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  1. #1
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    Best way of adding bass with good SQ

    Trying to build up my system and right now I'm working with a pair of CDT CL-61s up front run directly off an Eclipse 3424 HU. But I definitely need some additional bass.

    What's the best, cheapest, way of doing this. I'm not looking to win any competitions and I don't want to rattle the windows of the houses down the street. I just want some good quality, CLEAN bass to supplement the awesome CDT comps up front.

    I've heard good things about the Bazooka EL8A-HP amplified sub and it seems relatively cheap. Like I said, I really like the SQ of the basic system right now, but I would like to add some bass to round out the sound without going crazy with $300 amps and custom sub enclosures.

  2. #2
    Resident Flamer Registered Member -dh-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    Trying to build up my system and right now I'm working with a pair of CDT CL-61s up front run directly off an Eclipse 3424 HU. But I definitely need some additional bass.

    What's the best, cheapest, way of doing this. I'm not looking to win any competitions and I don't want to rattle the windows of the houses down the street. I just want some good quality, CLEAN bass to supplement the awesome CDT comps up front.

    I've heard good things about the Bazooka EL8A-HP amplified sub and it seems relatively cheap. Like I said, I really like the SQ of the basic system right now, but I would like to add some bass to round out the sound without going crazy with $300 amps and custom sub enclosures.
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  3. #3
    Practical Audio Guru Site Moderator CT!!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    Trying to build up my system and right now I'm working with a pair of CDT CL-61s up front run directly off an Eclipse 3424 HU. But I definitely need some additional bass.

    What's the best, cheapest, way of doing this. I'm not looking to win any competitions and I don't want to rattle the windows of the houses down the street. I just want some good quality, CLEAN bass to supplement the awesome CDT comps up front.

    I've heard good things about the Bazooka EL8A-HP amplified sub and it seems relatively cheap. Like I said, I really like the SQ of the basic system right now, but I would like to add some bass to round out the sound without going crazy with $300 amps and custom sub enclosures.
    Ensure your front end can drop below 80hz with authority and keep your sub well powered and in the proper enclousure. Basically anything that draws your attention to the sub will offset your clean sound. The bass in a good sounding system should compliment the entire musical spectrum...not overpower it or draw attention to itself. Poor enclosures will make the bass seem muffled, too boomy, weak, harsh, etc. Too little power will likely cause the bass to be muddy/distorted (generally because you are having to turn it up to fill the rest of the system far more then the amplifier is capable of).

    The reasoning for your front end to drop down into the bass frequencies is to draw the two together. It should not be Front End and Sub as two seperate entities. Rather then one solid musical experience. This is also a reason why your standard street system (boom from hell) doesn't fare well in competitions. Too much bass drowning out the rest of the music. Even a little is too much from a competition standpoint.

    And remember...adding a sub doesn't mean you are going to be the aforementioned boom from hell. A sub is crucial for those lower frequencies that a well rounded system should be capable of. You are just not going to get that with 6.5's (or lower) in the front doors.

    The bazooka you mentioned would probably be fine for basic sub needs (considering your comps are powered off the head unit) depending on the volume you listen to your music. I like mine with plenty of dynamic range and *oomph* on the dramatic parts. This requires more headroom (thus more power) and more capable speakers/subs.
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    That's exactly what I'm looking for -- just a good quality sub to deliver the bass that the 6.5's just can't put out. And yes, I do just want the lower freqencies to combine and blend with the comps, not drown them out.

    The specs for all the HUs in the Eclipse lineup show a low end response of 20Hz from the CD and 30Hz from the tuner. I assume that it's a pretty high quality HU and should have no trouble delivering the bass response that I'm looking for (with amplification).

    I like to listen to my music loud, too, but not ear-deafening loud. Just enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up during really dynamic passages.

    I'll look into the Adire subs, but like I said, I'd prefer something simple and cheap, but effective.

  5. #5
    Practical Audio Guru Site Moderator CT!!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    That's exactly what I'm looking for -- just a good quality sub to deliver the bass that the 6.5's just can't put out. And yes, I do just want the lower freqencies to combine and blend with the comps, not drown them out.

    The specs for all the HUs in the Eclipse lineup show a low end response of 20Hz from the CD and 30Hz from the tuner. I assume that it's a pretty high quality HU and should have no trouble delivering the bass response that I'm looking for (with amplification).

    I like to listen to my music loud, too, but not ear-deafening loud. Just enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up during really dynamic passages.

