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Sealed vs. ported subwoofer boxes

Your choice in woofer box matters

Alpine subs in Sound Ordnance Ported and Sealed Boxes

The only way you're really going to get full, rich-sounding bass from your car stereo is to add a subwoofer. Adding a sub to your audio system will greatly improve the fun and impact of your music, no matter what kind of music you listen to.

Generally speaking, there are two bass camps—those who like it “tight” and those who like it “boomy.” The style of bass you prefer ultimately depends on your personal taste—and can even vary depending on the style of music.

The secret to which type of bass you'll get lies in the type of subwoofer box you use. If you prefer bass that's "tight" and focused, go for a sealed box. If you want your bass to boom and you want maximum volume in your music, then you definitely want a ported box.

Sealed box vs. ported box — what's the difference?

Type of subwoofer box Impact on bass sound
Sealed box
  • Tighter, more accurate bass.
  • Smaller box size
  • Needs more power for louder bass
Ported box
  • Bass is louder and more boomy, less accurate
  • Larger box size
  • More efficient, doesn't require as much amp power

Time for an experiment

We wanted to hear for ourselves the difference between sealed and ported subwoofer boxes. So we brought a small group of Crutchfield Advisors into the Labs and played different kinds of music through the same component subwoofer loaded in two different kinds of enclosures. We asked them to vote for which subwoofer box sounded best to them for each song.

Camp A: I want to hear bass, not thunder

Each beat in a tight bass setup plays crisply, accurately, and with no ringing after it hits. The easiest way to achieve this is with a sealed sub box. The sealed air inside one of these enclosures acts like a shock absorber, smoothly modulating the subwoofer cone's back and forth motion, so all the notes get produced evenly.

Sealed sub box cone movement

A sealed box moderates the cone's movement

Another effect produced by the air pressure behind the cone is that it takes more power to produce the same volume as it would in a comparable ported box. What a sealed sub rarely does is roar, thunder, or boom. That's because a sealed sub has very flat frequency response and tends to play tight, full bass that provides a level low-frequency foundation to your music. Sealed boxes are generally more compact than ported subs, so they fit in more vehicles.

[See our selection of sealed subwoofer boxes]

Camp B: I want my bass to be loud

Boomy bass has more punch and reverberance in each of its beats. This is easily attained, without using any equalizer or processor, with a ported sub box, where the cone has greater freedom of motion. The port redirects sound from the rear of the cone and adds it to the sound coming from the front, making the bass louder. This increase in efficiency lets you use a smaller amp than you would need with a comparable sealed box to play at the same volume. Another long-term advantage of choosing a ported enclosure is that the air flow keeps the subwoofer cooler, so it will live longer than it would in a sealed box.

Ported sub box

Air flowing through the port adds to the boom

Another reason ported subs hit so hard and deep is that the air flowing in and out of the port creates an audio effect like that made by a whistle or blowing across the mouth of a bottle, and that tone adds to and strengthens the note the cone plays. Ported enclosures tend to be much larger than a comparable sealed enclosure, so space availability becomes a factor when deciding on a ported sub.

[See our selection of ported subwoofer boxes]

Which sub enclosure do you prefer with different kinds of music?

Crutchfield Advisors often ask their subwoofer customers what styles of music they like, so that they can recommend a sub that will match the customer’s tastes. The panel of Advisors who participated in this demonstration were all eager to listen to the two boxes as part of their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of their advice to customers. The results, and some of their comments, are charted below.

The lineup of listeners

The small crowd consisted of Advisors Duke (who, at the time, had been here for almost 5 years), Dolly (4 years), Daniel (almost 2 years), and Dylan and Larry (1 year each). Travis, a Graphic Designer at Crutchfield for over 12 years, decided to join the fun, too.

The setup for our listening test

We loaded Sound Ordnance sealed and ported boxes with identical 10" Alpine subs, and powered them with the same mono amp mounted in our car listening room. The only change that occurred, when we switched between the subs every 10 seconds, was the kind of subwoofer box being used.

Here's the gear we used:

We played various kinds of music both with and without full-range speakers, so our listeners could judge the sound quality of the bass, with minimal influence by the change in volume due to the different efficiencies of the subs.

(We didn't play any subwoofer mounted in an "infinite baffle" or "free air" setup, or in a bandpass enclosure, because these hybrid systems usually need sound processing to sound right, and would be difficult to compare fairly in our Labs.)

Travis and Dylan in the Labs

Two of our listeners, Travis and Dylan, compare notes in the Labs

The Votes Sealed box Ported box
Pop 3 3
Rock/Alt 3 3
Classical 3 1
R&B/Rap 1 5
Electro/Dance 2 4

Listener comments

  • Pop: “The ported had more punch but sounded muddy. The sealed sounded better to me on this one.” – Travis, Designer
  • Rock/Alt: “The sealed sub delivered more emphatic bass. The ported was louder, but it got away from the music.” – Duke, Advisor
  • Classical: Two Advisors heard no difference for the cello-heavy piece we chose to play.
  • R&B/Rap: “The bass definitely sounded more natural with the ported box for the Rap.” – Dolly, Advisor
  • Electro/Dance: “The ported sub sounded and felt better to me for this song. It accentuated the quality of the bass.” – Larry, Advisor

Some thoughts

Daniel, Advisor: “The sealed sub was definitely tighter and more accurate which some may prefer for listening to certain styles of music, like maybe Country or Classic Rock. I liked the ported mostly for the heavy bass.”

