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Futzin'

Subwoofer types, pros and cons

10 posts in this topic

My main uncertainties lie with free air / infinite baffle subs, but I thought a general discussion of each would be helpful.  Give us something to kick around while waiting for warmer temps.

As I see it, they consist of 1. standard sub, 2. the FA/IB sub, 3. subs in dedicated enclosures (both powered and passive), and 4. bass tubes (powered and passive).  There may be others I'm missing.

Generalities and personal experience are both welcome.

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1, 3, and 4 are really the same thing. The difference between a woofer in a square or rectangle enclosure and a bazooka tube woofer, is nothing more then the shape of the enclosure. Round cylinder and square/rectangle makes no difference on output. Shape makes no difference as its all in the air volume of enclosure and port length and surface are of the opening if its a ported enclosure. 

With a woofer, the factors that impact output, is surface area (size), excursion (cone movement) and power (wattage to it).

let talk power. More wattage means more output, but a given woofer can only handle so much. The size of the voice coil and excursion means we can only drive the woofer with so much wattage. Plus, wattage is expensive in both amp cost and battery juice. It take roughly 2X the wattage to make an audible difference. So wattage is the least efficient means to create more output.

Excursion is another physical limitation. The woofer can only move so far in and out and it take amp wattage and proper tuning to control excursion. Left unchecked and you end up with a failed woofer. When comparing 2 woofers with identical wattage and enclosure, excursion will be the deciding factor. More excursion can translate to more surface area. 

Surface area. For example, two 10's in sealed enclosures with the same 300W rms amp will have the same output, unless one has more excursion. but lets say one is in a sealed enclosure and the other is in a ported? The ported enclosure acts as a larger woofer and yields more output due to the output from the port. Nearly 2X the output simply from the enclosure type, sealed v's ported. So same 300W rms, but the ported enclosure is 2 times the output. As noted, surface area rules. A 10" ported can have more output then a sealed 12". Why? the port! The port means we benefit from the from as well as the back of the woofer. Sealed, we only really benefit from the front. 

Infinite-baffle and free-air are the same and are basically a form of a sealed enclosure. The difference between IB and acoustic-suspension is that IB needs a large are space, typically the boat's storage cavity and AS needs a small air space created by a constructed sealed air space. Although they can sound different, the output (air moved) from the woofer can be about the same. Bass extension can be very close. IB, like bass-reflex, needs the right woofer and very careful tuning. You dont have the margin of error like you do with a small sealed enclosure.  

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So is as IB/FA woofer what you look for if you're cutting it into an under seat storage locker, when keeping storage space is important to you? Meaning it takes up less of the storage area than a woofer that needs an enclosure built into it, and take up room in the storage space? Sorry. What I know about subs, I learned from you all in the past 2 weeks Ha. 

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@Ksupaul

Basically, yes. An IB or FA woofer means we dont need to construct a small enclosure behind the woofer, we use the boat's cavity as the enclosure. Any woofer can be run IB/FA, but not every woofer is built/designed/constructed to be run IB/FA. A true IB/FA woofer will give us better results then a non-IB/FA woofer. 

If we cant get a small constructed enclosure behind a woofer, then our results can be better with a true IB woofer compared to a non-IB woofer running IB. 

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Main benefit to a FA sub is that it doesn't require a defined constructed enclosure.  It's the potential disadvantages I'd like to hear about . . . 

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I have the 10 inch Wet Sounds FA sub.  It sounds really good.  Hard to tell a big difference between it and enclosed sub to be honest.  To me though its about clarity of the music, and since it is properly powered it sounds very good.  

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6 hours ago, Cycleman07 said:

I have the 10 inch Wet Sounds FA sub.  It sounds really good.  Hard to tell a big difference between it and enclosed sub to be honest.  To me though its about clarity of the music, and since it is properly powered it sounds very good.  

Where did you place it?  A gear locker?  Large/small?  Does stuff behind it alter the sound?

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On 2/13/2018 at 3:55 PM, Futzin' said:

Where did you place it?  A gear locker?  Large/small?  Does stuff behind it alter the sound?

Its on the end of the port side L seating directly behind the passenger seat. 

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I wasn't looking to bring sound outside of the boat. With that in mind, I went with a single Rockford Fosgate marine 10 in. free air sub M210S4 mounted right behind drivers seat facing forward. Added non marine Rockford Fosgate 500 wait R500X1D mono amp. Perfect for what I do.

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