Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Harman International has a reputation for making some of the best car subwoofers in the world, and the Infinity Reference car subwoofers are among its best. Not only does the subwoofer produce some of the best low-end audio you'll hear from a car subwoofer, it does so very efficiently with a sensitivity rating of 96dB. At 23Hz, the frequency response does not reach as low as some subwoofers do, but the 25Hz resonant frequency is the lowest in our lineup. This is why the Infinity Reference series is one of the best car subwoofers available.
The Infinity Reference car subwoofers have a rigid and stiff polypropylene woofer that produces accurate low end even at high decibels, which is why it earned an A for audio quality. It performs extremely well with a ported enclosure and a sealed enclosure, producing the type of bass you want – big and punchy, or round and well defined. It doesn't matter if your playlist is heavy with punk rock or hip-hop – the subwoofer makes the music feel like you're at the concert.
The frequency response is 23Hz to 400Hz, which is identical to the JBL subwoofers we reviewed. The high frequency range allows you to cross over some of the lower frequencies that your car speakers produce, which can really fill out the guitars, giving rhythm guitars that thick and heavy sound favored in hard rock and metal. The lower frequency misses the basement of human hearing by 3Hz, which isn't noticeable in most music.
The best feature of the Infinity Reference car subwoofers is the extremely high sensitivity rating of 96dB, which is 8dB higher than the average sensitivity for car subwoofers. Only the Pioneer Champion subwoofer has a comparable rating. The sensitivity rating measures the volume output at 1 meter using 1 watt of power – and for every 3dB increase in sensitivity, only half the power is required to produce the same output. This means that the Infinity Reference subs would only need 12.5 watts of power to produce the same output as an 87dB car subwoofer using 100 watts.
The extremely high sensitivity is necessary because the 300-watt continuous power handling is among the lowest in our lineup. Without such an efficient subwoofer, you wouldn't be able to produce a high output of bass without hearing distortion or causing damage to the woofer. Fortunately, the high sensitivity allows you to maximize the low power handling so that you could still shake the rearview mirror off your car ceiling if you wanted. In addition, the 1,200-watt peak power handling gives the subwoofer plenty of room for power spikes.
The resonant frequency (Fs) of the Infinity Reference car subwoofers is 25Hz, which is the lowest Fs in our lineup. The Fs measures the frequency that the subwoofer freely resonates with the air before you install it in an enclosure. While the Fs doesn't affect the quality of the audio, it is important to consider when tuning your enclosure.
For the ideal sealed enclosure, you'd need a volume of 1.25 cubic feet for the 12-inch subwoofer. This type of enclosure produces the most accurate and round bass. If your preferred genres are jazz, classical and funk, you likely want your bass to sound as clear and crisp as possible. The sealed enclosure minimizes woofer movement by stabilizing it with internal air pressure and atmospheric pressure. The 10-inch subwoofer doesn't require as much space, but doesn't have the same low-end response.
If you prefer genres where the low-end frequencies are less defined but big and full, such as heavy metal and punk rock, you need to install the Reference subs on a ported enclosure box with a volume of 2 cubic feet. These enclosures have holes that allow air to move freely in and out. As a result, the woofer is able to move more violently, creating that big and punchy bass sound. However, you sacrifice definition and accuracy for fullness.
The Infinity Reference car subwoofers are among the best car subwoofer brands on the market. These car subwoofers add quality low-end audio to your commute without using as much power as most subwoofers. With a sensitivity rating of 96dB, it's easily one of the best car subwoofers.