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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'd like to present my subwoofer project in my 2014 Sienna.
The goal of the project was to get a maximum possible sound upgrade without losing space in the trunk. I decided to build a cabinet to get as much volume as possible, so that I have more possibilities in the choice of the subwoofer. Besides, the finished box should not stick out like a sore thumb. You know, wife acceptance factor…

First a confession: Most of the work itself was done by my brother-in-law. He is a trained carpenter. If I had built the box alone, it wouldn't be finished yet, it would look ugly and I would probably have hurt myself seriously a few times...

We used MDF panels of 19 mm thickness (0.75 inch). We have ground the front panel thinner from the middle towards the sides in order to achieve a result that is as flush as possible with the side walls of the van. That is why we chose 22 mm thickness (0.87 inch) for the front panel.

First we cut the side walls and made sure that they fit perfectly. We have proceeded by the well known try and error method, because measuring and perfect cutting was practically impossible. Then we cut and fitted the back walls. As you can see in the pictures, it was sometimes quite tricky. We have also made one or two mistakes that we had had to correct. The box has no logic at all like right angles or parallel walls.

At first we temporarily screwed it together piece by piece. When the box was finished and fitted perfectly in the mould, we assembled it by applying a lot of glue and many screws. I wanted an absolutely sealed cabinet because I prefer precise and fast bass over ultra deep and ultra loud bass. In addition, closed housings get by with less volume than ported boxes.

The green paste you can see on the pictures is GRP paste, which is used in boat building. We applied it to keep the box really tight. I'm sure it can be done with other materials, but my brother-in-law had some paste in his garage.

The front panel is covered with pu leather. Another colour would have fit a little better, but an acquaintance had some of this brown leather left and gave it to us.

Perhaps the most difficult part came at the very end: Due to the weight of the woofer and the shape of the box, the centre of gravity was unfavourable. In winding roads the box slipped out of its place and fell into the trunk. So we had to fasten the box with screws to the plastic wall of the van.

How's the sound?
I've got mixed feelings about it. As long as I listen at normal volume, the bass is great. It is rather soft and round. When I turn up the volume to the max, it sounds tense. It lacks the punch I'm used to from my subwoofers in other vehicles. The woofer gets enough power, it's run by a 500 Watt (RMS) mono amp. In my opinion, that's because of the woofer. The built-in JBL woofer needs at least 26 litres (0,9 cubic feet) of volume for a good result, my box has only 22 litres (0,7 cft). I installed the JBL because I got it from a friend. I will probably install another 10 inch subwoofer sometime, one that fits the cabinet volume. I am thinking of the Alpine SWT 10S

Do you have any better suggestions? Because of the relatively flat cabinet it should be a shallow subwoofer. I mostly listen to rock, metal and I like fast and precise bass. Precise bass is more important to me than deep bass.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice set. I've been considering a 10 with 500-750RMS to it.
Where do you wanted to place it? Same place?
To build the box took some time. We would have finished faster if we had built the box out of GRP. The front panel would have to be made of MDF either way.
 

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Looks nice, thing Im gonna redo mine, like how it fills that spot.
I thought a bout the fiberglass thing, but how often do you come across a fiberglass sub for your house? Plus I ran across a thread, dude says it just didnt sound right after comparing.
Im hearing a lot about adding the Audiocontrol lc2i, getting close to hitting the "Place Order" button on Amazon. Mine sounds OK but still missing something, constantly adjusting the bass depending on the jam. Installed the optional Bass Knob for my Alpine mrv-m500 also.
 

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OP I love the idea! Does the sub placement impact the stowed rear seating? Infamous trunk rattle? Etc?
I believe I know what I’ll be doing Sunday!


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Discussion Starter #10
I ran across a thread, dude says it just didnt sound right after comparing.
After comparing with what?
But generally I agree. It's right, I have to adjust the woofer level constantly. As long as I listen to music at a moderate volume, it sounds right and good. But when I turn up the volume so that I can "feel" the subwoofer, it doesn't sound right as mentioned - see below.

Mine sounds OK but still missing something, constantly adjusting the bass depending on the jam.
I do have the same "problem". I think, that is because the woofer needs morde space than it actually has. I need to replace the subwoofer and I will, but I'm not in a hurry.
 

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I do have the same "problem". I think, that is because the woofer needs morde space than it actually has. I need to replace the subwoofer and I will, but I'm not in a hurry.

What amp are you using to drive it? That looked like a pretty powerful sub but in my experience using a single sub is geared more for accurate musical reproduction than it is for feeling your jams. Not that you won’t feel it but adding that second or third (or however many more you want to add) sub is where you feel the music.
Back in my 20’s I was big into building competition car audio systems. I’ve seen some crazy builds and now In my 40’s (sounds so strange to say that) I get why hiding everything is so much more appealing. The challenge to me becomes getting the cleanest install without seeing it or having it impede the vehicles natural function.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to build another set with a wall but that’s just not practical.


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Discussion Starter #12
What amp are you using to drive it?
I'm driving the sub with a Rockville Mono Amp. It has enough power to drive the JBL.

Don't worry, I don't get you wrong :wink: Accurate musical reproduction is exactly what I want. It's fine to have punch - as long as the sound stays clean. My sub sounds great at moderate volume, but changes dramatically it's character or signature at high volume.

