Ported cabs for bass are generally tuned to 40, 50 or 60Hz , or somewhere in between. the way they work is simple. They are tuned to the frequency where the speaker starts to cut out as it's impedance rises. As the speaker cuts out it's output is replaced by the output from the port giving you very roughly a 3dB boost over the lowest octave. BUT you don't get something for nothing and the cost is what happens below 40Hz (or 50,60 or whatever, depending upon the make and model you use) .
Below the resonance of the port the port just becomes a big hole in the cab. Down to that frequency the air acts like a weight and damper on the cone, suddenly that is all removed and the cone is free to move with little resistance. as a result any signal below 40Hz is likely to make the cone move way beyond the limits the speaker is designed for, even with just a few watts going through the speaker. With the coil outside of the magnet it rapidly heats up and it may even start drumming on the back of the magnet, either way complete failure won't be far away.
Don't believe me? Try going to the Eminence website http://www.eminence....a_12A-2_cab.pdf and have a look at the designs they have for the Beta 12" speaker which is a 250W speaker. Have a look at the design for the large bass cab, they recommend only 75W into their 250W speaker and even so the graph shows the cone moving beyond its 4mm limit at 40Hz. this is a speaker widely used in Eminence equipped bass cabs.
Personally I always make sure there some sort of HPF in the signal chain (generally guilt into the power amp). As I've said many times in various posts, if you can see your speaker cone moving when you play as opposed to just going blurry then youve got a potentially speaker damaging subsonics problem.
Edited by bassman7755, 17 December 2016 - 10:59 AM.