I think generally the speed at which a driver can react to changes in the music affects musicality. If a driver is slow and sloppy and can't keep up, it's fine for certain R&B maybe but would sound awful with most music. Tight, fast bass is required for most music.
Regarding sealed vs. ported: I believe sealed generally gives you a smoother response curve throughoutt the usable frequency range, but generally won't play as low as the same driver in a ported enclosure. Also, ported enclosures tend to have peaks in the response curve around the tuning frequency, and are, generally, less smooth than the equivalent sealed enclosure.
In automotive settings, I generally prefer a sealed box. But for home theater use, you'd need a ton of power going into a sealed box to get enough output. Plus it wouldn't play as low, which is bad for home theater which often demands very low frequency output.
I'm no expert though. I'm sure someone will come along and correct/augment what I've said.
Still waiting for my VTF3-MKII, should be arriving on Friday to replace my Infinity PS-12... can't wait!