A few weeks back, while reading escobar929's thread "Adding an Amp and Subwoofer," I came across a post by TPLSM3 (a.k.a. Ben) where he posted a picture of a custom fiberglass enclosure he built to house his 10" JL Audio W6 subwoofer (see Post #7). The idea of attempting to build such an enclosure had crossed my mind a few times, but after reading some "DIY's" on it, I decided that it'd consume more of my time than I was willing to give up. Once I saw that we had a local expert capable of building such enclosures, naturally, I made contact.
After a few PMs back and forth, Ben was willing to take on the task of building an enclosure capable of housing my 10" JL Audio W7 subwoofer for a VERY fair price (PM him for details). I sent him the details for my sub from the JL Audio website as well as their recommended sealed enclosure specifications. For those of you unaware, the W7 is a VERY demanding sub that can take lots of power and generally requires quite a bit of volume from a box. I told Ben to maximize the size of what he was to build, without having it protrude too far in to the primary cargo area of the trunk. For reference, here's a picture of what the previous box looked like (note my key fob in front of it):
(Sorry about the image quality... At the time of install, I only had my iPhone handy!)
And here's the approximate amount of space it was consuming in the trunk vs. the new enclosure that Ben built:
(Click image(s) for larger version(s) throughout this review.)
As you can see, a good portion of the trunk was completely unusable and the pass-through in to the cabin was absolutely unusable without removing the old enclosure! The new one has fixed both of those problems!
As-stated, I asked Ben to use his judgment on how big to build the sub. I was looking to regain my trunk, so having it build to exact spec was the last thing on my mind. I knew my JL Audio 500/1 amp was only turned up to about 1/3 of the total gain, so there was PLENTY of power left to compensate for a smaller enclosure. Here's the way it looked prior to installation, without the sub installed:
(Again, sorry for the crappy iPhone pic!)
After inspection, I immediately filled it with some packing peanuts that I had handy and then transferred those in to a cardboard box. After taking measurements, I was able to calculate the volume based on how full the box was. It came out a little shy of 1.0 ft^3. The recommended size for a 10W7 in sealed enclosure is 1.25 ft^3 - close enough for me!
Installation was a breeze. It took me roughly 2 hours, but only because I took the time to upgrade some wiring and reroute a few things I hadn't liked with my previous install. Ben included VERY thorough directions with many detailed images via PM. While the install was relatively basic, he left no guess work. Here's the end result:
As you can see, between the proper placement of the amplifier and the precise fitment of Ben's enclosure, this makes for one SWEET setup. Obviously you could take up slightly less room with an Earthquake SWS-8x upgrade in the under-seat enclosures; however, I previously had the Earthquakes in my car and while they sounded good, they came NOWHERE close to achieving the depth that a 10" sub under full excursion is capable of.
Speaking of sound, I have to comment on this... after all, this *is* about upgrading the stock sound system. I have to admit, I was somewhat worried when I committed to this upgrade... Ported enclosures (which I previously had) are known to make more sound than a sealed enclosure; however, once I got this setup dialed in, there were ZERO disappointments. As I mentioned before, this enclosure is slightly smaller than what JL Audio calls for, but only by about 20%. It took me about 30 minutes of tweaking the gain on the amp and equalizer & bass settings on the headunit to get things "perfect." And man, is it ever - the bass is SO much tighter! I feel almost blasphemous saying this about a W7 subwoofer, but previously it was almost "sloppy" compared to what it is now. It's *SO* tight and crisp, I could kick myself for ever running the old box. Even if this wasn't a custom-fit box, it was worth the $$$ just due to the difference in sound quality!
All of that said, I would recommend that anyone interested in installing a subwoofer in their 1er get in contact with Ben/TPLSM3. He's stated in other threads that he'll build these per request and I think it's great that we have the opportunity to pick something up like this at such a bargain! :thumsup:
Lastly, I want to extend my thanks to Ben for taking the time to build this for me (THANKS, BEN! ) and post a few more pics to convince anyone reading to get in contact!