Subwoofer Box Types – Sealed, Ported, Vented And Bandpass

So you just bought your dream subwoofer. Congratulations! Now you’re wondering on exactly where to put that monster woofer you bought. You may be wondering about the different options, whether you want a sealed, ported, or a bandpass subwoofer enclosure. You may have done a little bit of your own research but have come to a confusing conclusion with so many different technical terms. Don’t worry; I’ll summarize the effects and the effectiveness of each one for you without all the technical big words.

Sealed Enclosure

These are generally the smallest of the three. If you have a small or a sports car, I recommend this enclosure for your car. There are pros and cons of course. As mentioned, it is advantageously smaller, allowing you to preserve your precious trunk space. They also allow the subwoofers to produce a highly accurate bass, but with the least amount of “boom” out of the three types of enclosures. This is primarily because the box is airtight, leaving no room for air to escape with the sound waves from the interior of the box. Unfortunately, this restriction does require a much more powerful amplifier and subwoofer combination. Unless you have a high-end set that could handle higher wattage, I do not recommend on getting a sealed enclosure setup.

Ported/Vented Enclosure

Because the ported enclosure requires additional room for the vent, it is typically larger than the sealed boxes. If you’re not too concerned about space, this type is a popular solution for most people. The design is based on the vent with which air is allowed to move much more freely, channeling the sound from the interior and the rear of the enclosure to the outside. This gives it a much more boomy effect with less accurate bass response. With vented enclosures, you do not need as much power coming out of your system since the lack of an airtight box allows your subwoofer to move much more freely and the vents allowing you to hear every bit of sound produced by your subwoofer.

Bandpass Enclosure

Bandpass subwoofer boxes are the largest of the three. This is because the design is based on a number of ports and two main chambers-one for your subwoofer and another for air space within the enclosure to resonate. You could probably imagine the sound produced by this behemoth. It produces the least accurate bass but with the greatest level of “boom”. With this enclosure, you can out-boom anyone on the streets of Los Angeles. But remember that bandpass enclosures require a lot of space, so be prepared to sacrifice a lot of trunk space for your setup. Also be mindful that some subwoofers do not work well in bandpass enclosures, so check your product manual before installing them. Ultimately, bandpass boxes are extremely efficient enclosures and demand much less power than the sealed enclosure. Be sure to have a tight install on a bandpass enclosure since any loose parts will easily rattle and could easily be heard on a bandpass setup.

Other Details on Subwoofer Boxes

There are also a few other things to keep in mind when you are deciding between different subwoofer boxes. Most subwoofer enclosures now are constructed using MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard, these are excellent for enclosures so be sure you’re buying MDF construction boxes and not cheap plastic or plywood. Fiberboard (even if it says medium density) is much denser than any other material so it does not rattle and could withstand very high temperatures. Particle boards are much lighter material and do not bond as tightly as fiberboard and would therefore not be suitable for harsh environments.

Cosmetically, there are usually two options for you to get-a carpet exterior or a vinyl/paint finish. Carpet will protect the exterior from getting scratched and usually matches the trunk color pretty well (gray, black, and tan). Paint or vinyl finish tend to show exterior blemishes much easier than carpeting, but cleaning them is also much easier-especially valuable if you are installing a non-trunk subwoofer enclosure install.

How many subwoofers in a box? This depends on obviously how much money and space you have. Don’t buy two when you can buy one that could produce the power of two. This will potentially save you money and space. If you can help it, do not settle for a set of two cheap ones when you can buy one good one. Yes, two will help add more power and sound, but it sacrifices sound quality for volume and boom.

I hope this short summary have helped you in your decision making process. At the end of the day, it is truly up to you to research your subwoofer and find the best solution for your system. Happy hunting!