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      10-06-2009, 09:21 AM   #1
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Post REVIEW: TPLSM3 Custom Fiberglass Subwoofer Enclosure

A few weeks back, while reading escobar929's thread "Adding an Amp and Subwoofer," I came across a post by TPLSM3 (a.k.a. Ben) where he posted a picture of a custom fiberglass enclosure he built to house his 10" JL Audio W6 subwoofer (see Post #7). The idea of attempting to build such an enclosure had crossed my mind a few times, but after reading some "DIY's" on it, I decided that it'd consume more of my time than I was willing to give up. Once I saw that we had a local expert capable of building such enclosures, naturally, I made contact.

After a few PMs back and forth, Ben was willing to take on the task of building an enclosure capable of housing my 10" JL Audio W7 subwoofer for a VERY fair price (PM him for details). I sent him the details for my sub from the JL Audio website as well as their recommended sealed enclosure specifications. For those of you unaware, the W7 is a VERY demanding sub that can take lots of power and generally requires quite a bit of volume from a box. I told Ben to maximize the size of what he was to build, without having it protrude too far in to the primary cargo area of the trunk. For reference, here's a picture of what the previous box looked like (note my key fob in front of it):


(Sorry about the image quality... At the time of install, I only had my iPhone handy!)

And here's the approximate amount of space it was consuming in the trunk vs. the new enclosure that Ben built:


(Click image(s) for larger version(s) throughout this review.)

As you can see, a good portion of the trunk was completely unusable and the pass-through in to the cabin was absolutely unusable without removing the old enclosure! The new one has fixed both of those problems!

As-stated, I asked Ben to use his judgment on how big to build the sub. I was looking to regain my trunk, so having it build to exact spec was the last thing on my mind. I knew my JL Audio 500/1 amp was only turned up to about 1/3 of the total gain, so there was PLENTY of power left to compensate for a smaller enclosure. Here's the way it looked prior to installation, without the sub installed:


(Again, sorry for the crappy iPhone pic!)

After inspection, I immediately filled it with some packing peanuts that I had handy and then transferred those in to a cardboard box. After taking measurements, I was able to calculate the volume based on how full the box was. It came out a little shy of 1.0 ft^3. The recommended size for a 10W7 in sealed enclosure is 1.25 ft^3 - close enough for me!

Installation was a breeze. It took me roughly 2 hours, but only because I took the time to upgrade some wiring and reroute a few things I hadn't liked with my previous install. Ben included VERY thorough directions with many detailed images via PM. While the install was relatively basic, he left no guess work. Here's the end result:







As you can see, between the proper placement of the amplifier and the precise fitment of Ben's enclosure, this makes for one SWEET setup. Obviously you could take up slightly less room with an Earthquake SWS-8x upgrade in the under-seat enclosures; however, I previously had the Earthquakes in my car and while they sounded good, they came NOWHERE close to achieving the depth that a 10" sub under full excursion is capable of.

Speaking of sound, I have to comment on this... after all, this *is* about upgrading the stock sound system. I have to admit, I was somewhat worried when I committed to this upgrade... Ported enclosures (which I previously had) are known to make more sound than a sealed enclosure; however, once I got this setup dialed in, there were ZERO disappointments. As I mentioned before, this enclosure is slightly smaller than what JL Audio calls for, but only by about 20%. It took me about 30 minutes of tweaking the gain on the amp and equalizer & bass settings on the headunit to get things "perfect." And man, is it ever - the bass is SO much tighter! I feel almost blasphemous saying this about a W7 subwoofer, but previously it was almost "sloppy" compared to what it is now. It's *SO* tight and crisp, I could kick myself for ever running the old box. Even if this wasn't a custom-fit box, it was worth the $$$ just due to the difference in sound quality!

All of that said, I would recommend that anyone interested in installing a subwoofer in their 1er get in contact with Ben/TPLSM3. He's stated in other threads that he'll build these per request and I think it's great that we have the opportunity to pick something up like this at such a bargain!

