Muffler vs resonators? What’s the Difference? What’s inside a muffler?

Muffler vs resonators? What’s the Difference? What’s inside a muffler?

Posted by Sean@topspeed on 7th Mar 2023

What should a quality muffler look like on the inside? A good quality exhaust will contain a muffler containing various tubes, cavities, and materials to properly mitigate the unwanted sounds from the engine exhaust. Often times in this process, your stock factory muffler deadens the sound to the point where you can barely hear it at all, as well as limiting some of the performance from the engine. This is why many car owners choose to replace their factory exhaust, mufflers and/or resonators with aftermarket exhaust components that open up that exhaust flow which will increase the volume and enhance the overall sound of the exhaust while also increasing the overall performance of the engine.

A muffler is designed to be positioned near the end of the exhaust system in order to deaden the overall sound produced from the combustion engine. A muffler can contain a series of tubes, cavities, baffles to remove various high or low pitched frequencies from the exhaust sound as well as materials such as wool, minerals and fiberglass designed to deaden the sound. An aftermarket muffler will typically be designed to remove some of the baffles and restrictions from the muffler in order to allow the exhaust to flow more freely and breathe which, in turn, will also allow for more performance and horsepower gains. Many car owners actually delete their mufflers and/or resonators altogether in order to get maximum exhaust flow and maximum performance as well as a big weight savings. 

A resonator is like a muffler but is smaller and has a specific purpose usually to mitigate what we call “cabin drone,” which is a droning sound that can be heard and felt from inside the cabin and can be quite unpleasant to the driver and passengers. This is why you will typically see resonators positioned near the cabin area on the length of the exhaust and are positioned precisely to eliminate that annoying cabin drone. Sometimes you will even see dual or quad resonators depending on the make and model as well as the engine position on the vehicle. A rear-engine or mid-engine vehicle will typically not have resonators as the cabin is far enough away from the engine and exhaust.

You have heard the phrase “you get what you pay for!” This holds true for just about any purchase you make including aftermarket parts for your car. It is always good to do your homework before purchasing any aftermarket automotive parts, and if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is why we have put together a video to show you how our Top Speed Pro 1 exhaust mufflers are constructed and why you really do get what you pay for when you purchase an aftermarket muffler or resonator for your vehicle. All of our exhaust components are made from T304 stainless steel or grade 5 titanium which are among the absolute best materials available for exhaust systems. Many factory exhaust systems are made from lower grade steel or aluminum which is much cheaper to manufacture and ultimately will impact the longevity of the exhaust over time. This is why you see so many cars with rusted or corroded exhaust systems, especially in salt water climates or up north where salt is used on the roads in icy or snowy environments.

In conclusion, we hope this helps you to understand the difference between a muffler and a resonator and what purpose they serve. As always, thank you for reading our blog here and check back soon for more informative content from your friends at Top Speed Pro 1 Performance!