So It`s Ok To Mix and Match Ported and Sealed Subwoofers ??

I`m completely set on adding 2-4 more subs in addition to the one I have now.

Seemed the concensus was to either run ported or sealed not both.
In a music only system like mine the vast majority say to go sealed.

I now realize that the Original Swarm uses ported subs...somehow I missed that part, so there goes the sealed only for music idea !
Then, I see where in a room like mine I might be better off using a mix of ported AND sealed.

My room is about 20' x 17' with a slanted vaulted ceiling 12' at the peak.
There`s a hallway at the left corner on the front wall and another hallway on the back wall in the corner.

There`s a set of double doors to the left that open to a family room/kitchen area. . The double doors are open at the top so it`s not a sealed room.

 So...IS IT ok to mix ported and sealed then ?

As if integrating the subs into the room and to your current speakers, you now want to add a significant and bigger new dimension.

I would suggest rather than going your current route:

  1. Get your room appropriately treated.
  2. Get 1 or two identical subwoofers
  3. Use the room correction in the subs or in a pre like the new Anthem lines to integrate the subs with your existing speakers for you.

It is quite possible that the room openings will severely improve your overall bass smoothness, making the necessity of multiple subs unnecessary, and that with precision settings you can get to done easily.

Best of luck,

On point 1:
I have a decent amount of room treatments in place already, multiple panels of 2"  and 4" Owens Corning DIY plus corner traps...Massive improvement ! and yes that`s a great suggestion.

On point 2:
Are you are suggesting that I top out at 2 maybe 3 subs total and that it doesn`t matter wether sealed or ported ?

On point 3:
That sounds good

As I understand it, the thinking of 4 subs is not about volume but room integration.

It's not a terrible approach, but IMHO among the most wasteful. With a good room, precise integration, even 1 sub may suffice.

It is the "precise integration"  that troubles most people, and a reason for the 4 sub solution. It kind of eliminates the need for so much measurement, alignment, etc. The Anthem, JL and Dirac systems do an amazing job of measuring and calibrating this for you, far better than previous systems, IMHO.

Also, if your current speakers are ported, plug them before subbing.


This article does a good job of critiquing approaches to a bad room:

But if you already have effective bass traps, open walls, and have an effective EQ stratejy, such as room correction, you don't even have to have 2.
Very risky scm taking advice from one of the least knowledgeable on this subject on the whole site. DYODD.

The Audiokinesis Swarm are ported, yes, but all come with plugs. Plug a port and it becomes a sealed speaker.

There's nothing magical about ported/sealed. Its simply a tradeoff made between efficiency, extension, and cabinet volume. Briefly, ported speakers tend to have a response curve that is more efficient at higher bass frequencies, but then falls off rapidly past a certain point, the tuning frequency. Sealed cabinets have a lower efficiency but fall off more gradually. So plugging a port has the effect of reducing bass output at what tends to be a more problematic range due to room reinforcement, while also allowing a little deeper bass thanks to the more gradual rolloff. 

Two of my 5 subs are sealed. Two are ported. One, Talon Roc, is isobaric and ported. Isobaric is when two drivers are mounted together such that they both move the same air together. Anyway, point is, it is perfectly okay to mix. Often times in fact it is preferable. 

Watch who you take advice from around here. Remember, there's no editors, and anyone can post.
Hello scm,

    I utilize a 4-sub Audio Kinesis distributed bass array (DBA) system in my 23'x16' room that also has rather large openings (4-5'x7' pass-thrus along the front of one side wall and at one side of the rear wall.) to other rooms but I have 8' tall ceilings that are not cathedral type.
    I'm fairly surprised that you're committed to using 4 or even more subs in your room and system since there are relatively and inexplicably few Audiogon members who have first hand experience using a 4-sub DBA system, ever personally auditioned one or are even committed to trying the concept. So, I am curious how you became committed to giving it a go.
    Don't get me wrong, you've made a very wise decision that I'm absolutely certain you will never regret in the least. I've been using my 4-sub DBA system for over 4 years now, initially with Magnrepan 2,7QR and currently with 3.7i planar-magnetic main speakers for both 2-ch music and HT, and its performance never fails to put a smile on my face on a daily basis with either. Prepare to be amazed.
    I'm willing to assist you at attaining similar results in your room and system if you'd like. On this post, I'll just give you some broad answers to your questions, provide some useful information and ask you
a few questions:

