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Speaker cabinet designs

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
What are the typical characteristics of different types of speaker, eg. ported, sealed, transmission line etc?

I've just bought a pair of Ruark Swordsman which are sealed units (is this also known as infinite baffle) and prefer the sound to any of the ported speakers I have owned, my previous favourites (B&W 600I) were also sealed units so I appear to have afinity for this type of speaker.

To my ears the sealed speakers seem to have a more natural sound especially the bass whereas the ported designs somehow seem artificial (is this what is referred to as pseudo-bass?) and forced.
 

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
219
1
0
Ruark made fantastic speakers. The reason they appeal to me over many modern designs I've heard is their natural, unforced, non-metallic sound. They sound like instruments and real voices, not in-your-face hifi versions of them. But they retain a magnificent compelling musical nature that allows the emotion and timing of any music to come through strongly.

But that very much applies to my Talismans, Epilogues & Dialogue too, which are ported designs. So I'm not sure whether your own feeling about the Swordsman is related to the sealed design, or more related to the brand's deliberate voicing of their components.

But whatever the cause, enjoy the result, as I do. I spoke to a Ruark rep a few years ago and pleaded for him to make speakers again (as you know they now only make DAB radios and CD players), but they've obviously deliberately moved away from that market now. Great shame indeed. And it means that finding used Ruarks in good condition is getting increasingly difficult.

If mine ever died, I'd have a very hard job finding a replacement I was happy with.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
89
43
18,570
Hi,

It depends on what you want, technical or descriptive. There is a web site upon searching, loudspeakerdesign.co.uk. which provides descriptive. There are others that provide more detailed information.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
Gaz37 said:
What are the typical characteristics of different types of speaker, eg. ported, sealed, transmission line etc?

I've just bought a pair of Ruark Swordsman which are sealed units (is this also known as infinite baffle) and prefer the sound to any of the ported speakers I have owned, my previous favourites (B&W 600I) were also sealed units so I appear to have afinity for this type of speaker.

To my ears the sealed speakers seem to have a more natural sound especially the bass whereas the ported designs somehow seem artificial (is this what is referred to as pseudo-bass?) and forced.
There are great number of parameters which can effect the sound that loudspeakers produce. Driver frequency and transient response will define the free air sound of a given driver, and the volume of a cabinet will (obviously) add/detract to/from the overall sound quality. However in the interest of giving an answer my extremely general thoughts and experiences are as follows:

Sealed - Natural sounding, incredibly transparent and relatively easy to position. Lacking in scale, attack, dynamics and they tend to struggle with low frequencies.

Traditionally Ported - Most loudspeakers appear to follow this design philosophy and I suspect this is because it is easier to get a "nice" sound out of this design and there is less reliance on the quality of the drive units. Sound quality and tone vary enormously so difficult to define any particular characteristic, although they do tend to extend the bass lower than sealed boxes. Can be difficult to position and need space to perform to their best. Often one is aware of how much the cabinet is impacting the sound and really bad ones can "chuff".

Transmission Line - My favourite. Deep, deep, well controlled bass even at high SPL's, which (if done well) integrates seemlessly and harmonically with the sound of the drivers as it exits the transmission line. All of the advantages of ported but much easier to place and also relatively easy to drive. However bad examples can sound spectacularily bad with timing issues and harmonic distortion.

No doubt others will disagree but this is my opinion...
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
174
53
18,670
Great descriptions from gazzip. I'd add that infinite baffle tend to be less sensitive and that seems to be the main reason that ported speakers, which are rather more efficient (i.e. Louder) are much more common.. And of course a sealed box needs better engineering, so more money!

Let's not forget the ABR, or auxiliary bass radiator, and Isobarik designs, both worth googling.
 

NSA_watch_my_toilet

New member
Aug 24, 2013
7
0
0
Every kind of speaker architecture will have his strong points and flaws. I had closed speakers from Xavian, and they where great. Now I have PMC fact8, and they are great. And I tried out ATC SCM50, and they where... great again.
 

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