In my first car I had single 10 inch Boston Acoustics Subwoofer in a small sealed cabine. Boy that thing sounded great, clean and loud. It did not get to the deepest frequencies, but that was o.k. You don't need that when listening to rock or metal. I never had to change the sub volume. In my last car I had two Rockford 10 inch shallow subs in a sealed cabine driven by a Rockford mono amp with lots of power. They sounded great and most of the time I let the volume knob of the sub untouched.

What is the difference between these three installations?
The boston was installed in a really small car, a Fiat Punto. I guess you don't have that car in the States.
The two Rockford played in station wagon with more space, a Volvo V50.
And now the JBL in a Van with even more space. That means, the pressure chamber effect is less pronounced in the Sienna.

Honestly, I have no idea if the pressure chamber effect theory is smart, but it sounds to me like a possible explanation.
 

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What is the difference between these three installations?

I think there’s an even greater difference possibility than the vehicle cabin size. A huge impact is the quality of your components. I’ve never been a big fan of JBL in the competition world, not that they don’t do well but comparatively Boston Acoustics and Rockford had a better brand. (At least at the time)
I ran a lot of JL Audio, MB Quart and Kenwood equipment but even back then JBL’s higher end line wasn’t impressive to me. I think more than anything though, your Rockville amp may be the culprit.
Back in the day (and perhaps still) people would get caught up with raw advertised wattage ignoring component design quality. That’s why Rockford, Phoenix Gold, Soundstream, and all the big name companies were more expensive even though they offered a lower peak wattage than companies like Pyle, Pyramid, and Boss. It was also so you could stick to lower watt classes during competition. The most impressive set I came across was a 50W amp by US Amps running 4 Pioneer IMPP 10” subs. It was impressive because the IMPP subs were nothing special but they were loud as ****! Some of the lessons that were reinforced that day were:
1) You get what you pay for. A 50W amp putting down over 1000W will and should cause female orgasms with the amount of bass it produces; but it was a $500 investment not $100.
2) A mediocre sub driven by a badass amp is going to produce badass sound. Maybe not as long as a badass sub with said amp; but at a mediocre price, said amp with said sub can still impress.
3)Lesson 2 doesn’t work in reverse. A badass sub with a mediocre amp will produce mediocre sound. Add the fact that the HU is oem and well... you’ll probably not be satisfied.

Rockville to me is on par with Boss, not that my opinion matters but the quality (for me) is just not there.


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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
thanks for your opinion, ClearCoatsAuto, I appreciate that.
I know that The JBL sub is not perfect for the cabin. But I'm not sure about the amp. It is CEA rated at 250 Watts (4 Ohms) and 500 Watts (2 Ohms), the indicated RMS power is 500 Watt (4 Ohms). That should be enough. I've seen Videos where the they measured the Rockville amps and they can obviously deliever the indicated power. And then there is the fact that it is a sub brand of Rockford Fosgate. Well, actually, I don't want to be Rockvilles advocate, I never heard of the brand before I was looking for a family budget amp... I'll first replace the woofer with one, that fits to the box and it's volume. If the result is still unsatisfying, then I have to consider an other amp.

Besides that: yes, I ran the oem HU. but it is connected to a 5 channel dsp amp with time alignment and a freely configurable 7-band parametric equalizer. The sub channel is only a pre-out, but the dsp can control the subwoofer. so I cut off all frequencies below 30Hz and I found out that I have a bloated sound around 130Hz, I could easaly correct that. I also replaced the front speakers with Focal IS 690 TOY. And I have sound deadened the front doors.
 

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Good stuff, I’m not knocking you man. I’m doing a budget build myself. I like to splurge on the important things like amps and HU, find deals on quality speakers, and buy inexpensive light bulbs.
I also may not go all out on power/ground wiring components but buy quality rca cables as they directly impact sound both through their transference of audio signals and insulation from external interference.
Do you think the EQ processor is a bit overkill or is it to compensate for the HU’s muddy output? I’m working on piecing together my audio and will steal a page from your sub enclosure. I’ve been looking to do something similar anyway but thanks for the inspiration.
I’m planning to tint my rear windows this weekend to make things less visible when walking by.


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Discussion Starter #16
Don't worry, everythings fine ;-)

To me, an EQ is not overkill at all. First of all, it is a combination of an amp and an EQ. The oem HU does not deliver enough power to get the max out of good speakers.
When I first replaced the speakers (only on the front and no EQ/amp) it sounded much more lively and clear, but felt less bass compared to the oem speakers. That was strange, cause the oem speakers had tiny magnets and the built quality is another story.... I think, this impression was caused by the bloated sound of the oem speakers. Thanks to the EQ I could eliminate the problems around 130 Hz and increase the bass. Now the sound from the front speakers is awesome! I have a punchy and clean bass and the stage is so much better than before. If I would only listen to pop music, I would not feel the need to install a subwoofer, it's incredible how much bass you get with good speakers, insulated doors and the right adjustements on the EQ-side. But rock/metal requires imho a subwoofer for that special feeling in the car.

You can optimize that process with professional tools, measuring the sound with an external mic, making the frequency adjustements on a notebook and so on. But hey, that's too much for me (on the financial side). My amp has a smartphone app, that's how I make the adjustements. And I'm using my non professional ears as a mic....
 
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