I’ve had mixed results with 8” subwoofers. Throughout the many years I’ve been messing around with my car’s audio setup, I’ve tried many of them. Some are great, and others lack the punch I want. Thankfully, the Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Hideaway Subwoofer is one of the great ones.
Kicker isn’t as well known as some brands, but it doesn’t disappoint. Their combination subwoofer/amplifier is the best of both worlds, and hits harder than some of the 10” subwoofers I’ve installed previously. Trust me on this – it’s not worth it to purchase an 8” subwoofer if it isn’t going to hit like this one.
In this Kicker Hideaway subwoofer review, we’ll take a look at the features that put this sub far ahead of its competitors. We’ll go over potential drawbacks as well, giving you an in-depth look at one of the best 8” subwoofers I’ve found for my smaller car.
Kicker 11HS8 Subwoofer Review – Big Power in a Small Package
The Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Hideaway Subwoofer was one of the first attempts at a subwoofer with a built-in amplifier. Kicker isn’t as well-known as companies like Rockford Fosgate and JBL, but they’ve worked very hard to put this combination sub-amp on the market.
And they did a fairly good job with it! There are a few quirks that this system has, but overall, it’s a solid 8” subwoofer with a host of options and advantages.
This sub is great for smaller cars. Since it is an under-seat, compact subwoofer, it mounts perfectly in even the smallest cars. You can place it just about anywhere you need to because the small sealed enclosure has an ultra-small profile.
For modest set-ups that won’t annoy the neighbors, this is the perfect subwoofer. You’ll get clear, crisp audio with deep lows without the sidelong glances from other cars at a red light.
Essentially, the Kicker 11HS8 has everything you could want in a subwoofer with a built-in amplifier. It packs a powerful punch with a small package, perfect for just about any setup. It is easy to install and simple to adjust, with settings that make every aspect of your music that much more enjoyable.
What I Liked
- Includes Wires. Unlike some other subwoofers on the market, the Kicker 11HS8 comes with all of the wires, terminals, and tools you need to connect the subwoofer ground the unit and connect the car battery. Everything is included so you don’t have to make additional wire purchases.
- Easy Mounting. The Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway is as close as you can get to a plug-and-play subwoofer/amplifier combo. It comes with all of the brackets and screws to mount easily and effectively, no matter where you want to put it.
- Impressive Low-Frequency Output. From such a small sub, the Kicker 11HS8 has an amazing depth of bass. You won’t believe how hard this little sub kicks, especially considering its only 8 inches!
- Hi/Low Switch. This two-position switch changes how you connect the subwoofer, so you can adjust the installation to your personal preferences and the devices that you already have.
- Bass Boost Control. You can control the level of bass you want to hear on the fly. The bass boost control knob goes from 0 to +6dB and adjusts automatically. This means you can change the bass as many times as you want to fit your favorite songs.
- Wired Remote. You can easily change settings with the included wired remote without having to get under your seat to change the dials. It’s simple to install and adds even more ease of use to this user-friendly subwoofer.
What I Didn’t Like
- Requires Remote Turn-On. This is one of the most annoying things about this subwoofer. Sometimes, your regular stereo will not turn on the amplifier. You may have to turn it on manually, which can be a real pain if you must do it each time. I prefer auto-on and auto-off features.
- The Price. While the Kicker 11HS8 is a great product that can step up your car audio game, it’s also got a hefty price tag that can turn some people off.
- No Peak Power Rating. While this Kicker Hideaway subwoofer has a 150 watts RMS rating, it doesn’t feature a peak power rating like most larger subwoofers would. It can be misleading, and you won’t truly know how much the sub is pulling at peak.
Feature 1: Built-In Hi/Low Converter
This hi/low converter feature helps make this subwoofer more versatile. It has a two-position switch on the subwoofer itself that can change how you connect the wires and plug the sub into your system. You can use high-level input signal wires with your factory radio, or you can use the low option to use RCA plugs.
This does more than just add to the convenience. It’s great to know that Kicker takes all possible preferences and accessories into account. However your car’s audio system is already set up, you won’t have to worry about the Kicker 11HS8 fitting in anywhere. It will install just fine with your other devices.
Feature 2: Seamless Controls
You can adjust just about any feature that this Kicker Hideaway subwoofer offers. Included with the subwoofer are remote bass controls to help you adjust the sound of your music depending on the song or your mood. You can also change the low-pass crossover threshold to play songs with a more diverse frequency range.
There are two automatic turn-on options. When these are selected, it allows the sub and amplifier to turn on if certain conditions are met. You can play with the phase-canceling switch, fine-tune your bass boosting, and find the sweet spot for just about any song on your playlist.
