Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best Subwoofer Boxes and Enclosures 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2019
Best Subwoofer Boxes and Enclosures of 2018
Based on customer reviews and my own experience with the cowboy method I’ve found the best 3 subwoofer boxes and enclosures on the market. Simply review and buy them. Many brands have introduced subwoofer boxes and enclosures on the market. These brands have resulted in a variety for the user. These require that the consumers be well aware of what they are buying so as to make the best choice. Now, let’s get to the gist of the matter: which are the best subwoofer boxes and enclosures for the money?
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this subwoofer boxes and enclosures win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this subwoofer boxes and enclosures come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
Why did this subwoofer boxes and enclosures take third place?
The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
Subwoofer Boxes and Enclosures Buyer’s Guide
The simplest type of subwoofer to design and construct, sealed subwoofers consist of a driver, an enclosure, and an amplifier; the driver is responsible for 100% of the system’s output.
The SVS SB13-Ultra, a compact yet powerful sealed subwoofer.
Overall system performance is a function of the driver’s Thiele/Small parameters and enclosure volume, which together will determine system Q and the system’s resonant frequency. Below the resonant frequency, sealed subwoofers typically feature a shallow roll-off of 12dB/octave, which also corresponds with relatively low levels of group delay and ringing in the deep bass.
Frequency response of driver X modeled in boxes with a Qtc (system Q) of 0.(critically damped), 0.70(optimally flat), and 1.0 (moderately underdamped).
As you can see in the graphs above, it’s possible to get a wide variety of response profiles from sealed subwoofers. The simulations above were achieved by simply varying box volume, with a Qtc of 1.0 being achieved in a small 54L box, 0.70in a medium sized 136L box, and 0.in a very large 525L enclosure. Subjectively speaking, lower Q boxes (0.70and lower) tend to be characterized as relatively tight, while high Q enclosures can be a bit boomy without equalization due to their response hump in the mid-bass range. On the other hand, one benefit of higher Q enclosures is that they offer a greater degree of protection for the driver against high-energy, low-frequency transients.
Excursion of driver X modeled in boxes with a Qtc of 0.5, 0.707, and 1.0, with 200W of power applied. Note that while a Qtc of 0.corresponds with a relatively extended response, there is a price to pay as this requires tremendous amounts of excursion at low frequencies.
Where sealed subwoofers are relatively simple devices, ported subwoofers add a bit of complication to the mixture, i.e. the port. On the upside, porting augments system output at the vent’s resonant frequency, which extends the subwoofer’s response and allows for substantially more output capability at the tuning point relative to a comparable sealed subwoofer.
The SVS PB13-Ultra is a deep-bass monster, but is substantially larger than its sealed brother.
However, below the tuning frequency, the driver is no longer loaded by the enclosure, and acts as if it is in free air. This results in a much steeper roll off rate of 24dB/octave relative to the 12dB/octave slope typical of sealed subwoofers; as a consequence, group delay is typically higher in ported models. In addition, below the tuning frequency, the woofer is in danger of over-excursion without appropriate filters for protection, which can further exacerbate problems related to group delay. Of course, like sealed subwoofers, many different response profiles are possible by varying enclosure size as well as port length vs diameter (larger enclosures and longer ports result in lower tuning points). It should also be noted that ported enclosures are typically much larger than their sealed counterparts.
Frequency response of driver X modelled in a maximally flat ported alignment and a BBported alignment. Relative to the maximally flat alignment, the BButilizes a smaller enclosure (221L vs 305L) but longer port, and achieves a broader “knee” at the low end.
Some folks may also be familiar with variable tune subwoofers, made popular by brands such as SVS and Hsu Research. In such cases, you have a subwoofer with multiple ports, one or more of which can be plugged to lower the system’s resonant frequency. This in turn changes the system’s frequency response profile, and adds a bit more work for the woofer. In addition, with one port open versus two, port air speed increases dramatically, increasing the possibility of chuffing.
Frequency response for driver X when modeled with two ports open resulting in a maximally flat alignment, and one port open offering an extended response.
Excursion of driver X in maximally flat two-port mode vs one-port mode with 200W of input power. In one-port mode, the woofer must dig deeper before the port begins contributing, increasing its excursion requirements. Note in both cases below tuning, excursion goes off the charts quickly.
