Sealed or Ported? That is the question we get asked a lot

March 25th, 2015

Sealed or Ported? That is the question

The most commonly asked question we get at Source Sounds is whether a subwoofer works best sealed or ported? In our opinion there is no definitive answer to this as everyone has their own opinions and preferences. All of us here at Source Sounds in Sheffield prefer the sound of a sealed subwoofer enclosure over the sound of a ported enclosure.

 

Sealed or Ported? Rainbow Hammer SW250 sealed subwoofer enclosureSealed Enclosures

A sealed subwoofer enclosure uses a specific volume of air for the type of subwoofer. As the woofer moves, it pulls the air forwards and backwards with no pressure loss which allows the subwoofer to reproduce the low frequencies more accurately than a ported box due to the air inside the enclosure acting like a shock absorber, allowing the subwoofer to move with more control thus giving better controlled sub bass.

 

Ported Enclosures

Sealed or Ported? That is the question. Hertz EBX250 ported enclosureA ported enclosure is something that is a little more tricky to build due to the nature of the box. For the subwoofer to perform to it’s optimum the port has to be a specific size. This includes correct measurements for the width, length and shape of the port. You can’t just stick a hole in a sealed box and turn it into a ported box. Having a ported enclosure allows the subwoofer to take advantage of the frequencies produced at the rear of the subwoofer. This reinforces the low frequency response of the subwoofer. This lower frequency response however will only sound good at whatever the tuned frequency of the port is.  This tuned frequency can be adjusted by altering the airs resistance to motion inside the port which is accomplished  by changing the length and width of the port.

 

In summary, ported enclosures can typically offer better low-end extension as well as greater output around the tuned frequency whereas a sealed enclosure will give a better frequency response across all frequencies with a more controlled output, which is why here at Source Sounds in Sheffield we prefer the sealed enclosure as it gives better sound quality overall than a ported subwoofer enclosure.

 

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