1. Both my Audio Kinesis Debra and the AK Swarm system are complete kit 4-sub DBA systems that are priced at about $3K, include 4 relatively small subs (the Debra's are 14.5"D x 12"W x 28"H and the Swarm's are a bit wider and squarer in shape), utilize 10" aluminum long-throw drivers, are operated in mono mode with bass extension down to 20 Hz +/- 3 dB, a 1Kwatt class AB amp/control unit that powers all 4 subs and are supplied with a set of 4 port plugs that allows for a choice of operating all 4 subs in either ported or sealed configuration.
    Unexpectedly, I discerned no significant difference in bass sound quality in either configuration but operate all of mine in ported configuration because I perceived the bass performance to have a bit deeper extension.  
    In my opinion, there's little sense in ordering a 2nd sub amp/control unit to configure the DBA system in stereo since humans cannot localize bass frequencies below about 80 Hz and virtually all commercially available musical content has the L+ R channel bass below about 100 Hz summed to mono, anyway.

2. It's possible to create a Custom 4 or even a more numerous sub DBA system utilizing any subs an individual chooses. These custom DBA systems can perform just as well or even better than either AK complete kit system, can consist of various sub sizes, brands, models, can consist of a combination of sealed and ported subs and only have a few downsides.  
    Depending on the particular subs chosen, one downside of a custom DBA system is it will typically be more expensive than either AK complete kit price of about $3K . Other downsides are that all traditional self-amplified subs utilized in a custom DBA are required to posses control settings for volume, cutoff frequency and continuously variable phase and these controls need to be set individually on each sub, rather than once for all 4 subs on the AK amp/control unit.

3. The AK and custom DBAs work incredibly well even without any room treatments, mics, equalizers or room correction software and hardware. However, all of these additional tools can be utilized at the individual's discretion and may or may not further improve bass quality performance. I can attest to this because I've been using my 4-sub AK Debra DBA system without any of these potential bass performance aids for over 4 years with stunningly good results. I consider this as the strongest evidence of the DBA concept's effectiveness. I have no doubt the 4-sub DBA concept will work equally well in your slightly larger room.  
    Nevertheless, I recently ordered about $3,500 in GIK room treatments with assurances that these tools will only further improve the bass response performance in my room. I honestly have a hard time imagining how the bass performance in my room, already what I consider to be near state of the art, could be even better but I'm very curious to find out; these should arrive next week and be installed within a week after.
     You may have noticed I haven't asked for any further information on your room, room treatments or the make, model or type of your main speakers. The reason is that none of this matters, the 4-sub DBA concept works extremely well in virtually any room, with any pair of main speakers and with or without assistance of room treatments or DSP of any kind.
    Okay, lastly a few questions for you:
1. Do you have a total budget amount?
2. How did you learn of and about the effectiveness of multiple subs?
3. Are there any reasons you want to use more than 4 subs in your room?
4. Do you have a preference for a complete kit 4-sub DBA or a custom one?


Thanks guys for helping out.

Millercarbon...that`s encouraging to see that there should be no issues using ported and sealed subs together. the very least I`ll add two but I`m not afraid to add 4 if I want.
This Forum and a few others that I frequent are what got me interested in the idea.
I like the idea of eliminating the need for room correction devices I`ve read a lot about it and I`m not interested in it at all.

I`ve also read that 3 subs can pretty much rival 4 if everything melds.

The sub I use now is a sealed box Revel Ultima15 powered by the same amp used in the swarm. At that rate then maybe just two will suffice.

I like Rythmik subs and my daughter and her husband uses one with the GR Research woofer in it with their MMG`s.
But I don`t think I need to spend that much so I`m leaning to the smallish SVS SB/PB 1000.
I want subs with speaker level inputs to daisy chain off my main amp.

My main speakers are ported but they have a 3 position dial on the back for room boundary adjustments. 


My subwoofer adventures began when I was more focused on home theater.  I ran a mix of ported and sealed subwoofers with no ill effects and used them for music also.  I currently have two SVS SB13 Ultra subs and two Rythmik F25 subs (all sealed).  It's overkill, but I have a large room that opens into my kitchen.  I think you'd be fine going with some smaller subs like the SB1000 or some of Rythmik's entry level subs.  That's one of the great things about combining multiple subs is the headroom you get.

I have secondary systems that all use a single sub and the one in my computer room in particular is capable of stunning sound quality.  A single sub blended properly can fill in the bottom end, especially if you're using smaller monitors.  I have Harbeth P3ESR in the computer room and the sub adds just enough to add some realism to the listening experience.