If you’re looking for something that won’t require you trying to be handy, the Vehicle-specific subwoofer is the best solution. These subwoofers are mounted into a pre-made enclosure that is designed for the particular car model. Also, they are made to match the interior of the car. The downside to these subwoofers, they are not producing big, loud bass.
These are a great option if you’re looking for something convenient that will save you some time. Enclosed subwoofers are already mounted into a perfect enclosure for said subwoofer. You will need an amplifier to power it, though. The downside to enclosed subwoofers is the reduced choice options.
These subwoofers are mounted in a compact enclosure and powered by an amplifier. Powered subwoofers sound great, and they are effective when it comes to producing bass. However, as they are mounted into a compact enclosure, they don’t have a lot of power to produce window shaking bass.
These are the subwoofers we covered in this article. They are just the speaker itself, without enclosure or amplifier, you are the one who pick out both the enclosure and the amplifier. The component subs come in different sizes, varying from inches to 1inches, and you can choose from a pretty wide variety of subs. These are perfect if you want to personalize your car stereo system.
The size of the woofer
Subwoofers come in sizes varying from inches to 1inches. In theory, larger subwoofers produce louder bass. However, size is not the only factor when it comes to performance, so don’t undervalue the small-sized subs.
Sensitivity rating, type of enclosure and power handling capability also greatly impact the performance. Every subwoofer can produce amazing sound if it is positioned well, and powered well. But if you want something that will shake your car, you should go for the bigger-sized woofer.
The two most important ratings are Continuous power handling (RMS) and peak power handling. Peak power is important, but RMS power is the one you need to pay more attention to. RMS represents how much power a subwoofer can handle continuously for long periods of time. Peak power handling tells you how much power a subwoofer can handle for short periods of time, so try not to base your choice on that number.
This is the effective resistance of an electric circuit to the current flow, and it is measured in ohms. Most subwoofers are rated at Ohm impedance, but there some subwoofers rated at Ohms and Ohms. One more thing is very important, a subwoofer and an amplifier both need to have the same impedance rating in order to work when combined.
Under seat subwoofer: Small, but Significant Advantage for Stereo Systems
Subwoofers are audio speakers used to reproduce low frequency audio known as bass. Bass and treble is the usual audio frequency referred most of the time. Frequency range for sub woofer in professional speakers in less than 100 Hz whereas for home audio systems it can be from 20 Hz to 200 Hz. Subwoofers are usually enclosed in wooden casing to withstand high pressure. They also have their own amplifiers to amplify the frequencies. Equalization and phase control is also provided so that the user can fine the audio sound to suit the surrounding and match to woofers for corrective actions. Servo sub woofers are another type wherein a servo feedback is taken into consideration in the subwoofer. The feedback is of the input to amplifiers and cone movement.
When you have an audio system with amplifier inbuilt and you only need subwoofers to fine tune the bass frequency, then you go for plain subwoofers. The amplification which is to be done is done by the amplifier on the audio system and subwoofers just send out the bass frequency. These are cheaper since, the circuitry for amplifier is not needed.
It has an inbuilt amplifier which power itself and sends out the frequency tuned to. The quality of sound from these types of subwoofers is superior than the plain subwoofers. The bass is very good and these are easy to install. You don’t have to know its working and only bring it, install it and it’s ready to use. They are little costlier, but they are worth the sound they give out.
It is essential to have an enclosure for all the under seat sun woofers to prevent them from any kind of damage. There is dust present, while cleaning water may seep in, or they can be damaged by any mechanical shock that the car gets or simply if anyone sitting doesn’t know about the subwoofers and kicks in while adjusting seats or randomly. Hence, it is always advisable to have subwoofer enclosures. Subwoofer enclosures also have a part to play in the performance of the subwoofers, whether it is powered suubwoofer or plain subwoofer.
Subwoofer enclosures come in various shape and size, different material, etc.
Sealed Subwoofer Enclosure
This is by far the simplest, easy and less complicated custom subwoofer boxes out there to construct thanks to the fact that there is no port to fine-tune. It basically consist of an enclosure, a driver and a decent amplifier. Among the three components of a sealed box, the driver is probably the most important of all because it is solely responsible for the quality of the system output after being properly assembled.
