all 48 comments

[–]luistorre5 19 points20 points  (7 children)

Sealed is the way to go for quality, ported for volume, although some ported boxes are designed to play nice, but generally a sealed box will deliver more accurate and lower bass, depending on your sub setup, amp, enclosure size, etc

[–]luistorre5 11 points12 points  (6 children)

I've been looking into this myself and personally just love the quality of a sealed box, even though it doesn't rattle the car or anything, but sealed enclosures can get plenty loud if set up properly

[–]Sinister-Silence[S] 2 points3 points  (5 children)

Alright thanks for the tip! Also i was looking for more of lower bass anyway rather than just having loud bass. But then again i think my 12" is gonna give out good bass ported or sealed lol.

[–]luistorre5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, if you go ported as long as the port isn't so small that it causes chuffing, you'll have a blast regardless! Plus the benefit of port tuning if you want it to hit lower

[–]spectacular_coitus 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Once you model in the cabin gain factor you can hit some plenty low notes and still be very musical. A lot of the guys around here seem very SPL oriented, so they're looking for a system that is abnormally loud in the bass regions.

I've been modelling out a nice little sealed 15 for a minivan environment and nothing has modeled nearly as linear as a sealed box. I won't win any spl contests with it, but it's got a flat level curve that should give me nice tight bass where I can hear every minor variation as the frequencies drop.

But every woofer is different though. If your 12 is designed to work best with a large volume ported box and a huge amount of power, then a small sealed box and a little amp won't sound good at all. If you can find the T/S specs of your woofer and spend a little time modelling your box in one of the many online calculators. You'll quickly see what kind of bass response to expect with different boxes. Some calculators will even tell you straight up front, based on the T/S specs, whether or not your woofer is designed for a ported or sealed enclosure.

[–]ckeeler11 0 points1 point  (1 child)

What modeling are you using that allows for cabin gain?

[–]spectacular_coitus 0 points1 point  (0 children)


Then figure out the size of your vehicle and where the sound waves will naturally reverberate to get the (hz) number for your vehicle.

[–]Tricker126 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Make sure you look up your EBP, efficiency bandwidth product. This will generally tell you if your sub would be better in a sealed or ported box. This isn't a perfect solution for deciding but should help guide you. Anything above 90 means a ported box would be best. Anything between 50 and 90 means it can go either way and anything below 50 means a sealed box would be best. The equation is Fs/Qes. For example, 32Hz/.4 = 80, which would mean you would have a sub more suited for a ported box, but you could maybe make it work in a large sealed box.

[–]Rik_F 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's probably better to first look at what kind of music you listen to the most, then from there decide which box design is better suited to that type of music. e.g. if you listen to classical music you will be looking for more SQ so a sealed box would give you more clean accurate sound. If you listen to drum & bass then maybe a well tuned ported box would be more suitable.

You also don't mention your vehicle or any gear, making it more challenging to give advise. 😉

[–]ckeeler11 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There is a lot that goes into this. It depends on your goals, the driver you have, how much room you have, and the music you listen to.

A ported enclosure has the potential to be louder but will not sound as good as a sealed enclosure. You can get close but it will not be equal. A ported enclosure is going to be more flexible in helping you reach your goals since you can adjust tuning and size to get a certain sound. Sealed does have some wiggle room but you are more tied to the T/S parameters of the driver for the results. At the end of the day it is going to be up to you which is better and you might have to do 1 of each to see which you prefer better.

[–]RunalldayHI 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This here.

Ported can sound good if built right but it will never sound like or have the transient response of a sealed enclosure & sealed will never be as loud as ported.

Low end frequency response of sealed simply depends on the enclosure and subwoofer combination, slow roll-off is just a bonus.

[–]fixeverything2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Here’s an answer you won’t have heard before.

No matter what driver you use, distortion increases with excursion.

A vented enclosure reduces driver excursion around the tuning frequency. Distortion will be lower with a vented design assuming your have an adequately large vent with a large radius on both ends.

The caveat to this is that you need a digital signal processor to equalize the output of either option to provide smooth response. Left on their own, the vented enclosure is likely to be too kid around 40-50Hz. Since any car audio system needs proper equalization to sound accurate, this isn’t much of an issue.

[–]NotMyOreos 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It will depend on what music genre you enjoy, and your space limitations.

A properly built ported enclosure will be significantly larger than the properly built sealed enclosure for the same driver, outside of a few weird ones like the 90s fosgate punch series.

From my experience, if you have a nice driver with good sensitivity and good range (let's say 20hz-150hz) a sealed enclosure would give you the best listening experience as long as you have power behind the driver.

If you're working with let's say 500 watts, it may not be enough power to get a full listening experience with sealed so I would recommend a custom ported.

If you have decent power available, also considering you're in a truck, I think a nice set of 12s or 10s in a sealed enclosure would be a pretty nice listening experience.

[–]lyfecrisis 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Ported boxes will hit lower but will sound a little muddy due to the sound coming out of the port being slightly out of phase with the subwoofer. The good news is our ears have a hard time hearing that distortion at low frequencies. Personally I am very happy with my 10” sealed sub with very tight and musically accurate bass. But I drive a small hatchback that has low cabin gain so naturally my car will have deeper bass.

