I’ve never had bass in Sharka. Never. 21 years without bass. I don’t know why I did that to myself.
Well… no. I know why. I never found the perfect subwoofer. I didn’t want to give up trunk space, I didn’t have luck with the rear tray subwoofer setup due to the rollbar, I didn’t want to lose passenger leg room, and I didn’t want a lot of extra weight. All of those wants turned into no bass for 21 years.
Stormy had really lovely bass. The factory did an amazing job with that 2006 Bose system. Really full sound. The best sound I’ve heard in a factory Miata.
Mona has decent sound and a small subwoofer from the factory. Not quite as full as Stormy, but quite nice for a Miata.
Even Bucky had a subwoofer. (I miss you Bucky.)
Sharka needed some boom wiki. He waited long enough.
This is the Pioneer TS-WX130 compact active subwoofer. It’s about 7 lbs, 11″x8″x2.75″, and not too expensive at about $200 as of January 2021. No amp to install or miles of large gauge wire. And it fits behind the driver’s seat with no loss in travel if you have an Elise seat.
Yeah… Elise seat. Not sure how well (or if at all) this would work in a Miata with stock seats. But if you have a few inches between the seat back and rear bulkhead, this should work for you.
And don’t get me wrong, audiophiles. I’m not saying this little toy is a replacement for a real sub or that it’s capable of quality sound. It isn’t. But it’s a 100% improvement over a pair of 6.5″ speakers in the doors.
This is my proof of concept – the sub fits nicely behind the seat. It’s most of the way forward for this photo, but test fitting confirmed that no seat travel is lost FOR ME with the subwoofer in place. I still have a bit more than an inch of clearance with the seat fully back.
Time to put the little thing in.
This was honestly one of the easiest installs I’ve ever done. Two screws and a slice through the carpet to run the wires underneath. I taped them to the bulkhead to prevent rattles and then ran the wires under the console / Nakamae quilting.
It was almost more work taking the photos than installing the sub. Almost. I did have to remove the center tombstone and radio to plug it in after all. That was most of the labor.
And the $200ish question: how does it work? It’s honestly very good! I’m not gonna claim it’ll win competitions or produce audiophile quality, but I’m actually surprised and impressed. It’s much more than just a bass shaker.
It took quite a bit of tweaking for it to sound natural and mimic a real sub, but the little control stick makes that pretty simple. Just turn the frequency knob and listen to a familiar song. If it doesn’t sound right, turn the knob a bit and listen again. Repeat on another familiar song.
While driving, the sub makes its presence felt nicely. There’s a fullness that was previously empty and a nice bass thump effect. It doesn’t rattle mirrors, but I didn’t want that. I wanted *some* bass with the minimal possible space and weight penalty. And… I got it. I would compare it to the factory ND subwoofer. Maybe one notch below that.
The sub is totally whelming. Not under and not over. Perfectly whelming.
So, if you want a tiny sub that doesn’t suck, check out the Pioneer compact series.
And since I had them, here’s a couple Sharka night pix. With bass!!! If you really try, you can hear it.
Very nice, clean install–as always!
And great write up!
Every NA should have one ; )
There really should be some sort of bass in every NA. It adds so much to the drive.
this artivle came out just in time as im redoing the entire interior and was about to start looking for a quality sound system! Im going to pick one up next week. Thank you for finding this.
I’ll let you know if it clears the stock seats lol
I am also currently personalising my interior. Next step is audio. If you could, let me know what audio components you choose and where you decide to mount everything! Would love to hear about it
You miss bucky .. what happened?
Or did I miss a blog-post?
I sold Bucky about the time I got Mona. Had to make space for the new car. I never blogged about it… guess I’m still in denial.
Hey adam, great write up as usual! Would it be possible to add one behind each seat? Or is that making things too complicated? Wondering if one is enough bass…
It depends on the seat travel, but that’s probably possible! 2 should be quite a lot of boom in the cabin.
Way back when, I had a Clarion 6 CD changer mounted exactly where you mounted this sub, on my ’91. I’m 5’10” and never use all of the seat travel, so it wasn’t a problem, and I think that thing was thicker than this. I’ve now got an Atoto A6 android head unit, and while the sound (with Millineum speakers,) is good, a sub would be nice. Thanks for the info!
just ordered this same of because of this post !
question; how did you power the unit? wire directly to battery? thanks
How did you mount the sub with the screws? Did you drill into the chassis or just into the carpet? I’m essentially doing this exact build behind my Bride with an Alpine little sub.
I just purchased one. Should I consider placing it under the glove compartment instead of behind the seat? I believe it may well fit there. I’m not a big sound guy so don’t know if bass can even be placed there.
Same questions here, did you wire it up straight to the battery? And did you drill the screws into the chassis? Thanks Adam!
I just added a JBL Basspro SL2 powered sub in my NA (behind passenger seat) along with an Alpine UTE-73BT/445U amp. The amp is tiny and is bridged so that the power is doubled to 90 watts RMS per channel to power the Millennium door speakers. I mounted the amp under the carpet directly in front of the passenger seat. It is Class D so no heat issues. I used a sub-woofer installation kit to route the power and ground wires for both into the trunk following the OEM wire harness on the right side of the car under the carpet. The sound is magnificent for a little invisible system and is super clear even at peak volume. You have to set the amplifier gain correctly to avoid distortion. I used split wire loom to protect the cables and BUS bars to route the power and ground lines together. One power line goes to the battery and one ground line goes to the ground mounting point near the battery using the cables in the amp install kit. The sub has a wired remote level knob which I routed to the center console to adjust the boom-boom if needed.