When was the last time you heard a subwoofer produce high-quality sound? You most likely enjoyed the buzzing and low frequencies that tickled your ears if the speaker was properly installed within an appropriate enclosure.
When the subs are not properly installed, the enclosure can become a problem. Although it is not impossible to build an appropriate cabinet for subwoofers without aero ports, having one makes life much easier.
An aero port serves as the framework for enclosing your subs within the cabinet. Rather than allowing them to float free of the connection, you’ll get the necessary supports for the punch and attack you want in any car audio system. The best part is that you can usually find a high-quality molded enclosure port for 10-inch to 18-inch sub enclosures for less than $50.
ABOUT TUNING AND PVC AERO PORTS – SUBWOOFERS AND ENCLOSURES
If you use aero ports with your sub enclosure, you can avoid the problem with slot ports. Although aeros do not come standard with structural bracing, this investment can result in a louder sound. This means you can add more reverb zones or reduce your installation footprint.
If you’re thinking about using aeros for your next sub enclosure, keep in mind that there are some benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Although there are passionate people who prefer slot ports to aero ports and vice versa, the final decision for your setup is yours. Here are some key points to consider as you work on getting your vehicle’s sound system set up.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF USING AERO PORTS?
|List of the Advantages of Using Aero Ports||List of the Disadvantages of Using Aero Ports|
|When you use aeros to make boxes, you’ll find that they’re a lot easier to make at home than when you use slots. All that remains is to construct the sealed box, drill a hole for the aero, and finish the job.||Installing aero ports typically costs more than rolling with slots. The majority of products in the six-inch range cost at least $30.|
|Aero ports allow you to fine-tune your enclosure without having to create an entirely new box to achieve the desired results. If you have different lengths, you can change the tuning on the fly.||With aeros, you won’t get the same structural bracing in the enclosure as you would with a slot port. It is possible to incorporate them into the design, but doing so necessitates a second step.|
|Slots do not work as well with your sound system as an aero port. That means it can be smaller while still achieving the same result, allowing for less space in the vehicle.||Some people dislike the way the bass sounds when the subs are installed with aeros.|
|Aero ports in some systems may be slightly louder than their counterparts.||There is no guarantee that your box will sound louder. The subs could sound worse depending on the aero ports used.|
Aero ports are available online, at precision sound retailers, and in most locations that sell audio and audiophile parts.
WHY DO SOME BUILDERS USE PVC PIPE FOR THEIR AEROS?
When looking for aero ports, you’ll notice that they come in standard sizes. The most common sizes available today are in the 3- to 6-inch range. Because that is the same size as PVC pipe that can be found at any hardware store, some builders choose to use that material for their sub enclosure.
The benefit of using PVC pipe for this purpose is that it is much less expensive. The disadvantage of this option is that it does not have flared ends.
If you don’t install a PVC-style aero with absolute precision, you may end up with lower sound system efficiencies and unwanted port noise. To correct the issues, you’ll need to use a heat gun to mold the PVC into a flare using a bowl or something similar.
You don’t need to do anything else if you choose a manufactured aero port for your enclosure. When the box is finished, drill your hole and finish the installation. This option may be more expensive, but it will also get the job done much faster.
As a result, how you value your time becomes an important factor in this process. If it takes you two hours to flare the PVC to achieve the desired results, it becomes more expensive to use that option over aeros when your hourly rate is $20.
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HOW DOES AN ENCLOSURE WITH AERO PORTS GET DESIGNED?
When designing an enclosure for your subwoofers with aeros, you must first consider port size. You can usually manage an area about half the size of a standard slot. That means you’ll only need six or eight inches of port per cubic foot within the enclosure, rather than the 12 to 16 inches required with slots.
The goal should be to use as few ports as possible to reach your desired area. Even though the size constraints are similar, setting up a single six-inch port is preferable to setting up two four-inch ports. If you’re not sure how to measure for your ports, this online calculator can help you get the results you need.
