mortar showrooms for these.. buy them online.
cozmo1976's Avatar cozmo1976 09:03 AM 01-28-2008
Diamond Audio is a good choice.
Did you ever mention your budget?
That may help a bit.
benchambers80's Avatar benchambers80 09:47 PM 02-07-2008
si mag?
rickneuropa's Avatar rickneuropa 08:27 AM 02-21-2008
If I were you, I'd give Elemental Designs a try. Fantastic prices, GREAT SQL subs that win competitions, as well as good SPL. Check them out at :

I've ordered two 12" subs from them, and LOVE the flat response well below 20hz I get with a sealed configuration. They are from the KV line. Mine is the beautiful flat cone they use to make, I belive it was made with Kevlar weave. That is in my TL and the other is in my son's Civic. I love putting in some Camouflage and feeling my hair move on the deep bass......thier amps are fantastic as well. Underrated power. With a 30 day return policy, free shipping, and 5 year can't go wrong.
CatmanIsGod's Avatar CatmanIsGod 10:59 PM 03-08-2008
IMO JL Subs are not a SQ sub ....they are more suitable for SPL ...I have used them in the past and will never use them again.

One of my favorite affordable SQ subs is Image Dynamics. Diamond are also hard to beat.

Steven Kephart's Avatar Steven Kephart 02:25 AM 03-13-2008
Originally Posted by CatmanIsGod View Post

IMO JL Subs are not a SQ sub ....they are more suitable for SPL ...I have used them in the past and will never use them again.

JL has one of the lowest distortion subs on the market. All their subs are more geared for SQ installations with their nice flat response. SPL subs tend to have a more peaky response. Maybe your past experiences were with the subs in improper enclosures?
memphis87's Avatar memphis87 12:56 AM 03-14-2008
Im starting to think that CatmanIsGod does not know much about car audio from lookin at his other post in the car audio forum. JL's W7 is a SQL sub, but ther other subs are all SQ. I don't believe JL is the best, as i feel top honors would go to either ID,RE, or TC in the SQL department
CatmanIsGod's Avatar CatmanIsGod 11:54 PM 03-14-2008
Originally Posted by Steven Kephart View Post

JL has one of the lowest distortion subs on the market. All their subs are more geared for SQ installations with their nice flat response. SPL subs tend to have a more peaky response. Maybe your past experiences were with the subs in improper enclosures?

My WORST experience with JL subs was in a JL enclosure. It was a Stealthbox with 8W6's in a Miata. There is more to SQ than distortion.

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