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Subwoofer - Free Air or Sealed?

Old 07-15-2014, 09:26 AM
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Default Subwoofer - Free Air or Sealed?

Which one typically sounds better in an open express boat? Are they pretty much the same?
Each location that I can put a sub, that could be free air, I can fit a sealed box behind the mounting location as well.
I want it to sound as good/loud as possible.
Going to install 1 maybe 2 10" JL subs.
Thanks

Old 07-15-2014, 09:28 AM
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I would go with this these. If you can get two in the boat even better. M10IB5-CG-WH
Old 07-15-2014, 09:42 AM
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Most places you're gonna mount a sub in a boat almost make it a sealed enclosure by default. You can build a truly sealed box to specs behind where-ever you mount the sub at, but your boat hull is pretty much a big fiberglass box as it is. Most subs if mounted solid, will sound good in a boat(hull).
Old 07-15-2014, 11:26 AM
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2 JL 10s hammer!
Old 07-15-2014, 11:29 AM
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Sealed will sound better. Free air subs are a compromise for when you cannot fit a properly designed enclosure. That doesn't make them bad, just not as good as a sub with a real enclosure.
Old 07-15-2014, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by InternationalMarineMike View Post
I would go with this these. If you can get two in the boat even better. M10IB5-CG-WH
That's what International Marine sold me. Great sound! One was all I needed.

Also, in response to your question (and as Jason Adams has already mentioned), most places you're going to mount a sub in a boat almost make it a sealed enclosure by default.

Last edited by BCPD199; 07-15-2014 at 11:45 AM.
Old 07-15-2014, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chainsaw42 View Post
Sealed will sound better. Free air subs are a compromise for when you cannot fit a properly designed enclosure. That doesn't make them bad, just not as good as a sub with a real enclosure.
That was my thought as well, just didn't know for sure.

Thanks everyone for the input, im going to do them sealed then. Just ordered 2 M10IB5-CG-WH from my local dealer with a m800/8 amp. Along with a pair of 7.7 and 6.5.

Cant wait to get them in.
Old 07-16-2014, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhpopeye View Post
That was my thought as well, just didn't know for sure.

Thanks everyone for the input, im going to do them sealed then. Just ordered 2 M10IB5-CG-WH from my local dealer with a m800/8 amp. Along with a pair of 7.7 and 6.5.

Cant wait to get them in.
Awesome choice. Sealed is my preference too. Have fun!
Old 07-16-2014, 12:54 PM
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I am by no means a speaker expert--in fact probably only know enough to be dangerous. I do know that not every sub is capable of a free-air installation. My understanding of subs and enclosures is the bigger the better, and the smaller the enclosure the higher the resonance frequency. Free air will give you the lowest bass response I believe. Mine is free air installed. (engine room is the rear "enclosure"). Sounds awesome.
Old 07-16-2014, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Buoy Scout View Post
I am by no means a speaker expert--in fact probably only know enough to be dangerous. I do know that not every sub is capable of a free-air installation. My understanding of subs and enclosures is the bigger the better, and the smaller the enclosure the higher the resonance frequency. Free air will give you the lowest bass response I believe. Mine is free air installed. (engine room is the rear "enclosure"). Sounds awesome.
you are correct that there are speakers that are designed specifically for free-air installation, but other than that, you've greatly oversimplified things w/your statements. i'm not an enemy of free-air installs and think they are great compromises for many many installs auto & especially boat. but they are compromises, make no mistake. bass is much lumpier and muddier to use lay terms. if it sounds awesome, that's great...and i would not hesitate to put a free-air system myself, but, again, a properly designed enclosure will always sound better. there are many many excellent books on the subject that are interesting and easy to read for even the moderately technical person that explain these things in detail that impossible to get into here.
Old 07-16-2014, 08:23 PM
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That JL 10" sub (free air) sounds crazy good. I have one paired with two JL M770's and I am about to add another pair of M770's just to keep up with the single sub. It's much better than I expected it would be.

Note: it's mounted in my console so I guess it is technically enclosed, but it actually sounds better when I open the console door and let it breathe. Either way, it will sound great!
Old 07-17-2014, 08:03 AM
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How many Watts are you guys putting to one of these JL 10"s? With the 800/8 ill be able to put 200w to each sub. Their website says anything over 250 will void the warranty.
Old 07-17-2014, 08:25 AM
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I read this on the Interwebs: (so it must be true!)

A vented or ported enclosure has the advantage of higher volume- it takes roughly one half the power that a sealed enclosure requires to produce sound at the lower end of it's range. Remember though that twice the power does not translate to twice as loud - it is a noticeable but not substantial increase in loudness. The disadvantages of ported enclosure are that after reaching it's tuned port frequency the response below that frequency drops off much more quickly than a sealed enclosure (24db/octave ported vs. 12db/octave sealed). Also, at frequencies below the tuned frequency the box no longer provides any control over excursion. The woofer can be overdriven easily at frequencies in this region with only the driver suspension acting as a brake on the movement of the speaker cone.

A sealed enclosure usually provides a deeper response than ported; albeit, at a reduced level. The sealed enclosure provides an air cushion at all frequencies therefore the speaker cone is unlikely to experience over excursion - the woofer is safeguarded against abuse (playing too loudly) more so than a ported enclosure. A sealed box is easier to construct than a ported box and is more forgiving of mistakes in measurement.
Old 07-18-2014, 06:01 AM
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this is great info as i am looking to piece my system together.
not to hi jack but if i have 06 angler 204 FX. would a free sir sub mounted on the center console under my steering wheel be optimal or sealed enclosure placed inside the center console?
Old 07-18-2014, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhpopeye View Post
That was my thought as well, just didn't know for sure.

Thanks everyone for the input, im going to do them sealed then. Just ordered 2 M10IB5-CG-WH from my local dealer with a m800/8 amp. Along with a pair of 7.7 and 6.5.

Cant wait to get them in.
I believe that the model number you quoted is for a free air version?
Old 07-18-2014, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jwhpopeye View Post
How many Watts are you guys putting to one of these JL 10"s? With the 800/8 ill be able to put 200w to each sub. Their website says anything over 250 will void the warranty.
I've got the two M770's and the sub hooked up to a JL MHD 600 watt, 4 channel amp. The sub occupies two channels.

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