Ported, It lets more air push through. Good for having a double kick pedal so that the head doesn't have a lot of "push back." Also, good for miking purposes (unless you have an internal mount). I've played on non-ported, just not enough open spaces for the air to escape without a port.
If I play a ported bass i try to use as little muffling as possible. I prefer a non-ported kick for jazz and some rock stuff(I use a lot of muffling then).
It just depends on the sound I'm going for. Also a ported bass is comfy to use because you can adjust the muffling without taking the head off.
i have a ported head. i didnt really have a reason for doing it but my kick sounds great. when i change my heads im going for a preported eq3 because my homemade port looks pretty bad when you get up close.
I just have a 4" one in there for the soundguy and to let it breathe a bit more. Also tend to stick a small cushion against the batter head for feel as i like to crank it up but dont like the beater to flick back and kneecap me haha
I have always preferred a ported head for a few reasons.One being its easier for many sound guys as many don't have the slightest clue how to mic a non ported head.But once I get my May internal mics...no more ports for me,lol. And the other reason is there is less ambient air bouncing back into the batter head when you have a port hole in front.
It all depends on the drum. I usually use a 24 or 26 inch kick, and they definitely sound better unported and unmuffled. I will point out that I use primarily older, 3-ply drums, which are only 14 inches deep. I tend to tune higher for a lot of ring, but will sometimes tune down the beater head a little to adjust to the sound of the room. They way I have them set up is for total dynamic range, so when I pump lightly there is a soft booooom, and If I hit fast and hard a CRACK explosion. When using a 22 inch drum, I usually muffle a little bit, but still go non ported. With a 20 or smaller, it's best to port and muffle. I don't care for the sound or feel of deep shell bass drums. The most important thing is to tune and adjust for every room you play or record in.
I have a 4" ported head at ten o'clock and 3" from the edge w/nothing inside. The batter is an Evans Coated EMAD w/ the large ring. The drum is a Tama Starclassic Performer Birch 18" x 22". My engineer likes my bass drum sound so much he has sampled the kick on five records done in his studio.
as long as the port is not centered on the head, i prefer a ported bass drum. i like the sound better, easier for the mics, and it feels better for me then non ported. but if the port is to big or in the center, i always feel like im kicking mud.
ported.i generaly prefer ported mainly for feel. i like the feel better on a ported drum. on a 22in i usualy do a 4in port. on any drum that has a depth larger than 18 i got for 2 - 4 in ports. on in the 5 o clock and one in the 7 o clock.and some muffling. it helps the punch of the deep drums gain the impact and breathes better. on a 26in no port. oddly enough. on a 20in ( usualy 20x18 or 20x20) the 2 ports but not 4 in. these are 3. my current 22x16 has a 5 in port in the 5 o clock. and it sounds good. then again i use only Aquarian SuperKick 1 and Texture Coated SuperKick1 bass batter. and only Aquarian Regulator bass resonate heads. so lol i dont really need the muffling usualy. but on a drum 18 or deeper i use some. a small pillow or a Dave Weckl bass drum muffler thing. works great