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Can I put a car specified subwoofer in my home theatre sub compartment? Answered

I'm not experienced well with new subwoofers, and I have a JBL sub in my home, but it's speaker blew. I was wondering, if I buy a sub equal size, but it's labeled as a "Car subwoofer" what would happen if I hooked it up?


All speakers perform the same function; converting electrical pulses into sound waves. So, theoretically, any speaker can be used in any application. Be it in a car sound system, guitar amplifier, or in a home setup. However, the design of the individual speakers are tailored for it's intended use (i.e. power handling, frequency response, etc.). Typically car woofers are rated to handle amplifier outputs of 100W or more, whereas home use woofers are generally rated for less than 100W (typically 30-60W). That is not to say that one could not use say a 12inch car woofer to replace a 12inch home woofer. The car rated speaker would likely have a higher power handling capability than the home rated speaker. BUT, it may not sound as good as the one replaced. As [Downunder35m] stated, the enclosure size does make a difference, as well as the port size. When dealing with subwoofers, a ported enclosure (the hole in the box near the sub), is vital not only to the sound, but also to the life of the woofer. This instructable:


goes into very good detail about the specifics of the enclosure for a subwoofer.

As to your original question of what would happen if you hooked up the speaker to your home stereo, it would work. How long it would work, and how well it would sound depends on all of the other factors mentioned.

Not much more or less than with the original speaker.

The power rating should be matching of course...

It depends on the type of speaker and enclosure, for example small sized systems usually use one or two speakers with only a few mm of membrane travel.

Car subs prefer to use membranes with much longer travel distances to push the air around in the car.

You can get a basic comaprison over the magnet - they should be in about the same thickness to make it work good.

If only the coil in your speaker blew you can also compare the travel by pushing the membrane but do it on the inner ring not by using your finger to push in the centre.

Does that mean that the speaker for a car would actually have a higher power output in a bigger room ? Just curious.

No, the power output is determined by the Watts.

The different travel distances correspond to the sound pressure possible.

Although more travel usually means more sound pressure you have to match it to the enclosure to get the right sound.

Take a small enclosure with a long travel speaker and the pressure built up in the case will prevent full travel for the speaker.

Other way around a speaker with not enough travel can (under full load) reach the max travel due to no back pressure and literally pop out the magnet.