The idea of placing a subwoofer in a cabinet comes when you either have limited space or want to free up space and keep your subwoofer out of sight. And yes it seems a great way to save space and it is also good to keep the sub in a safe space.
However, the question is it safe and can a subwoofer be placed in the cabinet? The short answer is yes as long as you have the right type and size of cabinet for your subwoofer. A cabinet with adequate interior space for all your components as well as made of material that will not interfere with sound quality or block off sound waves entirely.
The best type of cabinet for this purpose would be one made from MDF (medium-density fiberboard).
If you’re interested in finding out more about the cabinet, what to consider, and position of the subwoofer, and how to install it properly then keep reading.
Factors to consider when placing subwoofers in cabinets
While cabinets are a brilliant source/way to improve the room’s aesthetic but getting the best sound quality is also necessary. That’s why when you plan to place your sub in a cabinet there are a few considerations that should take into account.
One of the most important factors to consider will be the size of your subwoofer and cabinet. As I mentioned above the size of the cabinet should be enough that can accommodate the subwoofer, its cables, and other components(if there are any) without causing any restrictions or blockages.
This is very important because if the subwoofer is too large it might fit the subwoofer but there will be no airflow(will talk about this in detail below). And that might lead to overheating which can affect the subwoofer and its performance.
Things will be even more complicated when the subwoofer increases something over 12″ or more.
Along with the size of the cabinet material is another important factor that is also considered. Cabinets made from dense materials, such as MDF or hardwood, can help to reduce vibrations and resonance, which can negatively impact the subwoofer’s sound quality.
Some also prefer using plywood. If you’re interested in learning more about why MDF woods are the best and what speakers are made with there is a detailed video of Paul McGowan(PS Audio); you should watch it out.
On the other avoid you should any cabinet that is lightweight or thin, as they may cause vibrations and distortion.
Next ventilation is another key factor that can affect the subwoofer’s performance. Proper ventilation is crucial when placing a subwoofer in a cabinet. This means leaving enough room around the sides and back of the cabinet for air to circulate freely so that bass frequencies aren’t muffled and inhibited from resonating properly.
The cabinet is designed in a way that offers proper ventilation. For both driver and the subwoofer port, there is some space/airflow. If the cabinet is closed and does not offer much ventilation then you have to make holes.
Location of the cabinet
Above all the three points were how the cabinet should be and that is not all. Once you have figured out the right type of cabinet next factor is the placement/location of the cabinet which should also be correctly calculated.
For that, you have to experiment with different positions to figure out which location works best for you. But place the cabinet away from walls and corners to achieve the best performance.
Even after all you might still not get the best performance and where the acoustic treatments come in. Acoustic treatments, such as soundproofing materials, can be added to the cabinet to help absorb unwanted vibrations and resonance.
As this will remove unwanted vibrations and resonance and will improve the sound quality.
How to Install Subwoofers in a Cabinet?
Here we will see how you can install a subwoofer in a cabinet. Scroll ahead and explore the step-by-step guide to installing a sub in the cupboard.
Test the Room Acoustics
First of all, you need to test the acoustics of your room. You can do it by playing music etc., through your existing speakers.
While doing so, you have to notice where the response of the bass is high and weak because it plays an essential role in the placement and configuration of the sub inside a cabinet.
Get Your Measurements
Although some have specific rooms for keeping the subwoofers, only some have cabinets. But you are going to install it in a cabinet. That is why you must measure the cabinet size where you will put the subwoofer. If you order a customized subwoofer cabinet, measure the height, length, and width.
Design the Cabinet
You can design the cupboard according to your personal preferences. Also, you should tighten the screws carefully to let the sub work accurately without producing any unwanted vibrations. Moreover, try to choose a thick wood for the cabinet construction.
A dampening material is an effective solution to prevent vibrations between the cabinet’s wood and the subwoofer.
You can achieve it by placing a layer of vinyl or rubber between the subwoofer and the cabinet walls. The material will absorb the vibrations, producing a cleaner, more accurate sound.
Here you have to ensure that free space is enough to allow the passage of the wires. If it is not, then wires may cause severe damage.
So if wires are passing between the speakers and other devices, you can set up a piping system for their safe coverage.
Why Should You Avoid Putting a Subwoofer in a Cabinet?
Putting a subwoofer in a cabinet may be pleasing or can improve the overall look of your room. But there are three main reasons why you should avoid it.
Restricted Airflow: A subwoofer requires a specific amount of airflow for better performance. But putting it inside a cabinet will limit the airflow. Due to this, the subwoofer may overheat, damaging the internal components, and will only produce a partial range of bass frequencies due to a lack of proper ventilation.
Reverberations: When you place a subwoofer in a cabinet, its sound waves occasionally bounce, resulting in several reverberations. In this case, strange sounds appear, destroying your overall listening experience.
Rattles: It will be problematic if your cabinet is lightweight or of thin material. Displeasing rattles and buzzes occur when sound waves hit these light walls.
A subwoofer can be placed in a cabinet, but there are some considerations to keep in mind. Cabinet proper design, ventilation, and location/placement are a few of the important factors you should consider.
A cabinet should be large enough that accommodates the subwoofer well, made of good wood that can eliminate and absorb unwanted vibration and resonance, and delivers the best possible sound performance.
In addition, the cabinet also has proper ventilation and the use of foam and pads can also help to improve the subwoofer’s sound quality and reduce distortion.