Please remember to plan out the proper speaker and port placement before you cut your hole. Once you’ve begun the modification, there’s no turning back. When possible, place your aeros at least one port diameter from the inside walls.
Once you’ve figured out the placement issue, a cut diagram can help you finish the job. Some manufacturers include them with their products, but they are not guaranteed.
HOW TO FINISH THE AERO PORT INSTALLATION?
After you’ve cut the hole in your enclosure, use screws to secure the port to the chamber, referencing the positioning or guide marks on the outside flare. Some products have multiple holes on the flare, denoted by a “3” or a “4”, which indicate how many screws you’ll need based on your setup.
Once you’ve determined the length of your enclosure, you can assemble it using the adhesive designed for aero port materials. If you bought a ready-made item, it was most likely made of ABS plastic. You’ll need a different adhesive if you’re using PVC in your design. Because epoxy and other stronger glues can weaken some plastics, you should avoid using substitutes for this step.
The pieces for your port cannot be disassembled once they have been assembled. The aeros can be slipped into the enclosure to change the tuning based on the connections, but the box must be kept secure to avoid buzz and distortion.
First, connect the connecting rings to the flared ends. After you’ve completed that step, slide the ends over the tube section. That’s when you’ll be able to finish the port with screws or adhesive. Most warranties do not cover installation errors, so choose your subwoofer enclosure carefully.
If you are unfamiliar with this process, it may be beneficial to hire a professional installer to handle this step for you. Aeroport product warranties range from 90 days to one year, with outliers from some brands on both ends of the spectrum.
WHAT ARE THE BEST PORTED ENCLOSURES TO USE TODAY?
If you want to use aero ports for your subwoofer setup, you can save time on the construction by purchasing the enclosure to install. It’s a little more expensive because you’re buying something ready-made, but the time savings is enormous.
You could potentially bring the enclosure, subs, and ports to your preferred car audio specialist and have the installation completed in no time. Are you looking for a universal fit option for your subs? If that’s the case, here are the best options to consider for your vehicle.
1. Skar Audio SK2X12V Dual 12-Inch Ported Enclosure
This Skar Audio ported enclosure features a dual-chamber design with a universal fit. With its unique engineering design, it provides competition-grade performance for your subs. The mounting depth is 13 inches, and the diameter of the cut-out is 11.125 inches.
You’ll even get premium push terminals with internal speaker leads that are ready to install. This sub enclosure gives any ride a sleek appearance. It’s finished with premium black carpet, polyfill for wall lining, and deep, heavy sounds. It’s a box that can take on almost any task.
2. PowerBass Single-Vented Enclosure
Most pre-made enclosures don’t do a good job with the aero ports if you only need to mount one sub for your vehicle. This is due to the desire to keep everything as compact as possible.
The PowerBass design is heavy-duty, properly vented, and provides just the right amount of reflex for the job. The computer-optimized acoustic chamber is what elevates this beast to the ranks of the best enclosures money can buy.
You’ll get enough vibration to make your mirrors shake, and the sub is already included with the box. That is, you get two for the price of one.
3. Skar Audio SK2X8V Dual 8-Inch Ported Enclosure
With the kerf port design, this expressive enclosure does an excellent job of producing an accurate bass that hits the deep notes with precision.
It’s tuned at 39 Hz, so you won’t get the extra distortion that other boxes do, and the polyfill deadens the extra noise you don’t want to hear. The premier push terminals, like other Skar Audio designs, have internal speaker wires that are ready for mounting.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FLARED PVC AERO PORT FOR A CAR SUBWOOFER ENCLOSURE?
A plastic PVC aero port tube can be installed in your car subwoofer enclosure to fine-tune it to perform best at a specific frequency. This can sometimes result in port noise, which can be avoided by using curved slot port designs internally within the box.
