Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer Of 2018 & Buying Guide

Upgrading a car audio system is not a difficult process as most people would imagine. Unlike before, the manufacturers of car subwoofers have flooded the market with different brands and sizes of shallow mount subs.

Those who are new to these sound drivers should know that shallow mount subs are a series of thin-line subwoofers that are engineered to fit small car spaces. The phrase “shallow mount” has much to do with the mounting depth.

The mounting depth is the clearance you need in the installation places for the best shallow mount subwoofer to fit properly. Different subs and speakers have different mounting depths. However, most shallow mount subs do have a small mounting depth.

Things to Consider Before Buying

Apart from fitting in small spaces and being compatible with most cars, shallow mount subs deliver a distinctive type of performance as well as portability. These speakers are unique when compared to conventional models.

Single or Dual Voice Coil – Which One Is Better?

Before we jump to the mounting depth, you should know that there are two types of shallow mount subwoofers based on the voice coil, which include a single voice coil woofer and a dual voice coil woofer. The single voice coil and the dual voice coil woofers are about the same depth.

BONUS TIPS: The more recommended of the two is the dual voice coil because it offers greater flexibility.

The final decision depends on your preference as far as subwoofer brands are concerned.

You should check to see if the subwoofer you are considering is recessed (appearing concave). It is important that a sub is recessed, because it will avoid the woofer hitting the back of the hid spot; whether it is underneath the seat or under the floor.

Therefore, you may want to look for flat-bottomed subwoofers that are recessed. Also, there are some models that are flat and they are not recessed, but they have a rubber surround that projects about half an inch.

Such shallow mount subs will not be so effective, regardless of the fact that the underside may be relatively flat. It all has to do with the enclosure. There are some enclosures that do not do so well with non-recessed woofers.

What about the Mounting Depth?

Shallow subs have become popular for fitting into tight car spaces. The one factor that is directly linked to thin-line subs is the mounting depth. Most manufacturers provide the mounting depth under the specs of a subwoofer.

It will be challenging for you to measure the mounting depth on your own simply because different subs have different size magnets. The angle of the enclosure and the diameter of the magnet are two important factors that are difficult for you to decide what the actual mount depth is.

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If you are to deduce the mounting depth on your own, then you have to measure the inside of the mounting enclosure. 

The measurements should be based in the middle of the box and not the top, bottom or at an angle. This will give you a rough idea of the mounting depth you should expect.

You really have to match your woofer to the mounting box. This way, you will know exactly the kind of subs that will fit without causing the sound driver to overheat. You should not just pick a 3-3/4-inch mounting depth just because it is categorized as shallow mount.

You have to consider the venting system of your subwoofers. Advanced models have the venting mechanism situated on the side, which is convenient. However, there are some models that have the venting system located underneath the woofer.

At times common sense plays a big role when shopping for shallow mount subwoofers. So, make sure the mounting depth will offer enough room for excursion once you install the sub into a car space or an enclosure in order for the woofer to burst as expected.

Efficiency and Performance of Thin-Line Subs

The best thin-line subwoofer is supposed to deliver deep, rich bass, and by working together with the rest of the sound system, it could cover every note of the musical spectrum. The sleek and thin-line design is definitely convenient, but performance may differ from one brand to another.

You should approach brands that have a good built quality. This refers to the individual performance features of a given subwoofer, including sensitivity, power handling capacity, impedance, and frequency response range among other things.

Shallow mount subs may have almost the same mounting depth, such as 3 to 4 inches, but the performance may vary depending on the size of the woofer. For instance, an 8-inch sub with a mounting depth of 3 inches may have a power handling ability of 600 watts peak and 150 watts RMS.

On the other hand, a 12-inch shallow mount woofer with a mounting depth of 4 inches may have a power handling ability of 1500 watts peak and 400 watts RMS. Therefore, the speaker size does definitely contribute to the power handling.

Top 5 Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer Reviews

1. JL Audio 10TW3-D4 Shallow Mount Subwoofer Review

Product Highlights

  • 10-inch shallow mount design
  • 24 Hz to 200 Hz frequency response range
  • 800 watts max, 100 to 400 watts nominal power handling
  • 1 dB sensitivity
  • 3-1/4-inch top mount depth
  • Cast alloy basket
  • Mica-filled polypropylene cone
  • Rubber surround
  • 519 Cu. Ft. Sealed enclosure volume

The JL Audio 10TW3-D4 sub features the most linear excursion casing of any shallow mount low frequency driver. JL designed this bass sound unit with a compact form-factor to solve the mounting problem presented by most models.

The construction of the woofer is based on the TW5 thin-line core technology, which provides an arrangement of excursion capability and shallow mounting depth. The injection molded cone build plays a bigger role of housing the concentric tube structure.

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The molded design extends above the edge of the system’s motor so as to support the spider structure on the exterior of the motor. The molded structure also supports the large breadth of the voice coil. Typical subs have the magnet surrounding the coils, but the magnet sits inside the coil in the JL Audio.

The sub’s amazing performance is realized by the synergic combination of 82.1 dB sensitivity level, a frequency response range of 24-200 Hz, effective power handling, and voice coil impedance of 4 ohms.