Feature 3: Plug ‘n Play
The Kicker 111HS8 8” Hideaway subwoofer is easy to connect and install. One of the most important things about this subwoofer is how easy it is to install directly into your car’s audio system. It comes with a Quick-Connect harness with wires for power, grounding, signal input, and remote turn-on so you have everything you need right away.
It’s easy to install, and all of the outputs and settings are clearly labeled and easy to figure out. In addition to the required wires, this subwoofer comes with all the brackets and strips you need to install and remove the subwoofer very quickly.
Built-In Amplifier: What Does It Mean?
The Kicker 11HS8 has a built-in amplifier, as we’ve covered many times before. But what does that mean in terms of how the subwoofer performs?
In short, it means that you are going to get better sound quality. The lows will be lower, and the bass will hit harder because the connection between the subwoofer and the amplifier is more direct. The built-in amplifier may just be the feature that makes this little subwoofer so powerful.
The amplifier runs at 150 watts RMS, which means that there is a constant flow of power directly to the amplifier. No matter what type of music you’re listening to, the subwoofer is going to sound great and make your windows rattle, no way around it.
Let’s take a look at the exact specifications of the Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Hideaway subwoofer.
|Feature||Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Specification|
|Dimensions||13.78 x 9.45 x 3.15”|
|Bass Boost||0 to +6dB @ 40Hz|
|Frequency Response||25Hz – 120Hz|
|Input Sensitivity, Low Level||125mV – 5V|
|Input Sensitivity, High Level||250mV – 10V|
|Low Pass Filter||50Hz – 120Hz|
What does this mean for you?
This Kicker hideaway subwoofer has an 8” surface, which is the smallest widely-available subwoofer. The sound will be great for your standard set-up, and it will deliver amazing bass with built-in amplification.
Choose a subwoofer that will fit where you need it to go. The Kicker 11HS8 8” Hideaway will fit perfectly under your car’s seats and just about anywhere else, saving you space and enabling even the smallest car to have amazing bass.
This metric tells you how much the subwoofer helps the bass on your favorite songs. This feature increases the sound level and volume in the bass frequency range so that the bass is even easier to hear.
You should go with a subwoofer that draws enough power for amazing sound quality but doesn’t overload the electrical system in your car. The Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway is rated for 150 watts RMS, which means that it delivers 150 watts consistently during operation.
The frequency response specification indicates how well the subwoofer can reproduce sound frequencies. Because of its size, this under seat subwoofer doesn’t have a huge frequency range. However, your regular music should sound great regardless.
Input Sensitivity, Low Level
Low-level inputs are the means used to connect your audio source to your subwoofer if it uses RCA inputs. Sound processors and other head units may use RCA inputs. This level is the sensitivity you’ll get from those low-level RCA inputs.
Input Sensitivity, High Level
High-level inputs are used when there are no RCA outputs on your audio source. You can use the speaker outputs from the audio source (head unit or another device) and connect them directly to the subwoofer. This is the sensitivity of non-RCA inputs.
Low Pass Filter
You can adjust the low pass filter option with this feature. The subwoofer will play all sound below the frequency you select, so choose a level in the given spectrum that works best with the rest of your system. Some systems work better with mid-tones, so you can set this to a lower frequency. If your system needs help with mids, choose a higher setting.
Sealed subwoofers are more compact and allow subwoofers to work in limited spaces. They won’t deliver the same volume or bass, but they are more economical for single subwoofers and small spaces.
The Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway connects to your car’s audio system with a harness. This makes it easier to attach the subwoofer and begin using it immediately, as you don’t have to play around with the audio and electrical system wires.
A warranty is an assurance that the product you’re getting works. If the subwoofer stops working within this time frame (during normal use), Kicker will replace it with a working sub at no additional cost. For the 11HS8, that time frame is 1 year.
What The Customers Are Saying
An in-depth look at Kicker Hideaway reviews has revealed that while most customers are happy with their purchase, there are a few issues with this subwoofer. Some customers report that the subwoofer stops working well before the warranty period runs out, or that it quits altogether only after a few uses. When they try to collect on their warranty, most run into problems with Kicker’s customer service.
On the other hand, many users had a very positive experience with this subwoofer. Many say that it delivers great bass for its size. The built-in amplifier makes it easy to install and work with, and the compact size is great for cars of all sizes.
For more information, check out this Kicker Hideaway review video.
If you want deep bass that isn’t too loud and won’t rattle the cars around you at a stoplight, this is the subwoofer for you. The sound quality is deep, and it does punch hard, but it works best with smaller systems and more low-profile setups. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you can’t get much better than the Kicker 11HS8.
Because of the easy controls, simple installation, and unbeatable sound quality (while still fitting under your sedan’s seats, I can very much recommend the Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W RMS subwoofer.
For the same type of punch on a budget, check out the JBL BassPro SL Under-Seat Enclosure System. It does not reach the same power levels at the Kicker 11HS8, but it will still make your music sound amazing.