The best way to overcome this with an aeroplastic port design is to flare the tube ends, allowing the air to flow smoothly out. A flared port will be far more expensive than a standard port if purchased from a car audio shop. You can flare the aero port ends yourself at home with a heat gun.
The way it works is that you place the port onto an object, such as a bowel, and the heat causes the plastic to adapt to the shape, causing it to flare in a certain way. It may appear difficult at first, but once you’ve completed your first one, the rest will be a breeze.
- Cut the plastic pipe to the appropriate length using an online aero flared port calculator software.
- You can sand down the cut end with rough sandpaper to make the edges less sharp to work with.
- Heat up the side you want to flare for about 15 seconds with your heat gun.
- Flip it over and place the heated side into the bowl, heating it for 15 seconds at the bottom.
- Twist and turn the port onto the bowel, stopping when you reach your desired flared shape.
- After you’ve flared the port, turn off the heat gun tool and let it cool for at least 1 minute. While doing so, it will permanently form the shape of the bowl, making the PVC aero port flared like a car audio shop professional.
1. Port Basics
There are two widely used methods for tuning a ported enclosure. These two methods involve the use of a port, which is typically made of a simple piece of PVC pipe, or a duct (also known as a slot port), which is typically made of the same material as the box (normally wood).
Before we get into how to make a port, it’s important to understand what factors influence the tuning frequency of the enclosure. The tuning frequency (Fb) is commonly misunderstood to be a function of port volume when, in fact, it is a function of the port’s cross-sectional area and length.
2. Multiple Ports
For calculating multiple ports for a single chamber, there are two widely used methods. Only one method is correct, but it is also the least commonly used.
The first and incorrect method is based on the original port formula and states that if we take two ports and add their cross-sectional areas, we can simply plug this total into the port formula for Av to get our port length.
The second and correct method for determining how long each port should be is to follow this simple three-step procedure:
- Divide the volume of the chamber by the number of ports you want to use for that one chamber.
- Use the quotient as your Vb (box volume) in the port formula.
- Do the math and determine how long each port should be.
Slot / Duct Ports
Ducts are frequently used when a particular alignment necessitates cramming an abnormally long port into a very small enclosure due to extremely low tuning. This is a common scenario when building ported enclosures for long excursion drivers.
Designing and implementing a duct in your own project is not as difficult as it may appear at first. However, there are a few guidelines you must follow if you are to have any success with this porting technique.
HOW DO PORTS WORK?
There are numerous misconceptions about ports; here are a few examples:
- The ports relieve pressure in the box and allow the woofers to move more freely.
- When the woofers move back, the ports push air out and suck air in when they move forward.
- Because the ports ‘fire’ sound in whatever direction they face, rear ports require a wall behind them to bounce the sound back to you.
- Ported cabs produce a louder sound than sealed cabs.
CONCLUSION on Tuning and PVC Aero Ports
When it comes to tuning your audio system to lower frequencies, aero ports come in handy. Although PVC is an option if you are willing to spend the time to flare the ends, a ready-made ABS product may be a better option.
For me, the new AI-infused all-in-one units with aeros are preferable. The price is reasonable, and the computer optimization consistently produces a better tone. That’s not to say that other products won’t produce similar results, but that’s the style I prefer to hear when I’m driving.
Everyone has a different preference when it comes to audio. When you choose aeros over slots, I believe you’ll discover that missing element of authenticity.
FAQ on Enclosures and Subwoofers
What is an Aero port for a subwoofer?
An aero port serves as the framework for enclosing your subs within the cabinet. The best part is that you can usually find a high-quality molded enclosure port for 10-inch to 18-inch sub enclosures for less than $50.
What does tuning a sub box mean?
A subwoofer enclosure’s tuned frequency can be adjusted by changing the length of the port slot or tube(s) used in the enclosure. It has nothing to do with the amplifier’s settings.
Are Aero ports better?
More material to build, more difficult to tune, but adds rigidity to the box. Aero port = simple to use and tune, looks great, and adds no structural rigidity to the box.
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