What’s in the Box? A Closer Look at Speaker Boxes

That boom you hear com­ing towards you isn’t King Kong on the run. That’s my sub­woofer giv­ing us the truth.

And you can have the truth if you prop­erly align the ampli­fier with your sub­woofer. And while most of the atten­tion is given to both the amp and sub­woofer, and right­fully so, another com­po­nent that shouldn’t be over­looked is your speaker enclosure.

Speak­ers that aren’t enclosed in a tightly con­structed box won’t pro­vide the full poten­tial of your sub­woofer. The low bass sound is dimin­ished because the back of the speaker and front can­cel each other out. Hav­ing the best sub­woofer and a poorly designed box will give you ter­ri­ble results. Say bye bye to boom boom.

Speaker boxes are made in the fol­low­ing type of mod­els, each pro­duc­ing their own unique sound.

  • Sealed Box — An air­tight design that gives a clean, tight sound. It’s best used for music requir­ing accu­rate, pre­cise bass. You’ll get bet­ter sound qual­ity, but less “boom.” For exam­ple, think of pro­gres­sive house or dance music. The bass doesn’t over­whelm you, but fits in and enhances the over­all sound. Sealed boxes require more power so make sure your amp can han­dle it. Also, they’re usu­ally made in smaller sizes so their ideal if you have less room in your car. Here’s an exam­ple of a sealed box along with the dia­gram below.

  • Ported Box or Vented Box — The oppo­site of a sealed box, this enclo­sure pro­duces a low, boom­ing bass response, com­pro­mis­ing on sound qual­ity. The vent (port) rein­forces a deeper bass than a sealed box. Hip hop and rap make good choices for this type of enclo­sure. Keep in mind, these boxes are much larger than a sealed box. Here’s an exam­ple of a vented enclo­sure.

  • Band­pass Box — This is a com­bi­na­tion of the above boxes, hav­ing two cham­bers inside. One is sealed and the other ported. This pro­duces the best over­all boom, deep and clean. The bass erupts from the ported side of the box within a nar­row fre­quency range. If you have the bud­get and want to shake the ground, then this is the box for you. Please note, how­ever, the con­struc­tion has to be per­fect and needs to be designed specif­i­cally to match your speak­ers. If any­thing is off, they won’t pro­duce as expected. For more infor­ma­tion, take a look at this band­pass box and the image below.

The per­fect speaker enclo­sure will depend on a vari­ety of things, but most impor­tantly, the type of sound you want. You also need to know what type of bass the box is designed for. When you find the right box for the sound you want, only then can you bring the boom.

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