The 10 Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers of 2020

The 10 Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers of 2020

Best Shallow Mount Subs

Having a Small Car Does Not Mean You Have to Setlle for Small Sound…

Today, we take a look at some great shallow mount subs, designed to bring the bass to even the smallest of spaces.

If you’re not an audiophile, then you may not notice slight changes in sound distribution or audio quality from one set of speakers to the other. Frequency range may not mean much to you and you just want to be able to listen to your music without much static.

Audiophiles, on the other hand, need to fine-tune everything about their sound systems. Everything needs to be perfect in order to enjoy music to the fullest extent. They tinker and fool around with buttons, placement, wires, and knobs until it’s perfect.

One area both the audio novices and the audio junkies can agree on is that you need great bass in order to enjoy most music. Even if you’re someone who turns on the radio occasionally while out driving, you can instantly notice the difference between good and bad bass.

That’s why sub-woofers are one of the most, if not the most, popular sound addition to a vehicle that people make. A subwoofer gives you plenty of options as well. You can put it in your trunk without taking up too much space, mount the subs in your rear deck, or even put it in your boat or golf cart.

There are also many different types of sub-woofers out there, so today we are going to examine shallow mount subwoofers. We’ll talk about some of our top picks and other important information that you need to know before making a purchase.

 

Pioneer TS SW2002D2

The two things we like about this sub are that it’s compact and comes packed with plenty of power.

It’s rated at 600 Watts RMS and has a high sensitivity rating while being only eight inches in diameter. This sub is hitting well above its weight class in terms of raw power and potential.

With an oversized cone structure, this sub fits a larger cone in a smaller size to bring on plenty of deep bass. Plus, it’s reinforced with resin injected mica that makes this cone so lightweight and rigid.

Upon hearing this sub, you would think that this sound can only be produced by something much larger, but you would be mistaken (just like we were). It comes with a great frequency range, going from 20-200 Hz.

The only downside to this sub are the voice coils. Many users have commented that one or more of the voice coils failed over a few months of use. Even though these appear to be isolated incidents, it’s worth knowing.

Overall, you’d be hard-pressed to find something this small that packs this much power.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Outstanding bass for its small size
  • Very powerful and handles it quite well
  • Compact, fits almost anywhere

 

Cons:

  • Durability is definitely a question mark
  • No grille included

Rockford Fosgate PS3D2

Another sub that packs a lot into a small package, this unit is one of the best subs out there. It’s no surprise that it comes from the folks at Rockford Fosgate. These folks really know their stuff.

This sub provides a solid kick despite its small stature, bucking the Napolean Complex while delivering highly responsive audio for anyone looking to make an upgrade.

It comes loaded with power, rating at 300 Watts RMS and a solid sensitivity rating. This sub puts the “shallow” in shallow mount, with a mounting depth of 2 ⅝ inches. You can fit it in just about any tight space with plenty of room to spare.

This speaker is also quite durable, being built with solid components. Its got an anodized aluminum cone with a Santoprene rubber surround. If you’re looking to make a long-term investment, this is the sub to go with.

Just remember that even though this sub has plenty of power and bass, you aren’t going to rattle anyone’s windows like you might with a more complete subwoofer.

This sub brings a lot in a small package, adding an instant upgrade to just about any audio system that you have.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Very shallow mounting depth, great for compact spaces
  • Punchy bass in a small serving size
  • Very durable, high-quality components

 

Cons:

  • No grille included
  • Struggles to hold up to larger sub output

Kicker CVT124

Kicker has long been in the game of delivering high-quality sound systems and subs and the CVT124 is no different. This 12-inch sub packs plenty of bass in a slightly bigger package.

If you’re looking for power, then you’ve come to the right place. With a rating of 800 Watts RMS, you’re going to get loud, punchy bass from this sub for quite some time. Its frequency range isn’t as low as some others on this list but is still solid at 25-350Hz.