Lastly, I want to extend my thanks to Ben for taking the time to build this for me (THANKS, BEN! ) and post a few more pics to convince anyone reading to get in contact!





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      10-06-2009, 12:58 PM   #2
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Did you just add a sub to the existing stock system? If so, how does it all come together with the stock mids/highs? Does everything compliment eachother?
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      10-06-2009, 01:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AW135*Guy View Post
Did you just add a sub to the existing stock system? If so, how does it all come together with the stock mids/highs? Does everything compliment eachother?
Yep and like you wouldn't believe, man. I have a close friend that's a long-time audio fanatic (both car and home). He's very particular and even sometimes "snooty" about his gear. He has told me on more than one occasion that this is the best "stock-ish" system he's ever heard. Between BMW building such a nicely laid out system, the car being so free of rattles (compared to most) and the W7/amp/enclosure all working so well together, it sounds AWESOME.

Also, I had considered running both the Earthquake subs combined with the JL Audio W7 to fill things out even more... But, honestly, there's absolutely no need.

Lastly, many have questions whether this sub is too much, but the W7 isn't built for making a ton of 'noise' like many other big-boy subs out there. While it's completely capable of rattling your brain, it's EXTREMELY capable of producing quality sound, as well. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone (hint: you can pick up a 10W7 and 500/1 on Craigslist VERY reasonably).
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      10-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #4
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Nice write up.
Thats alot of Sub for the car! I have a JL Stealthbox loaded with a W3 in my Vette powered with a 300/2v2 and its sounds real good. That W7 must ROCK!
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      10-06-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6 View Post
Nice write up.
Thats alot of Sub for the car! I have a JL Stealthbox loaded with a W3 in my Vette powered with a 300/2v2 and its sounds real good. That W7 must ROCK!
Thanks!

Yeah, it's definitely VERY capable sub, but keep in mind that I only have the gain set to just below 2/3 on the 500/1, the lower-end of the EQ set low and the bass is 2-3 notches from 0. Needless to say, there's A LOT of "bump" left in it... But that's not what I was going for.
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      10-06-2009, 11:11 PM   #6
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Jason, that's a great review. Very detailed! Sounds like you're extremely happy with the enclosure. Thanks for taking the time to write up a review on my custom enclosure. That W7 just looks sickening! Your amp setup & placement looks identical to mine. That really is the perfect spot for the JL amp. Really looks like it was meant to be there.

If anyone else is interested, feel free to get in touch with me.

Thanks again Jason for the awesome review!
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      10-06-2009, 11:45 PM   #7
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very interested! PM Sent!
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      10-06-2009, 11:56 PM   #8
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Pmed you back
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      10-07-2009, 12:01 AM   #9
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No problem, Ben! Thanks again for taking on the project and best of luck. I hope a lot of people get in contact for their own enclosure!
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      10-07-2009, 12:05 AM   #10
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I've been getting many PMs for details on the enclosure.....

So here's the details....these enclosures will take me approx 3 days minimum each to make (unfortunately my full time job gets priority). They will pretty much be made as they are ordered. The base of the enclosure is made of 3/4" MDF while the sides are made out of fiberglass cloth/mat. The speaker ring will be made out of 3/4" MDF as well (unless your sub requires 1" ie. JL W7).

Here's what you'll be getting....

-Custom fiberglass 10" sub enclosure wrapped in black/grey carpet (very close to the same color as the trunk carpet in our 1ers). Painting can be done as well for a bit extra.
-Enclosure mounting hardware
-Mounting instructions

To order one, PM me your name, address, email address, & subwoofer setup. Paypal is the only method of payment unless you're local & want to pay in cash.

Here's my setup with the JL 10" W6 in my trunk.

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      10-08-2009, 07:56 AM   #11
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Hey guys

Nice setups!

A few questions:

1) Did you keep the stock head unit? Do you have the stock sound system and not logic 7?

