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Sealed vs. Ported

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When choosing a subowofer box, the decision between sealed and ported will determine how the final install will sound. The general rule for this choice is fairly simple.

Sealed subwoofer boxes generally are much smaller than ported enclosures. If you're limited on space, it would probably be a good idea to go with a sealed enclosure. Not only is there a size difference, but there is also a difference in sound between the two enclosures. Sealed enclosures tend to produce tight, accurate bass and have a flat frequency response curve. They are also generally the enclosure of choice when looking for a SQ (Sound Quality) oriented setup.

Ported boxes can get very large and have many varying factors that will determine their size and sound output. Ported enclosures produce louder bass than sealed enclosures, and allow you to tune the box to a specific frequency to determine how the bass will sound. Higher tuning on a ported box will get louder, but at the expense of sound quality. Lower tuning will still get louder than a sealed box, and at the same time will yield fairly good sound quality. For more information on choosing the correct tuning for your ported subwoofer box, please see our article called "Choosing the Correct Tuning".

Port area and port type also plays a role in ported enclosures. Too little port area for the subwoofer box can result in port noise, which can severely detract from the sound quality of your setup. To much port area can also have a negative impact on the sound quality. However, if your goal is to get loud and not care about sound quality, then a ported box, tuned high, with a large amount of port area is the way to go.

Personal preference and size limitations will both play a role in the decision between sealed or ported enclosures. If you have the room, and you want to get loud, go with a ported box. If you're limited on space or are looking for the best sound quality possible, it would generally be best to go with a sealed box. Either way, as long as the specifications of the subwoofer box are within the subwoofer manufacturer's recommended box specifications, you should be safe with either choice.






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