Bass Tubes in Sound Systems: Explained

Bass tubes are a popular form of subwoofers especially designed to be added to car audio systems.

It can be placed below the seats, in the cabin, or in the trunk of a car.

The cylindrical tube offers a tighter bass effect and is enough to make your car jump with the bassy oomph.

I am probably over-exaggerating it, but yes, to be honest, bass tubes can make everything inside the car vibrate.

Let us understand more about the needs and functions of the bass tubes in the article below.

What is a bass tube?

Bass tubes are a form of subwoofers, which are specialized speakers designed to reproduce low-frequency sound. These bass-producing tubes are quite popular in-car audio systems.

These subwoofers are designed in the shape of a cylinder or a tube with the driver facing one direction depending on the facing of the sub such as front firing or down firing.

In simple words, the driver faces one of the flat sides while the rest of the tube is used to enhance the bass sound.

People also ask What is a base tube in a sound system? The answer is the same as above. A base tube is a bass tube, it is spelled and pronounced differently.

Why are bass tubes better for a car audio system?

The actual purpose of designing Bass tubes was to fit them easily in cars, this is because the cube-shaped enclosures are uncomfortable for cars.

The length of the tube depends upon various design factors including space to enhance the bass sound in cars.

Usually, the diameter of the tube is the same as the diameter of the driver in most cases and hence these units are compact.

Is a bass tube a subwoofer?

Bass tubes are typically active subwoofers designed to be used for car audio systems. They do not need an external amplifier or receiver.

On the other hand box enclosed subwoofers are typically passive subwoofers and require an external amplifier or receiver.

They are ideal for home theater systems, concerts, cinemas, other large audio systems for events, etc,.

Bass Tubes v/s Subwoofers

To be very precise bass tubes and subwoofers do a similar job of reproducing low-frequency sound waves which is bass.

However, there are minor differences discussed in the table (Image) below.

basstube vs subwoofer comparision table

Can a bass tube work without an amplifier?

Bass tubes that have an inbuilt amp will not require any external amplifier. However, bass tubes that require an external amp will not run at all if you don’t have an amplifier with you.

Powerful bass tubes will often require an additional amplifier to drive the sub.

Whereas bass tubes that use less power can be connected to the car stereo as in most cases they come with a built-in amp.

What is a passive bass tube?

A bass tube that does not have a built-in amplifier is referred to as a passive bass tube or a passive sub.

These units will require an external amplifier or a receiver as a source to drive the sub in addition to the other speakers.

What is an active bass tube?

The bass tubes that have built-in amplifiers are referred to as active bass tubes or active subs.

These units do not require any additional receiver or external amplifier to drive the sub, however, they will need a standard and suitable power supply source to power the unit.

Which is better bass tube or box?

Whether a bass tube or a bass box is “better” depends on several factors, such as your vehicle, the available space, your musical taste, your budget, and your desired audio experience.

Here’s a breakdown of the characteristics of each to help you decide which might be a better fit for your needs:

Bass Tube


  • Compact & Portable: Bass tubes are generally more compact and easier to install or move between vehicles.
  • Cost-effective: Typically less expensive than high-end enclosure boxes.
  • Space-saving: Due to their shape and size, they can fit into tighter spaces.


  • Sound Quality: While bass tubes can produce punchy and clear bass, they might not deliver the same depth and richness of sound as some bass boxes.
  • Volume Limitations: They might not be as loud as box enclosures, particularly in larger vehicles or open spaces.

Bass Box (Enclosure)


  • Sound Quality: Bass boxes are typically capable of producing deeper, richer, and more accurate bass sounds compared to bass tubes.
  • Customization: Boxes can be custom-built to fit the specifications of your subwoofer and vehicle, allowing for better sound quality.
  • Variety: There are several types of bass boxes (sealed, ported, bandpass) each with its unique sound characteristics, giving you more options to find the one that suits your taste.


  • Size & Portability: Boxes are usually larger and not as easy to move between vehicles as bass tubes.
  • Cost: High-quality boxes, especially custom ones, can be more expensive than bass tubes.
  • Installation: They can be more difficult and time-consuming to install, often requiring professional installation.

So, If you are looking for a more compact, portable, and cost-effective solution with decent sound quality, a bass tube might be the better option.

On the other hand, if sound quality, customization, and variety are your top priorities, and you are willing to invest in a larger, potentially more expensive system, a bass box might be the better choice.

What is REM in a bass tube?

REM refers to Remote or ‘Remote Amp Turn-on’ which helps the bass tube’s amp to turn on after the car stereo is powered up.

To make it simple, even if the amp unit is powered it will need a signal from the head unit to turn on.

A REM wire is used to connect the amp to the remote trigger of the head unit which is responsible for passing the signal of turning on and off.

Note: The REM wire is usually a 12V blue-colored cable (wire) that connects the amp to the head unit of a car audio system.

Final Thoughts

A Bass Tube includes a Subwoofer fixed facing outwards at one end, it captures and amplifies the sound waves at the backside of the Subwoofer.

These units are specially designed compact to enhance the audio systems of your car.

Subwoofers with box enclosures are typically ideal for home theater systems, and other large sound systems.

These systems vary marginally when it comes to their cost and delivering bass quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the bass tube better than the subwoofer?

Bass tubes can be a better choice if you are looking for a budget-friendly subwoofer. On the other hand, subwoofers can output better sound and more powerful bass comparatively.

Can I use bass tubes with a home theater system?

Typically bass tubes are powered Subwoofers and can be directly connected to your home speaker’s output. Make sure to use the right wires which are usually a ‘B pair’. You may not be able to obtain the sound quality as desired but can be cost-effective alternative to an expensive box subwoofer.

Armed with a Diploma in electrical engineering and a remarkable 12 years of expertise, he excels in rejuvenating music systems, washing machines, dryers, and laundry-related appliances. Manish's profound insights and practical know-how establish him as a credible authority in appliance and music system repairs. Contact: manish.singh (at) He's always ready to lend a helping hand!