Can You Put a Subwoofer in a Cabinet?

subwoofer in cabinet

If you’re a music or a movie enthusiast, then you’re aware of how much it costs to redesign your living room with the best home theater system. If you’re new in the world of high-end home theater systems, it doesn’t take long for you to realize the value of your subwoofer in relation to the rest of the surround sound midrange speakers.

The reason why the subwoofer is so special is because of its ability to handle low-frequency bass notes that the rest of the speakers can’t manage. But, despite its tremendous power, the subwoofer isn’t the most stylish piece of equipment you’ll have in your living room space.

Its huge size sometimes causes issues with the design aesthetics in your living room making it visible to every visitor that gets into your living room. With that said, this article will try to explore some possible ways you can conceal your subwoofer with more emphasis being put on placing it in a cabinet.

Putting a Subwoofer Inside a Cabinet

Let me now go to our main topic of this post which is answering the question of whether you can put a subwoofer in a cabinet.

The simple answer is yes.

A subwoofer can be placed inside a cabinet. However, there are those metrics you’ll have to adhere to to ensure that your subwoofer performs at its best without causing any sound distortions or reverberations.

The first thing you need to understand the moment you decide to put your subwoofer inside a cabinet is that the quality of sound produced by your sub will generally be poorer as compared to when the subwoofer is positioned in a listening room.

Something else you need to know is that for a successful subwoofer performance when inside a cabinet, three factors must be addressed which are the rattles, resonances, and airflow. 

Rattles and Resonances

When it comes to rattles and resonances, you need to be very keen on the type of cabinet you’re placing your powerful subwoofer into. A cabinet is not just a cabinet. For instance, it would be embarrassing for you to conceal your sub inside a cabinet that’s intended to hold household silverware or for holding your expensive collection of jewelry. In this case, the resulting sound will be full of rattles and vibrations which will generally be bad for your music experience.

So, which is the best type of cabinet?

For your home subwoofer to perform at its best, you need to consider putting it inside a custom-made cabinet. You see, most contemporary cabinets such as cupboards are made of flimsy back panels (usually an eighth of an inch thick) which can contribute to rattles and resonances.

So, to control these vibrations and lower them to the minimum, you need to build a custom-made cabinet with thick wood about 5/8 to ¾ inches thick. The cabinet needs to be glued and screwed tightly. About the doors and the shelves, it’s advisable that you use an adhesive felt or a soft dampening material in areas that get to contact with the cabinet.

If the cabinet appears to be lighter in weight, then you need to load the inside with mass-loaded vinyl material or a rubbery kitchen shelf linear material to add some reinforcement to the cabinet to reduce vibrations.  

When you’re done with the cabinet, the next step is to decouple the subwoofer from the cabinet’s shelf to minimize any mechanical vibrations. To do this, you can consider using Vib-X Vibration Isolation Pads or you can simply replace your subwoofer’s feet with something more spongy and forgiving.


Once you’ve successfully handled the issue of rattles and resonances, the next factor you’ll have to consider is the subwoofer’s airflow. You see, a subwoofer is designed to generate the large bass waves. For it to work at its best, you must not restrict its airflow. Therefore, your cabinet’s door should have several square inches of clear openings which must be proportional to the size of the subwoofer’s driver.

Why Do You Need a Subwoofer as Part of Your Home Audio System?

Now, from a technical point of view, a subwoofer isn’t a necessity. The rest of the surround speakers can still handle the mammoth work and keep the job done. But, there’s one setback you’re likely to face. Your surround speakers are only designed to handle the high frequencies sent to them by your audio system but not the low frequencies.

Therefore, to enjoy a rich and balanced sound with 3-dimensional effects, a subwoofer will generally be a necessity. So, with that said, let’s highlight a few benefits of having a subwoofer as part of your home audio system.

The first benefit of a powerful subwoofer is that it’s capable of reproducing those deep base tones in the low-frequency spectrum. You see, most midrange speakers start dropping off when they reach 50 Hz. This means that you’ll miss most of the low tones produced by kick drums and bass guitars. But, with a subwoofer, these deep bass tones can be reproduced effortlessly with frequencies as low as 20 Hz.

Another benefit of a subwoofer is that it allows you to play loud music with less distortion. This is quite different when you’re playing music with midrange speakers since the woofers in your mid drivers and tweeters will not keep up with the low frequencies and will only end up distorting the sound.

The final benefit of a subwoofer is that it blends well with the surround sound speakers to unleash their sonic potential. By tuning the subwoofer properly, you’ll realize that the surround sound will blend perfectly and each driver will perform at its best without being overpowered.

Final Verdict

So, with that said, what’s there to conclude in this topic regarding subwoofers and cabinets? First, we can agree that a subwoofer sometimes isn’t the best equipment to display around. It needs to be concealed to create more living room space and to keep it away from spying eyes.

Secondly, to enjoy the best audio experience, you need to remodel your cabinet in such a way that there will be zero rattling and resonances coming as a result of the subwoofer’s vibrations. Lastly, you need to create enough airflow in the cabinet to ensure that every bit of the subwoofer’s bass tones is circulated throughout the room without being restricted.

David Wilson’s passion for music and technology led him to a career in sound engineering. His technical knowledge combined with his love for writing allows him to create comprehensive and detailed reviews of subwoofers. Read more about the team behind on the about us page.

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