It’s got a four-layer high-temperature voice coil and Santoprene rubber surround which means you can use this sub all day every day and still receive high-quality sound and bass.

This sub is a bit deeper than other shallow mounts, meaning you may not be able to stuff it into such compact spaces. While you may not experience any issues, you’ll still want to make sure it can fit in your vehicle.

This sub is quite impressive and built to stand the test of time. If you’ve got the space for it, this sub is a great choice.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Super powerful bass with plenty of sound
  • Very durable, impressive build quality
  • Good frequency range for its size

 

Cons:

  • May be too deep for some vehicles

 

Alpine SWR T10

Alpine is another company that knows what they’re doing when it comes to speakers and subwoofers. This sub is top of the line quality and uses some innovative technology you’re not going to find in other places.

This new technology is designed to provide larger sub performance in a smaller package. It’s not too deep, just 3 ¼ inches meaning it can be installed in just about any setup.

Its specifications won’t blow you away, as 600 Watts RMS and a so-so frequency range is nothing to throw a party over, but its components fully make up for it.

With an oversized voice coil, injection-molded cone, and brand new spider design, this speaker can move air easily and produce loud bass that you would expect to only find with larger subs.

The radial vented heat sink with perfect airflow will make sure this speaker stays cool no matter what conditions you’re using it in. Alpine went for durability and knocked it out of the park.

With a lot of new technology in this subwoofer, it’s certainly worth the investment. You’ll be paying a pretty penny for this sub, but we think it’s worth it.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Gives full-size sub sound and quality
  • Extremely durable
  • New features really add something

Cons:

  • Very expensive

 

MTX FPR10-04

This sub is definitely going to push everything to the limits, as durability was the main goal with this sub when it was engineered.

If you’re someone who’s constantly on the road or can’t go half a second without listening to music, then this sub is a fantastic choice.

With a shallow depth and small diameter, it’s built for compact spaces and can fit just about anywhere, making it ideal for those who are hoping to add a little extra to their sound system without making huge vehicular changes.

The rigid polypropylene cone and rubber surround bring fantastic airflow and plenty of durability for your hardest-hitting songs. It also comes equipped with the Spider Plateau Venting system that will make sure to keep your sub cool in even the toughest of conditions.

Not all is perfect with this sub, as it has a lower sensitivity rating and a so-so power rating, coming in at 300 Watts RMS.

Other than that, it’s a bargain deal that will fit in just about any setup imaginable.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great audio quality overall, clear sounds and punchy bass
  • Shallow mounting depth and compact design
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty, when the standard is one

 

Cons:

  • Low sensitivity and lower power rating
  • Requires a sealed enclosure

 

Pioneer TS-SW2502S4

Another day, another Pioneer. But can you blame us?

This sub was designed with space in mind but doesn’t sacrifice any bass power. You’re going to be getting plenty of rich, deep bass tones throughout the vehicle while providing great sound quality overall.

One of our favorite things about it is how easy it is to install. Many users, including DIY beginners, have noted how quick and easy installation was. If you’re someone who likes to tinker around, then this may be a great option for you.

The design and top quality components mean a lot of air is going to be moving in and out, keeping those bass tones flowing no matter what you’re doing. The mica injected oversized cone works perfectly with the single voice coil for those big bass sounds.

It’s got a shallow mounting depth, important for those who have compact space but don’t want to lose any sound quality.

Our biggest gripe with this unit is the frequency range, which comes out at a so-so 25-125 Hz. While casual audio fans may not notice, if you’re an expert then it could both you down the road.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great components, built to last
  • Rich and clear bass
  • Solid sound quality overall
  • Super easy installation

 

Cons:

  • Frequency range is minimal
  • Needs an enclosure

Kenwood Excelon 12-Inch

If you’re looking for one sub where you can scream “MAXIMUM POWER” then this Kenwood will be the one you should choose. An impressive 1400 Watts RMS provides more power than any human being would ever need.

