There are many types of subwoofer boxes or enclosures out there including the popular ported boxes, sealed boxes, free-air boxes, and more. One lesser-known subwoofer box type is the T-line subwoofer box. In this article, we will chat about T-Line subwoofer boxes and their advantages.
The main advantage of T-Line subwoofer boxes is that they can yield better bass response than a traditional ported subwoofer cabinet using the same driver. Another advantage is that these boxes yield about an octave or more on the low end than a ported enclosure, so the bass roll-off (high pass filtering) is less aggressive. In addition, the t-line’s output is normally in phase, acting as a mechanical crossover.
Let’s get into more detail about T-Line subwoofer enclosures.
|Better bass response that most enclosures
|Moderately sized box
|Good phase response
What Are T-Line Enclosures?
A T-line enclosure or transmission line enclosure is a box style that permits low-end extension through controlled responses.
Transmission line enclosures make use of an acoustic transmission line design in the cabinet enclosure. While in regular sealed and ported enclosures, sound waves reverb in a fairly simple damped enclosure, in a T-line enclosure, sound waves from behind the bass driver disperse into a maze of crumpled and damped absorbent materials which allows for greater control and increased speaker energy.
With this design, the resonance in the system improves the bass response which makes T-Line enclosures perfect for the subwoofers.
Uses Of T-Line Subwoofer Enclosures
There are two main uses of transmission line subwoofer boxes:
1. Cleaning The Bass
Bass effects will always vary depending on the nature of the box enclosures used in the subwoofer system. Where subwoofer units produce earth-shattering bass effects, T-line subwoofer enclosures will help keep away the strange effect.
Properly designed T-line enclosures provide a massive bass response, however, they need to be tightly fixed to sufficiently handle the fast and deep bass. Besides, any use of T-lines will depend on the kind of effect or results you intend to get from them.
Remember the factors that affect t-line effects on sound quality discussed above. You will, therefore, need to pay more attention to the factors if you want better results in terms of the ability of the system to clean the bass.
2. Improves Tuning Effect
T-lines are known to reduce the speed of sound. This effect helps in improving tuning effects making the tuning experience much better.
Advantages Of T-Line Subwoofer Boxes
What are some uses and advantages of a T-Line subwoofer box? Let’s discuss below:
1. Dampens Sound
T-line pathways are usually covered using different types and depths of spongy materials. These may greatly vary in length and size and are seldom closed or open at far ends.
The tapering lines, therefore, help the subwoofer system to eradicate unnecessary sound resonances. If unchecked, resonances will cause unwanted auditory effects.
However, the materials and structure of the same cause excess energy to be absorbed or damped.
2. Good Phase Response
If properly done, T-lines behave like mechanical crossovers. The sound that is not damped by the interior tapering T-line will always emerge in phase from the open end.
This sound comes out while in phase with the sound that front drivers radiate. This effect increases speaker sensitivity or output level, especially at low frequencies.
Finally, the phase shift is also important to t-line enclosures. Vented boxes have the most phase shift of 180 degrees while transmission line enclosures have 90 degrees.
For these reasons, high-current amps are recommended for t-line transmissions. Also, ensure your drivers are sufficiently matched with the subwoofer box for increased efficiency.
Remember, several woofers may fit a particular subwoofer box, but not every one of them that fits will give you good results.
3. Acoustic Waveguide
This type of box enclosure is advantageous for several reasons. This is because the T-lines generate sufficient acoustic waveguides in the cabinet. Besides, padding reduces sound reflection and resonance.
4. Natural Sound System
Transmission lines are more advantageous compared to the other systems as they sound more natural.
This is generally because when they are used, pressure does not build behind bass cones and rear sounds are not re-radiated.
5. Lower Resonance Frequency
Usually, air particles occurring in the transmission line add more pressure to the bass driver making it less resonant.
When this happens, the low-end response is extended and the bass driver remains well restrained. It, therefore, requires lesser motion compared to ported speakers to deliver a similar output. To learn more about why this is important, check out our article on speaker resonant frequency.
Benefits Of T-Line Box Versus Sealed Or Ported
- Efficiency: T-line boxes have higher efficiency compared to ported boxes. The loss of energy in sealed boxes is attributed to the energy that is lost as it radiates inside and is not exploited by the box. Besides, the air inside the cabinet expands and contracts non-uniformly, causing the cone vibration patterns to change non-linearly and resulting in a boxy resonance. Check out the design of a 6th order bandpass box and the idea of a Helmholtz resonator to learn more.
- Box size: The boxes are often moderately sized.
- Phase response: T-lines have a better phase response.
- Phase shift: While the vented alignments offer 180 degrees, transmission lines offer 90 degrees.
- Dual output: If you use T-lines, you always get a diver output together with a port output. Although the frequencies will always overlap, none of that is perceivable.
Is There Any Difference With Vented Boxes?
While T-lines have 12 dB for every octave, vented boxes have 24 dB per octave. Besides, ported boxes are easy to design and cheaper to build as compared to T-lines.
Effects of Poorly Designed T-Line Subwoofer Boxes
Transmission line designs are very complicated. If they are not correctly done, there are more chances that your subwoofer will produce unworthy frequency responses.
This means that T-line boxes can easily blow your amplifier at certain high frequencies. This means that you need a good high power amplifier when using T-line subwoofers.
Inappropriate designs are also likely to generate more impedance curves and increase the chances of the system overheating.
A large number of subwoofer designers now use T-line transmission technology, though there may be variations in the design. In any case, there are many advantages of T-line subwoofer boxes including improved bass response, less aggressive bass roll-off, and so on.
For instance, some designers use smaller openings than the throat of tapered tubes. Besides, the tapering tube is folded in some cases to reduce speaker dimensions. This creates a seashell-like framework that is even more efficient.