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cabinet frequency response

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bearjew, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. bearjew


    Apr 22, 2013
    Ok, this can't be just me. I play a 5-string bass, and sometimes it's in Dropped A tuning, which is 27.5Hz. I have not found a SINGLE cabinet that goes below 28Hz at -10dB. I want 27.5Hz FLAT!!! I know it can be done. Does anyone know of a cab that does this already, or do I have to make one?

  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    What B said. The human ear can't hear it, so why bother producing it. Anything below (I think) the G on the E string and most humans are hearing the second harmonic. (If I got that wrong, sorry. It's late and I just did 4 hours of homework. but it's somewhere in that neighborhood if I remember correctly.) Which is fine. Our brains are pretty good at filling in the blanks.

    Short version. It can be done, but why bother? It would be like putting a dog whistle in line with your rig to produce all the harmonics on the other end of the scale. A lot of effort for no return.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Just because the spec says the bottom is, say, 32 hertz doesn't mean the cab can't produce a decent-sounding low A.
  4. Good luck with that.

    There's a bunch of reasons we don't chase reproduction of fundamentals. Without typing a book on my phone, go for the 2nd harmonic, and be prepared to savagely highpass yourself playing with PA in small to medium clubs.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Was just about to post that thread!

    Read the thread B-String 2 posted, and don't get so caught up in raw numbers. The idea that your cab has to go as low as your lowest note in order to be heard is rubbish.
  6. What the veterans are telling you in case it is not clear, you're wasting time, money and effort to no good end. ;)
  7. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Played a club gig tonight...my cab has much stronger lows than most...my bass was super thick and deep. The other two bass players had good low end. Nice thumpy kick drums all night...FOH told me the PA subs were High Passed at 50hz :)
  8. That is not correct. It's not a question of hearing. It's a question of sound generation. The human ear can hear down to approximately 20Hz but the second harmonic on a bass is produced stronger than the fundamental. About 12dB stronger on a precision.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thank you for clarifying. I stand corrected.
  10. acmebass

    acmebass Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Englewood, CO
    Owner/Designer, Acme Sound/Acme Low B
    Actually, the Low B note is clearly audible. Anybody with a decent speaker and a sine wave generator can prove it in two seconds.

    How the mythology that 31 Hz can't be heard has gotten traction on Talkbass is beyond me. If there were ever anything easier to disprove, I don't know what it would be.

    What's even more bizarre to me is why it even matters. If I understand the narrative, some people believe that since these low notes can't be heard (ridiculous...), but only felt, in a tactile way, that they needn't be reproduced at all. That's even sillier than the contention that they can't be heard. Why?

    Simple. The tactile experience is part of the musical experience, that's why. Do you want your audience to not feel the bottom of your band? Do you want to limit the low end on the bass drum, the same way you want to limit it on the bass guitar? How about the pipe organ at church, which goes all the way down to 20 Hz or so. Do you think they build those massive pipes for fun, or do they intend that the audience "feel" that low-frequency energy on their chest or gut.

    The third erroneous narrative which seems to have taken hold is that, since the fundamental is, in many cases, relatively quiet compared to the 2nd harmonic, that the fundamental, for some reason, need not be reproduced at all. Why? That makes no sense at all.

    If anybody has any meaningful explanations for the tenacity of these silly myths, I'd love to hear them. But I've read enough of these threads to realize that these notions are accepted as a matter of faith by some people, and the facts don't enter into it.

    Allow me to summarize:

    1) A frequency of 30 Hz is clearly audible. This is not a matter of opinion, it's a fact.

    2) Very low frequencies are part of the musical content of your performance, and even if they weren't clearly audible, which they are, that would be no reason to deny your audience the tactile experience of feeling the low bass in the room.

    3) The fact that the fundamental can be attenuated with respect to the 2nd harmonic is irrelevant to this discussion. A decent loudspeaker should reproduce the various frequencies in their proper proportions, regardless of the characteristics of those proportions.

    Having said that, I might directly address the concerns of the OP, who said, "I have not found a SINGLE cabinet that goes below 28Hz at -10dB. I want 27.5Hz FLAT!!! I know it can be done. Does anyone know of a cab that does this already, or do I have to make one?"

    The answer to your question is that you are very unlikely to find a commercially produced cab with that capability. It could easily be made, but would have to be very large, or very inefficient. It will be a tough nut to crack. I would recommend that you look for a model which uses a sealed enclosure, such that you could then EQ whatever low-end into the thing you want. I'm not particularly knowledgeable on Bag-End equipment, but my loose understanding is that they make some cabs sort of like that, and perhaps suitable for someone in your situation.

    Sorry to not be more helpful, but at least I have an opportunity to address some of the nonsense people spread on these boards.

  11. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    To give you an idea of the hidden costs of going one octave deeper, let's look at a hypothetical example: Suppose you start out with a cab that is flat (-3 dB) to the first overtone of Drop A, which would be 55 Hz. Let's say this cab is 24" tall by 18" wide by 16" deep, an honest 97 dB efficient, and can handle 500 watts (both thermal and mechanical; in other words, it won't fart out on you). These numbers are possible in the real world.

    In order to go one octave deeper and keep that same 97 dB efficiency, we'd have to increase the cab's internal volume eightfold. So now we're looking at a cab 5 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide by 2 feet deep. Or more likely, multiple cabs. Also, we'll need four times the air-moving capability (cone area x excursion) to preserve our fartout threshold.

    In order to go one octave deeper and keep the original cab size, we'll be trading off 9 dB of efficiency. So now we have an 89 dB cab, which (assuming 500 watts thermal power handling) hits its limit at about 116 dB - roughly the SPL you might hope for from a good 110.

    If tasked with delivering output flat to 27.5 Hz at gigging levels in a "reasonable-sized" cab, I'd look for a woofer with decent efficiency and extreme thermal and mechanical power handling, EQ the heck out of it, and drive it with four to six thousand watts.

    As you can see, there are some serious real-world practical hurdles involved. Andy Lewis of Acme Bass comes closer than any other bass cab manufacturer I know of (his cabs are about much more than just deep extension, so be ready for outstanding sound quality at a reasonable price as well).
  12. This cabinet has about the deepest claimed response I have ever seen :

    Whether that is accurate or not I can't say.

    If you want a REALLY deep one then try a design with one of these. :)

    The cheapest one on the page is $570. :eek:
  13. acmebass

    acmebass Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Englewood, CO
    Owner/Designer, Acme Sound/Acme Low B
    Thanks, Duke. I know you do great work, and that everybody seems to love your Audiokinesis cabs, I and appreciate your generous comments.

    It sounds like we're both leaning toward the EQ route for this intrepid traveler.

  14. acmebass

    acmebass Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Englewood, CO
    Owner/Designer, Acme Sound/Acme Low B
    My experience has always been that Carvin can be trusted to represent their stuff honestly. Unfortunately in this case, they represent the size of the thing honestly, as well. That's a big boy, but it probably works!

  15. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I just disproved it. You're right. It was pretty easy!

    Because having a cab that can accurately reproduce it at a decent clip has never really been my goal. I've always been able to differentiate between a low B and a B an octave higher just fine with any cab I've ever used, and while I respect that some are looking for that, it's never done anything for me except create conflict with the bass drum.

    I get it regardless of how low the cab goes to be honest. I don't use a 5-string anymore but I do occasionally tune down or step on an OC-2, and nobody complains about weak low end when I do.

    I figure if I can differentiate between the low B and the B an octave up, then I'm hearing it ;)

    But I will say that I'm not everybody, and we should all find our own way to our own sound and get the gear we like. But I thought I might be able to answer a couple of your questions.
  16. Oobly


    Jun 19, 2008
    A fEARful with a preamp with decent EQ and a power amp will get closest to that goal, IMHO. The low frequency driver used has what it takes. It moves a lot of air and goes VERY low, especially if you block half the port (extends the low response).

    +100 to acmebass's first post.
  17. acmebass

    acmebass Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2013
    Englewood, CO
    Owner/Designer, Acme Sound/Acme Low B
    Exactly, Jimmy. I think there are those among us who don't think they can. That's the point. You CAN differentiate. The harmonic is no substitute for the fundamental. They are both important.

    I would agree that there are matters of taste involved.

    I played drums for a living for over 20 years, and I don't think it was ever the cab which created conflict. Cabs don't kill grooves, people kill grooves.

    Nobody complains? You seem to be setting the bar a little low...

    Maybe they like what you bring to the band, and just sound good.

    The argument about harmonic content, BTW, is not 5 or 6-string specific. If you don't need the fundamental for a B, why do you want it with an E?

    Yes, you're hearing "it." The 2nd harmonic. I never suggested that a limited bottom end made it difficult to hear "it."

    And yes, there are matters of taste involved, as I said, which don't need to be logical or make sense.

    Because I doubt if you EQ out the low end when you're in the studio, if you play direct. I suspect you leave it wide open, and love it. But not onstage?

    Just curious- When was the last time you played through a cab which really had full low-end extension, and what was it? Did anybody complain?

  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd like to think it's the drummer and not me ;)

    But seriously, the conflict was frequency ranges stepping on each other, not conflict in the playing so much.

    By nobody, I mean me and the folks I'm playing with ;) And I set the bar pretty high for myself.

    Hope so, otherwise I'm just standing there denying someone good a paycheck!

    I don't know that I do. My favorite cabs all seem to be 3db down at around 55-60hz.

    Actually I have EQ'd out the low lows in a lot of my recordings or used a mic or pedal that does it for me. Not sure why you'd assume I don't.

    A few months ago I used a 410hlf with an SVT-CL on a rental gig. Used them several times in the last few years, actually. I also owned a couple PF115he's, which don't go as low as the 410hlf but do go considerably lower than an 810e. They're both great cabs, but I just don't like cabs that go that low. I realize that going low is your stock in trade, so I get why you posted this, but I've never felt it necessary to go that low for my thing.
  19. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    To OP: While most people will stubbornly tell you not experiment I can confirm that low fundamentals are audible, have sonic impact, are really challenging to reproduce and can be very addictive. :bassist:
    Do not people here on this board know of things like HipHop, Rave, organ music, car audio competition etc. One wonders... ;)

    ACME (Andy) and DukeLeJeune are very experienced sources to listen to, though. I used to gig a PA-style rig like the fEARful but that went flat down to 31 Hz at the expense of sensitivity. I built the 15" sub cabinet myself as nothing similar existed in the market. A 15" / 10" / 1" cabinet took care of the range over 70Hz.
    The rig was heavy, cumbersome, required active crossover + two amp channels etc. Still it was not very loud in spite of me running the 2X600W amp into clipping quite often.

    My suggestion:
    Try out a dedicated PA sub like the JBL SRX 718 with good processing. They are power hungry, though.