It also rates well with a solid sensitivity rating and better than average frequency range, 30-700Hz.

While that frequency range is quite wide, we wish they’d stuck to a shorter frequency range in order to give you a better sounding bass. We’d like to have seen something in the 20s. Because of this, you may not get as good of bass as you desire.

This Kenwood does shine well in the durability category, fitted with a high-tech carbon glass fiber cone, butyl rubber surround and a single voice coil. It can handle whatever you throw at it day and night.

Mounting wise, this sub is one of the deeper ones at 4-inches. That means you may not be able to install it in any vehicle, so make sure you double-check your space before installation.

In the end, there’s not much more we can say. This sub packs a ton of power and is definitely worth a look.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great power handling and ability
  • Super durable materials, built for the long haul
  • Good frequency range

 

Cons:

  • No grille included
  • Not as punchy of a bass as we like

 

JL Audio 13TW5V2

JL Audio has long been producing top-quality speakers for all sorts of vehicles, and their shallow mount subwoofer is no different. It is well-tuned and provides excellent that envelops you no matter where you’re sitting.

This sub stands out because of its unique size. While most of the subs we see are between 8-12 inches, this one is 13.5 inches in diameter. While you might think that this sub would have an even deeper mounting depth, you might be surprised to learn that it’s only 2.5 inches, making it one of the more shallow subs you can find.

While it’s plenty big, it does not come with the same amount of power that might expect. Rated at just 600 Watts RMS, it produces plenty of bass but maybe not as much as you were hoping for.

It is quite durable, being outfitted with a massive 7-inch voice coil, Santoprene surround, and a mica infused polypropylene cone. You can rest assured knowing that this sub is a beast.

Even though it may not be as loud or strong as other subs, you’d struggle to find one that provides you with a clearer sound. It’s perfect for those who listen to a wide range of music and want to experience every level.

The biggest downside to this sub is that it’s pricey. If it was grammatically correct, we’d at 20 “y’s” to the end of pricey. But, if you’re looking for near perfect, clear sound then you can’t go wrong with this JL Audio subwoofer.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Top-notch clarity and amazing response
  • Very shallow mounting depth despite the wide diameter
  • Components are second to none

Cons:

  • Very, very expensive

Kicker CVT104

We’re back with another kicker, this time with the 10-inch version that we had a look at earlier.

If you were a fan of the CVT124, then this review isn’t going to differ as much. It’s got the same components but not as quite as much boom and punch as its 12-inch brethren.

Despite losing two inches on the diameter, its mounting dept is nearly identical, losing just ⅛ of an inch. That means that this speaker is going to be a bit deeper than other models, making it not suitable for all setups.

Enough about mounting depth, let’s talk about the specs. It’s got a max RMS of 800 Watts and a solid frequency range, going from 25-500Hz. You’ll be able to reach down for more clear bass, a place where it outperforms the 12-inch version.

Essentially, these two subs are the same but this one is smaller and comes with a bit less of mounting depth. It still brings that great sound and clear bass that Kicker is known for, albeit in a smaller package.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great frequency range and sensitivity
  • Punchy bass, great for its small size

 

Cons:

  • Once voice coil means questionable durability
  • No grille included

 

Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch

We’ll finish off our list with another Rockford Fosgate. Once again, you can expect durability and great sound from a Rockford Fosgate and this bad boy is no different.

One of the main reasons we put this sub on our list is the price. You’re not going to find a better bargain for a sub that you might here. While you’re going to be sacrificing a bit in bass quality and overall power, it’s still a great deal that works perfectly for beginners.

It comes equipped with a polypropylene cone and rubber surround but only puts out 200 Watts RMS. Its peak power is also very low, coming in at just 400 Watts peak. But it still produces solid bass for its size and power levels.

Despite its name, it isn’t as ultra-shallow as other subs on this list. Its mounting depth is 3.4 inches but will fit in just about every vehicle out there.