    I'll look into the Adire subs, but like I said, I'd prefer something simple and cheap, but effective.
    In your case, the Adire may be overkill. Now, if you were to power the front end, you would probably be better off. Maybe pick up a 4 channel amp so you can power the front end and bridge the rear channels to the sub. But as it stands now, the HU power isn't going to adaquately power the comps to give you the response needed to accurately blend the music together with a larger, more powerful sub.
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    That's a good point. I'm afraid that I'm not very educated when it comes to this stuff. I just know that I need some more bass, that's about it. And the Bazooka seemed to get some decent reviews on the 'net in terms of a simple, drop-in solution without going wild with installing other hardware.

    I suppose I could look into getting a 4-channel amp, but between the amp, a sub, and an enclosure, I assume it'll cost upwards of $300-$400 or so. That's more than I really can spend. I probably should have mentioned that in the first place.

    I guess if I had to stick to a budget, I'd try to stay under $200 or maybe $250. I have a feeling that puts a big limit on what I can get.

  7. #7
    I'm in your head Registered Member CVStroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    That's a good point. I'm afraid that I'm not very educated when it comes to this stuff. I just know that I need some more bass, that's about it. And the Bazooka seemed to get some decent reviews on the 'net in terms of a simple, drop-in solution without going wild with installing other hardware.

    I suppose I could look into getting a 4-channel amp, but between the amp, a sub, and an enclosure, I assume it'll cost upwards of $300-$400 or so. That's more than I really can spend. I probably should have mentioned that in the first place.

    I guess if I had to stick to a budget, I'd try to stay under $200 or maybe $250. I have a feeling that puts a big limit on what I can get.
    Maybe something like a 10" JL W0 and a MTX Road Thunder 404, would be within your budget. Just look around ebay and the rest of the internet. You can build your own enclosure, it's easy and cheap.
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    Thanks for the info. I'll look into those to see if they are priced right.

    About building an enclosure: I was under the impression that it was somewhat of a black art to making an enclosure that sounds good. I didn't want to get involved with something that I admittedly have no idea how to do. Materials, ports, fiber fill, placement, phasing, etc. all seem to be important. I wouldn't know where to begin.

    I suppose if there were plans for a good box out on the internet, I'd be able to fabricate it, but in terms of making a design from scratch I don't think I have the knowledge.

  9. #9
    I'm in your head Registered Member CVStroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    Thanks for the info. I'll look into those to see if they are priced right.

    About building an enclosure: I was under the impression that it was somewhat of a black art to making an enclosure that sounds good. I didn't want to get involved with something that I admittedly have no idea how to do. Materials, ports, fiber fill, placement, phasing, etc. all seem to be important. I wouldn't know where to begin.

    I suppose if there were plans for a good box out on the internet, I'd be able to fabricate it, but in terms of making a design from scratch I don't think I have the knowledge.
    For a W0, just build a box out of 1/2" mdf that has an internal airspace of about .4 cubic feet. Just make sure that the box is sealed up nicely. You don't have to worry about ports, polyfill, or phasing, just make a plain box with a 9" hole in it. If you want, I'm sure there are people on this forum who would build it for you. If you're close enough (whereas shipping isn't prohibitivaly high) I would be willing to do it for ya.
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  10. #10
    Practical Audio Guru Site Moderator CT!!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewV
    Thanks for the info. I'll look into those to see if they are priced right.

    About building an enclosure: I was under the impression that it was somewhat of a black art to making an enclosure that sounds good. I didn't want to get involved with something that I admittedly have no idea how to do. Materials, ports, fiber fill, placement, phasing, etc. all seem to be important. I wouldn't know where to begin.

    I suppose if there were plans for a good box out on the internet, I'd be able to fabricate it, but in terms of making a design from scratch I don't think I have the knowledge.
    Most woofers will come with a spec sheet that describes a recommend enclosure. Even cheap woofers will include T/S specs (needed for proper enclosure design). But the aforemented JL and MTX woofers will include plans for box building. A basic sealed box won't be difficult to building.
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  11. #11
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    Just to add to the posts about the sealed boxes:

    Most subs come with box size plans, but almost all car subs are made to be used in small sealed boxes as well as ported. If you wanna build a box, just be sure of the three things mentioned below and it will be cheap, easy and sound MUCH better than anything you will buy at Best Buy and the like.