Dylan, Advisor: “When I preferred the ported it was because it seemed to fill out the music with something that was missing from the song itself. When I preferred the sealed it was because of the quality of the bass. It would hit on every note, keep a perfect beat, and make the song flow more appropriately.”


The mixed reactions and the tie votes reinforce the notion that it basically comes down to taste in music. “Accuracy” and “tone fits the music” were two sound qualities cited by Advisors who liked the sealed sub for the Classical piece. But those same Advisors thought the sealed sub’s sound did not fit with the Rap and Dance songs—it depended on the quality of the bass in the songs themselves.

So, when choosing the subwoofer and enclosure for your system, don’t forget to consider what sound qualities you like in the music you listen to, so whether poppin' loud or humming low, you’ll end up getting the kind of bass you want.

Learn more about subwoofer boxes and which type of enclosure is best for you.

If you have any questions or want help selecting your subwoofer or box, give us a shout. You can contact our advisors via phone, chat, or email.

Watch the video:

  • Shridhar from Chennai

    Posted on 11/28/2020

    In ported subwoofer I'm getting the most demanding sound while watching movies but while in music it is not giving clarity so can you suggest me a good subwoofer box.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/6/2020

    Shridhar, It's best if you visited a home stereo store, so you can audition first-hand what the best sounding suboofer would be for you.
  • bruce from jersey city nj

    Posted on 10/14/2020

    All those people standing in diffrent places. What kind of test is that? The bass response in that boxy untreated room is going to vary a whole lot depending on where one is standing

  • david from newark nj

    Posted on 10/14/2020

    Ported only gives you more bass atthe resonant frewquency of the port, BELOEW that you actually get less bass. Since the bass response at the portfreq is out of phase with the driver you realy need to make sure it is tuned low enough that you are extendng response not overlapping too much with the native low end reponse of the driver lest you cancel some bass.

  • Jayanta Palit from Kolkata

    Posted on 9/5/2020

    Hello From India, Purchased Morel Ultimo SC 122 -12" (2 Ohm) SC series Sub woofer. I prefer only SQ sound quality with accurate , tights beats. Not like SPL blust. There is huge confusion between me & my installer. Kindly suggest, for me as a real SQ lover what I am going for, either Sealed or Ported Enclosure & what kind of board (MDF or any other). By the way purchased Morel Virtus 602 for only passive 2way setup. Thank you.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/9/2020

    Jayanta, I strongly suggest you go to a car stereo shop and give the two kinds of subs a good listen, and then pick the style you like best, not what someone tells you you should like.
  • FlukeLSX from Clinton Township

    Posted on 7/25/2020

    I am installing 2 x 12" Alpine Type S (600 watt RMS), with an Alpine Amp at 1200 watts (600 RMS) Now unfortunately the custom box designed for my vehicle doesn't allow a lot of air volume. 0.55 Cubic Feet per speaker. I was thinking about drilling small ports into the box for each speaker. Question is size of the hole. I know 3" will be do much, I was thinking along the lines of 1.5" It doesn't allow as much air to flow out but just enough to deepen the base while retaining the tight clean bass sound of a sealed box. I listen to rock and Rap and instrumental bass (Trance, Electro, Trap etc.) Would a smaller port hole be of benefit for my needs given the smaller air volume I have to work with?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/29/2020

    Fluke, Ported sub enclosures don't just have a hole in the outside of the box, the port also has the length of its tube-like structure inside the box. But go ahead and experiment - it may work out just fine.
  • Reel Angler from Cali

    Posted on 7/23/2020

    Got a r2 prime shallow 12 it says it optimized for enclosed subs but I want a ported box forsure and on your website it's says the regular size r2 can be put it ported box under the description so I don't think u guys have same descriptions that are on Rockford would I be fine with a custom box (Ported) made for it?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/28/2020

    Reel, I say go for it and see for yourself whether it'll work well or not.
  • John

    Posted on 7/6/2020

    2005 SC430 with OEM free air sub. If I put the sub in a sealed enclosure (placed on the rear seat) will that impress more load on the amplifier?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/7/2020

    John, If it's the same amp and sub, the load won't change. The amplifier will just not drive the sub in a sealed box as loudly as it would in free air.
  • Ryan Strassburg from Port Orchard

    Posted on 4/24/2020

    Interesting. I've always been told ported is better for deep bass, but my personal experience has been the opposite. I ran a JBL S3-1224 with 500 Watt JBL Mono Amp with a ported box in my 2008 VW Rabbit. The near subsonic bass sounded very flat or like it was cancelling itself out. After tumultuous research, and some calculations, I opted for a Q-Power "Q-Bomb" sealed enclosure. The difference in the near-subsonic bass night and day... So much so that my Driver/Passenger windows, rolled down about 3", would "wobble" and had never done that before -- same amp, same speaker. One of my test songs was "I'm So Groovy" by Future. Recently I installed a Kicker L7S-12-2 @ 700 watts. Using the same test song it does not that good on the near subsonic range. As with my JBL it came in a ported box, so after a few weeks now I just purchased a sealed box so I suspect I will get my "wobble" back. So yeah, I definitely prefer a sealed enclosure for my Auditory Nerve Pleasure(TM).

  • Dan from Breda

    Posted on 3/17/2020

    I heard that a sealed box requires more power to push the sub. That doesnt mean I need a bigger rated RMS amp does it? Or do I still go with the subwoofer manufacturer's RMS recommendation?

