Thinking about buying a subwoofer for your listening room or home theater system? Here is everything you need to know about the purchase you’re about to make.
A lot of times, audiophiles get confused that whether they should go for sealed subwoofers or ported subwoofers and that is where they are bound to get confused. We decided to shed some light on both these types to make things easier for you. There is a solid difference between sealed and ported subwoofer and we think it is adamant that you know the pros and cons of these two types to be able to make a decent purchase.
But before we review them, let’s talk about why a subwoofer is installed in any home theater system and how it really works. While this may seem unnecessary at the moment, it will help a lot of you choose the right kind of subwoofer and not regret spending money in the long run.
Wondering what a subwoofer does, let’s take a look!
Most people are of the view that main reason of purchasing a subwoofer is to attain more and rich bass. While that is true, it isn’t the only thing that a subwoofer does. If installed and implemented in the correct way, a subwoofer is capable of enhancing the overall sound quality of your system.
Suppose you have small tower speakers or bookshelf speakers. If you’re producing audio from them without a subwoofer than you’re asking them to create the entire musical scenario from highest highs and lowest lows. In order to produce low level frequencies, the speaker will have to make use of the subwoofer driver that comes pre-installed in the speaker. This way, the speaker will cause a lot of vibrations while running audio playback and it will also shake a lot which in turn cause distortions.
So what if you decided to take these low notes away and send them somewhere else? This is where a subwoofer comes in.
If you install a subwoofer to a two-way speaker, you will be releasing it from producing low range notes and it will be able to complete focus on midranges which in turn make the speaker system stop from shaking. You will only hear improved midrange response while the low notes will be produced from the subwoofer with much better quality and richness. It will keep the cabinet from shaking and you will have much clearer sound on your plate.
Looking for a subwoofer that can deliver great low end impact when paired with your home theater system, you will first have to analyze the size of your room.
If you have large space then you will need a bigger subwoofer, quite possibly two of them. But in case the room is small and not much sound is needed then even a small subwoofer can do the trick. You can also install a number of subwoofers in your room so that every individual who is accompanying you gets the same level of experience when watching a movie. It gives a very dynamic experience and improves the overall sound quality and production.
When buying a subwoofer, you will come across various companies that are selling boomy subwoofers but the quality, richness and clarity of the sound being produced isn’t as enhanced and improved as it should be.
To get the best home theater experience, what you need is to be able to hear the difference between explosion and thunder. Basically, what you need is to be able to understand the difference between electric and upright bass.
This all brings us back to our original question, what is the difference between ported and sealed subwoofers?
A sealed subwoofer comes in a sealed box. This type of configuration is very easy to put in a room and you can put the subwoofer in a smaller subwoofer.
Also read: Top 10 Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers – Best Picks of 2021
A ported subwoofer includes a subwoofer and one or more ports that lets the air escape. This kind of subwoofer delivers better sound and bass quality because there is not one but two mechanisms moving the air out of the box simultaneously.
It is capable of filling up a large room because it moves a lot of air conveniently. Since you need space inside a ported subwoofer to move the air, they are much larger than sealed subwoofers. However, they aren’t easily placed so you will need a designated space in your room if you’re going to invest a ported subwoofer.
So, as you can see from the definitions, sealed and ported subwoofers both imply different mechanisms for producing better sound quality. Let’s look at all the aspects of sound production for both this equipment on a wider scale.
The best part about going for a sealed subwoofer is that there isn’t much of a sound delay. A sealed subwoofer only implies a single mode of sound production which ensures audio accuracy.
Whereas in a ported subwoofer, two modes of air circulation are being used. One is through the driver and other is through the port. While the speaker can control the sound waves traveling through the driver, it doesn’t have control over the air being moves through the port so there might be some delay in the audio production.
Sealed subwoofers are usually recommended for audio listening while the ported subwoofers come in handy for home theater systems.
Ported subwoofers come in a large box and aren’t meant for displacement once they have been placed. Whereas a sealed subwoofer comes in a small box that doesn’t take a lot of space and can be put anywhere you like.