    1. Use 3/4" MDF. The added weight isn't much but it is sonically FAR superior to 1/2" MDF for damping characteristics (good thing). You should be able to get a sheet of this for about 15.00 at Menards (last time I built a box)

    2. DO NOT make your box a perfect cube (such as 12x12x12). If you want to make a box around 1/2 cubic feet, make it: 10.5 x 10.5 x 8.5 Internal Dimensions (12x12x10 External Dim.). A perfect square is usually a bad idea for sound quality.

    3. When it is all built (just glue it with wood glue and either clamp it together or screw it together so it can dry (you don't NEED screws), simply cut the 9" hole with a router or a jigsaw and fill the box with about 1/4 to 1/3 full of cotton stuffing (found in any craft store for a buck)

    Overall your box will cost less than 20 bucks and a 10" JL W0 can be had for well under $100 if you look around. Going with CVStroker's advice: the MTX road thunder 404 is a great amp and can also can be found for $100 I think (check on this). So if you can get the sub for 60, the amp for 100 and the box is 20 (25 with a REALLY good terminal to put on the back) thats only $180-$185 and you would have a very good setup for the money (and a little pride in that you can say you built it yourself). The amp is 4 channel so you can use the front two channels to power your front speakers (they will sound MUCH better that way) and bridge the rear channels into a single channel to power your sub.
    Ron

  12. #12
    Resident Flamer Registered Member -dh-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron.eddy
    2. DO NOT make your box a perfect cube (such as 12x12x12). If you want to make a box around 1/2 cubic feet, make it: 10.5 x 10.5 x 8.5 Internal Dimensions (12x12x10 External Dim.). A perfect square is usually a bad idea for sound quality.

    sorry to go off on a tanget...but Im curious as to why that is. I've never heard of that before.
    What is it about a perfect square that affects sq?

    Just curious.
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  13. #13
    I'm in your head Registered Member CVStroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron.eddy
    Just to add to the posts about the sealed boxes:

    Most subs come with box size plans, but almost all car subs are made to be used in small sealed boxes as well as ported. If you wanna build a box, just be sure of the three things mentioned below and it will be cheap, easy and sound MUCH better than anything you will buy at Best Buy and the like.

    1. Use 3/4" MDF. The added weight isn't much but it is sonically FAR superior to 1/2" MDF for damping characteristics (good thing). You should be able to get a sheet of this for about 15.00 at Menards (last time I built a box)

    2. DO NOT make your box a perfect cube (such as 12x12x12). If you want to make a box around 1/2 cubic feet, make it: 10.5 x 10.5 x 8.5 Internal Dimensions (12x12x10 External Dim.). A perfect square is usually a bad idea for sound quality.

    3. When it is all built (just glue it with wood glue and either clamp it together or screw it together so it can dry (you don't NEED screws), simply cut the 9" hole with a router or a jigsaw and fill the box with about 1/4 to 1/3 full of cotton stuffing (found in any craft store for a buck)

    Overall your box will cost less than 20 bucks and a 10" JL W0 can be had for well under $100 if you look around. Going with CVStroker's advice: the MTX road thunder 404 is a great amp and can also can be found for $100 I think (check on this). So if you can get the sub for 60, the amp for 100 and the box is 20 (25 with a REALLY good terminal to put on the back) thats only $180-$185 and you would have a very good setup for the money (and a little pride in that you can say you built it yourself). The amp is 4 channel so you can use the front two channels to power your front speakers (they will sound MUCH better that way) and bridge the rear channels into a single channel to power your sub.

    I have to contradict or argue with a few points there.

    The W0 is an extremely low power, low pressure sub. 1/2" MDF is more than enough for one, he could probably easily get away with 3/8" MDF for a sub that small, but lets not push it.

    The perfect cube thing seems a little far fetched for me, but I'm not gonna argue it because I've never built a box that was a perfect cube.

    As for polyfil (stuffing), definatly not needed in the application. That's really only used for making the enclosure "seem" larger to the sub, and the only real time that it's needed is when space is an issue, and you want a "bigger" box than you have room for.

    As for glue, I prefer to use Gorilla Glue, best stuff I've used yet, but simple Elmers Wood Glue will work as well, just make sure everything is sealed tight, no air leaks. I use a brad nailer to hold the boxes together while they dry, but clamps will work just as well.

    Ron is right about the 4 channel thing, I forgot to cover that part.
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  14. #14
    I'm in your head Registered Member CVStroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -dh-
    sorry to go off on a tanget...but Im curious as to why that is. I've never heard of that before.
    What is it about a perfect square that affects sq?