Not only are they the simplest to build, they also happen to be the smallest in size and leaves little or no footprints where it is being installed. Because of their small carbonate nature, they are often the right choice for use in combination with some of the best and highly rated shallow mount subwoofers.
Their Strong Points
There are some specific scenarios that this type of enclosure design outshines all other types out there and one of those instances is where you are seeking to achieve crisp and accurate musical tunes and note from your car speakers. A well-built sealed box will enhance less phase rotation, compact ringing in the time domain and lower group delay which all together makes the unit to deliver crisp and accurate musical notes that are pleasing to the ear.
Another area that sealed enclosure exhibit great strength over the ported designs is in the area of reproducing low frequencies. You see, the air that are trapped inside the sealed box act as shock absorbers thus enabling the subwoofer installed in it to perform its forward and backward vibration-kind-of-movement with much control thus enabling sealed enclosure boxes to better reproduce low frequency signals accurately than the ported box model. Do note that achieving the same result with a ported box will require more power as supplied by the amplifier through the subwoofer.
How to upgrade your car’s subwoofers and amplifiers
We’ve previously spoken about how to upgrade your car’s head unit and speakers. In this article We’ll go deeper and set you up with a next-level audio system, complete with separate amplifier and a subwoofer.
What we can’t do is guide you step-by-step on how to install it all – there is a lot of work involved, including removing interior panels and carpet, wiring up fuses and grounds, running new power and speaker cables, mounting the amp and sub, and then tuning it all so that it sounds schmick. Now, these things can be done faster and neater (and with a warranty) by professionals, so we recommend deferring to them rather than undergoing this yourself.
If you’re a mad-keen DIYer, though, you can find plenty of guides online, including this article from Crutchfield or this YouTube video by Geek Squad. We’d also recommend looking for forums specific to the make or model of your car to help with any specific cases.
Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way100W RMS In-Wall Speakers
Relatively easy to install, this is one of the most popular and affordable in-wall speaker models irrespective of brand.
Polk Audio RCi series in-wall speakers are capable of great overall sound performance and are most suitable where higher volumes and great bass response are required. The RC85i uses a rather massive 8-inch mid-bass blue polymer driver with Infinite Baffle tuning, capable of delivering rich bass irrespective of the wall you put them in.
These speakers come with a removable and paintable grill and are timber matched to Polk Monitor, TSi and OWM series speakers.
What you need to know
One issue many come across when design a home theater is surely that of speaker placement, or rather how the many different audio speakers associated with today’s 5.and 7.1-plus multi-channel audio systems are going to impact the overall home theater room decor.
Well, it is here that in-wall and in-ceiling speakers provide suitable alternatives to free-standing conventional speakers in both the home theater and in multi-room home entertainment.
Up to not long ago, this hidden-sound technology did not perform well especially in multi-channel 5.music listening and home theater applications. Stereo sound has always been much easier to satisfy with in-wall and in-ceiling speaker systems.
But things have changed…
Today, you can conceal specially designed speakers in walls and in ceilings while still enjoying really good quality sound — though not to the same extent as is possible with conventional free-standing speak systems for the same capital outlay.
In-Wall and In-Ceiling Speaker Basics
In-ceiling and In-wall speakers work like conventional speakers except that they do not come with a cabinet. Instead, they are mounted on a specially designed frame to allow the speaker to be canceling in the wall or ceiling. In this way, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers use the wall or ceiling cavity as a large cabinet. This explains why they tend to deliver more bass especially when not mounted in a suitably designed back-box. However, if you are after the best sonic performance with in-wall speakers, it is not recommended to leave the back box out of your equation when planning an in-wall or an in-ceiling speaker installation.
The problem with in-wall speakers is that you will never know how your concealed speakers will sound until you install them. It is true that some ceiling and in-wall speaker systems come with dedicated bass and treble tone controls to help you better tune your speakers once installed with the rest of your speaker setup.
The presence of a back box designed specifically for your selected in-wall or in-ceiling speaker will do a lot more to control your in-wall speaker or ceiling speaker performance. The back box gives you better control over resonance, while maintaining the correct tonal balance with the rest of your home theater speakers; the latter is fundamental to achieve a unified soundfield in multichannel audio.
