Sealed Loudspeakers and Ported Subwoofers?

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#1
Who has had occasion to integrate ported subwoofers with sealed main loudspeakers?

I know that in general sealed speakers and ported speakers have different timing and phase characteristics. But if the electronic device controlling the subwoofers has continuously variable phase adjustment, does this potential incompatibility issue disappear?
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#2
Who has had occasion to integrate ported subwoofers with sealed main loudspeakers?

I know that in general sealed speakers and ported speakers have different timing and phase characteristics. But if the electronic device controlling the subwoofers has continuously variable phase adjustment, does this potential incompatibility issue disappear?
I have done the opposite and mated the Velodyne DD18+ (sealed) with the Wilson X1s (ported). It works extremely well...it is not perfect, but I suspect that is down to the room, limited places (really only one) where i could put it, etc. A lot of the excellent integration comes down to the crossover, and multi-variable system used to control which includes a microphone that takes in feedback from a signal that the Velodyne produces as part of the integration setup.
 

DonH50

Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
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#3
Many have and it is generally no problem. Ported speakers roll off faster and generally exhibit greater phase shift below port tune but in general the crossover point is well (an octave or more) away from the port tuning frequency so it doesn't matter.

My subs have continuous phase control and that helps but remember where it matters is at the crossover point, not at the sub's port tuning frequency which is generally much lower in frequency. Since the rate of change varies a single-point phase control doesn't help, but in this case doesn't need to...

The only issues I have seen are when folk try to mix ported and sealed subwoofers -- then you probably need independent control of each sub for decent integration (e.g. dual-channel AntiMode, miniDSP, etc.)

IME/IMO - Don
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#4
Who has had occasion to integrate ported subwoofers with sealed main loudspeakers?
That's the configuration I am running - really tough to get right
 

Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#5
Timing and phase have no discernible differences at these frequencies as far as the speaker itself plays. You can't hear it. What you might hear is a difference in characteristic of ported vs. not. There are different types of ports/horns that sound more and less like non-ported speakers.

A lot of subwoofers are designed for just lots of output (SPL) so they really have a character that's noticeable, often regardless of whether they're ported or not (but the ported ones can be very noticeable).

Phase adjustment helps you reduce modes and nodes (reinforcement/cancellation, not related to driver phase), it has NOTHING to do with sound characteristic of the two for combining them. What it allows you to do is blend them as best as possible where the output of both mix (crossover area); but if the character is too drastically different even the best blending will still leave you with sub-optimal performance.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#6
That's the configuration I am running - really tough to get right
Hi Tasos,

Thank you for responding. Why have you found it tough to get right?
 

ack

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#7
Inevitable phase issues, interfering with the main speakers; so crossing over very low, and playing at low volume. Speed differences are also an issue. This is why I am shopping for a sealed Magico Q sub. There is just no comparison, day and night.
 

Folsom

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#8
Inevitable phase issues, interfering with the main speakers; so crossing over very low, and playing at low volume. Speed differences are also an issue. This is why I am shopping for a sealed Magico Q sub. There is just no comparison, day and night.
If you went with multiple subwoofers then phase issues are reduced to very little. They will inherently sound faster as well, when you aren’t fighting the modes so much. Your room isn’t really big is it? The smaller the more omni a sub is, but that really depends on crossover frequency, too. Any which way I’m sure you’ll milk the most you can get out of what you use.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#9
The room is not big; but frankly, I no longer see the point of the ported subwoofer concept - why!
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#11
The room is not big; but frankly, I no longer see the point of the ported subwoofer concept - why!
Why do you think Rockport makes ported loudspeakers and Wilson makes ported loudspeakers and ported subwoofers?
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
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Round Rock, TX
#12
IME it's very challenging to integrate ported subs and / or mains unless you have a fairly large room. It's not just about the different phase of the port, it's about additional sources of bass output that, with mains you have limited control of placement. In terms of speakers, since most are ported I plug the port to a) avoid additional bass output sources (that are also OOP) and b) provide a more drastic rolloff which aids in main -> sub integration as they will overlap in less of the frequencies. the result is easier integration of subs and tighter, more articulate and less flabby bass.
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
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Round Rock, TX
#13
The room is not big; but frankly, I no longer see the point of the ported subwoofer concept - why!
Because it is a cheaper way to get further low frequency extension.
 
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sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
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Round Rock, TX
#14
Why do you think Rockport makes ported loudspeakers and Wilson makes ported loudspeakers and ported subwoofers?
Most companies do as it is a cheaper way to get "full range" sound. And as long as you have a big enough room, you can get away with the phase anomalies and some of the challenges in terms of speakers placement to avoid room modes.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#15
This proves too much. Maybe some cheapie home theater subwoofer company uses ports to cheap out.

I don’t believe for one second that Rockport Technologies and Wilson Audio are using ports to cheap out. Ipso facto they are choosing to use ports for deliberate design and performance reasons.
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#16
Why do you think Rockport makes ported loudspeakers and Wilson makes ported loudspeakers and ported subwoofers?
I can only guess - smaller speakers, cheaper way to reach down low, but at the expense of phase issues. I personally don't care about ported designs.
 

Robh3606

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2010
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Destiny
#17
I know that in general sealed speakers and ported speakers have different timing and phase characteristics. But if the electronic device controlling the subwoofers has continuously variable phase adjustment, does this potential incompatibility issue disappear?
I wouldn't worry about it. The phase control is there to get a smoother transition more based on distance between drivers than phase differences between designs which it can't "fix". There are literally hundreds of designs that mix the two. Case in point any system with a bass reflex woofer and a sealed midrange driver in a sub-enclosure. That also buts the issue right where it would be the most audible.

Rob :)
 
Last edited:

Robh3606

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Aug 25, 2010
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Destiny
#18
This proves too much. Maybe some cheapie home theater subwoofer company uses ports to cheap out.

I don’t believe for one second that Rockport Technologies and Wilson Audio are using ports to cheap out. Ipso facto they are choosing to use ports for deliberate design and performance reasons.
It's the most efficient way to get the maximum bass response out of a woofer cabinet driver combo.

Rob :)
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#20
I just love them Wilson Audio Subsonics! :D
 
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