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Making a custom sub box

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by cmlax21, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. I was going to post this in the Luthier's form but its not about basses so...
    I'm going to put in a sound system in my 1990 Iroc-Z and I need to make a sub box for the back and I want to use swamp ash or something like that for tone so does anybody know where I can get really big, thin sheets of swamp ash or other woods like that?

  2. Use either birch plywood, or fiberglass. You wont get any benefit from tone woods.

  3. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012

    Years ago building custom boxes was kinda my thing, more of a hobby than a business but I built for quite a few guys in local car clubs.

    90% were built with either fiberglass or MDF (Medium Density Fiber board.)

    Your box design IE; dimensions, porting or not porting, band pass, open face, sealed and ported, Ect. is MUCH more important than the material you use to form it.

    There's a TON of information online if you look for it, and you'd be surprised how much little differences in design can effect it.
  4. MDF is industry standard for automotive sub enclosures. A local car audio shop should be able to order you a pre fab box that fits the deep part of the rear cargo area for about the cost of building it your self. Factor in almost $40 for 3/4" mdf, $6 for PL, brad nails or screws, $10 spray glue and then $15 or so for carpet. Labor and risk of injury also.

    That box should be a little under 100 bucks. At least ours are.
  5. BFM does a auto sub. It's a beast.
  6. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005
    From experience there's not a ton of room to put a sub in the back of a 3rd gen. My friend wound up having a premade box that he got off the shelf at Circuit City that he folded down the back seat and put in. It was about the only place that you could get enough volume for a proper box.

    And as everyone else said, MDF is usually the best way to go for a simple box.
  7. Hmm I guess I'll just stick to MDF if I make my own. I could buy a pre made one too but I'm more of a DIYer, I did most of the bodywork on the car before I left it up to the professional for paint so I just want to be able to say I made it myself. Plus my dad's a carpenter so it shouldn't be any problem to make one with his help. Also there's a ton of dimensions online for the box so I'm also not worried about making it wrong/it turning out bad.
    But thanks for steering me out of dropping money on nice wood when it wouldn't have made a difference.
  8. dozicusmaximus


    Mar 18, 2009
    Austin, TX
    Ported or sealed? Have a sub in mind? Might want to check out specs on the sub too.
  9. I'm going with a sealed one for space reasons and also I'm not trying to shake other peoples car when I'm listening to my music I just want a nice clean sounding bass in my car. I think I'm going with two 10s maybe JBL or JL Audio because I've heard nothing but good things about them. Any suggestions? I'm also not sure yet what head unit/speakers I'm getting either. Maybe Alpine or Pioneer for the HU and then JBL or JL for the speakers again. Trying to keep it budget friendly around $500 for everything less is better.
  10. Id go with Pioneer for the radio, they are inexpensive and reliable. Alpine's newer head units.... kinda suck. Its doable for $500, but another $150 would open your options up a lot
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    You want to use swamp ash for tone? Here's a tip- you don't want a sub box to "have tone". You want it to provide the sound sent to it by the amplifier without coloration. It's not an electric guitar.

    If you want to use swamp ash veneer (not that it will make a sonic difference), do it for cosmetic reasons.

    Fastback or convertible?

    If it's the fastback, one thing to know about this body style- it's really efficient for bass because it kind of approximates horn loading. If you use a driver that will work in a small enclosure, make it fit into the well at the bottom of the storage area, then use the two flat areas for the cosmetics. If the box won't work with a small enclosure, it's still going to work but you'll need to do more custom fitting. Don't screw it down at the bottom- that goes to the outside world and you'll have screws sticking down, visibly. Over the 20+ years working with car audio, I did a lot of these cars and they all turned out well.

    What are you using for the amp(s), speakers and head unit?
  12. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I'm so out of the scene I wouldn't have a clue what subs and head units are even available.

    Alpine was one of the best at the time and JL Audio Subs were what most people were using.

    Then you had all kinds of competition grade stuff for the guys who used to gut the inside of a vehicle out and fill it with amps and subs so much so that the windows had to be replaced with plastic.

    Pioneer was always good stuff too.

    Make sure you pad your trunk, don't be that guy that sits at the light with his bass hitting but the only thing anyone can hear is his trunk rattling and license plate vibrating.

    Dynomat is some great stuff and works wonders.
    Pull the carpet out of the trunk and just stick it wherever you can.
    Obviously the neater job you do the better it'll look, but just getting it between the sub and the thin metal of the trunk lid is all that's necessary.
    It's usually just cut in pieces and stuck to the flat parts in between the frame braces and trunk lid braces.
    Worth every penny.
  13. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    The driver determines the size of the box, always. I would stay away form a lot of the pre-made boxes unless they're made from 3/4" MDF. A lot of the less expensive ones are 1/2" particle board and if you use the JBL or JL, it could rattle apart.

    Which drivers? Quite a few of us use WinISD for box design and if we know the model, it can be done right, not based on what fits.
  14. I've always felt that Pioneer head units sound way better than anything else out there. I've owned many over the years and always go back to them.

    As always, use your ears as a guide... go to a local big box store and take one of your favorite, well recorded/produced cds and listen to the different sub boxes and head units. That's the best way to pick a product. I currently use a "cheap" MTX 400w amp and, believe it or not, a Sony Xplod sub. Really? Yes- they sounded better than the others when I tested them at the store. My single 12 really, really pounds in my element and has tons of smooth, very deep bass.
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I prefer subs from JL. They are on the expensive side, and some of that may be paying for the name, but the name is good. In my opinion, they are worth it. Car audio isn't something I try to do on the cheap though.

    I built a little box for an 8" sub to go between the front seats in my Ram. That sub gets very loud and pounds hard.

  16. The amp I was thinking JL or JBL too whichever one I go with for the speakers/subs probably but I also heard good things aboout Rockford Fosgate too.

    The Dynomat is a good idea I'll be sure to do that.

    My cars the fastback and the box will be in the cargo area. I've heard bad things can happen to your amp from the vibrations if you put in in/on/around the box.
  17. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005

    When I did my truck a few years ago I went with the 150w Kenwood package. Cheap and does the job. As long as you aren't trying to pump ***tons of bass into the cars around you, it does the job. Through Crutchfield I got an Alpine head unit, 10" sub package, 2 6x9's, 2 6.5's, and 2 tweeters for about $550. Not an insane setup but more than loud enough for a regular cab truck and has really nice balance.

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