Having said that, there's nothing quite like being completely engulfed by the sound in the way that you are when using multiple subs.
Tim is one who knows what he's talking about, Steve. I don't even need to read his posts any more, they are all so thorough and accurate its only if I have the time any more.

When it comes to which sub, if you have one you like go with it. It does make a difference, obviously a lot of bigger more powerful subs is better than a lot of small weak ones. But try and keep in mind, the number of subs overshadows everything else. In other words I think Tim or I or anyone else with a Swarm type setup will be happy to put it up against any one sub on the market, regardless of price, size, power, or EQ.

My favorite story, which helped me get off my butt and build my DBA, was when Audiokinesis said he had a customer with some enormous budget something like $30k just for subs. Dude went and compared a lot in that price range, wound up buying a Swarm for 1/10th and not because it was cheaper but because it was better.
Now honestly if it was me I would have bought four or five better subs, heck with that kind of money make it six or seven. What I would NOT ever do is pour big money into only one or two, or even three. The improvement from more subs that far overshadows the improvement from anything else.
Hard to believe, I know. That's why Tim and I keep hammering on it.
big_greg that`s some nice subs you have !
On the Rythmik`s, the entry level ones don`t have speaker level inputs unfortunately.

Hello scm,

    I'm guessing you're using something like the Revel Gems as your main speakers but, as I stated earlier, it really doesn't matter. You didn't answer my question about your budget, so I'm guessing that means your looking to spend as little as possible.
    If you're mainly concerned with very good bass performance at your listening seat and want to spend as little as possible, One option would be buying another Revel Ultima15 pre-owned passive sub, use the crawl method to position each sub optimally and power them both with your Dayton amp.  
      Another fairly low cost new option is to sell your Revel sub and Dayton SA-1000 amp, buy a new or used pair of the good quality SVS self-amplified PB/SB 1000 subs (SVS may still have a pair of new SB-1000 subs on sale for $950) and optimally position both using the crawl method. With either of these options you could add another pair of subs later if you wanted to. I can describe how to connect 4 passive subs to your Dayton amp in series/parallel when and if you want to in the future.
    The only downsides of using self-amplified subs is that you need to make sure the subs have separate controls for volume, crossover frequency and continuously variable phase(I know the SVS SB-1000 subs do) and you need to set these controls individually on each sub, rather than once for both/all 4 subs when powered by the Dayton amp.
    A third option is to deploy 3 subs, which Dr. Earl Geddes claims can be as effective as 4 subs if properly positioned and configured. This may be best for your system since the subs don't need to match in brand, model or size and you can mix self-amplified subs with passive subs.


millercarbon...I can believe what you say wholeheartedly.
I sometimes wonder if the same effect of a DBA setup can be had with way lesser priced subs !?
I mean your just pressurizing the room right ?

When you think about it in the simplest way the swarm is just 4 passive boxes with a relatively inexpensive 10'' woofer in each one.  
Makes me wonder

rego..thanks, that`s a common idea no doubt.
Tim..My main speakers are Revel F52`s and I REALLY want to keep the Revel sub in play.
The SVS SB/PB 1000 are the ones I`m seriously considering.
45 days to see if they are a good fit and free shipping both ways (If not)
The 3 sub idea sounds good....and as to budget, the cheaper the better !

I sometimes wonder if the same effect of a DBA setup can be had with way lesser priced subs !?
Yes. For example, Tim has the Audiokinesis Swarm system with one Dayton amp. Read his comments, how awesome it is. Based on his and others info I built my own Swarm using 10" Morel drivers and cabinets from Parts Express. Same size drivers only somewhat higher quality, which is not my opinion, Duke himself told me mine will blow his away. I don't know about that, but they are awesome. Even with real Rosewood veneer and 2 Dayton amps mine came in under $3k.  But based on my experience plus everything I read learning how to build mine I'd say yes you can get remarkably close with much less expensive subs.
I mean your just pressurizing the room right ?
Yes that's pretty much the idea. I'm kicking myself because I noticed this years ago but failed to make the connection. For a while long ago I followed the Home Theater mantra with full range surrounds. The one really positive thing about that was the impressive bass. Which I now understand why. But didn't make the connection back then. Live and learn.