  • Chuckles B from Tampa Bay, FL

    Posted on 9/18/2019

    What would you tell people that listen to a wide range of music? Certain songs I want the clean, crisp accuracy of a sealed box and other songs I want the deep chest thumping bass of a ported box If I'm planning on running two subs, would it be worth it to mount one in a sealed and one in a ported box or would it be better to stick to one or the other and live with the pros/cons? Could one of each give me best of both worlds or would they wash each other out?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/19/2019

    Chuckles, If you have the room and can afford it, why not get one of each. Using two remote controls, you can turn down the sub you don't want to hear on certain songs, and turn up the one you do want to hear.
  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/19/2019

    Rethnakumar, I think the woofers may be able to play lower notes easier in a larger enclosure, but I doubt you'll be able to hear the difference in a bookshelf-sized speaker. There's no harm in trying.

  • Rethnakumar E. V. from Thiruvananthapuram

    Posted on 8/18/2019

    I have an old B&W DM-10 bookshelf speakers. ( 8" woofers and a dome tweeter ) Since the cabinet is diapilated, i plan to get a new pair of cabinet made. The original cabinets are ported. Will i get a lower frequency response if i increase the inner volume of the new cabinet by 20% ?

  • William Schullerman from Lake Butler, Fl

    Posted on 6/10/2019

    I recently purchased a preloaded, ported box with a Rockford p3? Not sure at the moment of what model..anyway, I'm running a precision power 2600@ 1 ohm to it..any advice what i should tune the amp to and freq on the head unit eq?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/11/2019

    William, Check out Tuning your subs for tuning assistance.
  • Huy Le from San Diego

    Posted on 6/8/2019

    What would you reccomend ported or non for a car with a trunk as opposed to a open cabin car like a hatchback?

  • Snehashis Das from Kolkata

    Posted on 10/31/2018

    Hi i have got a JBL CS1200WSI, 12" subwoofer for home use. I have SONY GS100 monoblock to drive it. Which type of enclosure will be suitable for max output. Please suggest.

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/1/2018

    Snehashis, A ported enclosure will produce a louder output than a sealed box, using the same subwoofer and amplifier.
  • ProDigit from Moldavia

    Posted on 5/22/2018

    Hi! I want to install a subwoofer in the trunk of my Ford Fiesta, not to sound boomy, but to add to the 4x6" door speaker's bass. It would have to be a sub that complements, not overpowers the factory radio. What size of speaker would you recommend? Should I go with a single ten, single twelve, or dual tens?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/5/2017

    Mike, A lot of people who like dubstep and techno music prefer the tight bass tonal qualities of a sealed subwoofer enclosure. It won't sound better in a ported box, it'll sound different.

  • Mike heffern from HADLEY

    Posted on 11/5/2017

    I soon want to upgrade to two 12in subs, an alot of my friends are wanting me to get a ported box. I have two 10in in a sealed box and I listen to alot of dubstep and Tecno music I like how it sounds in the sealed box would it sound better if I got a ported box?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/16/2017

    Keno, A ported enclosure is supposed to breath air in and out of its port, so I'm not sure what you mean by "too much air." If you are hearing the air going in and out, called "chuffing," then reducing the size of the port will increase that unwanted noise.

  • Keno from Pretoria

    Posted on 10/15/2017

    Hi there. I had a sealed enclosure then changed to a ported one but I feel the ported enclosure breaths a lot of air. Will it make a difference if i were to make the whole a bit smaller so the sub does not breath out a lot of air?

  • Kevin from Fort Wayne

    Posted on 9/28/2017

    Excuse me but isn't this test a bit off? From my understanding, the type of music you listen to should also determine what size subwoofer you use? I don't know many people who use a 10" sub for hip-hop/rap because they just aren't typically designed to hit the like a 12 or 15" sub would. That said I feel like this test should have been conducted using a more universally adapt sub size like a 12". I'm almost willing to bet that the results will be different and for different reasons.

  • Gabe from Music City

    Posted on 9/12/2017

    As a Bassist since 1964 I prefer a sealed enclosure, though seldom do you find a sealed bass cab. This test is really flawed because speakers are different for each type of cabinet. You also have to remember that the ported box is only accurate in a very small band of frequencies because the timing of the speakers rear radiated sound is 180 degrees out of phase from the front and by the very nature of this there is no successful design that escapes this condition. The canceling effect has been experienced by most everyone. For example if you listen to a speaker outside of an enclosure it is almost completely devoid of low end because the sound from the front of the speaker is easily mixed with the rear and this cancels each other out. For good accurate bass a sealed enclosure is necessary, one where you actually feel the cycles of the bass note. A vented enclosure almost never achieves this. (except when the port timing is correct)

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/10/2017

    Frank, As is, that amplifier should not get connected to that subwoofer. The sub is a DVC 2-ohm driver internally wired to form a 1-ohm total impedance, which that amp can't handle without trying to burn up. What you can do is to open the enclosure and rewire the sub's voice coils like this. Then, the amplifier will be able to send the 300 watts RMS rated subwoofer 300 watts RMS.

  • Frank from Ireland

    Posted on 8/9/2017

    hi i need help i have alpine mrv-m500 and Rockford Fosgate P2-1X10...whats is best set up 1ohm or 2ohm?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/7/2017

    Steve, You can build the port for your subwoofer anywhere you like. Just be sure it won't get blocked when installed in your vehicle.

