Bass Reflex Or Passive Radiators: Which One to Choose

To put heat on the music floor or to refresh your mind, you can listen to music for many reasons. 

However, things become choosy when you are about to select the speaker for your music.

Specifically between bass-reflex speakers and passive radiator speakers.

Bass-reflex or passive radiators. Exactly which one is good? 

Bass-reflex is used in large speakers. Portability is not an option for such speakers. On the other hand, speakers with passive radiators are usually small in size, and easy to carry. While passive radiators give you a quick response, bass-reflex provides high efficiency. Thus, the comparison goes.

When you know more about such speakers, it will become easier for you to select the right speaker.

Keeping that in mind, I have brought this article for you. A small read and your confusion will get cleared! 

Get your gears ready! Time to boost the bass!

Head-on-Head Showdown: Game On!

Without further ado, let’s start. The first comparison that comes is the frontline comparison between bass-reflex and passive radiator. Here is the chart to start with:

AttributesBass-ReflexPassive Radiators
Speaker sizeBigSmall
PortabilityHard to carryEasy to carry
Medium of tuningTube or holeCompressed air
Average priceAround $18Around $3 

This is a quick overview of the bass-reflex and passive radiator pros and cons

Deep Comparison

So far we have seen the comparison from a birds-eye view.

However, to find the actual best passive radiator speaker or bass reflex, you need to go more in-depth. 


For that, let’s see the differences from a more in-depth approach. At least to keep the house music alive!


The first thing that works as a borderline is the structure. That’s it. It’s the structural specification of the bass-reflex and passive radiator.

A bass-reflex system basically consists of a tube. The tube is used to increase the frequency of the music. That’s why you get the boosted bass.

On the other hand, a passive radiator is a cone shape structure used in the speakers. The full speaker consists of two parts. 

One part is the driver and the other one is the radiator. There is no direct connection between these parts. That’s why they are passive radiators.

So, a rigid tube structure or portable indirect flow of sound, choose which you like!

You can try out these passive radiators that we recommend:

We guarantee that these passive radiators will let you experience a different side of music all together!

Working Principle

Although bass-reflex and passive radiators both enhance the bass, there are some significant differences in how they operate.

The principle of the passive radiator is the use of air. In Passive radiator speakers, compressed air flows the sound from the woofer to the passive radiator. 

This explains why there is no connection inside the structure. 

Basically, the high-pressure air stuck inside the speaker passes the frequencies to the radiator. So, it gets increased.

However, resonance is the best-called principle of the bass-reflex speakers. The tube is fixed by cutting the speaker. 

When the speaker is used, the music makes the tube vibrate at the same phase. As a result, resonance takes place and the bass gets a raise.


Now you are buying a speaker and you see its efficiency? Of course, you will!

Bass-reflex can provide you with music efficiency. In other words, you will get a significant increase even for a sound of small frequency. 

Since there is resonance in the tube, it increases the volume. Moreover, bass-reflex drains out any low frequency. 

You will get at least 24 dB for one octave.


A passive radiator subwoofer ensures low power efficiency. The high-pressured channel of air passes the sound to the amplifier. 

Because of this, there are no extra components used. Thus no mechanical works take place in the tube. 

As a result, even for a very low amount of power supply, you can boost the bass!

So you can get either power efficiency for passive radiators or sound efficiency for bass-reflex. You know the best!


You may need to move your speaker. Then which one is good? It can be either bass-reflex or passive radiator. How about we give it a look?

Speakers with bass reflex are more of a robust structure. Plus, bass-reflex speakers are bigger in size. 

The reason is that the circuit in the speaker has more active parts than passive parts. 

This increases the overall volume of the speaker. Naturally, it is difficult to move a rigid system of bass reflex.

Whereas, the speaker containing passive radiators is kind of smaller in size. A passive radiator will spare you the trouble of having tubes. 

As a result, the speakers are not that bulky and you can carry them anywhere. 

In fact, many modern small speakers are made with passive radiators.

So, if you want portability, the passive radiator beats our fellow bass-reflex speaker.


You may tune the speaker to change the music. Let’s see which speaker is good for tuning.

Technically tuning the bass reflex is simple. There are options that you will get to choose the required frequency. 

Just choose any of the options. That’s it! Your bass-reflex will change the frequency of the sound.

Tuning of the passive radiator bass is a bit complicated. For that, you have to use an integrated subwoofer software

Here you have to fix the value of certain parameters of the speakers. 

Although the passive radiators made the speakers modern, the speakers also got a bit hard to control.

If it’s bass-reflex, then you can tune directly. Or, if it’s a passive radiator, you need to tune it through software. 

And for that, you can prefer a high pass filter for your subwoofer.

So, Which One to Go For?

All right, DJ. It’s time to choose your speaker to keep the house music alive. Ultimately, bass-reflex and passive radiators all work the same. 

If you want small, portable speakers to boost the bass, then you can go for the passive radiator. It is to carry low power usage yet boosted sound. You should carefully assess the passive radiator’s pros and cons before jumping on to get it.


Again there is the bass reflex. Rigid loudspeakers that can enhance the sound of the lowest frequencies. Whatever it is, choose wisely. After all, speakers won’t last forever!


Are Two-Way Speakers and Three-Way Speakers Same?

No. The two-way speaker generates sound only for tweeters. You can amplify the low-frequency sound to a high frequency only for the tweeter. On the other hand, a three-way speaker can make sounds for three types of machines.

You can get sound for a woofer and a tweeter. Lastly, for any average speaker.

Can I Generate Sound with a Passive Radiator?

You cannot. A voice coil can create sound. No voice coil means no sound generation. A passive radiator is basically a woofer of low frequency. There is no voice coil. Therefore, speakers with passive radiators rather boost any low-frequency sound than generate their own sound.

Is There Any Noise in a Bass Reflex Tube?

Yes. Bass-reflex can add up the noise to the actual sound. It’s true that the bass reflex gives the sound frequency a raise. However, when the sound flows, it not only resonates with the sound but also adds up some extra noise for the vibration of the tube. Ultimately, there will be some noise.


Boom! There drops the last beat! That’s all on “bass-reflex or passive radiators”. 

Again, for any confusion, you can seek the assistance of any sound professional.

I hear some beats at my friend’s house.

Time to leave then! Have a great day.

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