Subwoofers are more in our life than we may realize, they actually play a huge role in-car audio systems. They add punchy bass, which is something that a regular speaker just cannot do. This is because subwoofers are specially designed to produce low frequencies in a sound signal.
Low-frequency sound is what we know as bass. Subwoofers are a must-have piece of sound equipment for anyone who loves that thumping bass.
Before we get into answering the question, is 2ohm or 4ohm better, we want to think about the terms. Resistance, in particular, is not understood well by many people. Resistance is a measure of the opposition to the flow of the electric current by an electrical circuit. How this is measured, is in ohms.
Subwoofers are often fed with an audio signal in the form of an electrical current from a head unit, or an amplifier. They will have a certain level of resistance to an audio signal. A majority of subwoofers nowadays will have a resistance of either 2 ohms or 4 ohms.
Your stereo will probably work well with either, but it does help to know which will work out best for the best bass quality. That is why today, we will talk to you about which is better overall, and which is better in specific situations too.
2 ohm subwoofers
When you are buying a subwoofer, and you see that it is rated as a 2 ohm subwoofer, this means that the resistance is level at 2 ohms. 2 ohm ratings are on the lower side of things, meaning that it does not have a huge amount of resistance in its circuit.
This, in turn, means that an amplifier is able to feed it more power without too much resistance. On the flip side, this does mean that it will consume more power due to its smaller resistance. This can lead to lower quality bass.
However, its lower electrical resistance does mean that it will produce a louder sound than one that has higher electrical resistance, this means that a 2 ohm subwoofer will be louder than a 4 ohm subwoofer.
So on the positive side, you get a louder result, but on the negative side, you get poor quality of sound due to the power consumption. It’s a bit of a catch 22 with a 2 ohm subwoofer.
4 ohm subwoofers
Subwoofers with a resistance rating of 4 ohms mean that they have higher resistance, and so, it will reproduce less sound due to its higher resistance. Sadly, this means that it does not deliver a loud sound.
But, on the flip side, it does consume less power from an amplifier than a 2 ohm does. So will reproduce sound that is much more compact, and as a result of this you will get a higher quality of bass.
These subwoofers will typically last longer than a 2 ohm subwoofer, and they do produce a better base, yet they lack the power to produce very loud sound.
Really, it is more of a decision if you want bass and quality over how loud the sound is, or if you would prefer your subwoofer to produce more noise and less bass and quality.
2 ohm Vs 4 ohm if you have multiple subwoofers
A lot of people will have subwoofers in their cars, and you can use more than one. You will need to check the wiring option to determine the resistance.
You can wire them in a series, or parallel. If you do the former, you will wire them one after the other with negative wired to positive. If you do the latter, then you simply wire the terminals of one subwoofer to the similar terminals of the other, with negative wired together, and positive wired together.
If you wire them in series, you will get a higher resistance, so you will get more bass. This means that if you were to wire 2 subwoofers that have a resistance of 2 ohms each, it would add up, and you would get a total resistance of 4 ohms.
However, if you were to wire the same subwoofers parallel then the total resistance is divided by the number of subwoofers, so in this instance the total resistance would be 1 ohm. Overall, wiring in series increases the resistance, wiring in parallel decreases the resistance.
So, if you wanted two subwoofers and wanted to get good bass, then you could wire them in series and end up with 4 ohms of resistance. However, if you wanted two subwoofers and your desire was louder sound, then you would wire them parallel. It depends on how you wire them.
2 2ohm subwoofers wired series would result in 4 ohms, 2 2ohm subwoofers wired parallel would result in 1 ohm. 2 4 ohm subwoofers wired in parallel would then result in 2 ohms, and so on. Consider, in this situation, not only the ohms but also how you would wire these subwoofers.
2 ohm Vs 4 ohm for dual voice coils
A majority of subwoofers will have a single voice coil. Some may also come with dual voice coils. You can have a subwoofer with a dual voice coil, in which each voice coil will have a total resistance of 2 ohms, or 4 ohms.
Similar to dealing with multiple subwoofers, the kind of wiring used determines the overall resistance of a dual voice coil subwoofer.
If you have a subwoofer that has a dual voice coil, and each voice coil has 4 ohms, then you can wire it in series and get more resistance, resulting in 8 ohms overall. Or, if you wire it in parallel and decrease the resistance, getting 2 ohms overall.
Much like with multiple subwoofers, in this instance you also need to consider both the ohms and the wiring. How you wire the subwoofers will determine the overall resistance and therefore the sound that you receive as a result.
The verdict- Which is the better option, 2 ohm or 4 ohm?
We haven’t touched on the financial aspects here, but as you can imagine, a 2 ohm subwoofer does cost more than a 4 ohm subwoofer. Of course, size and brand also make a play in the costs of a subwoofer.
A 2 ohm subwoofer can range between $50 and $200 spending on the brand of choice and the size. A 4 ohm subwoofer can cost between $20 and $180. Really the price is not dramatically different, but there is still a difference between them, and if you are on a tight budget this can be a deciding factor.
What is also worth considering is that there is also about a 2.5dB difference between a 2 ohm subwoofer and a 4 ohm subwoofer, for some people, especially the audio enthusiasts out there, this may be significantly noticeable.
The overall differences between a 2 ohm subwoofer and a 4 ohm subwoofer are really not that significant, and they will generally produce a similar quality of sound in some circumstances, so long as they are run at the same wattage. This is because watts and ohms are all part of a series of mathematical formulas that put them together so that when one changes in value, so does the other.
But, now that you know the differences between 2 ohms and 4 ohm subwoofers, and you know how the wiring will affect the sound, the resistance, and set up, it can be a bit easier to tell which option is better for you overall.
Either option is good, but generally the type of bass that you want will determine which option is best suited to you. If you seek bass at a moderate volume and at the best possible quality, then a 4 ohm subwoofer is best for you. You’d also need to connect multiple subwoofers for the highest resistance, and therefore the highest quality of bass.
On the flip side, if you wanted the loudest bass, but were not too concerned about quality then a 2 ohm subwoofer, and if you have multiple subwoofers, connect them in series for even less resistance and therefore more noise.