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.