Car designers go to a lot of trouble to make sure their vehicles slice efficiently through the air. If they don’t, not only does turbulence reduce performance, it also increases wind noise. So it is with the reflex port in a loudspeaker cabinet. If turbulence occurs as the air moves in and out of the port, you’ll hear extraneous noise and, as you turn the volume up, the bass won’t be as tight and well timed as it should be.
Bowers & Wilkins’s Flowport™ minimises turbulence in the same way as a golf ball. Dimples on the surface generate tiny eddy currents over which air can flow smoothly and, above all, silently. It’s a perfect hole. But don’t use it for putting practice. If golf balls did not have a dimpled surface, even Tiger Woods would have difficulty reaching 200 metres with his best drive. Dimples improve the way the air flows over the surface of any object. In the case of reflex ports, they offer a significant improvement over simply flaring the port ends by reducing air flow turbulence at each end of the port; so you get less chuffing noise and less compression at high sound levels.
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