Other than that, it’s a pretty basic sub. If you’re someone who wants to upgrade their vehicle without breaking the bank, then this is the sub to go for. If you’re someone looking to make a huge upgrade, then it’s best to skip over this sub.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The price, it’s an absolute bargain and solid quality
  • Durable, great components
  • Compact to fit in just about any space

 

Cons:

  • Low power rating
  • Doesn’t have a punchy bass, but what can you expect with the price?

 

Shallow Sub FAQs & Buyers Guide

Now that we’ve gone through the list, it’s important to know what you should be looking for before deciding to make a purchase. We’re going to run through all the basics and answer some of your pressing questions.

 

What is a Shallow Mount Subwoofer?

So we’ve gone this far without talking about exactly what a shallow mount subwoofer is.

This type of subwoofer is essentially the same as a regular subwoofer but in a much smaller package. They are designed for those who have compact cars or vehicles and may struggle to fit a traditional subwoofer in their setup.

Shallow mount subwoofers have a mounting depth of less than four inches, but that’s not always the case.

You’ll find shallow mounts in rear decks, along the sides of a trunk, or in thin enclosures that give you that booming bass sound.

 

Can They Really Compare to Traditional Subwoofers?

Well, that depends on what you want to be honest. If you have a compact space with limited options, then a shallow mount is going to be better for you. They’re lighter, more portable, and thinner.

They’re also much easier to install and much less restrictive.

But…we can’t lie to you about the sound quality. 99 times out of 100, a traditional subwoofer is going to sound better. There’s no getting past this part. You’re going to have to choose when it comes to buying day.

That’s not to say they don’t provide great sound. They do, but you’re not going to get that same booming, loud sound that you might receive via a traditional subwoofer.

If sound is the #1 thing for you, then you’re better off getting a traditional sub.

 

Specifications to Consider

When looking at numbers, which ones should be the most important to you? We have some of the most important specs you should be minding when you’re shopping.

Subwoofer Size

This should be the first thing you look at because if it’s too big, it’s not going to fit in your car. Typically, you’ll find subs between 8-15 inches. These all bring their own positives and negatives.

Smaller subs tend to be more responsive and have punchier basses. If you like rock or techno music, they’re the ideal choice for you. But if you want something with power that will have people feeling it in their bones, then a larger sub is for you.

Generally, the larger the sub the more powerful it is. They don’t have the same response time and often have a smaller frequency range. If you like listening to fast-paced music, this isn’t your sub. They tend to handle rock, hip-hop, and metal better.

 

Peak Power

This means the maximum power the sub can handle without damaging itself or blowing out. Peak power is not nearly as important as RMS, which is the average power your sub can handle.

Chances are, you’re never going to reach your peak power so it isn’t as important as some might lead you to believe so don’t read into it that much.

 

Frequency Range

This means the different levels of frequency that your speaker can reproduce. Those with broader frequency ranges are more versatile but when shopping for a subwoofer, it shouldn’t be the biggest concern you have.

What you do want is a low-frequency range, preferably starting at 20Hz. That means your subwoofer can hit all of those lows that your bass-heavy music requires.

 

Sensitivity

This is a very important metric to consider, as this determines how loud the speaker will be with only one Watt of power.

For those not using an external amp, you’ll get more volume and power with a high sensitivity speaker. For those with an amp, a lower sensitivity is more of what you need.

 

Final Thoughts

Buying a shallow mount subwoofer is often about choice and circumstances. Do you have limited space? Are you on a more limited budget? Is being loud not the most important thing to you?

If the answer to those questions is yes, then a shallow mount subwoofer is a perfect option for you. You’re not going to outperform the traditional subs paired with a great amp, but you’re still going to provide a quality upgrade to your system and plenty of extra bass.

Make sure you read the specifications closely when shopping and find one that will fit your personal style and musical taste. Good luck shopping out there!

 

Bryce

Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

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