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Choosing the Correct Port Tuning

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Tuning of a ported subwoofer box is determined by a combination of port area, port length, and net volume of the subwoofer box. Tuning changes the frequency at which the frequency response peaks (is loudest) and can change the way a subwoofer box sounds in your setup. Your tuning choice will be determined by the goal of your system install.

If you're looking to achieve an SPL setup your car (getting as loud as possible), you'll want to tune fairly high. High tuning for SPL is usually somewhere around 45Hz or possibly higher. At this high of tuning, the sound quality will not be very good, but it will be louder than if you were to tune low.

A SQ (sound quality) based setup will call for a tuning fairly low - even down around 25Hz. This will also allow you to hit the ultra-low notes with your system. Lower-tuned boxes produce better sound quality, more like a sealed box. The downside to lower tuning is that it flattens the frequency response, which will cause the box to lack the boost around the tuning frequency.

To achieve a good mix between SPL and SQ with a ported box, we have found that it's good to be in the lower 30's for tuning. If you tune up around 35Hz, you'll get a fair amount of SPL out of the box and still have fairly good sound quality. If you tune closer to 30, the box will yield better sound quality but have a little less output than the 35Hz. A range between 30 and 35 Hz is generally good for most general setups.

If you want SPL, tune high. If you want SQ, tune low. If you want somewhere in-between the two, we have found a good tuning is right at 33Hz. This is why we default the port tuning to 33Hz on our customization pages for our ported enclosures. When choosing a ported subwoofer box, the freedom to tune the enclosure is a great way to get your system sounding the way you want it to sound.

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