    Just curious.
    I think it deals with the reverberating sound waves inside the enclosure, but like I just said, seems a little fishy to me. I do know for a fact that a spherical enclosure is the best you can have.
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  15. #15
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    Well, ideally in a sub box you actually would build it with crazy internal curves, but that is hard to do. But anyway, here is the reason:

    Note that this would be MUCH more noticeable with mid/high frequencies, but it is still a very good practice. When a sub hits, the sound coming off the back of the woofer goes and hits the internal walls of the box. If a box is NOT a perfect cube, then the waves will bounce around and attenuate themselves naturally. But if you use a perfect cube there is a chance at certain frequencies to develop standing waves in the box. If you don't know what that is I will try to explain it:

    A standing wave occurs when the speaker is emitting the same frequency and it is reflecting off the internal walls and coming back to the speaker in the same phase as the speaker is emitting backward. When this wave hits the speaker it gets amplified back toward the rear wall, since it is in the same phase. When it reflects off the walls and hits the speaker again it is again in the same phase and gets amplified again. This can build up to where you have a standing wave which is just bouncing back and forth and not attenuating, causing various types of distortion and usually screwing up the "flow" of your speaker. Standing waves in a physical box are similar to the electrical feedback you get when you put a microphone too close to the speaker it is outputting from, where the signal flows to the mic, then gets amplified and output from the speaker, then reaches the mic again, but stronger, and then gets amplified, and so on and so on...

    When you build your box to have internal dimensions that are different distances you minimize the chances of waves coming back in phase all the time, thus minimizing the chance of a standing wave. It has been said that building a box to the Golden Ratio (1.618 to 1) you will put at a minimum the chances of standing waves.
    Ron

  16. #16
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    The stuffing is important mostly for higher frequencies. It is not just used for making a box appear bigger, although thats what net effect it has... The stuffing helps the sound quality by adding more damping to the rear of the sub and thus maximizing output. Look inside any high price home sub (where size of box usually isn't a concern) and you will find stuffing if it is sealed. If it is ported then you will find that 3 or 4 of the internal walls are covered with 1" foam or equivalent. This is for sound quality and to minimize resonances.

    As for the 3/8" box idea I pose a challenge. You build a 3/8" box and put that W0 in it and I will build a 3/4" MDF box. The sound quality difference will floor you. Even in mid/treble applications I promise you that you will never find any GREAT home speakers with less than 3/4". In fact, I built a 1700 dollar set of Audax home theater speakers and the directions STRONGLY recommended 1" MDF for the front panel and 3/4" MDF for the other sides and back. And that was with two 6.5" speakers with bass only down to 45HZ!!!

    I have built dozens and dozens of boxes based on science and experience and I am going to say that the idea that 1/2" or 3/8" is good enough is not a good idea. For the extra 5 dollars and 10 pounds of weight, ANYONE would be much happier with the sound from a 3/4" box. Try it for yourself and see what I mean. I have.
    Ron

  17. #17
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    For VERY good info on all of this and more, check out:

    http://www.diysubwoofers.org/
    Ron

  18. #18
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    But in any case, I may have overemphasized the importance of the dimension ratio. With low frequencies standing waves usually will not form. I guess I just got into the habit because of building many mid/treble boxes...

    But either way, If your box is not as strong as the rock of gibralter, your output will not be maximized. Stronger is always better, for ANY speaker (well, not tweeters of course :-). The less sound that comes out of your box through vibrations and the like, the better your system will be.
    Ron

  19. #19
    I'm in your head Registered Member CVStroker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ron.eddy
    The stuffing is important mostly for higher frequencies. It is not just used for making a box appear bigger, although thats what net effect it has... The stuffing helps the sound quality by adding more damping to the rear of the sub and thus maximizing output. Look inside any high price home sub (where size of box usually isn't a concern) and you will find stuffing if it is sealed. If it is ported then you will find that 3 or 4 of the internal walls are covered with 1" foam or equivalent. This is for sound quality and to minimize resonances.

    As for the 3/8" box idea I pose a challenge. You build a 3/8" box and put that W0 in it and I will build a 3/4" MDF box. The sound quality difference will floor you. Even in mid/treble applications I promise you that you will never find any GREAT home speakers with less than 3/4". In fact, I built a 1700 dollar set of Audax home theater speakers and the directions STRONGLY recommended 1" MDF for the front panel and 3/4" MDF for the other sides and back. And that was with two 6.5" speakers with bass only down to 45HZ!!!

