Shallow mount subwoofers are ideal for use where space is limited. At the same time, a subwoofer enclosure is important for optimum bass response. However, an enclosure increases the overall mounting depth of a subwoofer, yet a shallow mount subwoofer is meant for shallow mounting depth. As such, the question of whether an enclosure is important in a shallow mount subwoofer arises. Let’s discuss whether a subwoofer enclosure is important in the sound output of a shallow mount subwoofer.
Are Shallow Mount Subwoofers Powerful?
Although shallow mount subs are designed for installation in tight spaces, they’re as powerful as regular subwoofers. Modern sound engineering has made it possible to design compact, yet powerful shallow mount subs. Thus, if your car doesn’t have enough space to install regular subwoofers, you can still add bass using shallow mount subs. But will you still add a subwoofer enclosure? Read on to find out.
What is the Importance of a Subwoofer Enclosure?
Subwoofer enclosures are either ported or sealed. Ported enclosures are often larger as they need more air volume within the enclosure. Ported enclosures are ideal for louder and booming bass. On the other hand, sealed enclosures don’t require a lot of air space within them. Thus, they’re smaller and are ideal for tight bass.
Do you need an enclosure for a shallow mount subwoofer?
The answer to this question depends on where you want to mount the shallow mount sub. For instance, if you want to install shallow mount subs on your car doors, then you don’t need to install an enclosure. You only need to ensure the car door panels are treated with sound dampening materials. These materials will reduce road noise and car noise, thereby making your subwoofers sound better. Moreover, the air space between the interior and exterior door panels will work as an enclosure. Thus, you’ll only need to install a bare shallow mount subwoofer on your doors. After all, the door panels don’t have enough room for installing an enclosed subwoofer.
Similarly, if you’ll be installing a shallow mount sub on the back dashboard, then you won’t need to use an enclosure. The airspace within the dashboard will work as an enclosure. Also, the space on the dashboard wouldn’t allow for installing an enclosure.
On the other hand, if you’ll be installing a shallow mount subwoofer under the car seat, then you’d need to add an enclosure. In this case, you’ll find it more convenient to work with a sealed enclosure. Sealed enclosures can be made to be extremely compact. They don’t need a lot of airspace within them. You can also customize the enclosure depending on the available space under the car seat. That way, you’ll enjoy tighter bass.
If you want to install a shallow mount sub in your trunk, then you should add an enclosure to get decent bass. Mounting a subwoofer in the trunk without adding an enclosure will not give you a great bass experience. If the trunk has limited space, maybe due to luggage or the type of your car, install the sub with a sealed subwoofer enclosure as it won’t take much space in your trunk.
Subwoofer enclosures are important in the overall sound output of a shallow mount subwoofer. However, the available space in your car and the installation location will determine whether you’ll add an enclosure or not. If you’re installing a shallow mount subwoofer in the trunk or under a seat, then it’s advisable to add an enclosure, preferably a sealed one. If you want to install shallow mount subs in the car doors or back dashboard, then you won’t need to add an enclosure.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.