In-Wall THX UltraLCR Speaker
Equally important is that high-quality in-wall speakers can be especially expensive in comparison to traditional home theater speakers. A case in point is the
Mind you, this Atlantic in-wall speaker is a state of the art speaker. It is a THX Ultra speaker capable of handling 200W continuous power and comes with an enclosed midrange that can be rotated up to 90 degrees and tilted by up to degrees to better direct the sound towards the listening area. The latter is an extremely important feature when working with in-wall speakers as it gives added flexibility to your in-wall speaker placement.
In-ceiling home theater speakers suffer from a major acoustical disadvantage over both in-wall and conventional free-standing speakers, namely that of firing directly at the floor. This acoustical disadvantage would be further enhanced by a bare floor. Some in-ceiling speakers such as the Polk TC80i shown here use a tilted speaker to direct more of their sound towards the listener.
This floor-firing characteristic limits the use of in-ceiling speakers to general audio applications in offices and whole-house installations rather than in multichannel speaker setups in the home theater. Their use in the home theater is rather limited as rear surrounds rather than as front speakers.
Choosing your Speakers
The process of selecting your in-ceiling or in-wall audio speakers follows on the same footsteps as conventional speakers — especially when it comes to power handling, speaker sensitivity, speaker frequency response, etc.
As with free-standing speakers, concealed speakers come designed with different speaker characteristics to match the requirements associated with the different applications. For example, it is one thing using speakers for the main fronts and another using speakers for the surrounds. In other words, ensure that the speakers you choose are designed for your specific application.
Equally important is where you plan to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Do you have enough clearance to allow for an in-wall speaker installation? Check the speaker dimensions first.
Klipsch RW580300W Dual 8″ Passive In-wall Subwoofer
This passive premium Klipsch in-wall subwoofer comes in an integrated sealed enclosure for best performance. It is a rather expensive subwoofer that is best powered by the specifically designed Klipsch subwoofer amplifier.
PDIWS2Dual 8-inch passive in-wall subwoofer
An inexpensive alternative option that can do a lot towards enhancing the bass in your home theater; this Pyle passive in-wall subwoofer comes with a 250W continuous power rating and has relative good bass response for the price.
The best way to complement the sound of ceiling and in-wall speakers is to use a dedicated subwoofer. Rather, while with full-size free-standing tower speakers, you may do away with a dedicated subwoofer, this is not the case with in-wall and in-ceiling speaker installations. In these circumstances, the use of a dedicated subwoofer helps produce a fuller, more realistic sound.
In-wall subwoofers are readily available though these generally come as passive subwoofers. One such option is the Klipsch dual 8-inch in-wall subwoofer featured on the right. This is a rather expensive premium option but cheaper options such as the Pyle PDIWS2can still do a lot (though not to the same extent) towards enhancing the bass in your room for much less.
However, a free-standing option should not be an issue when it comes to subwoofers. Most powered subwoofers are small enough to be placed behind your couch. One main advantage of subwoofers with respect to the rest of your home theater speakers is that subwoofer placement is not critical. In other words, you can almost literally hide your subwoofer away from site without affecting sound performance.
Compact Form Factor
Sealed subwoofers typically have a smaller overall cabinet size and footprint, allowing easier integration into the listening environment with minimal visual impact to the décor. This makes the sealed subwoofer a natural choice in mixed media (movies, music, gaming) entertainment systems so common in today’s living rooms.
Sound Experts Support
SVS products are backed by lifetime technical support from our Ohio-based Sound Experts. Curious about our in-home trial, choosing the best speaker or subwoofer, room placement, AV receiver settings or something else? We’re available days a week.
Is a radically thin subwoofer that Pioneer had developed with its latest subwoofer technology. This product is designed to keep the voice coil of the speaker aligned well while the car is moving. It is consist of Air Suspension Control System that locks the air between the main cones and drive cone.
So when the cones come together, the air is locked in which then acts like a spring resulting to consistent bass sound with accurate movement and powerful end notes. The build of this subwoofer is made to be durable and is able to withstand heavy sound without destroying or deteriorating the quality of the sound.
MTX Audio FPR12-04
Our next contender is one of the best subwoofers produced by MTX Audio. This sub creates a healthy combination of its features and great sound quality that you need in a subwoofer. It is designed to be thing but can definitely produce great bass in your car even if your space is limited.
This is only about 3.3/inches deep so it can be mounted in a small enclosure of your choice. It handles about 400 watts RMS and is able to deliver a great performance compared to any other subwoofers you have used.
