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All You Need to Know About Inverted Subwoofers

Inverting a subwoofer is the term used when a subwoofer is mounted upside-down, so the magnet structure is exposed outside of the enclosure.

Inverting a car subwoofer is a matter of serious debate in the car audio community. Some people believe that you get better SPL with this design, while others insist that it’s primarily for aesthetics and has absolutely NO effect on the output of the system. The following is our contribution to the argument.

In this article, we’ll help you better understand of what inverting a car subwoofer really means, its pros and cons, why people invert their subs, and finally whether or not it is worthwhile to do.

What is an Inverted Car Subwoofer?

An inverted subwoofer is simply a subwoofer mounted “backwards” or “upside-down” in its enclosure. When a subwoofer is mounted this way, its magnet that is typically inside of the box is facing outwards instead.

Having your subs mounted the “inverted” way will make them look bad ass. As a result, they’ll turn heads and have eyes laid on them whenever you open the trunk. This is especially true if your sub(s) have huge magnets.

Can Any Sub Be Mounted “Inverted”?

Yes, almost all car subwoofers can be inverted. However, this will change the volume of the box, which in turn will alter its response.

I mean, think about it, since you’re moving the mass of the driver’s motor structure outside of the box, the overall air space inside the enclosure will increase as a result.

In other words, when you invert a sub you are adding a bit of space to the box because the sub is no longer taking up any space in the enclosure.

Are There Any Benefits to Inverting Subs?

Acoustically speaking, there aren’t any benefits to inverted subwoofers. For subs, it really doesn’t matter which way you mount them, from a response perspective.

That said, if we were to compare two identical subwoofers, one mounted in a sealed enclosure, and one inverted, I’d say the response and sound quality would be pretty much identical give or take.

The main benefit to inverting subwoofers is that it makes them run cooler, and slightly increase the box volume, which is pretty useful when you want to port a sealed subwoofer box. However, doing this does not make your subwoofers sound louder. It can help with space issues though, allowing you to fit the subs in an area with a relatively smaller box that normally would not work. I mean, if you have multiple subs, inverting them will make the enclosure a few tenths of a cubic foot smaller.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Inverting Subs?

The only downside to inverting subs that we can reasonably think of, is that the motor noise is more likely to be audible. This is especially true in ‘up-front-bass’ setups where the sub(s) is mounted close to the listeners, like right behind the seats or between them in a center console.

Are Inverted Subwoofers Hard to Install And Wire up?

Not really, inverting subs isn’t that difficult when compared to regular subwoofer mounting. I’d say it’s actually a bit easier because the motor structure is out of the box, which makes wiring the sub(s) an easy job. However, some people don’t like having exposed wires/connections.

It must be noted that if you’re mounting two subwoofers in the same enclosure and one of them is inverted, you should wire the inverted sub “Out of Phase” in order to make it perform correctly. Because otherwise, the cones of these two subs won’t move together and hence cancel out each other.

If there’s only one subwoofer, or a couple of subs all firing into the enclosure inverted, then the phase does not need to change.

P.S: The only time inverted sub MUST be wired out of phase is when there are two or more subs in the system and not all of them are inverted.

 

Why are People Inverting Car Subwoofers?

We can all agree that inverted subwoofers look cool and badass. And that’s the main reason why most guys invert their subs.

Should You Invert Your Subs?

If space saving is what you’re after, inverting your subs isn’t worth it. The amount of space you save by inverting the subs is negligible.

Additionally, if volume and loudness is the reason why you’re considering it, then I’m afraid it doesn’t make much of a difference compared to sealed enclosures.

So, looks and aesthetics is all what’s left. Therefore, if you want to show off and make your setup look impressive, then you can give it a shot.

If you decide to opt for inverting your subs, make sure to isolate the front & rear output waves from one another to prevent cancellation by the out-of-phase signal.

Alex Brown

Hey There, my name is Alex Brown, I'm an LA-based sound engineer with over 10 years experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. I've installed highly competitive car audio systems, and everything from navigation systems to full car stereo systems, remote starters, alarms and beyond. I enjoy creating solutions and simplifying everyday needs. I also love helping people get great sounding gear, thereby, saving the world from bad sound one customer at a time.

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