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Q&A about compact powered subwoofers

A Crutchfield Advisor talks underseat bass

W

e field lots of calls from customers who want more bass, but are tight on space in their vehicles. That's when we start suggesting compact powered subwoofers, also called "underseat subwoofers" because that's where a lot of people install them.

To help answer some common questions about these small subs, I sat down with Crutchfield advisor and car audio expert, Cam, and asked him about compact powered subwoofers. But I'll start the conversation with the easy question: 

What is an underseat subwoofer?

An underseat sub is a small subwoofer with a built-in amplifier, housed in a single, compact body. This all-in-one design makes it easy to shop for and install a bass system for your car — you don't have to match a separate amp and woofer and then figure out how to best wire them up.  

  • Jay from Bloomfield

    Posted on 2/23/2021

    Rear out or sub out on HU for pro bass SL2 ...and what slope would be best LPF also crossover settings would the cross over settings on HU interfere with the crossover on the pro bass Sl2 there no off on the HU for the subwoofer crossover .. just need the best settings

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/25/2021

    Jay, Use the sub out of your receiver for your subwoofer. Check out Tuning your subs for help with settings.
  • Amber

    Posted on 10/20/2020

    Do I need to connect both front and back speakers to an under seat sub?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 10/21/2020

    Amber, If you're talking about getting speaker-level inputs for a powered sub, you can use the front or rear speakers - you won't need both.
  • Timothy from Kuala Lumpur

    Posted on 8/31/2020

    Question: Can I wire 2x Alpine PWD-X5 Powered Sub-woofer directly to the new Alpine KTA-200M PowerStack mono amplifier that stacks with the Alpine iLX-W650 Headunit since I have some space issues in the vehicle? Does this add/improve on to the total Watt RMS and sound experience? I'm an average music listener with bass appreciation. For grounding, I believe it's needed to be grounded at the same area, can I ground it within a grounding distribution block along with my other amps and etc to eliminate the "noisy ground loop"? Please advise. Thanks! :)

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/1/2020

    Timothy, You should not connect an amplifier to powered subs. Each has an amp already built-in.
  • Omar from Bolingbrook Il

    Posted on 7/24/2020

    Can I install two of these in my vehicle?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/29/2020

    Omar, Yes you can.
  • Chip from Nashville

    Posted on 7/20/2020

    I think I have the answer from the comments, but just want to make sure. Can the "under the seat" powered subs be used in a vertical placement, like behind a pick-up bench seat? It appears that they can but just want to make sure that this would not greatly alter performance. Thanks for your time

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/28/2020

    Chip, I believe you can.
  • Brett Locklear from San Leandro

    Posted on 6/25/2020

    Hey i am in the process of building my cars sound system and i have a question so i have a 4 channel amp and new interior speakers on the way. And i really want to get 2 compact powered subwoofers to install under both front seats. How can i wire all of this together.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/26/2020

    Brett, Check out our Car amplifier installation guide for some guidance. You can treat the addition of two powered subs as adding two amps. You'll need a distribution block to handle all the power wiring.
  • Brendon from Pretoria

    Posted on 6/23/2020

    Thanks for the advice and info

  • William D Morrill from San Antonio

    Posted on 5/13/2020

    I am trying to find out if the Blaupunkt under seat 10" woofer can be run in my Wrangler and instead of one, I want to run two of them. Is that a simple install or could I run into a problem like wiring or power problems by running two? And if there are any potential problems, then what would I possibly need to get to avoid those. A capacitor or anything like that. Thanks in advance

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/13/2020

    William, If you can fit two of those subs in your Jeep, you can use a distribution block to divide power from the battery for the two subs, and Y-cord adapters and connections for their inputs. One problem that may pop up is a noisy ground loop, if the two subs aren't grounded at the same spot.
  • Todd from Bringhurst

    Posted on 4/13/2020

    I use a rockford powered 12" in the rear of my SUV, then added a compact powered 8 inch subwoofer under the passenger seat. The result was good as I was trying to bring more bass (not sub bass, I think it only plays down to 50 hertz anyway) to the front of the listening area but, the sounds really brought the focus to the right side where it was mounted. I think you really lose allot of sound quality around 150-750 hz when placed under the seat, and the ability to make tuning adjustments is difficult. I want to add a second left side channel and another compact powered 8 inch subwoofer, then move the location to the doors bolt mounting to the door next to the factory location of the 6.5" component speakers, with some major modification and fabrication to the door panels of coarse. Do you have any thoughts on this as far as sound quality? Also that's a lot of wire to run, is there an alternative way to pass through the door to the door jamb ? How about a component that can filter out sub sonic frequencies?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/13/2020

    Todd, The only way to know if a setup sounds good is to set it up and listen. The only way I know of to pass wire from behind the dash to door speakers is to follow the same path as the factory wiring.
  • PeterGomes from bogura

    Posted on 4/13/2020

    What a great article share. A great contribution especially for someone looking forward to buying a car subwoofer, amplifier and enclosure. If anybody wants to install a new one, this is the most effective share, that will be very helpful for best choice. Thanks a lot for the post.