As we all know, a subwoofer is an essential part of any car’s audio system. Whether it be stock, aftermarket or completely custom we all have grown to love the deep melodic charm of heavy bass. Essentially a sub is responsible for producing the low notes between 20-200hz. As the cone moves back and forth, air is displaced and sound is created. Without this crucial piece, your sub would be useless and your music would suffer drastically. But what exactly does a subwoofer cone do and what makes a high quality cone?
Essentially the only moving part in a sub is the cone, making this piece one of the most important. The material used for the cone comes in a wide variety and obviously not all materials are created equal. This article will give you a closer look at what makes a subwoofer cone prominent and the difference amongst the materials used:
Different Material Types:
Your car audio sound system has to not only be compact but durable. Movement and environmental factors like heat and moisture are going to be exposed to your unit. With so many external forces acting upon your unit it is no surprise there are so many different materials available.
Yes you read that correctly treated paper is one of the most common materials used. Since paper is lightweight it has the fastest response time as a moving unit. It is worth noting that this is treated paper, so it’ll have a layer of coating to ensure the cone is durable. The coating material includes but is not limited to; carbon fiber, CSX, polyglass, and kevlar.
This material is used to make cones due to its lightweight features and the fact it is more rigid than paper. Polypropylene is the most common material used by manufacturers because it is easy to work with. This material will add more protection to your cone; preventing mold, moisture and mildew damage. One factor to note is that the cone does have a small influence over sound quality and polypropylene is a material that plays little alteration in the sound which is ideal. This material is a very cheap durable solution to replacing your subwoofer cone.
Aluminum and Magnesium
These materials are very common amongst audio parts like speakers and amps but are best when utilized within a subwoofer. The reason for this is that aluminum and magnesium cause high pitch resonance that will not be heard in a subwoofer cone because of the lower frequency produced. If you had to chose between the two magnesium is better than aluminum because it is more rigid, making it an ideal characteristic for a speaker cone.
This metal fiber is used to make bullet proof vests, so obviously this material is extremely durable. The biggest benefit is the flexibility, strength and how lightweight it is. These factors make for a perfect material to be used within audio parts. When used in a cone, Kevlar can preserve its shape under a lot of pressure allowing for better sound displacement. Also cones made from Kevlar have a long lifespan.
Similar to Kevlar carbon fiber is an ideal material to be used within a subwoofer cones. High performance bicycles are made of carbon fiber due to how lightweight and durable it is. With such positive features it would be foolish to not incorporate this into a subwoofer’s cone. Carbon fiber attains high output levels because of the toughness of the material and its flexibility. With this material you will not have to worry about damaging your unit.
Ultimately the materials mentioned in this article do not contribute much to the sound quality. Rather they add to the durability of the unit and since the cone is the most active part you have to be most cautious about it. Luckily, manufacturers have found a way to utilize durable materials that aren’t to heavy. We all know subwoofers are heavy enough so it is refreshing to know that manufacturers are working towards lightning the unit.