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Subwoofer Placement and Pointing

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Forum Name: Car Audio
Forum Discription: Car Stereos, Amplifiers, Crossovers, Processors, Speakers, Subwoofers, etc.
Printed Date: August 09, 2022 at 2:18 AM

Topic: Subwoofer Placement and Pointing

Posted By: bigred948
Subject: Subwoofer Placement and Pointing
Date Posted: December 29, 2006 at 12:09 PM

Hey everyone.  After much lurking, this is my first post. 

I've done a ton of searching about subwoofer installs.  I've read the article on as well as about 100 posts asking "How should I point my subwoofers?"  My question is a little more involved than what I've found.

I'm currently in the planning stages for my first fiberglass enclosure build.  The enclosure will house a single 10" sub.  I am going for a functional and space saving design.  Asthetics or "showing off my goods" is not a priority.  This is to be installed in my econo commuter, a 95 honda civic vx hatchback on the passenger's side trunk area.

On to my question.

In positioning the subwoofer, is there such thing as being too close to the back of the trunk/hatch?  I've created a (crappy) mock up of the speaker (paper plates and computer paper, yay!) and am looking for the optimal placement and direction.  The Hatchback itself is more of a wagon, so would tilting the speaker up be any better than having it rear facing in a more linear fashion?

Here are some pictures to clarify:

Hatchback Side View:

Full Trunk

Passenger's Side

Maximum Rear Position, Facing Rear

Mid Rear Position, Facing Rear

Max Rear Position, Facing Rear Corner

Max Rear Position, Facing Trunk

Which of these would be optimal?  Are there better choices? Any and all input will be appreciated.




Posted By: xraytriguy
Date Posted: December 29, 2006 at 8:27 PM

Unfortunately, I can't see your pics.  After trying to imagine what your hatchback looks like (and googling some images of other 95 Civics), here is my humble opinion:

There is a thing called "cabin gain".  Your car has a HUGE amount of it.  It's the volume increase affected by sound being produced in a small enclosure - your car's cabin.  For example, 100 watts from a certain subwoofer placed 4 feet from the driver's seat playing in a 2006 Ford Expedition would not be nearly as "loud" as 100 watts from the same subwoofer also placed at 4 feet from the driver's seat in your 1995 Honda Civic. 

There is an advantage to having a car with an angled rear window, ie: a hatchback.  If you were to place your subwoofer so that it would face that angled window, the "wedge" shape created by the window and the roof of the car will act as a "horn" which should further extend the ability of the subwoofer (not sure if this increases only SPL or if it in fact deepens the sub's bass response).  Therefore, I would suggest you turn the subwoofer to fire at the rear hatch window and then revel in the smallness of your car!

I'm not an expert at this, so I could be entirely off base.  I formed this opinion by reading these forums and other install-specific sites.  I responded to this mainly because I'm also trying to discover the best set-up for my car (2005 Suzuki Aerio SX) and would appreciate anyone else's opinions or corrections to mine.  Thanks!

Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: December 29, 2006 at 10:03 PM

I don't know why you can't see my pictures.  Can someone else please chime in and let me know if my pictures are viewable?  Thanks.

As far as the hatchback is concerned, The civic hatchback glass is very vertical. Much like a wagon.  Would a slight angle upwards be better than running on a line parallel with the floor?

I'm am definately excited about adding a bottom end to my system.  I hope it turns out as well as you say it will.


Posted By: wretchedunloved
Date Posted: December 30, 2006 at 2:45 AM
I can see your pictures.  I can't help much with your question, just wanted to let ya know the pictures are working for me.  Best of luck!

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2

Posted By: mike12volt
Date Posted: December 30, 2006 at 8:45 PM
I would build a temporary mdf square box and hook it up.
Then play and turn the box with sub in any possible direction and listen for the best possible sound from your sub.

Posted By: 67sat
Date Posted: December 31, 2006 at 12:26 AM
I own a '90 Civic.  Go to this website  Scroll down & select "Tech Pages".  The very first topic at the top of the page is titled "Aiming your woofer box".  This guy conducted these tests using oscilloscopes, RTAs, all the toys to do it right.  After reading his articles (parts 1 & 2).  I had no futrher questions about which way to aim mine.  Hope this is helpful.

Posted By: 67sat
Date Posted: December 31, 2006 at 12:27 AM
And yes, I can see your pics

Posted By: xraytriguy
Date Posted: December 31, 2006 at 5:51 PM

That's a cool site - good link.  It changed my mind about where to place my subs... 

I figured out why I can't see your pics - I've been accessing this site from work for a while and the security settings didn't allow it.  From home, I saw the images perfectly.  Nice mock-up for the sub - more people should think like you and do that kind of thing.

