If you’re going to look at any system that has a serious car stereo, chances are you’ll notice that most have a digital sound processor. When I first saw one of these I thought it was just an overpriced bass booster and my current amp would do basically the same thing. Little did you know that a bass processor is much more than just a bass booster.
A bass processor is installed before any crossover or signal processor. So it would connect right after your dash drive. Always install before your crossover. At first you might think that a bass processor would be just for bass heads. This is not the case, a bass processor can also improve the low-end sound of all music, from classical to rap. So what exactly does it do?
A good bass processor contains circuitry that accurately recreates and injects low-frequency information into the signal, giving the bass more punch. A bass processor will also allow you to customize this low-end powerhouse for your specific vehicle. It does this by allowing you to control the subwoofer functions. What this does is allow you to adjust the sweep and width of the bass.
The sweep will allow you to choose a certain frequency that you want the bass restoration circuit to maximize. By having a lower sweep, the bass will be centered around the lower frequencies. Whereas having the highest sweep means it will be centered around a higher frequency. While the width allows you to control the width of a frequency range that it will affect. Setting the width low will focus the bass into a smaller frequency range, and turning it up higher will increase the frequency range.
So with all this bass processing, you may be worried about your expensive subwoofers. I know that’s something I was concerned about when I first installed an “epicenter” of Audio Control, a popular bass processor. I was primarily concerned with subsonic frequencies that can damage your stereo equipment.
If you look at any good bass processor it will come with what is called a subsonic filter. Subsonic frequencies are those that are not audible to the human ear. Sound frequencies below 20 Hz are considered subsonic. A good bass processor will have a subsonic filter that will make sure you don’t waste power from your car stereo on this subsonic information and will make sure you put all of your systems power to good use.
A subsonic filter is a great feature to be able to adjust the bass response. On most systems setting this filter to 33Hz will be fine. If you want to protect your speaker system even more, you can try a higher frequency. Often a higher frequency will sound louder and cleaner.
So whether you’re interested in Beethoven’s timpani, Miles Davis’s trumpet, or the percussion of rap music, a digital bass processor will restore those long-lost low notes.