crazy bass rig in the car

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Nelson Wires, May 12, 2004.

  1. Nelson Wires

    Nelson Wires

    Apr 14, 2004
    I do a lot with car audio. In fact, I am a car audio dealer/installer. I have a vintage ampeg 2X15 cabinet that I hooked up to my Rockford Fosgate 501bd amp just to see what kind of low end potential it had. (The V4 head wasn't working at the time, and still isn't) I was very impressed. I experimented with the exact opposite. I hooked up a pair of Image Dynamics 12"s to my Trace Elliot combo to see what kind of sound I could get. The way it ended up was just as I suspected. Subwoofers in cars are meant to produce the lowest notes as loud as possible, so the clarity certainly lacked. However, with the equalization set a bit differently, both on the 9band EQ and my onboard preeby, I got my celestion ten (in the combo) and the car subs to sound pretty good with more low end rumble than I had ever heard a bass amp produce. My new scheme is to buy a Fishman preamp and hook it up to my car amp which will go in to the most efficient subs I can get. Infinity, JBL, JL Audio, or whatever else I find that does the trick. Probably eights so I can have a little of the higher end bass frequencies. Has anyone done this before and had good results? I will carry out this plan of mine eventually, but for now I want to know what YOU have done and what worked out the best. I've seen and installed come crazy stuff, and things that sound good in a complete car stereo system, but now I want to target the bass guitar.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Weird! You know, I was thinking/theorizing the same thing...

    Here is my question: What if you used a good bass guitar preamp + a car audio poweramp, going into a bass guitar cabinet(s)? Could this actually work? Or is the car audio poweramp just not built for that kind of stuff?

    Okay, you said "you were impressed"...meaning that it actually worked, or were you impressed that it was just as good than using a pro-audio poweramp? That is really interesting as car-audio poweramps could be had for pretty cheap (some that I've seen for all those watts are dirt cheap! but probably not cool...) I am definitely not an electronics expert so I have no concept of what the difference is between a car audio poweramp and a pro-audio poweramp. Please, your thoughts, o' wise one...


  3. `ash


    Feb 26, 2004
    I have thought along those exact same lines as well when i was shopping for a new amp. I saw the car audio amps and looked at their output and then price and thought "what if??"

    Like yourself, i'm not technically minded so it seemed like too much effort to do. Also the fact that i realized there is probably a good reason why it hasnt already been done, persuaded me to continue my search elsewhere.
  4. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    It's good to know I'm not alone here. :) Every time I have my 8x10 in the back of my Jeep, I start thinking...


    While we're on the topic of car audio, is anyone looking to buy a JL 12w7?
  5. Mr. Oysterhead

    Mr. Oysterhead

    Apr 15, 2004
    Just yesterday someone gave me a powered-subwoofer from their home stereo and i was toying with the idea of somehow rigging a cable to hook the sub up to my small combo amp. If you guys figure anything out please post it.
  6. Car subs and amps are indeed suited for bass guitar. The only huge drawback is, to get as loud as needed on a stage or a loud rehearsal, a car sub draws at least 10 times as much power, compared to a bass-guitar-only cabinet. It's like comparing an Eden 4x10 fed with 100 watts to an Acme 2x10 fed by 1000 watts. Both cab sound about as loud. That kind of difference.

    If you put the car sub as a sub only, and you don't have to rely on it to get the sound pressure level, all is ok. It just adds the deepest lows, and it won't need as much power as in a stand-alone config.

    Bass guitar cabs make mediocre car subs IMO. Unless the cab is a sub to begin with. I have two extended-range cabinets for my bass guitar, but I used to have them connected in my car too. Absolutely amazing sound. Earpunchingly loud on a very small standard 2x6 watt car radio.

    My view on things.
  7. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Good to know that "bass guitar cabs in cars" actually does work"....

    But what about "car audio amp to bass guitar cab"? Imagine being able to attach the car-audio amp flat against your cab?! OH MAN!

    The only non-electrical problem I see is that the car-audio amps mostly use RCA plugs...though that's nothing adapters or wires can't fix.

    C'mon! This has got to work!

  8. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    How much?
  9. BassBaron


    Jul 20, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    Don't car amps run on 12V DC? Half of a bass amp is the power supply converting wall current, 120V AC, to DC.
    This is also the price difference between them.
  10. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    Sorry already have a JL 13w7, and it never seeses to amaze me.

  11. Nelson Wires

    Nelson Wires

    Apr 14, 2004
    The voltage difference is the only reason I would have any drawback at all. Otherwise home, car, and guitar or bass amps could all be interchangable. I had, like I said, my bass cabinet in the car and it was amazing. The part that is really different (car vs. bass) as far as the sound is concerned, is the power ratios. In a bass cabinet you buy it already engineered extremely well and the low power (1,2,300 watts) speakers are really loud. In a car you want to deaden all resonance and rely on extremely powerful speakers. I love to theorize about all kinds of things, but this is one thing I know for sure: the most important part of sound in general is your ears. It's all about what sounds good. Objects in the room will change things. If you have a room with good acoustics and an inefficient bass cabinet it won't sound good. If you have an amazing bass cabinet in a crappy room you will have to work the eq hard to get anything to sound half decent. The frequency levels are totally different car vs. bass. My Ampeg 2X15 put out amazing sound, but when it got to the lowest notes (below 30 hz or so) it faded away because the speaker could not physically move that much or push that much air. That's the beauty of a JL 13W7 (mentioned above). They hit so hard it's not even funny. Check out and go to the videos. There is a full product line video in which they show one hitting to the fullest extent of the word. This will give you an idea (if you don't have one) as to how much air I'm talking about moving. With a speaker like that, that will knock the wind out of you, the quality plummets. You have very little high end, compared to a wimpier celestion or eminence bass cab speaker.

    Good stuff, fo sho

    I now have a plan to build a cabinet to go with my bass rig. It will consist of 2 JL Audio 8W7's (which are the world's hardest hitting 8's.) This plan will be for a smaller box than if I had a a 15" bass cab, it will weigh less, and put out more low end. I don't care about the midrange/high aspect because I'll leave that to my SWR Goliath III. This should be a good setup.
  12. Nelson Wires

    Nelson Wires

    Apr 14, 2004
    to power the fishman preamp I will just use a power inverter. The whole power section of the rig will be car audio stuff, and the signal will come from an AC power preamp. This should be very little pull on the ol' battery, even though I have an 1100 amp competition battery plus capacitors. (he he) :p
  13. You know those cassette adaptors for plugging in portable CD players? It's just as easy as getting a 1/8" to 1/4" adaptor, plugging it into a DI/preamp box, then plugging your bass in.

    BOOM! Mobile Bass Rig!
  14. Hurley


    Feb 12, 2004
    Cape Cod, MA
    :eek: I would like to see (and hear) that!

    For anyone interested in my sub, this is the exact setup. I have pics, but I took them too big (1+ MB). Shipping will be a lot. If still interested, PM me.

  15. So if I were to aiming to go down the road of bi-amping, would using car subs be better than using the equivalent size from eminence or whoever? Talking about usage primarily as a bass/pro audio cab and secondarily as a nice addition to my pitifully stock car audio system.

    I went digging for some better info on this stuff a little while ago and spent most of a day looking but I couldn't really figure out what the key differences between car and pro audio type subs really were. Is it essentially that car audio are primarily for just lows and volume, where pro are aimed at a broader response and clarity?

    I don't actually really care anything more than curiosity, I think prefer a pair of 1x12 cabs, and a mediocre, seperate car setup. Its just that sometimes that part of me that wants to have a couple of gigawatts through an acre or two of speaker area goes: what if I...

    Josh D