Ask a Pro
Q. Can I Encase My Subwoofer in a Cabinet?
Encasing a subwoofer will compromise the sound. But here are some tips for making the best of a tight situation.
February 18, 2009 by Simon Scotland

Q. I have a Paradigm PW2200 subwoofer and would like to enclose it into a cabinet. Can I port it and speaker cover the front? - Charles, Ohio

A. Placing the subwoofer in a cabinet will compromise the sound. The sub may sound great sitting out in the open now, but that will likely change if it’s moved into the cabinet.

Here are some tips for your situation:

  • Make sure the subwoofer fits tightly inside the cabinet. You don’t want sound booming inside there. To limit this, you can pack acoustic material or insulation around the sub.
  • If the sub has a reflex port, you’ll need to attach a tight-fitting pipe that leads outside the enclosure. This will probably affect the sound of the sub too.
  • Make sure the cabinet’s front cover is secure. While it might be amusing to have the door fly open from an explosion in a movie, any rattling will drive you insane.

A better solution is to buy a subwoofer that is designed to be installed in millwork or walls. We like the iWS from NHT or any of the in-wall/in-ceiling subs from Triad. Since these subs are designed for this type of use, you won’t suffer from the acoustic changes.

In general, subwoofer placement is always a tricky issue. In an ideal world, room layout should dictate placement. The most basic technique involves placing the subwoofer in the sitting area and then walk around the room to find out where the bass sounds best. Move the subwoofer to that location. If that isn’t possible, try the subwoofer in all available positions and then pick the one which sounds best.

Many people and companies suggest placing a subwoofer in the corner of a room. This will certainly enhance the effect of the bass. However this can lead to too much bass which you then need to control. With bass there is always a “correct” level and a level which you prefer. Some people are just more into bass than others.

Related articles:
Feel the Power of Subwoofers
Buying the Right Subwoofer
The World’s Largest Subwoofer?

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Simon spent eight years in the feature film production. Upon leaving the industry he formed Beyond the Invisible in London UK which specializes in high end whole house entertainment systems, home theaters and lighting control and currently has a staff on ten. He is a certified CEDIA designer and avid collector of Citroen automobiles.

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