Free Air Subwoofers
By Seth Wilde. – Product Specialist
Sometimes deep bass doesn’t require a large, accurately tuned enclosure. Although the majority of car subwoofers in the 12-Volt industry are designed to be mounted in boxes to achieve optimal sound quality, there are select types of subwoofers that are exempt from this rule. They are called Free Air subwoofers. While the sound quality is typically not as responsive and deep as a well tuned subwoofer enclosure, the bass response can still be accurate, crisp, and clean.
These Free Air subwoofers are traditionally designed to be mounted behind the rear seats of a car, on the rear deck of the trunk. While the subwoofer itself is not installed in enclosure, the trunk itself acts as the box. This is the main premise behind the free air subwoofers. The space behind the woofer acts as the box. If the woofers are installed in a door panel, then the door becomes the enclosure. This can make the installation easier because a custom box does not need to be built. However, this also means that the sound of the subwoofer can change as items are placed in these areas. For example, if a free air subwoofer is mounted on a rear deck of a car, the sound quality will change as soon as a large suitcase is placed in the trunk. Once the suitcase is removed, the sound will change again and adjust to a larger airspace.
The Kicker Comp subwoofers, like the Kicker 10C124 are a great example of a free air subwoofer. No need for a specific box, just put the subwoofer where you want and hear the bass. Kicker designed these subwoofers with the intent to have them installed in either an enclosure or without a box. With the right amplifier, the Comp subwoofers are a perfect way to upgrade the factory subwoofer on the rear deck of your car!