If you’ve recently bought an incredible subwoofer for your SUV, you might be wondering where you should install it. Subwoofer placement can make a huge difference to the overall sound quality achieved by your system, so this guide will help you get the best sound out of your equipment.
One of the major advantages you have in an SUV is the more space available compared to other vehicles with smaller form factors. You can also create a better sound stage in an SUV due to the shape of the vehicle.
What do you currently have?
One of the things that’s most important about this decision is taking care of the components you are using. Regardless of where you position your subwoofers, they will sound better when they are mounted in a subwoofer box that gives them ample air space. You also need to be sure you are providing them with enough power to make a crisp and clear sound based on the factory recommendations. If you’re wondering if you should buy a 2-ohm Subwoofer or a 4-ohm subwoofer, check out our guide.
If you currently have a subwoofer box or enclosure for your subwoofer, you should determine if the box was designed for a specific position in your vehicle. Some subwoofer boxes are designed to sit along with the rear seats, and therefore have an angle to them. Other subwoofer boxes are designed to sit between the rear seats and the headlight assembly. If you don’t already have a box, this tip will not be relevant to you.
How much space are you willing to give up?
This is an important decision to make when installing a subwoofer in your SUV. The main reason people purchase SUVs is to haul more cargo or sports equipment than traditional sedans or coupes. Where you put your subwoofer can significantly decrease the amount of space available for hauling cargo. Subwoofer installation isn’t the best decision for everyone, so if you’re wondering about the pros and cons of subwoofers, we wrote a guide for you.
If you are looking to use less space in your cargo area, we recommend having the subwoofer between the rear seats and the headlight assembly on the side of your cabin. Note: This will not support larger subwoofers.
If you are willing to lose slightly more cargo space, the best position to mount a subwoofer box in your SUV is with the subwoofer/box firing towards the back of the vehicle, placed behind the rearview seats.
If you don’t really use the cargo space available in your SUV and you’re looking for the best place to put the subwoofer/box, you will get the best sound mounting the subwoofer in the cargo area, firing towards the rear tailgate. Ideally, you want to mount the subwoofer in a position about 5-10 inches from the back of the cabin. This will give you the optimal sound reproduction from the subwoofer.
General Positioning Advice
Given that a car or SUV is a very small space for sound systems, you will need to test different positions for the sound of your subwoofer. Every vehicle has a slightly different space, and this creates noticeable differences in the overall sound of the subwoofers and speakers you install.
Our general advice when it comes to subwoofer positioning in your SUV is to place the subwoofer in a place that the sound will reverb and travel longer distances before it reaches the main cabin, but not too far that it will become muddy or quieter. Sound waves have larger spread the farther they travel, therefore you will receive a wider and more immersive sound when the waves travel farther.
This is why we recommend having the subwoofer fire towards the tailgate if you are willing to allocate the space for it. In our experience, this gives the best sound quality in SUVs, but is also the most inconveinent.
Reverse Phase settings on an amplifier (or simply wiring the subwoofer in reverse polarity) reverse the polarity of the subwoofer to compress on the beat instead of expanding. This setting allows for more air space in the enclosure in some boxes. You might also find it to be more clear if the subwoofers are placed far away from the rest of the cabin. You should test this setting in your SUV to see if you have a preference.
If you have two subwoofers in your vehicle, it is possible to reverse the polarity on one subwoofer but not on the other. This technique is used by some auido professionals in larger rooms. We do not recommend doing this in your SUV because the space is typically not large enough to warrant doing so. This can also muddy your subwoofer’s overall sound when done incorrectly. You can try it out, but we haven’t found a good reason to do this on an SUV install.
Upfiring vs Sidefiring vs Downfiring Subwoofers
One of the other considerations you should make when installing subwoofers into your vehicle is the direction of the subwoofer firing. Some individuals fire the subwoofers up and swear that is the best sound in SUVs.
The alternative to this is to install a side-firing subwoofer. This is the most common for subwoofer installs, but I don’t mind either option. You should consider your space to determine what is possible and what isn’t. Personally, I think the best of both worlds is to put the subwoofer on a slight angle so that it is both side-firing and up-firing. Many subwoofer boxes will do this for you.
You can also down-fire the subwoofers in your vehicle. I don’t necessarily recommend this option because it is very tricky to make the install sound correct. If you are wondering about this option, it would be best to take your vehicle to an installation expert and receive their opinion, as it takes the right vehicle to make this solution work.
Installing subwoofers in your vehicle requires some trial and error with the position of the speakers. This is an important part of installing a new sound system, and when done correctly, it will make your subwoofer sound awesome. If you’re looking to install some incredible subwoofers in your vehicle, check out our guide to the best subwoofers.