Skip to content

Free Air Subwoofer VS Enclosed Subwoofer

Free Air Subwoofer VS Enclosed You can imagine your pal driving across your neighborhood with the same spec of Chevrolet as yours but his is equipped with high-tech music equipment from the sound of it and you wonder what he had done to his car that is not in your own.



A simple discovery of what fantastic impact and value a subwoofer can add to anyone who wants to enjoy decent, accurate, sensuous and soul-touching music in their car will thrill you.

A subwoofer is a speaker that is specially designed to reproduce a low-frequency sound technically called bass. Pretty sure, you will want to invest in one for yourself, if you truly care for good music.

But then after deciding, you might be faced with taking a decision on which to choose between a free-air subwoofer vs enclosed for your car. Read on as what you’ll discover will give you more insight.



What Is a Free-Air Subwoofer?

A free air sub is a passive speaker-subwoofer that does not have a sub box. This type of subwoofer does not come with its own amplifier meaning that you will need to connect it to an external amplifier to power it to work.

A free-air subwoofer is a speaker-designed to sound well without the use of an enclosure. It is built to be mounted in the rear deck of a car and still sounds good.

You really have to get understanding of what a free air sub is before making a decision of whether you’ll surely need one in your car or not.

With this sub, you gain bass without losing space, it works in a more open-air environment by moving air more easily as it demands less power from the car system.

The subwoofer, in a free-air setup is usually mounted either in the rear deck or attached to a board placed between backseats of your car and the trunk.

A free- air is the most straightforward subwoofer mounting structure, yet it requires explicitly planned procedures. In a free-air arrangement, you can mount it either in the back deck or appended to a board set between the secondary lounges and the storage compartment.

You will enjoy using this as it requires less trunk space from your car since they are invisibly stocked. It is generally easier to use and most economical approach to add some bass in your car’s music without surrendering your valuable trunk space for a mammoth subwoofer stand.

free air subwoofer or enclosed subwoofer

Things you should know about a free air subwoofer?

One thing to remember is that when you are mounting a sub or a few subs in your back deck, you may consider changing some seating requirements.

It is usually recommended to utilize some stifling material like Dynamat or Hushmat in the storage compartment to get the desired improvement in sound execution.

You need not build a nook or box for your subwoofers. Since it utilizes the entire trunk as a crate what is preferable is that the storage compartment must be fixed and conceivable such that the sound waves from the back of the speaker won’t interfere with that in the front of the speaker to distort audition.

In this way, your vehicle may require another back deck board as well as a vent to be developed to accommodate these woofers. You need to note that as good and useful as utilizing a free-air sub is, it may bargain out sound quality somehow.

Also, anything that you place in the storage compartment may forestall it to sound in the same class as it was intended to, which might be a burden to the general utilization of your vehicle.

Getting to know some merits of this sub may curiously develop your interests. Ranging from the simple-to-assemble and install baffle system framework, smooth frequency reaction and the need for limited car space will endear you the more.



Much as it is great to learn of its good sides, the isolation of back waves from the front, constrained power handling and yield and the need to fix the storage compartment from the lodge give negative impressions to some users of the free-air subwoofers.

Others shortcomings may include loose and light bass which shows in its inability to deliver booming and earthshaking bass that is deep enough to thrill.

enclosed subwoofer vs free air

What is an enclosed subwoofer?

An enclosed subwoofer is the subwoofer caged or ported in a box to purify the sound effect, check-off unwanted noise while producing the real music as it is needed. Ideally, what a sealed sub rarely does is roar, thunder, or boom to give you the actual effects of the sound desired.

That’s because a sealed sub has very flat frequency response and tends to play tight, full bass that provides a low level frequency ported foundation to your music. Sealed or enclosed subwoofers are generally more compacted to fit in more vehicles.

There are generally two bass camps depending on which side you fall – those who like it “tight” and those who like it “boomy.” The style of bass you prefer ultimately depends on your personal taste and can even vary depending on the style of music.

The secret to which type of bass you’ll get lies in the type of subwoofer box you use. An enclosed sub box guarantees tight bass that booms and delivers the music just as you desire without compromising quality.


