If you are even a bit of an audiophile, you are unlikely to be sold on the sound systems most mass market cars are fitted with. More often than not, stock speakers produce a sound that’s too ‘thin’. Blaupunkt claims it has a ready fix for this issue in its new XLf 8A active subwoofer. Unlike a passive subwoofer that is not only larger in size but also usually requires the installation of an additional amplifier for best effect, an active subwoofer includes an in-built amp and is more plug and play in its functionality. We decided to try out the compact system in one of the more compact cars in our long-term fleet – the Maruti Ignis.
Installation was by a Blaupunkt technician and it took all of 10 minutes. The process involved removing the audio system’s head unit to connect the sole cable that carries audio and power (so there’s no connection with the battery or the need for a dedicated on/off switch) to the sub woofer, which has its own fuse in case of a surge. The cable ran from behind the head unit through the dash and was neatly concealed under the floor carpet. A little larger than two medium-sized pizza boxes kept one on top of the other, the subwoofer unit is handily small. We opted to have the system installed under the front passenger seat, though the supplied cable was long enough to extend to the boot if needed.
Before putting the system in place, we did take time to tune it to our liking. The XLf 8A provides gain and crossfade control which is pretty standard fare for such systems. Once installed, there was a noticeable improvement in the audio experience with the unit giving much-needed body to the sound with more bass. There is good definition and detail at lower decibel levels but some of the finer nuances of a track can get lost on cranking up the volume closer to max output. You can take it to heart-pounding levels of bass too, but again, you lose some of the details. A happy compromise if you are a fan of bass-thumping electronic music, not so much if you listen to classical music.
What’s nice is the Blaupunkt subwoofer doesn’t sound like a separately installed unit and blends in rather well with the rest of the system.
The XLf 8A retails for Rs 18,890. It isn’t particularly cheap, but remember, the unit requires no more addenda as a passive subwoofer, a requirement that inevitably adds to the cost of such an upgrade. We were quite content with the sound quality and, from a practical standpoint, liked the fact that there was no messy splicing of wires that could cause other trouble. In all, the XLf 8A is a worthy one-stop solution to the need for more bass.