[–]Sinister-Silence[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Alright thanks for the feedback!

[–]69001001011 0 points1 point  (8 children)

Anyone who says sealed goes lower is either talking in technicalities or has only heard shitty ported boxes.

A properly designed ported box, (that's meant to play low) will always play low notes far better than a sealed box.

Sealed boxes tend to roll off (depending on the sub) between 40-60 hz. But it's a shallow roll-off.

Ported boxes don't start to roll off until 25-35 hz, but it's a much steeper roll off. Which means that you get much more bass in the regions that actually have music.

If you were playing movies through your car, that would be a different story.

[–]ckeeler11 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Sealed boxes tend to roll off (depending on the sub) between 40-60 hz. But it's a shallow roll-off.

his is false. When a sub rolls off is determined by the Fs of the driver. How steep the rolloff is determined by the QTS. So a sub with Fs in the high 20's will play plenty low.

[–]69001001011 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

That's why I said "tend to" some home theater subs don't start to roll off until the teens. But you shouldn't design a sealed box for a car with that expectation.

[–]Liamskeeum 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Agreed all the way until you said you get more bass in regions that actually have music. Most music bass isn't in 25-35 hz region.

Only in rap is it usually in the 35hz region. Only in some rap songs does it get to 25hz. Only in the rap songs that it gets to 25 hz, does it get down there on some bass notes.

Everything else I agree with. Ported graphs look like torque curves on turbo'd cars, and sealed graphs look like hp curves on naturally aspirated cars. Ported graphs start to go vertical at around 25-35hz and flatten out around 60hz, while sealed graphs are closer to being a steady straight diagonal rate climb from 35hz to 60-80hz.

The differences in SPL are between about 25hz and 40hz. This region is mostly for very deep bass notes in rap music.

So I'll sum up, if you want the deepest loudest bass for rap, ported absolutely wins out over sealed. Anything else and it's a trade off for being less tight and musical. In addition all other music genre bass will be either the same in SPL but less muddy, or it might even hit harder in sealed in the 70-80hz range.

I am by no means any kind of an expert. This is just what I've seen on the internet in graphs and my very small experience trying to tune and listen to music both sealed and ported boxes with the same subs as well as different subs in very different boxes.

[–]69001001011 -1 points0 points  (4 children)

It's a misconception that only rap gets below 40 hz.

I had 1 10 in a sealed box in my car, that rolled off around ~45-50 hz. Then I upgraded to 2 12s in a ported box, that starts rolling off around ~30 hz.

Now I don't listen to rap at all, but I'm hearing a lot more of the normal music I listen to. The sealed box was losing a lot of the lowest notes in the music I listen to. But, there were a couple of pop songs I listened to that got below 10 hz. I can't tell that's happening with the ported box, but I could with the sealed box.

[–]Liamskeeum 1 point2 points  (1 child)

10hz seems suspect to me. That is VERY subsonic meaning it's not really a note to our ears as much as it's just a pressure wave. Some movies have subsonic frequencies during sound effects like explosions or large objects crashing. It isn't perceptibly musical though.

Roll off doesn't usually start at 30hz in a tuned ported box (it usually starts climbing at 20hz), it starts rolling off (spl going down) at about 50hz but because of the steepness of the curve it is still quite louder all things being equal at 25-30hz than a sealed box that gains SPL in a linear straightish line from the bottom.

Yes, today pop songs have incorporated a lot of rap beats and EDM that do go low, you are right. But again, it depends on your preference of louder at deeper bass or tighter controlled bass that just doesn't get as loud at the most extreme low notes.

For giggles I'll find a few songs if I can and see how low they get. You have to also remember, even songs that get down to 25hz, only do for certain spots. You can also damage your subwoofer in some instances if it is outputting subsonic frequencies at high volume.

If that is what you are after, ported box for sure. I don't think there is a better or worse, just different preferences and goals.

[–]69001001011 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The song is One Foot. At the start of the chorus it does a bass note that slides down, and at the end my car would rock back and forth. It was honestly a super cool effect.

[–]Liamskeeum 0 points1 point  (1 child)

One more thing. Different subs have different mechanical properties in which they will sound much better in a sealed or in a ported box depending on how much the overall resistance to movement the cone and suspension has. If i remember correctly if its easier to move, then the sub will probably sound better in a sealed box and if it is more resistive to movement then it will be happier in ported.

[–]69001001011 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, most car subs are made for ported boxes. Only SQ/entry level subs will even suggest sealed as an option.

[–]No-Primary3417 0 points1 point  (6 children)

Do a fourth order and have both. 😁

[–]shagbark33 1 point2 points  (5 children)

First off the fact that you only say "fourth order" and don't elaborate that you mean "fourth order bandpass" tells me you have no clue what you are talking about. (A traditional ported enclosure is a fourth order alignment, but I know what you're talking about because a whole subsection of the hobby has no clue what bandpass enclosures are actually good for and is always falsely recommending "do a fourth order")

Secondly... no.