What are the features of enclosed subwoofer?

An enclosed subs for your car basically comes with some unique features such as an assurance of a louder and tighter bass with clarity of audio effects.

With a sealed box, there is no space for air to filter in or out of the subwoofer box. You either have a powered or passive enclosed sub.

A powered enclosed subwoofer comes with an inbuilt amplifier built within the subwoofer box. Thus, you won’t have to connect it to an external amplifier but can connect directly to the head unit.

However, the amplifier needs a power connection to the car battery to work effectively. On the other hand, an enclosed passive subwoofer requires a connection to an external amplifier as it does not have an inbuilt amplifier and needs no additional power connection.

This is designed to move more air on the outer surface of the cone and as such is able to reproduce tighter bass. Also, this sub is built to deliver booming bass and earthshaking bass to win a competition.



However, some of its shortcomings may include it occupying more space, high purchase price and its demand for more power to operate.

What is the differences between the two?

In a free-air setup, subs are usually mounted either in the rear deck or attached to a board placed between the backseats of a car and the trunk while the enclosed are carefully designed and mounted in an enclosure.

You will agree with us that a free-air subwoofer won’t sound by any means as good as a subwoofer mounted in a carefully-designed enclosure.

Practical appraisals conducted by us revealed that when setting your sound effect on ‘pop’ the former had more punch but sounded muddy while the later sounded better.

Setting the sound effect on “Rock” the enclosed subwoofer delivers more emphatic bass while the free-air sounds louder and far away from the melody of the music.

With the “Electro/Dance” mode, the free-air gives better and accentuated quality bass than the enclosed. And judging from “Classical” sound effect, the bass definitely sounded more natural with the free-air subwoofer than the enclosed.

The overall scoring is of the opinion that the enclosed subwoofer may definitely produce tighter and more accurate (mostly for the heavy bass) bass for some who may prefer it for listening to certain styles of music.

The enclosed gives accurate bass quality and hit on every note, keeping a perfect beat and renders the song appropriately melodious making it to flow with the original rhythm.

On the other hand, the free-air seem to fall out of tune as if something was missing from the song itself.


So which is better between an Enclosed vs free air Subwoofer?

The best option between the two will depend on your preference. Either option is great for certain preferences. For instance, if you want tight bass, booming bass, and the car space is not an issue, then you should go for an enclosed subwoofer.

On the other hand, if you have limited car space and are working under a tight budget then a free air sub would be your best bet.


Which one hit harder and produces more bass

Undoubtedly, enclosed can deliver louder, booming bass with more punch and reverberate than free-air subs.

This is easily achieved with a ported subwoofer box without using any additional sound equalizer or digital processor. This is due to the greater cone freedom of motion offered by enclosed boxes.


Do you really need a subwoofer?

The only way you are really going to get full rich-sounding bass from your car stereo is to add a subwoofer. Adding a sub to your audio system will greatly improve the fun and impact of your music no matter what kind of music you love to listen to.

Adding a subwoofer to your system will give your car stereo that extra kick it has been missing. A subwoofer will greatly extend your sound system’s bass response produced by your existing speakers and improves your music listening experience no matter what kind of music you are playing.

If you are a music lover with passion for state-of-the-art sound while traveling, an enclosed subwoofer or a free-air subwoofer system is your best bet depending on the available space on your vehicle.

While the free-air systems take up less space to deliver powerful performance in terms of sound quality and bass enhancements the enclosed takes more power to produce the loud volume as it roars, thunders, or booms to give you the desired sound effect.

While the free air is considered desirable for its simple-to-assemble, install baffle system framework, smooth frequency reaction and occupation of limited car space, with realistic expectations and some cleverness, an enclosed subwoofer system will become the investment of a lifetime which will be worth every penny.



Generally speaking, choosing either free air subwoofer vs enclosed depends on certain factors which include but not limited to your budget, type of car, space, battery size, your passion for music, and its efficacies.

To that end, the music you prefer to listen to is the key factor that will determine which type of bass and ultimately which subwoofer box type is suitable for you. If you have a question or comment leave it in the box below, we will be glad to hear from you.