  • Steve from england

    Posted on 8/6/2017

    Alpine's specifications for that subwoofer call for an enclosure between 32 and 58 liters in volume, with 39 liters the ideal size, and a vent 7 cm in diameter and 23 cm long...So is no different where i gonna cut port hole? front,back or on side?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    Toby, Not knowing exactly what amplifier or subwoofers you have make it impossible to give advice about them. If you want a question answered about a system, you must identify all the equipment by model numbers as well as brand names.

  • Toby Cheeseman from Ellettsville Indiana

    Posted on 7/27/2017

    I built a stereo on my Harley. I put 6.5 dvc Audiopipe subs in them. Completely sealed the lower fairing box. Subs want 60-70 htz. So for outside listening not in a little space like a car. Which should I use what size of port should I use. Also while sealing it completely off I used poly fill. I want the most heard bass I can get. Can you help me with this?

  • Daniel from Escondido

    Posted on 7/25/2017

    Hello I have a super crew cab truck with a sealed box with a JL audio w7. I like bass. I was told a sealed box is better then a ported box. I want something that is gonna make my truck shake. What do you recommend

  • Rudy Fritsch from louisville

    Posted on 7/10/2017

    ported or bandpass all day for sq or spl! A subwoofer is intended to cover the lower ferequency range! Sealed boxes can cover that BUT if you take a look at the home audio systems that cover that lower freq and still have all the SQ properties, they run ported or bandpass sub boxes with aero ports! This is why I went with an aero port box for my daily "LOUD" sub box for my daily driver!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/8/2017

    Hernani, If those speakers fit in your vehicle, it sounds like a good selection of gear for a good-sounding system.

  • Hernani Lamata Jr.

    Posted on 7/7/2017

    Sir this is a wonderful article! Im planning yo get these, actually really about to order when i read this article! Kicker KX800.5 KX-Series Hybrid Stereo Amp Multi-Channel 800 Watts 2 sets for front and rear Kicker 41KSC654 6-1/2" 2-way speakers Kicker TCWS10 10 Inch Thin Profile 2 Ohm Woofer Head unit is Pioneer 5850BT or retain the stock which has a Navigation system. This will be for a Toyota Fortuner 2017 (7seater SUV). Am i doing it right? This will be a very big help in my decision sir...Thanks!!!!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/7/2017

    Steve, Alpine's specifications for that subwoofer call for an enclosure between 32 and 58 liters in volume, with 39 liters the ideal size, and a vent 7 cm in diameter and 23 cm long.

  • Steve from england

    Posted on 7/6/2017

    hi i making vented box 45cm x 33cm x 43cm wall thickness 24mm speaker is swg-1244 can you tell what size port diameter and lenght?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/2/2017

    Scaria, Car speakers are designed to operate without enclosures in infinite baffle (IB) configuration, with the car door or rear deck keeping the front and rear sound waves away from each other. Any enclosure will compromise performance. I recommend getting speakers that fit your vehicle's stock locations.

  • Scaria Vinod

    Posted on 5/2/2017

    Hey Buck I have a 2x6.5 inch speaker [Kenwood-KFC-M1628A] which i pulled out from my old car it works very well.So I am planning to build a speaker box for this for my new car. I would really like to know which type of enclosure is good and and the correct measurements for the enclosure. Thank you

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/17/2017

    Vincent, We recommend using MDF (medium density fibreboard) over MDP (medium density particleboard) because it's denser and won't resonate as much.

  • Vincent from Ireland

    Posted on 4/16/2017

    Hi mdp wood material is good for sealed box 50 liter?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/6/2017

    Steve, That subwoofer's specs call for it to work best in a sealed box of 28 to 40 liters of volume, with 35 liters being the ideal size. I think your dimensions are a little large. Try using 390 mm x 380 mm x 380 mm as your outside dimensions. Taking into account the wood's thickness (24 mm) and the sub's displacement (2.4 liters), this should result in an internal volume of about 35 liters.

  • Steve from england

    Posted on 4/5/2017

    hi i making sealed sub box 400mm x 400mm x 380mm.... 24mm thickness ..... speaker alpine swg 1244 so my settings is ok?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/25/2017

    Oshane, A port of a ported subwoofer enclosure has cross-sectional area and length, more like a tunnel that opens into a cave than a cavern's gaping entrance. Just making a hole in a sealed sub enclosure won't make it sound like a ported box.

  • Oshane from Edgartown

    Posted on 3/25/2017

    Can I just put a hole in a sealed box and it becomes a ported one?

  • Terry Flantoill from Cincinnati

    Posted on 2/14/2017

    I was reading thru some of comments and the post in general. I love the article reminds of the good old days. When I changed my set up monthly. I finally settled on 2 12 inch eclipse aluminums 500 rms 1000 peak. And Memphis mcd1000 amp not too mention optima yellow top aux. Battery. Eclipse deck that had 8 volt outputs and parametric eq. I was running the subs in sealed box hitting towards rear of the car. That way the pressure waves coming from box and off the rear of the trunk were more in phase. I've also learned supporting the box off floor of the trunk eliminated some of the absorbution from the frame of the car. Man the stereo beat so hard windows leaked and mirrors fell off the car. And most people just couldn't breathe well in the car. Ultimately my point to all this there a lot variables to consider when building audiophile stereo IE material being used quality of components and so forth. Not just a sealed box versus ported. I never really went the ported boxes due to over excursion will destroy speakers faster than the of a sealed enclosure especially since eclipses were designed to operate in 1 cubic foot of air space. If they were still being manufactured I think I would consider coming out of retirement. At least at the level the use to be made before Best Buy started selling them. I hope someone got some ideas and remember it's never to loud unless your ears are bleeding than it might be problem.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/7/2017

    Tony, JL Audio makes 4-ohm and 8-ohm versions of that sub. Without knowing which you have make it impossible to tell you what amp will work best or if replacing them with 2-ohm subs will be any better. If you want a question answered about a system, you should identify the equipment by brand names and full model numbers.

