The Subwoofer DIY Page v1.1
What type of subwoofer system should I use?
last updated: 08 January 2009
The choice of which type of subwoofer system is best for you depends on your personal listening tastes and what you hope to achieve. I've listed a few examples below that may assist you in choosing the best system for your needs. Note that these are general examples, e.g. a high-end system does not necessarily have to use a sealed system design for the subwoofer.

Design Goal: High-end audio applications; size no object; excellent transient response.
Sub system: Sealed system, subwoofer driven by a dedicated amplifier.

Design Goal: High SPL sound reinforcement, size no object.
Sub system: Ported or 6th order bandpass system using 12" or 15" drivers.

Design Goal: Add-on subwoofer for small system, low cost, good transient response, small box.
Sub system: Passive 4th order bandpass system using 8" DVC driver.

Design Goal: Add-on "bass unit" for secondary audio system (dormitory, multimedia).
Sub system: Passive 6th order bandpass system using 5.25" or 6" drivers.

Design Goal: Car audio subwoofer.
Sub system: Sealed system, subwoofer driven by a dedicated amplifier.

Note: if you are using an existing driver, the driver's T/S parameters will typically make the choice for you. Low Q (<0.3) drivers are generally more suited to higher-order bandpass and horn-loaded systems (which are not covered here).   Drivers with Qts between 0.3 to 0.4 are usually best used in vented systems, and drivers with higher Qts are usually best suited for sealed systems. 4th order bandpass systems can usually work with drivers with any Qts between 0.3 to 0.6. In the case of car audio systems, you will almost always get the best results with a simple sealed system