When it comes to durability and quality, this subwoofer is pretty well-designed, in fact, it is a unique piece of sound system. For one the cone is not attached to the spider so it makes the cone movement easy to control. It also gives you a curved design that connects to the surround system.
Furthermore it is well-engineered and allows the air to move freely so it generates higher sound pressure levels. It also features the Spider Plateau Venting which circulates air to the voice coil and helps eliminate the sound distortion which can be produced during excessive heating.
Jl Audio 10tw3-dShallow-mount 10
For our first subwoofer, JL audio surely knows how to get things done. This subwoofer is designed with very shallow mounting depth of 3.2to 3.50 inches in measurement. It is also designed with long linear excursion capabilities and patented concentric tube architecture.
The frames are made of cast alloy so you know that this is durable yet light. It is designed with a combination of rugged polypropylene cones so the movements are reduced while the rubber around it allows long lasting movement.
The vents have no pole which makes mounting particularly close to the rear wall of its enclosure.
For our next subwoofer, we give to you the Alpine Swr-t1This may be a bit expensive for your taste but we assure you that it is worth every penny. For one the sound quality of this product is very consistent and there is practically no degradation in its performance.
It is designed to have high power handling and low-profile so as a result, it gives you the best bass. It can also fit into small spaces so you don’t have to worry about installing it. The depth of this subwoofer is about ½ inches but the cone is designed to be as long as it’s counterparts.
Number of Voice Coils
The best free air subwoofers have dual voice coils for more flexibility in the wiring of car woofer systems. The subwoofers that use dual coils come with separate connections and are mounted on the same cylinder.
The debate about the size of subwoofers deciding the volume of sound production has been considered many times. There are other factors that affect the productivity other than size are enclosure type, sensitivity, and power availability. The ultimate goal is the quality of sound and its volume, regardless of the size.
The short answer to your question is “Yes”, speaker enclosure size does affect the audio quality. That size, however, depends on a multitude of factors including the type of enclosure, properties of the driver, the enclosure material, the shape of the enclosure, quality of craftsmanship, etc. Speaker manufacturers spend endless hours calculating and measuring the effect of these changes to produce the flattest possible response over the widest frequency range. While a full primer on speaker enclosure design is well beyond the scope of this QA, there are many DIY websites that provide quite good information.
Given the enormous variety of speaker enclosure shapes and designs, there is clearly no one correct answer as to what produces the best sound. For example, the Bowers and Wilkins “Nautilus”.
In the broadest sense, all else being equal, certain, larger dimension enclosures with certain HxWxD ratios can enhance specific low frequency characteristics. The primary mechanism for this is when a driver moves forward to produce a sound wave towards the listener, it must also return to neutral, thus producing a sound wave 1800 out of phase. If this wave were allowed to propagate around the room back to the listener it would result in distortion and phase cancellation. This is mostly a problem for lower frequencies, and may manifest as “gaps” or “smearing” of the bass. In order to prevent this, the out of phase wave is contained within the enclosure.
But all is not equal.
If the answer was “They do,” companies such as Quad, Martin Logan and Magnepan would have been out of business a long time ago. By eliminating the enclosure entirely (they do have a frame, but nothing that “encloses” the drivers), they avoid the problems caused by the enclosure itself (and thus eliminate the R&D costs associated with trying to perfect the enclosure, see Raidho and Magico above).
These manufacturers produce what are collectively called “electrostatic” speakers. The basic principle is this: a VERY thin (1microns) charged diaphragm is stretched between two large, perforated metal sheets called stators. The stators then have voltage applied across them from the amplifier, thus moving the diaphragm. This movement creates the sound wave. Because most electrostatic speakers are quite wide, the speaker itself acts as a physical barrier for the out of phase low frequency sound waves. While electrostatic speakers have their own set of problems, an enclosure is not one of them.
Paradigm’s Prestige™ Series: Respect for the Original Source
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Subwoofer Boxes and Enclosures wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Subwoofer Boxes and Enclosures
- №1 — BBox E12SV Single 12″ Vented Carpeted Subwoofer Enclosure
- №2 — BBox E12S Single 12″ Sealed Carpeted Subwoofer Enclosure
- №3 — ASC Single 12″ Subwoofer Universal Fit Vented Port Sub Box Speaker Enclosure