One of the shortcomings of most pinball machines is that they lack bass in the default speaker system.  Most of the time manufacturers install the cheapest possible speaker options in order to make more money instead of trying to produce a better sounding experience.  That’s opened up the market for a lot of different aftermarket solutions including replacing the cabinet subwoofer with a much better one and installing an external subwoofer which hooks into the game.  I’m going to detail this second option today but have used both options in the past.  Let’s dive into pinball machine subwoofers now.

Parts Needed

The first thing you need is to buy an external subwoofer.  The most popular one by far is this Polk one I’ve linked below through my Amazon affiliate.

Polk Subwoofer from Amazon

Typically it’s $99 but sometimes it’s on sale, that’s the best time to jump on the deal.  Once you’ve got a subwoofer, now it’s time to get the Pinnovators kit for your particular machine.  The game I installed it on was an NBA Fastbreak, so I bought this kit:

Williams DCS kit from Pinnovators

It comes with the adapter and wiring you need in order to make this work with the subwoofer above.

Once you’ve got the parts above, you’re ready to move to the installation portion.

Installation

Depending on your machine, installation will probably be slightly different than the NBA Fastbreak I installed mine on.  First thing to do is to remove the two existing speaker plugs and plug in the Pinnovators adapter.  I have a picture of what it will look like below after everything is assembled plus the mini-jack cord plugged in.

Pinnovators Williams DCS adapter
Pinnovators Williams DCS adapter

After that is done, it’s time to route the cord.  Initially I tried to route it between the head and the body but the latch in the back wouldn’t close unfortunately.  I came up with a secondary option in the back of the head, lowering the grate at the top.  With that lowered, I was able to easily route my wire through.  Reversible and easy to do.  Once the wire is routed, you can hook it up to the subwoofer via the red and white RCA plugs.  I have a picture and a video below of the process:

Routing the pinball subwoofer cable
Routing the pinball subwoofer cable

Trying it out

Once you’ve got it installed, it’s time to try it out.  I made a video below showing what it sounds like with and without it on, there’s a pretty big difference:

I’ve also used the cabinet subwoofers in the past on multiple games.  I’m sure you’re wondering “How does this compare?”.  Well, it doesn’t, the external subwoofer sound is way better when actually using it.  However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t drawbacks.  First, having the integrated sub makes it a more seamless process.  There’s also a little more shaking of the cabinet itself with the internal sub.  That’s about where the advantages stop though.  The external sub isn’t tied to any particular game and can be used for up to four games, which makes it a lot cheaper.  It can also be adjusted or turned off a lot easier if it’s late at night and you don’t want to wake anyone up.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to upgrade the bass in your pinball machine, there’s no better choice than adding an external subwoofer.  Hopefully you’re able to add your pinball machine subwoofer as easy as I was.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post a comment below.

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