Sealed subwoofer is usually more aesthetically appealing as compared to a ported subwoofer. It is also very portable and can be taken anywhere you like.
If you love watching movies, TV shows and listening to music at a high volume and push the bass levels to maximum intensity then a ported subwoofer is a well-suited option for you. It will give you the advantage of playing bass at higher level and deliver a very immersive performance. It is capable of producing cinema and concert level audio playback which is why it is also ideal for home theater systems.
In case, you’re more of a classical listener who wants accurate sound production with maximum speed and high level of efficiency. Then a sealed subwoofer is the one you need to go for. It produces bass at a very minimal level yet ensures maximum sound quality. It is also ideal for music playback in small rooms whereas ported subwoofers are the ideal choice for larger rooms.
Size of the room
Another thing that will determine the performance of your subwoofer is the room’s size. If you place your sealed subwoofer in a small room that is very well-contained, then it will deliver optimal performance. However, if you place it in a large room then the performance you will get out of it won’t be as satisfactory as you need.
Same way, as mentioned before, a ported subwoofer is ideally designed to accommodate larger spaces. You can place either one or multiple ported subwoofers in a single large room and let the audience enjoy an immersive experience. It delivers great bass with a slight delay but if the tuning done right, the ported subwoofer would never leave you disappointed.
Related: List of Best 12 Inch Subwoofers For Bass Lovers
So, which one to go for?
One thing that is eminent is there are great ported and sealed subs and bad ported and sealed subs. But let’s say you’re buying a subwoofer from an incredible brand, one that is known for producing high quality products, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the size of the room you’re going to play your subwoofer in.
A large room is always going to need a ported subwoofer or multiple ported subwoofers for improved sound experience. You cannot expect a small subwoofer to perform well in a large room and deliver an immersive sound experience. But if you’re room is small, let’s say smaller than 2500 cubic feet then one or more sealed subwoofers will do the trick.
If you love listening to your favorite music and aren’t that fond of using a home theater system than you will most likely find a sealed subwoofer that will be able to produce the quality of sound you need. On the other hand, if you live deep and rich bass and are in need for a subwoofer that is capable of shaking the entire room then it would be preferable to go for a ported subwoofer.
To sum it up!
Ported and sealed subwoofers both have their own advantages and disadvantages, we are summing the main points up in the following,
Available floor pace and room size – A sealed subwoofer is meant to perform with excellence in small rooms whereas a ported subwoofer will work in a larger room.
Best for different audio systems – For immersive and dynamic, cinema like experience, a ported subwoofer is the ultimate choice. But if you’re more into music and want accurate sound production then a sealed subwoofer is the one you need.
Playback level – If you want to crank your subwoofer to meet the different level demands of your speaker than a ported subwoofer is what will help.
Aesthetically pleasing – A sealed subwoofer comes in a compact box that is very easy to keep and store whereas a ported subwoofer is large and isn’t easily displaced. For aesthetic purposes, a sealed subwoofer will always take the cake.
Consider all these factors when buying a subwoofer. At the end, both of these types are capable of deliver impeccable bass and enhance the overall sound quality of your speaker. All you need is to make sure the given subwoofer is well-capable of meeting all your requirements because if your requirements and the subwoofer’s ability to perform aren’t aligned then you will never be satisfied with your purchase.
We hope this article was able to help sort out your confusions. If you have any suggestions or recommendations in this regard, do let us know through your feedback below.
FAQs about ported and sealed subwoofers!
Which one is better, ported or sealed subwoofer?
Both of these subwoofers perform extremely well. But it depends on your own requirements that which one fulfills them at most.
What subwoofer produces better bass?
A ported subwoofer produces far better bass than a sealed subwoofer. It implies two mechanisms for this purposes. It does delay sound production a bit but the bass produced by this subwoofer is impeccable.
Is subwoofer always necessary for a speaker system?
Not really. A subwoofer produces low voice notes at an impeccable range. If you happen to be someone who enjoys bass, then you’re going to need one for better sound quality.
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