  • Tony Sandoval from Mesa Arizona

    Posted on 2/5/2017

    Currently im running 2 jl10w1v2's and a 500/1 alpine mono block my question is this. I was thinking about going to a bigger amp maybe a 500/2 or a 1000/1 would I be overpowering the subs and if so should I would getting 1 more 10w1v2 be or would be advisable or if I got 2 10w1v3-2 be any difference?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/16/2017

    Gordon, While ported sub enclosures that can fit in a pickup are rare, they do exist and can sound great.

  • Gordon from Greenville

    Posted on 1/16/2017

    Would a ported box on a slimline sub be a good idea? I have a tacoma double cab with very little room....a local shop built a sealed box for a slimline 10" and i can't get a low deep notes that carry....i listen to wverything...but i like bass..TIA

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/13/2017

    D, The terms you refer to are subjective descriptions intended to convey someone's opinion of what each sub sounded like to a customer, not a scientist. Using technical terminology to describe different enclosure sounds wouldn't help anyone decide which one they should get.

  • dprusinowski

    Posted on 1/12/2017

    What do you really mean by "hard", "deep", "tight", "emphatic", "boom", "hard hitting", "roar", etc. These are very colorful terms but they technically say nothing. It would be more helpful to instead describe and compare a speaker's performance with electro-acoustics terminology referencing audio standards. I suggest you become members of AES and spend a bit of your time each day studying references, papers, and standards on audio component performance and room acoustics.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/26/2016

    Dan, Most people who like rock prefer the sound of a sealed sub. That amplifier is capable of putting out 800 watts RMS into a 2-ohm load (400 watts RMS at 4-ohms), so you should look for a sub like a JL Audio CS112G-W6v3 ProWedge that can take that much power.

  • Dan

    Posted on 12/24/2016

    I listen to rock and heavy metal, i have a mtx thunder 801d that makes 500 watts rms, is there any specific sub/box Combo that would produce good bass lines along with decent punch for the kick drum sound?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/28/2016

    Geeke, Mixing the two different tones of a sealed sub with a ported sub will result in muddy, unclean-sounding bass, with no particular tone of its own. But you may like that.

  • geekee from San Diego

    Posted on 11/23/2016

    what do you suppose would happen as far as quality if u played both a seal and ported both at the same time. would it complement or oppose each other on the genres of music.. could you run a test and let me know?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/31/2016

    James, Most people who enjoy Country, Metal, and Classic Rock prefer the bass sounds from a sealed sub. Focal makes excellent-sounding speakers - and high-quality gear fetches premium prices. A great solution for you to add bass to your vehicle's factory system would be with a Focal IBus 20 compact powered subwoofer.

  • James Lamb from Hot Springs

    Posted on 10/29/2016

    I am kinda new to the whole car audio field but do have a few questions. I have a 94 Crown Vic that I plan to add a real good sound system to. I want to add some subs, but not for the boom or drown out everything else, but rather just to accent the bass the 6x9's produce. All I really need is for the subs to make the bass from the 6x9's sound deeper and maybe a little richer through attenuation, turning the subs off through the head unit and slowly increasing till they start producing sound. Question 1, Ported or Sealed. Question 2, What size sub would be the minimum. I was thinking maybe 10". Question 3, This really doesn't have anything to do with the above, but I would like an experts view on the quality of Focal car audio. I have read all kinds of reviews and everyone says these are very good speakers, just a little on the pricey side. P.S. I basically listen to any thing that sounds good from Country to Heavy Metal and of course I am a big Pink Floyd fan. Thanks

  • Joel from Buhl

    Posted on 10/27/2016

    Car audio t lines aren't actually true t lines. The wavelength is only a quarter of what a true t line would be.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/26/2016

    Joel, I don't think I've ever heard bass play from a transmission line (T-line) enclosure. I thought they were usually too large for mobile audio application.

  • Joel Hanilton from Buhl

    Posted on 10/26/2016

    T line> ported or sealed

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/20/2016

    Kurtis, It seems to me that if you like tight bass with presence and your OEM sub sounds "loose," you will be happier with a sub in a sealed enclosure. Crutchfield offers a few bass packages, consisting of matched sets of subwoofers, amplifiers and enclosures (some sealed), for you to choose from, when you decide to add one to your system.

  • Kurtis from Gilbert, AZ

    Posted on 10/20/2016

    So I listen to a lot of alternative music, as well as some electronic dance. I love when the bass is tight, but I also love when you can feel the presence of the bass. I have an 10" sub in my car, which is the OEM sub mounted in the rear deck, and it seems kinda loose to me for alt stuff but is great (sort of, due to placement and enclosure, or lack thereof) for electronic. Do you think I'd like ported or sealed better? I don't want to wake up the neighborhood, but I want to fill the car (and the passengers) with good bass that you can feel.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/18/2016

    Bobby, If you can fit them in, a couple of 11-inch long 4x8s mounted inside the box would take up the right amount of volume. Otherwise your best solution would be to rebuild the box.

  • Bobby from El Paso, TX

    Posted on 10/17/2016

    I purchased 2 Alpine sws10D2 and the Alpine MRXM110 amp. My box has 1.4 cubit feet internal, but the subs only need .54 cubic feet per sub. With the box being a sealed enclosure, what would be to best solution to eliminate some of the interior volume of the enclosure.

