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2 Ohm Vs. 4 Ohm Subwoofer – What Hits Harder?

2 Ohm Vs. 4 Ohm Subwoofer

With a focus on music playback, a 2 Ohm subwoofer would hit harder than a 4 Ohm subwoofer. In terms of music, the word “hard” refers to fast, distorted, and loud music. 

The three traits are popularly used in the music industry to differentiate “hard” music from other types of music. However, some people have contrasting perspectives based on the differences in the sound output of a 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subwoofer.

Why 2 Ohm vs. 4 Ohm? Well, when you go subwoofer shopping, the vendor is more likely to use these terminologies before guiding you around.

If the vendor realizes you are unfamiliar with the most basic terms, they are likely to take advantage. Why? 

2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subs have different mark up prices, and since you do not know the drill, the vendor can increase the mark up price to cater for consultation.

2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subwoofers are the most popular and once you have a grasp of why their sound outputs are different, you will never have to unknowingly pay for consultation. 

You’ll also make informed decisions before purchasing any other type of subwoofer.

How and why is the Sound Output of a 2 Ohm Subwoofer different from a 4 Ohm Subwoofer?

A 2 Ohm subwoofer produces a louder bass and louder sounds. 

On the other hand, 4 Ohm subwoofers dissipate deeper basses, and less loud but quality sound. 

The difference in sound output boils down to the variance in the resistance values.

Understanding how variance in resistance leads to different sound output

Ohm (Ω) is the SI unit of resistance, also referred to as impedance. Resistance refers to the magnitude of opposition of the flow of current through an object. The properties of the object determine the size of impedance.

Since a subwoofer produces bass and sound at a lower frequency by converting electrical energy into sound, the amount of resistance exerted on electrical current by the components of the subwoofer comes into play.

A subwoofer has three main parts: a magnet, voice coil, and cone. Subwoofers are electromechanical transducers because they convert electrical signals into sound waves.

parts of subwoofer

From the image showing the parts of a sub, the voice coil is seen attached to the cone and suspended between the magnets. When electrical energy is passed through the voice coil, a magnetic field is created.

The magnetic field interacts with the magnetic field of the fixed magnet making the voice coil to move the cone back and forth.

 Continuous back and forth movements compress and decompress the air within the cone creating sound waves that you get to hear.

Since the voice coil is at the core of sound production, the thickness and nature of the material used to make the coil creates different levels of resistance, inevitably varying sound output.

A voice coil with lesser resistance allows more electrical current through it, producing louder and distorted sound and louder bass. 

On the other hand, a voice coil with greater resistance allows less electrical current through it, generating stronger and deeper basses.

From the understanding of how resistance impacts sound output, it is now clear that a 2 Ohm subwoofer has a louder bass due to its voice coil generating less resistance, and a 4 Ohm subwoofer creates a deeper and less loud bass due to the coil greatly resisting the electrical energy flowing through it.

Some people take deeper, stronger, and less loud basses to be harder. Their description of harder varies to that of the music industry. In this case, a 4 Ohm subwoofer would hit harder than a 2 Ohm subwoofer. 

If you share in the thoughts of these people, then your description of what’s harder would change even further because there are subs with greater resistance than 4 Ohm.

When buying a subwoofer, always check the resistance rating to know which sound output you’ll get. If you are buying a generic speaker, use a digital multimeter to counter check the resistance.

Now that you have knowledge to outdo any sound system vendor who might try to take advantage of you, it is time to gain further knowledge about the two subwoofers to help you make an informed decision. 2 Ohm and 4 Ohm subwoofers differ in terms of price, durability, and more.

2 Ohm Subwoofers

2 Ohm subwoofers cost more than 4 Ohm subwoofers due to its capability to produce loud sound and bass. 

This is the case despite 2 Ohm subs having poorer bass quality. Branded subwoofers are pricier because they are believed to have superior build and better components.

A 2 Ohm subwoofer suits an open and large environment that requires loud sound. However, you have to be careful with the volume controls. 

2 Ohm subwoofers may distort sounds at greater volumes, especially when the power supply is low.

Moreover, 2 Ohm subwoofers can increase the power bill because they are power hungry. Demanding and consuming more power reduces the lifespan of the subwoofer too. 

4 Ohm Subwoofers

4 Ohm subwoofers are more economical and durable compared to 2 Ohm subwoofers because they have greater resistance. 

The higher resistance decreases the amount of electrical current going through the voice coil, increasing the lifespan of the speaker components.

A 4 Ohm sub consumes less power and produces high quality sound and bass. It is suitable for smaller spaces such as a car or at home as it is not that loud. 

To use a 4 Oh subwoofer in a larger area, you would have to combine it with another in parallel to reduce the resistance, granting you more loudness.

Knowing how to connect speakers of different resistance to build a large sound system is critical when building DIY or professional sound systems. 

You can pair subwoofers based on the total resistance you want and the characteristics of the sound output you require.

How to Connect More than One 2 Ohm or 4 Ohm Subwoofer and Calculate Total Resistance

Connecting more than one 2 Ohm or 4 Ohm speaker gives you either a powerful and deeper bass or more loudness. You can connect multiple subwoofers in parallel or series.  

If you connect subwoofers in series, you’d have more resistance.

For example, if you connect two 2 Ohm subwoofers, the total resistance would be 4 Ohms, boosting the bass and lowering the sound intensity.

A parallel connection reduces the resistance and increases the loudness of subwoofers. For example, if you were to connect two 4 Ohm subwoofers in parallel, the resulting resistance would be 2 Ohm. You can calculate the resistance of any subwoofers in parallel by dividing the total resistance by the number of subs.

It is advisable that you connect subwoofers of the same resistance for easier calculations and better compatibility. 

Avoid combining 2 Ohm with 4 Ohm subwoofers and vice versa as the resistance difference might lead to the production of poor sound quality.

Key takeaways

The decision of what hits harder than the other between a 2 Ohm and a 4 Ohm subwoofer lies in your hands. 

If you follow the musical sense of what “hard” refers to, then a 2 Ohm sub would hit harder, but if you define “hard” in terms of the deepness and strength of the bass, a 4 Ohm sub would hit harder than the other.

Generally, the lower the resistance of a subwoofer, the louder its bass, and the higher the resistance the deeper and richer the bass. You can always use a digital multimeter to measure the resistance of any subwoofer.

Other than the resistance of a subwoofer, you must also consider the pros and cons of those speakers before purchasing them. 

Subwoofers with greater resistance are mostly cheaper and last longer than those with less durability.

Finally, always define your needs before connecting more than one subwoofer. Connecting subwoofers in series increases resistance and bass output, while connecting in parallel reduces the resistance and bass but increases the loudness. 

All in all, use this article as a guide to create your desired sound system without worry and too much reliance on someone else. Consider sharing the article too. 

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I'm Miles Walker and I'm the founder of CarAudioInsight. I've been in the car audio industry for over 20 years and have a wealth of knowledge to offer on all things related to car audio. I graduated from UC Berkeley with an electrical engineering degree, so you can rely on me for top-notch expertise and advice when it comes to upgrading your sound system.

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