When you think about it in the simplest way the swarm is just 4 passive boxes with a relatively inexpensive 10'' woofer in each one.
Right. Parts Express was running a deal when I got mine, free sealed cabinet when you buy the driver. If low cost had been a higher priority mine could have been built for under $2k. In light of how good it performs, that is freaking amazing.
If you want to see what DIY with freebie cabs can look like, my system is now posted.
millercarbon :
  If you want to see what DIY with freebie cabs can look like, my system is now posted.
 Very NICE setup Chuck !!  The subs look beautiful
Yes well that is real rosewood veneer, and added about $500 compared to painted MDF. Just don't look too close, it will quickly become apparent these are not at the same level of professional finish detail as say the Audiokinesis Swarm. Not that I couldn't have done that, but everything's a matter of time and effort. This I feel is the right balance for going in my dimly lit listening room.
Rest assured they sound way better than they look!
Update !

I decided to just  add two more subs.
I bought a pair of HSU ULS-15 mk2`s they are on their way from HSU right now.
They are a satin get the Rosewood finish like Chucks it would have been an additional $300 or so unfortunately :(
They are supposed to be a very musical sub from all that I read and that was a huge part of my final decision making.

So I`ll have my 15" Revel sub plus the two HSU 15" `s and a 10" powered sub all sealed versions.
I`m hoping the subs will do well enough in my 3800 cu ft room....will see 
Hello scm,

     Excellent, from what I've read, the HSU ULS-15 mk2 are a very good choice.
    I suggest you first setup and audition a custom 3-sub DBA system in your room, using your 15" Revel/with Dayton amp and your 2 15" HSU mk2 self-amplified subs.  
     It's important to position each sub optimally in your room.  I think using the crawl method, starting your search at the right front corner of your room and moving counter-clockwise around the perimeter of your room, should be sufficient for positioning each sub but you're welcome to use a more sophisticated method if you have the equipment and know how to use it.
     Once all 3 subs have been optimally positioned, proper setting of each sub's volume, crossover frequency and phase controls are the next critical steps.  Ideally, your goal is to have the volume of the subs match the volume of your main speakers and resist the urge to turn their volume up too high, you only want the subs to be active when the musical content demands it.  I've found it useful to set the volume as low as possible with the bass still sounding powerful, dynamic, detailed and natural.
     For the cutoff frequency settings, I suggest running your main speakers full-range and initially setting this control on each sub at about the rated bass extension frequency limit of your main speakers.  You can then adjust this setting slightly upward and downward until each sub is perceived as seamlessly integrated with your main speakers. 
    For the phase settings, I suggest you initially just set each to the position the bass sounds best to you.  I don't think this setting is as critical as the other 2 but I can detail more precise methods of optimally setting the phase on each sub if you'd like.
     I'm more than willing to further assist you when your new subs arrive if you'd like.  Just let me know on this thread or PM me.

Excellent, from what I've read, the HSU ULS-15 mk2 are a very good choice.

They are very good. :) Monsters in fact.
Hello Steve,

     Okay, good.  You should be aware that I went from 2 subs to 4 subs in my system search for high quality bass.  I've never tried 3 subs but one of the most prolific acoustic researchers and advocates of the 4-sub DBA concept, Dr. Earl Geddes, has stated that 3-sub DBAs can be as effective as 4-sub DBAs if the 3 subs are properly positioned and configured, with configured meaning the volume, crossover frequency and phase controls are optimally set.
     I have no reason to doubt that 3 subs can work well but I can't help thinking that optimum positioning of each sub is likely more important when 3 subs are used than when 4 subs are used.  I have complete confidence in the crawl method of sequentially positioning each sub in a room, since I've used it effectively in my room with 2 and 4 subs, but wanted to make sure you're aware of exactly how to do this.
     I'm also thinking that you have the option of creating a custom 4-sub DBA system, by including your smaller 10" self-amplified sub as the 4th sub, if you'd like.  In other words, your room is large enough that I'm fairly certain that 3 large subs will provide high quality bass throughout your entire room, if precisely positioned and configured, but I'm very close to certain that 3 large subs and a 4th smaller sub will do so.
     I still  think a good plan is to setup a 3-sub DBA system, closely evaluate the results for a few weeks and progress to setting up a 4-sub DBA system only if you're not completely satisfied with the 3-sub DBA system results.

Erik...I`m looking forward to them !

Tim...I`ve done the crawl method a few times over the years.
Sub placed at the listening spot then the crawl .
I mark the different spots that have strong bass with tape on the floor.

Then I would go back and pick which spot has the best tone.
I plan on doing that with each sub...including the 10" :)

FedEx initially said the subs would be here Weds, just got a txt earlier saying 1 of the 2 will be here tomorrow Tues.
Seems the subs went their separate ways at the Louisiana facility so 1 went out from there later than the other.
Oh well....should be interesting and fun even with just the one ! 

Hello Steve,

     I consider fun and enjoyment the only results that matter in this crazy hobby.