Resonated Vs Non-Resonated Exhaust Systems. What's The Difference?

Posted by Sam Matthews on

Milltek Exhaust on a Golf R

One of the most asked questions regarding exhaust systems is what the difference between resonated and non-resonated exhaust products is.

Today we look to break the silence in this all you need to know guide to resonated vs non-resonated exhaust systems.

Ok, you've decided you want your car's exhaust note improving and you know you want a cat back exhaust system to keep things road legal, but now you are stuck on which manufacturer to go with and how much your noise level needs to increase. Having used almost all the top exhaust manufacturers for all things from decat systems to a simple cat back system across, we believe we know a thing or two about exhausts!

So firstly, let's take the differences between the resonated and non-resonated exhaust.

What is a Resonated Exhaust?

A resonated exhaust is the quieter of the two options, comprising of a baffled mid box, usually mid-way down the exhaust pipe prior to the exhaust back box. The resonator is usually a cylindrical box with a perforated centre pipe and a cladding type of material to soften the exhaust note and detract from resonating noise inside the carbon at different levels of throttle application.

You can see in the picture below a Scorpion Exhaust system with a resonated centre section and back box compared to a non-resonated centre section with a straight pipe.

Exhaust Difference

A resonated exhaust option is the perfect balance for someone looking for a marginal lift in exhaust noise, some weight reduction, and a new stylish exhaust tip option. It is model dependant and manufacturer dependant, but for something very subtle we recommend Milltek Exhausts or Remus. Whereas for a slightly deeper, less subtle exhaust tone, we recommend a Cobra Sport or Scorpion Exhausts system.

We have a vast selection of resonated exhausts available for most modern cars, all of which can be fitted in house at our Wakefield based workshop.

What is a Non-Resonated Exhaust?

A non-resonated exhaust system is the option for someone looking to be noticed. This is a complete removal of any resonator and as seen in the picture below, is a straight stainless-steel pipe up to the relevant back box. In some cases, you can also delete the back box which produces a straight pipe exhaust for extreme noise and best flow.

You can see in the picture below a non-resonated Scorpion Exhaust system on one of our customer's Mk7 Golf R.

Non Resonated Exhaust on Golf R

We rarely recommend a straight pipe system due to the nature of how loud they are. In most cases, a non-resonated exhaust system will sound fantastic and offer the noise level most people are looking for without being too extreme.

If you are looking for a light, distinctive tone with some rasp, we would again often recommend a Milltek Sport exhaust or a Remus cat back. For a deep and powerful exhaust note we would recommend a Cobra Sport exhaust or a Scorpion Exhaust system.

It is worth noting that with a non-resonated cat back there can be a slight increase in cabin drone which is a trade-off for the extra exhaust noise outside of the car. We run all non-resonated exhausts in our demo cars here at VUDU Performance.

In Summary?

The difference between resonated and non-resonated exhausts put simply is noise level vs cabin drone trade off. Resonated more subtle and less cabin drone. Non-resonated considerable noise increases over stock and slightly more cabin drone as a result.

Hopefully this exhaust note guide has been helpful in your decision on how to proceed with your exhaust upgrade. Please contact our team if you do not see your model online, we have access to all makes and models worldwide.



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