  • Derek

    Posted on 10/16/2016

    Buck why don't you all take your abundant resources and educate people about box design? Show them how to output bumps and maintain a good, flat response with ported? Show them why these cheap prefabs make bass sound boomy. Show them why the way to small sealed boxes sound "tighter" but don't play as low. That would be a great article.

  • Robert Conner from Fitzgerald, GA, 3175

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    Try reversing the polarity on the subject control and run the same test over again.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    Omoro, Like this article tried to demonstrate, the differences between a sealed and ported sub manifest themselves as differences in the tone of the bass, and do not depend on the size or shape of the room or vehicle it's in.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    Rob, I think you may have misread Pioneer's specs. In the owner's manual, it calls for a port that's equivalent to a tube with an internal cross sectional diameter of 3 inches and a length of 6.5 inches. The area of that opening works out to 7.1 square inches. A thin rectangular port measuring one inch by 7.1", 6.5" long, will work also.

  • Rob Z. from Lennon

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    Looking to match my system with a pair of ts-w311d4's. My plan is to use a home built ported enclosure. Pioneer recommends a 3"×6.5" port. My question is 3" seems like an awfully large port I don't believe I've ever seen any that big and I was wondering if that sounds rite to you guys or a typo ?

  • Omoro from Finchville, Ky

    Posted on 10/15/2016

    I should've read comments to see if anyone else covered my thoughts. In the past I always thought a trunk, hatch or SUV application played a part in ported or sealed? Chevy Blazer- port Honda Accord Sedan- sealed My next system will be in a trunk, any suggestions? I considered the access area from rear seat armrest to trunk for free air subwoofer installation?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/3/2016

    Mitchell, The rule of thumb is to not feed a sub more than 150% of its top RMS rating, but you can damage a sub at almost any power level by playing distorted, clipped signals.

  • Mitchell

    Posted on 9/1/2016

    Hey I have a 625rms 2500peak 15" in a ported enclosure powered by a amp that can put out 800rms into 4ohms. I was wondering how much it could handle before being damaged. Also I have the gain all the way down

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/28/2016

    Stacey, All the subwoofers I know of call for a larger ported box than a sealed one for its enclosure, so just cutting a hole and adding a port to a sealed box may not achieve exactly the results you're looking for. But that's no reason not to experiment.

  • Stacey Davis from Fort Lauderdale

    Posted on 6/27/2016

    What are your views on porting sealed sub boxes? I'm looking at putting my existing 10" pioneer subs that were previously in a double hole ported box, each into a separate sealed box with a listed. 0.9 cu. ft. airspace and a 4.75" mounting depth. But I loved the way my flex4 alpine amp pushed the subs' sound in the old ported box holding both subs. I just decided the new design should incorporate access to the doughnut tire in the trunk this time. So really, I guess my question is, could you successfully port each sealed box to recreate the bass sound I was getting from the original ported box?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2016

    Zach, Your subwoofer doesn't have to drown out your full-range speakers - you can turn the volume down no matter which enclosure it's in. But it sounds to me you'll be happier with a ported box. You can always adjust the tone for the different types of music you listen to.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2016

    Matthew, I assume you're asking about a JL Audio W6 subwoofer, which is a DVC (dual voice coil) 4-ohm sub, and a W7 sub, which is SVC (single voice coil) 3-ohms. You should never connect subs of different impedances together to the same amplifier - the lower impedance sub will get more power than the higher impedance sub, resulting in unbalanced sound levels and potentially blown subs. Use separate amps for your different model subs.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/1/2016

    Brandon, If you like the sound of ported enclosures and have the room, go for it.

  • Zach from Statesboro, GA

    Posted on 5/29/2016

    I'm putting 2 JL Audio 12's, MicroSub+ (ported) or Powerwedge+ (sealed), in my Ford Ranger (800w RMS total). I'm having a hard time deciding either ported or sealed. It's hard to find opinions on the variety of music I listen to. I listen to a lot of different types of music. Most often it is metal (Amon Amarth, Parkway Drive, Five Finger Death Punch, etc), and hard rock (Alter Bridge, Volbeat, Twelve Foot Ninja, etc.). However, I also listen to some dubstep, classic rock, alternative, and even classic country (yes, weird combination, I know). Right now I have 2 10's (400w RMS total) in a sealed box and it just sounds a bit thin for the most part and doesn't produce lows or overall volume level that I would like. I've had a ported box before, but my music tastes were much different back then so I don't really have much to go on there. If I had to guess, I would say the 2 PowerWedge+ 12's (sealed) would be the better option since my speakers are 4 x 50w max from the head unit and a ported box may 'drown' them. Second opinion?

  • Matthew Flanagan from WAIANAE

    Posted on 5/28/2016

    Great article. I have 2 10s jlw6 and jlw7. Can I run them parallel? If possible how? I searched Web and can't find anything . I have them in a ported box that I built to fit under my chevy back seat. When I had one speaker l7 it had the wow factor,no believed it was only 1 10" . So I wanted more and got a great deal for a jl 10w6 . I cut our and shoved it in to my box with the other hooked it up and sounded like I cut my box in half and ported both and got more boom than b4 but nothing like I thought. I'm in the air about sealing one and leaving one ported or building another book if I can have both in running parallel if possible. Any suggestions?

  • Brandon

    Posted on 5/27/2016

    Great article guys! I just got a new 2 Door JK Jeep and I'm trying to decide on which enclosure to go with. I always ran ported boxes in the past but when I bought my truck a few years back, I was forced to use a sealed box under my back seats. With a two door Jeep there's not much room to work with either but I have a little more freedom now. I listen to all kind of music and I took my Kicker CVT 10s out before selling, which would you go with? Thanks in advance!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/16/2016

    James, If you like the way your existing subs sound in their ported enclosure, then stick with one of those for your new setup. If you're ready for a change, go with sealed.

  • James Mayo from Ralls, TX

    Posted on 5/16/2016

    I'm building a system in a recently acquired 89 IROC-Z and I am ordering two of the Focal E 30KX 12" subs. But I'm on the fence between ported and sealed. I have a 2013 CRZ with two Focal K2 Power 46 KX 4 18" subs in a ported enclosure. I like accurate bass, but I also like it loud and low. I listen to just about everything you can imagine. Needing some expert advice.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/12/2016

    John, With large subwoofers and lots and lots of amplification.

  • John from Waukegan

    Posted on 5/11/2016

    How can I get my bass to roar and travel a long distance out of my truck?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/5/2016

    Eric, While the confined space you describe may not be ideal for even sound dispersion throughout your boat, two 12-inch subs should provide plenty of bass, especially when given plenty of power. You will have to experiment aiming the enclosure forward, backward, up, or down to hear which way sounds best - every space is different. As for sealed or ported, like this article says, that depends on personal taste. A lot of Hip Hop fans like ported enclosures for their subs, for the extra resonance and power. Most fans of Rock/Pop prefer a sealed enclosure, for the tight, accurate bass it can produce.

  • Eric from Lafayette

    Posted on 5/3/2016

    Buck, I am wanting to install subs in my boat. Its a 25' cabin cruiser with the cuddy underneath. There is a place at the front nose of the boat above the bed that would be a great spot for a sub box. If I had the subs pointed toward the back of the boat, would i be better off with a ported box or sealed? And then would it be best Pointed the way i said? or forward/downward? Subs in question are (2) 12" JL Audio W6 that are already in a sub specific ported box. thanks in advance

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/4/2016

    Chris, Before spending money on different equipment, you might want to try the bass-tuning tips in this article.

  • Chris from Columbus OH

    Posted on 4/4/2016

    Thanks for this article, really interesting and educational. I just recently purchased the loaded Rockford Fosgate P3 encloser with the prime 1200D mono amp. I installed them in my Scion "Hatchback." I was kind of disappointed how muddy and sloppy the bass is! It's loud don't get me wrong especially on Hip-hop and rap! But I listen to a little bit of everything, rap,techno,rock even country. Soon as I put on a techno, dubstep track it sounded horrible! I had to turn the bass way down I couldn't even make out all the bass notes. I think I'm going to switch to sealed encloser. Do the Rockford P3s work well in a sealed box? Do you think the ported- sealed boxes make a difference in a hatchback vehicle? Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/3/2016

    Scott, Most fans of Rock/Pop prefer a sealed enclosure for their subwoofer, for the tight, accurate bass it can produce.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/3/2016

    Alex, A lot of Hip Hop fans like ported enclosures for their subs, for the extra resonance and power.

  • scott from fort lauderdale

    Posted on 4/3/2016

    I have a 2011 crown victoria I am installing a sony MEX-GS810BH receiver , alpine Alpine SPS-517 replacing the factory speakers . Running 2 amps a profile 640sx for the front and rear 75w rms and a profile 600sx bridged for a subwoofer 450w rms . I listen to 80% rock /pop with some heavy metal and rap . What type enclosure would you recommend . I dont want to rattle the interior LOL . Thanks scott

  • Alex from Toronto

    Posted on 4/1/2016

    Hey I just recently bought a rockford fosgate t1 10 inch subwoofer, I listen to mainly hip hop/dance and I have a sedan... would a ported box be best fit?? Bassworx or attend? ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/28/2016

    Waverly, If you're going to use a subwoofer amplifier with that amount of power (400 watts continuous, 500 peak), I think you'll get more bass with a ported enclosure than with a sealed one. Bass takes a lot of power to produce, especially outdoors, and a ported enclosure, taking advantage of the component sub's natural resonance, usually produces more output with the same amount of power as a sealed enclosure. That's why most professional PA subwoofers are mounted in ported boxes.

  • Waverly from Cleveland

    Posted on 3/26/2016

    I plan to build an outdoor subwoofer for a raised deck, with trees around. I listen to everything from Senatra/Buble to Maysa or Tony Braxton with some classic rock and some country. 12" - sealed or ported? [I have] an HTD SDA500 class D amp.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/4/2016

    Adrian, I think you will probably find more sealed enclosures that will fit in small spaces than ported enclosures, which are generally larger.

  • Adrian from Nyc

    Posted on 3/3/2016

    I have a really small truck and I don't have much space in there for air flow,was wonder what would be better ported or seal box.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/20/2016

    Sarah, An online search ought to bring up at least one car stereo dealership somewhere near Cardiff UK. Unfortunately, we're only licensed to sell gear in the United States and Canada. I don't know what car stereo equipment or even what model vehicles are available in your country. Sorry we can't help.

  • Sarah from Cardiff, UK

    Posted on 2/19/2016

    Hi, can you recommend anywhere that provides custom built ported sub enclosures?

