What Is A Free Air Subwoofer? A Complete Guide On This Kit

The subwoofer is the perfect upgrade for quality bass in your entertainment system. Today, many people have started to learn open air subs to break down the space barrier compared with traditional woofers. So, what is a free air subwoofer?

This type of subwoofer does not require installation in the cabinet, thanks to its special design.

The typical mounting position you’ll often find on a dashboard is mounted in the trunk of a car or through a car’s rear package shelf. Cutting down on a large box will leave you a lot of precious free space.

To learn more about the definition, how it works, and the advantages of this device, continue reading the article below.

What Is A Free Air Subwoofer?

What Is A Free Air Subwoofer - Opened subwoofer

Opened subwoofer

An open-air subwoofer is essentially a passive speaker-subwoofer that doesn’t come with the box.

This unit also does not come with its own amplifier. To power it up, you’ll need to connect an external amplifier.

Open-air woofers are designed to fit in the back deck of a car and still work well. It produces great bass without the need for an accompanying box.

As a result, this device is suitable for confined spaces such as vehicles. A clear understanding of the concept and its characteristics helps users make decisions easier.

Free air subwoofers are suitable for more open environments. Thanks to circulating air easily, the device will consume less power in the car.

People usually mount this type of subs on the panel located between the back seats of the trunk or the rear deck.

The installation process of this speaker is very easy. However, you still need to plan carefully before you start.

For those with limited trunk space, this device is all they need. It’s also very accessible and more affordable than a giant subwoofer system.

How Do Free Air Subwoofers Work?

Opened woofers work by circulating sound at the required frequency. Thanks to that, it can produce low-frequency bass sound.

As the voice coil moves in the magnetic field, it impacts the cone creating a gentle vibrating sound. Therefore, the effect of the device is no different from an enclosed sub.

The only difference is probably in the bass quality. The device’s lack of closure greatly affects this feature.

In addition, this shortfall gradually reduces the device’s resistance and causes the cone to move faster than normal.

Advantages Of Open Air Sub

Every audio device has its advantages and disadvantages, and open woofers are no exception. People choose this device because of the following characteristics:

Energy Efficiency

This device does not need an enclosure to operate, and it is exposed to the outside environment. As a result, the air is easier to circulate, so the device will not need as much electricity to operate.

When you compare this type of speaker with traditional subwoofers with the same size and power rating, there is a noticeable difference in power consumption.

This feature also means that you will save money when using the product later.


The absence of an enclosure for increased performance gives this audio device a second advantage. It will save a lot of precious space in your trunk.

The compact size of woofers will fit in a car door or anywhere that takes up the most limited space. It is suitable for small vehicles and does not accommodate bulky sound sets.

However, you will need an additional amplifier to increase the volume of these speakers. Alternatively, place the tweeter and unit above the control panel.


You don’t need to worry about losing an arm and a leg when buying this device. The product’s price is very affordable, but the quality is commendable.

The affordable price of the speakers comes from the lack of integration with amplifiers and enclosures. However, the power and size are still comparable to an enclosed subwoofer.

So, buying a free air device will be appropriate when you already have an external amplifier.

Disadvantages Of Open Air Sub

However, this product will still have disadvantages that you need to be aware of.

Weak Bass

The first downside of open subs is that they can’t turn your car into a portable music stand.

If you are a music enthusiast and have a strong interest in deep bass, consider it before buying this device. It can only provide basic bass sound.

Untight Bass

Compared with enclosed buds, the sound emitted in the open space will not be as tight. Do not choose this device if you are looking for accurate and tight bass sound.

Types of Free Air Subwoofers Application

Using the infinite baffle method, you have many ways to attach open-air buds. The type of car you’re driving is also an important factor.

If you are the owner of a giant vehicle, the following guidelines will apply well. However, consider options when you own a hatchback.

What Is A Free Air Subwoofer - Installation of subs

Installation of subs

Small Deck

In elevated vehicles, the absence of the intended surface area for mounting large-size woofers is a concern.

You can still find ways to install sound equipment by ventilating them through the back deck. This way also helps to maximize the space needed in the car.

Owners may also consider using a small extra box with a lid in the trunk instead of an open-air bud. The bass response from the first unit will be stronger and more resonant.

Rear Deck

If your pickup truck is big enough, nothing can stop you from installing a giant subwoofer between 12 to 15 inches.

Big sedans are the perfect place to install this device. It is suitable for all mounting methods.

It is recommended that you secure and seal the drawer as well as possible from the lodge at all times. By placing a medium-thick plank behind the chair and under the floor.

You should firmly reinforce the aft deck to reduce vibrations and shakes if possible. Speaker response will also be improved through hard surfaces.

Your efforts to create an enclosed space will result in a much better resonant bass.

However, consider that these changes may affect the structure of the rear deck in the long run. You will also find it difficult to store things in the trunk because it affects the partition system.

Secondary Lounge

A final application is to mount opened subwoofers behind secondary lounges instead of under the rear deck.

The advantage of this method is its simplicity and spatial arrangement. You won’t need to adjust or trim the deck to align the layout.

Enclosed Vs Free Air Subwoofer: Which Is The Better Choice?

What Is A Free Air Subwoofer - Enclosed sub

Enclosed sub

In a free-air setup, it’s common to mount subs on the panel between the car’s bench and the trunk or rear deck. In contrast, enclosed subs require the user to equip the enclosure and enclosed space.

Of course, with the feat of the installation stage, the sound of a traditional subwoofer will be much better.

With “pop” music mode, traditional speakers have a more resonant and clear feel. In contrast, a free-air device produces a muddy and rather shaky sound.

With the “rock” sound mode, the traditional speaker delivers emotional and energetic vibes. At the same time, its opponent proved lost when the sound and words were separated.

In “classical” mode, traditional speakers deliver a more powerful sound. Of course, the situation is not much different in the “electro/dance” mode.

Certainly, the enclosed subwoofer is a more worthy choice for those who love music. It produces quality and accurate bass with every note.

Even so, open-air buds are still loved for their accessibility and versatility. If you are a person who loves to move, this device will be an indispensable companion.

In the end, the choice still lies with each of us. Depending on your needs, each person will have a decision that is most suitable for them.


There are still some frequently asked questions surrounding open-air subwoofers and how to use them. Let’s learn more here.

What Is A Free Air Subwoofer - Sound audio system

Sound audio system

Can A Subwoofer Work Without A Box?

It would help if you did not use a subwoofer without a box because the cover balances the frequency of the sound emitted at the front and back.

The consequence of using audio equipment with no ports or sealed boxes is that the sound is small, weak, and insignificant.

In particular, the free air subs also need the support of the cover. It usually has high fs, compliance, and low vas.

You can also install infinity baffles on these devices to get the same results.

How Do You Break In A Subwoofer With Open Air?

Your opened sub will need a break-in period for your opened sub to reach its peak. This phase will take between 20 and 100 hours.

The easiest and most common method is to install the open-air subwoofers as usual. Next, play your favorite music at low and medium volume and then increase it ½ after time.

At this point, you can feel the difference in the vibrating sound. It doesn’t take much effort, and it just takes time.

If you want to use broken speakers, look for such models. Also, check out the video below for a more visual tutorial.


A free air subwoofer is perfect for those on a budget and with limited car space. Its bass quality is not entirely an issue when you can count on the help of a power amplifier.

This device will bring fresh color to your journey. It also does not require complicated installation.

So, if you want to dance to music while driving and touring randomly, try this device today. Thank you for reading!

Associated posts: