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Building a Sub Inclosure

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jd_watt, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi All,

    I found the following on wiki:

    In rare cases, sound reinforcement subwoofer enclosures are also used for bass instrument amplification by electric bass players and synth bass players. Since a regular electric bass has a low "E" (41 Hz) as its lowest note, most standard bass guitar cabinets are only designed with a range that goes down to about 40 Hz. However, in some cases, performers wish to have extended sub-bass response that is not available from standard instrument speaker enclosures, so they use subwoofer cabinets.

    Most of the subs I've found in my searches are showing up at thousands of dollars... prices way beyond my budget. Does anyone have any experience in building enclosures with speakers that handle the lowest of the lows? Thanks!
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Problem is you will need a cross over, a dual channel power amp, and some sort of "top" cab, in addition to the pre amp.

    IMHO a lot of gear to carry. If you want to build something to go low there are good DIY bass cab designs out there that will be better suited for your needs.
  3. Hi.

    There's basically three deciding factors IME.

    #1 The budget.

    #2 How low You actually want to go.

    #3 At what SPL.

    Strong sub 60Hz SR is going to get very expensive very quickly if the space to fill is anything beyond 250m3 or so.

    It can be done, and people do it all the time, but not on a small budget.

    I ignore the fundamental, and concentrate on the first harmonic.
    Makes life a lot easier ;).

  4. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Thanks, guys. I'm trying hard to emulate synth lines with my bass. I have an amp and cab with a crossover, and I'm using effects such as the meatbox and a microsynth. I definitely see what's being said about SPLs and room requirements. It's just about impossible to provide this type of low end with my 410hlf in a band scenario. Very challenging...
  5. cultrvultr

    cultrvultr Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2008
    Oakland, California
    Just get a powered sub from Mackie, Yamaha, qsc etc. they have a built in crossover and power amp. Plug the output of your preamp into the sub and then out from there into your bass rig.
  6. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I find my fEARful 15sub is terrific with a low B, but then again how low are you going?
  7. OP, the problem is not so much a box that will handle very low frequencies, but how to do so at war volume.

    I play about 80% on keys/synths.
    Unlike electric bass, these generate full strength fundamentals down to C1 (32 hz).
    These low frequencies are the realm of specialized subwoofer drivers.

    As noted above, you will need another box or driver to handle the higher frequencies.
    Due to the limitations of sub-woofers, they should be crossed in the 80~200 Hz range.
    Passive crossovers are not practical at these low frequencies due to the size, number and cost of the component parts.

    Bi-amping is the solution for this.
    Newer power amps such as the Crest Prolite2 have a built-in 4th order Linkwitz-Riley crossover at 100 Hz.
    Ch-A is for Lows, Ch-B is for highs.
    I run the Crest in an SKB 3RU rack, with a Sansamp preamp, and it works very well.

    I have a small bi-amp cab for quiet venues, and use a bass horn and top box for outdoors.
  8. BillisCool


    Apr 16, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Going that low is cool... But live, I'm not so sure that's useful. Competing with the FOH subs is a losing situation for everyone.
  9. Agreed.
    Here is where the OP will have to do his homework.

    Is he playing venues with PA support, or not.
    What loudness level? Intimate venue, gymnasium, or club?

    This is where a single set of electronics and multiple cabs is very useful.
    Most of my gigs are intimate, so a full-range 12+6 is sufficient.
    Once a year we play a loud street gig, so I trailer the big toys.
    Intimate gigs are much less PIA to haul.
  10. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    All good information everyone - thank you! It's true, I'll never be able to compete with FOH when it comes to extreme bottom end. Luckily, it's there to help. I'm actually thinking in terms of parties or private events that we play from time to time. I thought it might also help for outdoor gigs where we don't have additional sound reinforcement. I like the quote bgavin had with "war volume". It's a real challenge in a band situation. I see Ampeg made a 1x18. Would something like that help in addition to my 4x10? I thought maybe that could handle everything from 80hz on down. The SVT pro-4 has a nice biamp option with a crossover.
  11. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Sorry to reiterate my question, but I think your answer would allow others to be more helpful. How low are you going?

    I did not care for the SVT 118. All IMHO.
  12. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    That 18 isn't a sub, it won't go lower than your 410 HLF which is the deepest cab ampeg makes.
  13. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    There's an effect that used quite a bit in modern music to bass sound way low, when it actually isn't. Waves MaxxBass

    It adds harmonic distortion in a way that works like pipe organs have used for centuries to create low notes much longer than the pipe length could actually produce. Crest and Peavey DSP have MaxxBAss or you can download a demo plugin version.

    Sometimes though you may just want the low fundamental, so go explore the FOH world, Powered Subs with crossovers, and Bill FitzMaurice site for high efficiency subs. Greenboy designs are proven in the lows also, there are several other good honest bass cab makers. Pro FOH gear always demands proof But Beware of the claims without proof often promoted by bass cab only makers.
  14. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Thanks again, everyone. I'm really intrigued by the whole topic. To answer Jim's question, I'm really looking for frequencies down around 60-30hz. I'd like to reproduce frequencies that are more felt than heard. Realizing that it's going to take a lot of power (and money), I'm just trying to find the most practical solution (in situations where sound reinforcement/FOH are not an option). Thanks again for having a look!
  15. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Even many FOH systems have High Pass Filters set around 50hz. Going lower than that, and doing so loudly, becomes very resource heavy.
  16. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Perhaps this is just a pipe dream lol
  17. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    It's not a pipe dream.
    You don't need multiple amps and crossovers and such.

    Just get a fEARFul `5/6 and 15 sub and you're done.
    That will pump unbelievable amounts of big low end.
  18. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    If you want a 20 - 30hz fundamental at 130db you are going to need serious equipment. As you decrease that volume requirement, or bring up that frequency target the system required will get smaller and less expensive. Using the upper harmonics can trick the brain into hearing those low frequencies with out actually producing the fundamentals. That is what makes amplifying synth demanding. If you are only sending a signal with a fundamental in it, there are no upper harmonics to trick the brain.
  19. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Thanks, Chef. That actually sounds like a really fun project (and worth the work). I wonder if I could just do the sub to go along with my ampeg 410. Seems like it would be a good fit, the fEARFul handling the lowest of the lows.

    Forgive my ignorance though, are these cabs designs created specifically to enhance low end? In other words, how would using a fearful sub be different than just adding another 18" along with using my amps biamping/crossover feature?
  20. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    No point in that pairing. You would still need a cross over and dual channel amp to balance those two cabs. And why bring the HLF for highs when a 6" mid driver is more than you need.