  • Pablo from Arlington, Tx

    Posted on 12/10/2015

    Hello!! I'm trying to decide what box should I use for my 2 12" JL Audio W0 V3 single 4 ohm? I appreciate your help

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/16/2015

    Devin, Usually a component subwoofer will require a very different sized sealed or ported enclosure to sound its best. For example, Kenwood's KFC-XW100 sub works best in a 0.65 cu. ft. sealed enclosure or a 1.2 cu. ft. ported one - almost 100% larger. You may be able to get a general sense of the differences in sound between a sealed and ported box by blocking and unblocking the port with a panel or something, but a shirt probably won't be air-tight enough for you to hear much difference, except maybe a muffled sound coming out of the port.

  • Devin Richard from West Simsbury

    Posted on 11/16/2015

    what if i were to stick like a shirt or something in the port to give it like a feel of a ported and sealed sub-woofer would that work or would that make it sound worse? i really dont know if i want a ported or a sealed box

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/2/2015

    Rick, As far as I can tell, Alpine makes eleven different Type R subwoofers, and what size sealed enclosure each works best in depends on the sub's size and other criteria. To find out the best box for your sub, go to Alpine's website and look up the specs for your particular model. You will also find there links to the owner's manual for each subwoofer that gives even more detail about recommended box sizes.

  • Rick from Alexandria

    Posted on 11/1/2015

    Hi, just wondering what size of sealed enclosure you would recommend for a 1000wattRMS type R subwoofer. I listen to mainly hip hop but I don't like too much of a loud bang in my bass, which is how it currently sounds with my ported box. I'm looking for quality in the note over a car rattling thunder.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/20/2015

    Jimmy, Changing from a sealed to a ported enclosure while keeping the same amplifier will gain you a little loudness. As for suitability in different types of vehicles - I think what you're referring to is the facts that sealed boxes are smaller and fit in smaller vehicles like sedans, and ported boxes are larger and will only fit in vehicles with larger interiors.

  • jimmy from miami

    Posted on 9/20/2015

    I have a 2400watt amp pushing my 2-12 in a sealbox in my G35 sedan i was wondering if a ported box will be a bit louder some one told me that sealed box are better in sedan vehicles and that ported box is not good for sedans, that it works good for SUVs and hatchback cars is that tru ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/2/2015

    David, We recommend that if you're using an aftermarket receiver get a subwoofer amplifier with about 200 to 300 watts RMS output.

  • David from ashland city

    Posted on 9/2/2015

    so you said classic rock had very little sub content so even a sealed sub would help me so if I want a better sound would a amp help me because my unit is 220 watt system would I get a better sound that way, even the 220 watt does sound very good just don't want to waste money just want to get the best sound I can

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/31/2015

    David, What you describe is called an "infinite baffle" arrangement for a subwoofer, and it'll work fine, especially with a subwoofer designed for that use. Your rear deck serves as the baffle that keeps the sound from the rear of the cone (in the trunk) from interfering with sound coming from the front (into your car). Unfortunately, because of the technology of the day, you will find that Classic Rock contains very little subwoofer content.

  • David from ashland city

    Posted on 8/28/2015

    yes I just installed all new speakers 2x 6x8 in doors and 2x 6x9 in back in my crown vic i see what looks like a 10" hole for maybe a factory sub (just guessing) but if I was to mount a sub in that hole with free space to the trunk is that a bad idea? I listen to classic rock for the most part and my head unit is a sony 220 watt driving my 4 speakers and was thinking to add an amped sub as I said any thoughts would be appreciated

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/24/2015

    Riley, I don't see any reason not to try it. Although you might find you prefer one style of subwoofer over the other for all your music.

  • Riley

    Posted on 8/22/2015

    If I were to listen to all types of music, would it be possible to build a ported sub box that I could plug the port to make it technically sealed? My thinking would be that I could have the box ported or sealed based on what type of music I am listening to for each day. Would this be a bad idea structurally? Would it actually work? This is all assuming the box is built to be within the parameters of the sub's cubic feet requirements for each type of enclosure.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/2/2015

    Alex, An enclosure designed for a 12-inch subwoofer will probably not work very well with a 15-inch sub. But if the enclosure has enough depth, and you can enlarge the cutout hole in the baffle, you could probably get one in. Ported boxes are tuned by their internal volume and port length and area, so yours may not be very well tuned for bass after the modifications.

  • alex from santa fe,nm

    Posted on 7/31/2015

    Would a 15" subwoofer fit in a 12" subwoofer ported box

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/13/2015

    John, Car audio speakers are designed to work best when mounted so the sound from the back of the speaker is kept entirely separate from the sound coming from the front. A ported subwoofer uses the port to direct some of that rear sound to combine with the front sound, increasing the bass. If you were to mount those speakers in a ported enclosure, the bass would probably overwhelm the other frequencies, making it all sound muddy and indistinct. If you want enclosures for those speakers I recommend sealed ones.

  • John from Hastings, UK

    Posted on 7/12/2015

    Hi, I'm planning the sound system for my camper van and have decided to use 4 x Vibe blackdeath qb69 and not use a sub at all. I like quite a mix of music mainly rock and dance and I am struggling to decide if I should port the enclosures or not also I am struggling to to work out the appropriate port sizes etc as they are full range speakers, any advise would be greatly appreciated.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Randy, Most people prefer either the tone of a sealed subwoofer or the tone of a ported sub. That certainly doesn't mean you can't run both at the same time - you can. The resulting mixture of tones may sound muddy, but you might like that.

  • Randy Evans from Louisiana

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    I'm building a sub box with 3 subs 1 12inch and 2 10inch. I wanna have the 12 sealed and the 10's ported is this a good plan?