2. MTX Audio FPR12-04 Shallow Mount Subwoofer Review

Product Highlights

  • 12-inch shallow mount design
  • 800W max, 400W nominal power handling
  • Woofer cone made of molded polypropylene
  • Single 4-ohm impedance
  • 8 dB sensitivity
  • 22 Hz to 150 Hz frequency response range
  • 53-ounce magnet structure
  • 3-3/8-inch mounting depth

The MTX Audio FPR12-04 is the most preferred 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer. The unit is designed specifically for cars with limited installation spaces. This reimaged sub provides an incredible combination of high power handling and long excursion.

The design is made up of a 12-inch woofer with a molded polypropylene cone that is encased in a rubber surround. The cone material has a controlled breakup that offers a smoother and better frequency roll-off. The rubber surround is effective and promotes the high-performance of the sub.

The woofer’s heavy-duty design is suitable in tough car environments. Besides the protective surround, the polypropylene cone is protected by a light aluminum dust cap. It also features a spider plateau venting system that ensures the sub doesn’t run hot during intense sound reproduction.

The single 4 ohm impedance voice coil ensures that there is a reproduction of quality low frequency sound for your living room. The MTX Audio FPR12-04 requires 3-3/8-inch mounting depth, which fits into most limited car spaces.

3. Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 12-Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofer Review

Product Highlights

  • 12-inch shallow mount design
  • 3-3/8-inch mounting depth
  • Single 4 ohms impedance
  • 93 dB sensitivity
  • 1,500 watts max, 400 watts RMS power handling
  • 20 Hz to  125 Hz frequency response
  • 11-3/4-inch cut-out dimensions
  • Mica-injected resin cone
  • 65-1.0 Cu. Ft. Ported enclosure
  • 5-1.0 Cu. Ft. Sealed enclosure

The Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 is a well-built 12-inch shallow mount sub for limited car spaces. With a mounting depth of 3-3/8-inch, the unit will require relatively small installation car spaces and box volumes for both ported and sealed enclosures.

Pioneer experts engineered this sub to provide their far-reaching customer network with a better installation option for a variety of automobiles. The thin-line design is the first of the many benefits of this subwoofer.

The best way for a sub to reproduce deeper, louder, and better low frequency sounds is if it can sufficiently move air. The Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 oversized cone structure provides the standard surface required for producing deep bass.

The cone is also reinforced with mica-injected molded resin for durability and improved bass sound reproduction. The single 4-ohm impedance draws in enough current, which means more power, greater dynamic range, and louder and deeper bass. Generally, this is a high-performing sub for the money.

4. Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra-Shallow 10-Inch Subwoofer Review

Product Highlights

  • 10-inch shallow mount design
  • 3-7/16-inch top-mount depth
  • 82 dB sensitivity
  • 45 Hz to 250 Hz frequency response range
  • 400 watts max, 100-200 watts nominal power handling
  • Stamped solid-steel frame
  • Mica-injected polypropylene cone
  • Poly-foam surround
  • 4 Cu. Ft. Ported enclosure
  • 7 Cu. Ft. Sealed enclosure
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The Rockford Fosgate R2 is highly recommended for car owners with limited space for bass. Rockford designed this woofer to help you attain your desired low frequency sounds at unbelievably low price range.

This driver is very much capable of fitting in tight car spaces because of its raised motor design that minimizes speaker depth. The top mount depth measures 3-7/16 inches, which requires rather small sealed and ported enclosures.

The woofer features a mica-injected polypropylene cone, which is greatly damped and remarkably stiff. As a result, the cone contributes effectively to the well-defined bass sound response. The poly-foam surround ensures that the woofer is protected from any external elements.

Apart from the thin-line mounting depth, the sub is incorporated with stamp-cast baskets, which is installed with spider venting for cooling the motor during a jam session. Also, the sub is optimized for use with sealed boxes, even though you can use it with ported boxes.

5. Skar Audio EV-12 S2 12-Inch Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer Review

Product Highlights

  • 12-inch shallow mount design
  • 3-3/4-inch top-mount depth
  • 6 dB sensitivity
  • 2-inch copper voice coil
  • 500 watts peak, 200 watts nominal power handling
  • 20 Hz to 500 Hz frequency response
  • Pressed paper cone

The Skar Audio EV-12 S2 subwoofer is designed to provide you with an appropriate solution when you have limited bass space in your car. At an incredible shallow mount depth of 3-3/4-inch, the sub can be installed in a variety of cars with limited space.

What sets the Skar Audio EV-12 S2 sub from other types of subs is the fact that it is engineered and optimized for the best performance in tight spaces. It offers a remarkably high maximum and continuous power handling capability.

The engineering behind this design was aimed at developing a sub that was not only shallow mountable, but could also reproduce powerful and thundering low frequency sound. It is installed with a high-quality single stack ferrite magnet that delivers the required motor force when joined with the 2-inch voice coil.

As a bonus, the Skar Audio EV-12 S2 shallow mount depth allows you to use a slimmer enclosure. Consequently, you end up with a compact form-factor. With that said, you should look no farther than the Skar Audio EV-12 S2, when you are on the market for a 12-inch thin-line sub.

The Wrap Up

We have reached the end of our best shallow mount subwoofer reviews. We hope that we have expanded your knowledge base of thin-line subs. It takes more than just the mounting depth to decide whether or not a given thin-line woofer will work for you.

We advise you to know the exact size of your car spaces or enclosures before you begin shopping for a shallow mount sub. Getting the right mounting depth will leave enough room for maximum excursion and cooling of the woofer. Also, do not forget to go for brands with powerful and more effective thin-line subwoofers.

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