Car audio is truly one of those things in life where the more you know, the less you know. In other words, the more you start to research, learn about, and in particular the more you start to listen to higher quality audio, the more you’ll realize that you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.
You might upgrade your head unit, then realize you want better speakers, then realize you need an amplifier, then realize you need another amplifier and a subwoofer, and so on.
Bass gets a lot of the emphasis when it comes to car audio, many people are looking for that thick, deep, chugging bass and they grade a system based on how deep and loud it goes. The truth is, if you’re looking for better audio quality (a more accurate reproduction of how your music is intended to be heard), there’s a lot more to it than just deep bass from a massive subwoofer.
The highs are crucial too, and that’s why having dedicated tweeters that are literally mounted higher up can make a big difference in the overall soundscape that you’re able to create in your car.
The higher frequencies don’t always get the attention they deserve, but having accurate treble is just as important as accurate bass when your goal is SQ (sound quality). Even at higher volumes, don’t you want everything to sound as good as possible?
Finally, we’ve got the midbass range, and this might be the most overlooked area. The midbass speaker in your car audio installation can also be referred to as a mid woofer, or a squawker.
Ways to Improve Your Midbass
1. Sound Deadening
Road noise and the fact that your door is like a small, awkward shaped enclosure can both put a damper on the quality of your midbass sound. To fix this, you can apply a number of different products inside of the door.
A popular one is just a small sticker that you apply to the sheet metal inside your door, but you can also get different types of foam to occupy the space and to improve the response of the midbass from your door speakers.
See our coverage of sound deadening:
2. Spacers and Gaskets
Using a gasket and a spacer when you install your door speakers, to raise them up a bit, can also have a profound effect on your midbass quality. This method of installation ensures that the soundwaves are getting into your cabin, not getting caught up and bouncing around and muddying themselves up on their way out.
3. Subwoofer Considerations
Your subwoofer can have an impact on your midbass. Some people will swear their midbass gets better when they turn their subs off, others will say the opposite – that the subwoofer adds to the soundscape and improves the midbass in the process. At the end of the day, properly setting up your subwoofer will have a positive impact on your overall sound, including midbass.
If turning off your sub makes your midbass sound better, you may want to experiment with turning down the volume on your sub, or the crossover frequency. When you’re going for sound quality, the subwoofer should act as an enhancement to the rest of your speakers.
Subwoofers to consider:
4. Buying Quality Gear
To continue with the subwoofer comparison, how many people go all-out in choosing their subwoofer, but maybe don’t put the same effort or investment into their other speakers?
Having a high-quality midbass driver with ample power from an amplifier is going to make a big difference in trying to extract that awesome midbass that you’re looking for. If you went all-in on your sub but you’re user deck power for the rest of your speakers, or you’ve got them hooked up to a puny little amp, think about upgrading.
A big part of getting your system to sound great is deciding which drivers/channels should be responsible for which frequencies. The crossover settings, and the quality of the crossover itself, can make a difference here.
There are some guidelines and rules of thumb for crossovers, however it’s different for every vehicle, depending on a lot of factors like the gear you have, how loud you listen, what types of music you like, and where your speakers are positioned, among other things. If you’ve just been rolling with the defaults, it may be time to take another look at your crossovers.
While choosing good equipment and powering it sufficiently is crucial, the art of the installation itself will make a difference as well. If you’ve installed your audio system yourself and you’re still unimpressed, look over the list to see what’s left for you to test and tinker with.
If you got a free or very cheap and rushed installation from a big box electronics store, that could also be your problem, and in that case you may want to consider bringing it to a specialist to give it a once-over, and to get their take on it.