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sealed or ported box?

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Member - Posts: 3
Member spacespace
Joined: March 12, 2007
Location: United States
Posted: April 14, 2007 at 10:44 PM / IP Logged  
Me and my friends are having a little argument about what kind of speaker enclosure is louder.(Sealed or Ported) I think theyr'e pretty much the same as far as sheer loudness. The sealed box sounds better for rock music (Gotta love the double bass drum) and the ported sounds better for rap (Long droning pitches). Other than that I hear no difference (Mabe I'm going deaf).  Sealed boxes are way easier to make. Ported boxes look awesome. Well there's a bunch of pros and cons. I'm just curious to hear the opinions of the pros. Anyone want to shed some light on the situation?       Thanks
Alpine Guy 
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Joined: October 18, 2003
Location: Canada
Posted: April 15, 2007 at 5:41 AM / IP Logged  
A ported box technically can be around 3db's louder than a sealed box which is the equivalent to adding another sub in a sealed system. Aside from all the myth's that unknowledgeable people feed into peoples minds, ported can sound better than a sealed box, the key is the design of the box. So your both wrong :)
2003 Chevy Avalanche,Eclipse CD7000,Morel Elate 5,Adire Extremis,Alpine PDX-4.150, 15" TC-3000, 2 Alpine PDX-1.1000, 470Amp HO Alt.
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Joined: January 24, 2004
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Posted: April 15, 2007 at 1:30 PM / IP Logged  

Alpine Guy's advice is dead-on accurate as usual.  But, danwood, what you and your friend are discussing here (according to the wording in your post) are two different matters entirely.  First you wondered which is louder, then the argument went the way of sound quality.  Two different things.

First, find your priorities.  Wanting a louder sub indicates competition, whether you're competing against friends for the loudest setup or competing for real in db drag.  Your post sounds like, on the other hand, that the argument is really about what sounds better for the different music types.  There are a few matters that you should bear in mind about this:

  • An good subwoofer setup will accurately reproduce the music source.  It is inherent in the different music types that the bass sounds different (electronic synthesized vs. kick drum etc.), so no matter whether the sub is sealed or vented these different bass sounds should be reproduced accurately.  They should sound the way they were intended to be heard.
  • The relatively small confines of an automobile creates an added reponse to the sub frequency range and it's known as "cabin gain".  While a sealed sub has a gradual slope that looks to be quieter in the low end than a vented sub's slope (when modeled on paper), the cabin gain increases the low end of the freq spectrum.  A good sealed setup usually exhibits very strong lows if the right box size is used and the sub is positioned well.  Pushing for an emphasized low end in a vented box can result in too much low end when combined with cabin gain.
  • The electrical and physical characteristics of any given subwoofer indicate what type of enclosure is best for their use.  Here is a small sample list of some sub manufacturers who make subwoofers that have characteristics that put them in different enclosure categories:

Best in sealed:

Alpine E type (SWE1242)

Alpine S type (SWS1243D)
JL 12W3v2
JL 12W7
RE Audio SE series
Image Dynamics ID12D4v3

Best in vented:

Alpine R type (SWR1241)

JL 8W0
RE Audio SX series
Image Dynamics IDQ12D4v2

These box-types are distinguished by the characteristics of the particular sub in question.  Key parameters are Fs and Qes when making the determination.  Seasoned installers know what's best through first hand experience.  So what you need to do is listen to as many sub setups as you possibly can.  The sub you choose will perform perfectly for rock music whether it's sealed or vented, as long as you've chosen the proper enclosure and set it up with great attention to the details.

Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.
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Silver spacespace
Joined: July 03, 2004
Location: Colorado, United States
Posted: April 15, 2007 at 1:43 PM / IP Logged  

danwood wrote:
I think theyr'e pretty much the same as far as sheer loudness.

I love nebulous descriptions like this.

danwood wrote:
Other than that I hear no difference.

A properly designed enclosure should sound ...nebulous description ahead...."good" regardless of the alignment.  Either enclosure is definately capable of producing sound pressure than can damage hearing.  As I read your descriptions it occurs to me you might be comparing apples to oranges..  you would really need to match up the same amplifier and the same sub in the same car.. then go through different enclosures to really get a feel for the differences between the two. 

I always build vented enclosures.. which really aren't difficult to make at all.  You can get a program like WinISD (freeware from which will design the thing for you.  My way of describing the difference is that "a properly designed vented enclosure will provide significantly extended low-end bass-response."

"I'm finished!" - Daniel Plainview
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Joined: May 01, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: April 15, 2007 at 10:03 PM / IP Logged  
Um...depends on the box.
I built an ABC box for my brother for a 12 inch MTX sub...before that it was in a sealed box for a couple months...the ported box shatters the sealed box in sheer output and keeps up with the sound quality easily
My guess is that the vented boxes you have heard are prefab crap boxes

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