2) I like the neat look of the W6. How does the W7 compare and what are the differences. Are they both JL audio?

If i lived in USA I would definitely order an enclosure from you, but unfortunately I don't so I'm looking to get someone to make it here for me.. Just wanted to clear these q's up.

Thanks!
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      10-08-2009, 08:11 AM   #12
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That looks sick!! Well done.
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      10-08-2009, 08:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aacabriolet View Post
Hey guys

Nice setups!

A few questions:

1) Did you keep the stock head unit? Do you have the stock sound system and not logic 7?

2) I like the neat look of the W6. How does the W7 compare and what are the differences. Are they both JL audio?

If i lived in USA I would definitely order an enclosure from you, but unfortunately I don't so I'm looking to get someone to make it here for me.. Just wanted to clear these q's up.

Thanks!
The W6 and W7 are both JL Audio subwoofers. The W7 is the big brother to the W6, but both subs are known to be incredibly capable and high quality.

Both of our setups utilize the stock headunits. I can't recall whether Ben has the Logic 7 system or not; however, mine does.

The amp for the L7 is behind the left rear seat panel between the inner and outer steel panels. I used a basic PAC Trunk-LOC line-out converter that also integrated the remote turn-on wires. I think it was $40. Install was a pain the first time I did one (took 3-4 hours because I had no clue what I was doing), but the second time on my friends car took only 2.

Regarding finding someone to build one locally to you: you may see if Ben is willing to ship to S. Africa, provided you'd be willing to pick up shipping charges. I recently shipped something of similar weight (and only slightly smaller) to Russia and the charges were around $70-$80. Pricey, but not terrible, all things considered. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW86 View Post
That looks sick!! Well done.
Thanks - I appreciate it (I'm sure Ben does too. )!
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      10-08-2009, 09:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
The W6 and W7 are both JL Audio subwoofers. The W7 is the big brother to the W6, but both subs are known to be incredibly capable and high quality.

Both of our setups utilize the stock headunits. I can't recall whether Ben has the Logic 7 system or not; however, mine does.

The amp for the L7 is behind the left rear seat panel between the inner and outer steel panels. I used a basic PAC Trunk-LOC line-out converter that also integrated the remote turn-on wires. I think it was $40. Install was a pain the first time I did one (took 3-4 hours because I had no clue what I was doing), but the second time on my friends car took only 2.

Regarding finding someone to build one locally to you: you may see if Ben is willing to ship to S. Africa, provided you'd be willing to pick up shipping charges. I recently shipped something of similar weight (and only slightly smaller) to Russia and the charges were around $70-$80. Pricey, but not terrible, all things considered. Good luck!
Thanks for the response! Appreciate it!

Thing is $70/80 (prob more) on top of 300$ is going to work out rather expensive.. I will look into it though!

I don't have the Logic7 unfortunately.. I have the optional premium Hi-Fi. Will it still make as much of a difference as it does with the Logic 7? How would it work? Wouldn't the speakers distort like they do at the moment when turned up high with songs with bass? Or would I have to turn the bass down on the head unit for the stock speakers and let the amp + sub handle the majority of the bass?

Another thing, since the Sub is positioned in the boot as such, does it suppress the bass a lot? It is not firing inward out outward, but rather sideways? Was speaking to a sound installer today and he said i'm not going to feel much with only a 10" JL sub, and that the 500/1 amp is overkill. No need for such a big amp? However i explained I want that amp because it fits perfectly there. Is this true?

Reading your responses it definitely sounds like you can feel it

Thanks a lot appreciate the help!
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      10-08-2009, 01:57 PM   #15
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I love this setup!
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      10-08-2009, 08:55 PM   #16
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AAcabriolet, Jason summed it up pretty well. I'm actually running the basic HiFi system in my 135i. The sub sounds great in this car. What I actually have been able to do is turn the bass down on the factory speakers (doesn't distort or rattle the outside as much) and turned up on the subwoofer in the trunk. The position of the subwoofer is good as well. I've done this style enclosure on a couple different cars and they all have sounded good. Not sure what subwoofer your installer was talking about, but you can DEFINITELY feel the 10" JL subs. I would imagine ANY 10" sub will sound great as well. The JL 500/1 powers the JL W6 or W7 nicely. It all depends on which subwoofer you decide to go with.