    I have built dozens and dozens of boxes based on science and experience and I am going to say that the idea that 1/2" or 3/8" is good enough is not a good idea. For the extra 5 dollars and 10 pounds of weight, ANYONE would be much happier with the sound from a 3/4" box. Try it for yourself and see what I mean. I have.
    You're confusing midrange and midbass characteristics with sub-bass characteristics. You don't need polyfil for subwoofers. And if the 1/2" box resonates, which I'm positive it wont with that small of a woofer, brace it!!
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  20. #20
    CAR REVIEW ADMlN Registered Member Easy E's Avatar
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    Ok time to clear up the myths. I have built square boxes. Nope no problem there. Poly fill is to make the box bigger or to help standing waves.

    Standing waves only happens in midranges, and a bit of polyfill helps. And it doesnt happen from square waves. 1/2 MDF would be fine for the W0 you could not hear the difference between the 2 I gurantee it.

    Foam in the walls and all that stuff, boring dont need it. Only to stop standing waves if they occur...
    Thats my 2 cents.

  21. #21
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    To give you guys and/or girls an example, I have an Adire Audio Shiva 12" for my home theater sub and I had it in a 3/4" MDF enclosure (ported). It had a LOT of bass and sounded pretty good. (Mind you this is ONE shiva)

    I recently built a new box, and I knew I needed to make a better one. Currently it is in a 1" MDF (2" for the front panel) and has a passive radiator instead of a port. Its internal volume would be 5.4 cubic feet except that I put so many 1" MDF braces inside the net volume is actually 4.3 cubic feet. This box took more than one and a quarter whole sheets of 1" MDF to make and has the same volume and tuning frequency as the 3/4" box of the past.

    This box, however, is SCARY. I have more bass in my living room than most people even like... I cracked the drywall in the corner of my living room and had to move it for God's sake. But more importantly, it is now VERY accurate, pretty punchy, and especially VERY GOOD sounding. Being that the tuning and the volume did not change, you can only thank one thing: a VERY strong box,

    I realize the Shiva is a much more intense sub than the W0, but considering I went from 3/4" to 1" and saw that much of an improvement you can see where some of my thoughts come from on this topic.
    Ron

  22. #22
    CAR REVIEW ADMlN Registered Member Easy E's Avatar
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    I am very familar with the Shiva especially since I am a Adire dealer and I own a Shiva, the Vamp which is hte car audio version, I own a Tempest, 2 Maelstroms, and Koda 10, I used to also have a Brahma 15.

    Now with that said, you are forgetting one thing. You went from ported to Passive Radiator. Passive Radiators have there advantages over ported boxes. So things are all not created equal now. Especially if u had a bit of port noise etc then the port was being restricted. Sometimes you audiophiles and your myths just drive me crazy lol.
    Thats my 2 cents.

  23. #23
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    I said I did overemphasize the standing waves. I am used to building midrange/treble setups, but it is a rule of thumb for anything above 100Hz...

    All I can tell you guys is that I have had cheap woofers (all I could afford when I was 14) and put them in many different boxes and you WILL notice the difference if you strengthen the box, no matter how much you guys want to argue. All I am saying it, TRY IT if you don't believe me... . If experience doesn't count in this forum then I guess I am out of my element.
    Ron

  24. #24
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    My port had NO port noise. I had a 4" port tuned to 30Hz.

    I wanted to tune it to 20Hz but the port would have been like 6 feet long.. Not cool.

    Anyway, I built the first box with WinISD using the real T/S params and I made sure the port was selected so that the air speed out of the box was less than Mach 0.02, which is generaly considered low LOW port noise.

    My "myths" are based on science.

    Go to http://www.diysubwoofers.org/ if you won't believe me.
    I have also had Fundamentals of Acoustics as a Senior year college course as part of my engineering schooling. No offense EasyE, but I consider it an insult for you to say my ideas are "myths". If you really want I will go into all of the math (there is TONS) behind my ideas. And just for the record, they are not my ideas, they are the ideas of pure Physics.
    Ron

  25. #25
    DIY Audio Registered Member ron.eddy's Avatar
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    Also, a properly weighted passive radiator is actually very SLIGHTLY worse than a perfect port with zero port noise since it has a weight to it (much more than the air the port has to move), and thus an inertia which it needs to overcome to move, resulting in slight delays and improper frequency phase orientation (albeit very slight).... So in all senses, with VERY SLIGHT port noise, the two are essentially identical.

    http://www.diysubwoofers.org/

    This site has most of the same science and math that my college books did. Just in slightly simpler forms and is invaluable if you want to know the FACTS... not the myths. There are WAY TOO MANY myths in audio. Its time to start dispelling them.
    Ron

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