Good luck!


Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: January 01, 2007 at 7:37 PM

67sat] wrote:

o to this website

Thanks, Check my 1st post.  I've already read that article. My differences are A) I have a hatchback, there is conflicting information between leaving a speaker linear, and poiting it towards the glass area.   B) How far can "all the way back" be?  Do I need to leave any room (3-6") or just enough so that the sub doesn't hit the side when it engages?

Thanks for your help.

Posted By: 90s civ and sub
Date Posted: January 02, 2007 at 5:06 PM

BTW -  67sat let me use his login until I got my account established, which I have, so I'm actually the individual who replied to your issue, earlier.

What I have in my Civic (DX hatchback) is my box (14x9.5x9.5) pushed up against the back seat, sub facing the taillights.  I didn't angle the sub toward the window because I kept my cargo cover installed & my sub is @ 16" from the rear of the hatch.  I've faced the sub both front and rear to hear what was best.  Facing the taillights, was the hands-down winner. 

I don' t set the box "all the way" back to the taillights because that's not where I'm going to run it.  Spacing?  If you're going ported, I'd place it no closer than 1 port diameter to any wall.

For my next enclosure, I plan on building a larger enclosure extending from the rear of the back seat to the rear edge of where our strut towers are mounted, leaving between 14-16" to haul stuff.

Parting note:  I'm currently running a Kicker 6.5" sub (f6.5a) in a ported box.  The cabin gain in our little vehicles is impressive!! Good luck.


90 Civic DX Hatchback- 135 amp alternator
92 Suburban - 200 amp alternator

Stereo rebirth, coming soon. . . .

Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: January 02, 2007 at 6:55 PM

Thanks much.  I'm glad to hear that your system turned out well. 

My box building information quest is because I have a similar situation to yours.  I want to minimize the impact on the ability to carry cargo.   That's why this box will be glassed around the passenger strut tower, taking up as little usable space as possible while optimizing the placement. 

It looks like I'll install the speaker facing straight back, with 3" or so clearance to the back of the vehicle.Enough so that nothing will hit it, but it'll be tucked away.

If  anyone has any insight on angling the speaker up towards the back glass, I'd love to hear what you have to say.   I should still have clearance to point the speaker in that direction while leaving the cargo cover installed.

An additional question:  Can part of the enclosure reside in front of the sub?  can that space be counted towards the total volume of the enclosure?  Any drawbacks?


Posted By: stevdart
Date Posted: January 02, 2007 at 7:43 PM

This is more work and a bit more expense, but your best bet is to build a mock-up MDF box of the same cu ft as your intended permanent enclosure.  You might build it along the lines of this example so that you can experiment with aiming and tilt.  Find what sounds best to you, and works with the rest of your system...which may or may not be the loudest it can be!

You can then sell the box to a friend.



Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.

Posted By: haemphyst
Date Posted: January 02, 2007 at 9:09 PM
Is that a growler from Stone Brewing Company?

It all reminds me of something that Molière once said to Guy de Maupassant at a café in Vienna: "That's nice. You should write it down."

Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: January 03, 2007 at 9:45 AM
stevdart wrote:

This is more work and a bit more expense, but your best bet is to build a mock-up MDF box ...

Very very true.  I'm pretty sure I will go this route.  I'm in no hurry to complete this project, and a couple of Pieces of MDF would give me some practice as well. 

Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: January 03, 2007 at 9:51 AM

haemphyst wrote:

Is that a growler from Stone Brewing Company?

Nope, it's a growler from Stoddard's Brewhouse in Cambell / Sunnyvale.  They're no longer in business.  I keep 1 growler (or 3, there's 2 wrapped in the towel) in the car for when I pass one of my favorite watering holes :)

Moylan's in Novato
3rd St Aleworks in Santa Rosa
Schooners in Antioch
Faultine in Sunnyvale

Good eye though!

Posted By: haemphyst
Date Posted: January 03, 2007 at 10:59 AM
I remember Stoddards... Sad loss, indeed. Down here in Bako, we have Old River...   mmmmmm Old River... But Stone Brewing is one of my all time favorites! Schooners is good too, and I vaugely remember getting to Faultine once, on a visit to my brother's house. I'll have to remember the other two, and tell my bro we need to do a brewery crawl, next time I'm in the area.

It all reminds me of something that Molière once said to Guy de Maupassant at a café in Vienna: "That's nice. You should write it down."

Posted By: bigred948
Date Posted: January 03, 2007 at 4:11 PM

I just did a quick sketch of the test box I'll be building.  sorry for the crap quality I took a picture with a cameraphone.

this will give me 0, 45 & 22.5 degree angles to test with.


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