I wouldn't mind building an enclosure for you, but shipping may be a bit expensive. If you're interested, feel free to contact me via PM or email. According to your profile, it shows you have the convertible? Is the trunk carpet different from the coupe?

Thanks for the compliments guys!
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      10-09-2009, 10:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPLSM3 View Post
AAcabriolet, Jason summed it up pretty well. I'm actually running the basic HiFi system in my 135i. The sub sounds great in this car. What I actually have been able to do is turn the bass down on the factory speakers (doesn't distort or rattle the outside as much) and turned up on the subwoofer in the trunk. The position of the subwoofer is good as well. I've done this style enclosure on a couple different cars and they all have sounded good. Not sure what subwoofer your installer was talking about, but you can DEFINITELY feel the 10" JL subs. I would imagine ANY 10" sub will sound great as well. The JL 500/1 powers the JL W6 or W7 nicely. It all depends on which subwoofer you decide to go with.

I wouldn't mind building an enclosure for you, but shipping may be a bit expensive. If you're interested, feel free to contact me via PM or email. According to your profile, it shows you have the convertible? Is the trunk carpet different from the coupe?

Thanks for the compliments guys!
Thanks man! Great work, very very neat!!!

I'm drooling just reading your post.. Yeah appreciate it but I think it will be too expensive. Let me see what I can come up with locally first, and if not we will speak

Cool 500/1 + W6 it is then

I take it the W7 is too big to install like you did your W6? That is why Jasons is protruding a little?
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      10-09-2009, 03:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I take it the W7 is too big to install like you did your W6? That is why Jasons is protruding a little?
Yes, absolutely. After seeing Ben's setup, if I hadn't had a W7 already, I'd have probably gone with a W6... Having it not protrude would be nice, but I'm still very happy and wouldn't change a thing at this point.
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      10-09-2009, 05:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
Yes, absolutely. After seeing Ben's setup, if I hadn't had a W7 already, I'd have probably gone with a W6... Having it not protrude would be nice, but I'm still very happy and wouldn't change a thing at this point.
Yeah it still looks sick man! Nice work

Thanks
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      10-10-2009, 01:09 AM   #20
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Question. What is the best way to run a remote wire to factory head unit in my 128i? From the trunk all the way to the unit without exposure of the wire? Thanks
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      10-10-2009, 08:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxim View Post
Question. What is the best way to run a remote wire to factory head unit in my 128i? From the trunk all the way to the unit without exposure of the wire? Thanks
The PAC Trunk-LOC has a remote wire built-in.... If you use this unit, you only end up only needing to run the wire from the OEM amp to the aftermarket amp. I'd highly recommend using one, as it kills two birds with one stone and is very reasonably priced.
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      10-10-2009, 01:02 PM   #22
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Thanks Jason. The Plan is to get exactly same set up as yours. I really loved it but don't know much about getting everything installed since It is a BMW and I am afraid to break something I want to go with JL 10w6 sub, hopefully Ben can make a box for it. I don't have Logic 7 in my BMW. Does regular HiFi has the OEM AMP in the in the same spot as Logic 7? (behind driver seat,in the back fernder pretty much) So from my understanding all I need to do is to tap speaker wire (in the location of OEM AMP) with PAC Trunk LOC then connect RCAs to Trunk LOC as well as the remote wire itself since PAC Trunk LOC has remote wire feature and then just run it to aftermarket amp. Is this is correct? Once again thanks for your help.

Last edited by Maxim; 10-10-2009 at 06:04 PM.
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