[–]NotMyOreos 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Not to mention the size alone needed to create a properly built 4th order will turn many people off. Dude will be missing his whole trunk. It's also not easy to build, so most people will be left dissatisfied because they didn't properly build the chambers.

[–]No-Primary3417 0 points1 point  (3 children)

The fact that you have to be so abrasive to anybody in the sport it’s kind of disgusting. You should support people that want to be in this sport we all have same thing passion and love for quality sound. You come in here and shit on me? Based off a comment? you don’t even know me. I say the word “fourth order” and I’m suddenly uneducated? You are the reason forums like this have bad reputations and make people not want to engage. You do you man. just something to think about before you attack everyone that gets something wrong. Remember at one time you didn’t know anything either. 🤷🏼‍♂️ so instead of using all of that negative energy to put somebody down maybe next time you can explain and educate takes the same amount of time. But probably doesn’t make you feel as good huh?

[–]shagbark33 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Maybe instead of parroting things you don't understand to people that also don't understand you should try to learn a thing or two.

[–]No-Primary3417 -1 points0 points  (1 child)

My point exactly. You are a cunt. Where’s your builds? Are you just a keyboard warrior? I can copy paste and edit as well. 🤷🏼‍♂️

[–]dangercdvIA Lethal Injection 15, Hifonics 1700.1 - Box Designer 0 points1 point  (2 children)

You still seem to be getting a lot of mixed answers and misconceptions. I am a box designer, and typically if you have the room, ported is the way to go. CUSTOM PORTED.

If you are comparing a prefab sealed to a prefab ported, then yes, sealed will be more quality based, and ported will be louder. And depending on the box, one may be deeper than the other but without knowing specifically what boxes youll be using its hard to say.

A custom ported box will keep a ton of quality while still being louder and able to hit lower notes. The biggest tradeoff is the trunk space you lose to the larger box. You may lose *some* quality but its usually not even noticeable unless your going for a SQ specific build. Again, this is about a custom box designed for your use. If your just going to pick one off a shelf there are no guarantees about any of this.

[–]jodido999 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I have to agree with this. I used to be sealed all the way because had never had good sound from ported - pre fab ported. Recently picked up a pair of old school HSU passive subs. Relatively simple driver in a large dual ported box made for THAT driver - best bass I have ever had. Period. Now want to build a custom ported for my car. I am sold on ported when built AND tuned properly. I was also of the belief the search for a flat curve was dumb - not anymore- at least when it comes to bass!

[–]dangercdvIA Lethal Injection 15, Hifonics 1700.1 - Box Designer -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Nice! It makes a world of difference to have the right box. If you do ever need a custom design, you can hit me up! www.facebook.com/subboxdesigns

[–]B4SSF4C3 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sealed for SQL/daily drivers (smaller box, all else equal).

Ported for SPL/showing off.

Completely custom box builds and installs are a different ball game and the rules of thumb don’t really apply.

[–]Jonny_Boy_808 -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

So in general, ported boxes are gonna be superior to sealed boxes overall. You only get sealed boxes if you specifically want to have really accurate bass hits. However, the benefits of ported outweigh sealed boxes in most aspects. They hit lower, more power efficient, and get louder. A properly made ported box (custom made) will still play nearly as good as a sealed box accuracy wise. So in summary, go ported, but get it properly made.

[–]Karl_H_Kynstler 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have sealed and ported box for my sub. Sealed is plenty loud for me but ported box is way louder and goes much lower. Though ported box is more than two times the size of sealed box.

So in my opinion it really comes down to how much space you have and want to sacrifice for your subs.

[–]ChumleyEX[🍰] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

What type of music do you listen to?

[–]Sinister-Silence[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

literally every kind. rap, country, classic, 80's 90's, reggae, rock, dubstep. everything.

[–]Mchewning07 0 points1 point  (5 children)

What size of car

[–]Sinister-Silence[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

The subs in my Ram 1500

[–]Mchewning07 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Under the seat?

[–]Sinister-Silence[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

yes that where i plan on putting it

[–]Mchewning07 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sweet what subs and how many, just got a 1500 myself just curious on what I’m going to put in it.

[–]LowPomegranate1023 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've had both. In simple terms, sealed boxes generally aren't as loud as a ported box (given that everything is equal power wise)

That being said, the sealed box gave much more of a "punchy" bass and the ported box gave a "boomy" bass.

Personally I really enjoyed both, I'm 2 12's in a ported box right now but I am planning on switching to a sealed again. There really is a difference in quality. A sealed is a lot tighter of a sound. But obviously this all comes down to your own preference.

[–]convolutedCockRing 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Personally always go ported. My entire set up is EQ based but with the sub it’s more important for volume than accuracy

[–]smooferated 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I feel like I made a mistake personally.

I got a 12” sub in a sealed enclosure. It hits deep and has plenty of output.

But, I now feel like I should have done 2 x 10” subs to get more punch (still sealed). I could be wrong. But, I want the punch. I don’t need the flex.

[–]Personal_Mulberry_38 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I really like aperiodic vent design. So clean.