Exploring the deeper subsonic . . .

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by fredzoTBP, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. fredzoTBP


    Nov 18, 2019
    I am thinking of using a second channel/amp/cab with my signal going through an octave doubler to play one (or even two) octaves below what my bass puts out. It will transition into the subsonic, cannot be heard but maybe can be felt. I might mix dry and doubled signals or switch on the fly into the doubled sound only for some passages in the music. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. While it might seem like a really cool idea, as far as I'm aware, there is no practicality to doing what you're suggesting. Subwoofer designs generally have 20Hz cutoff to prevent driver damage.

    A quick google search will tell you that subsonic reproduction is largely an area of esoterica. As a practical matter, some exist in theaters and arenas and in some very high-end home theater systems. But these don't involve just plopping down a "subsonic cabinet"; they require exacting design specific to the room and professional installation.

    Another thing a search will tell you is that there aren't subsonic speakers and amps available for portable use in live music (i.e., as any kind of instrument or pa cabinet).

    Just guessing because it's only theoretical, but I also wouldn't imagine that any available octaver effect could be counted on to produce a a good/usable signal below 20Hz. There would be no reason to include that in the design.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    No offense intended, but:

    Honestly, the first thing I'd do at FOH is lo-cut that cr*p out of the 2nd bass channel so it doesn't blow my subs up - if you fed it to me.
    If you ran it on stage and didn't send it to me, we'd have to talk!
    Nobody can hear it... and there's nothing worse that listening to a series of PA double 18" subs farting away cuz the frequencies they are trying to produce are below spec!!!
  4. fredzoTBP


    Nov 18, 2019

    Thanks for the ideas--you're probably right because if it was easy, there would be a lot of us bottom-feeders doing something like this. The possible other side of the coin I was aware of was that I would be more or less re-inventing the wheel. Either way, I do not have the resources to pursue esoterica for esoterica's sake
    jam.majors and monsterthompson like this.
  5. fredzoTBP


    Nov 18, 2019
    None taken . . . this might be good evidence of that old saying, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." I still might try a pedal or two, but it is next to impossible to find gear to "try out for a while," thus making the cost of experimentation pretty much out of reach for a bottom-feeder like myself. Thanks for the information.
    jam.majors and s0c9 like this.
  6. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Umm... Are you... Are you trying to make the audience poop themselves?

    Sorry but it sounds good only as a theoretical experiment. In practice it's what s0c9 wrote. You'd most likely force the sound guy to cut these freqs out.
    ColdEye, HotelX and Zak TMD like this.
  7. lowtom


    Jul 12, 2005
    reminds me of this dubstep bass player
    juggahnaught likes this.
  8. BassFalcon


    Nov 18, 2020
    Subcontrabass is a thing already. Those players just use regular old amps to reproduce it because of psychoacoustics. When your ear hears certain overtones in certain proportions, your brain connects the dots and fills in the missing info so you think you are hearing the fundamental but you’re not. It’s one way how MP3s evolved, they left out a lot of information to make the file smaller, relying on psychoacoustics, leaving your brain to connect the dots.
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    We all found out about sub frequencies transitioning from pitch to physicality in the disco era with the subsonic synth bass line in the middle of "Funkytown." All it ends up amounting to is pushing air, with no discernable pitch, and a large risk of overloading amps and speakers from all the current required to drive the low frequencies. Do what drpepper, s0c9, and BassFalcon said.
    s0c9 likes this.
  10. Zak TMD

    Zak TMD

    Apr 22, 2016
    Outside of the heart of darkness, Washington, DC
    Breaking even is the new making money.
    Wait... this isn't the goal we all strive for? ...I'm gonna have to go back to my notes about sound design
    JES, Omega Monkey and Gothic like this.
  11. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    That's why fivers were invented but, sadly, the low B didn't quite cut the mustard, so to speak. :D
    Zak TMD likes this.
  12. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL

    Seriously, I’m all for innovation, so my comment is another question, Why not? Of course you can do that. The only thing is, how do you reproduce those frequencies to get the effect you a looking for? A sub with a LPF?
  13. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Get a servo driven subwoofer, and you can do this down to low B in theory. Those guys can get down near 14hz lmao

    My Behringer head has an octave down doubler feature that has an adjustment and everything. Kinda fun for normal bass, but I play in drop E a lot now so it obviously doesn't track that low.
    Element Zero likes this.
  14. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Reminds me of when I was in music school at my composition recital, I had these pieces with live solo performers playing on stage with electronic backing tracks. The backing tracks had these explosion/earthquake effects that I had made with synthesizers, and I kept adding lines out to the subs, placing subs around the theatre, all in a frantic effort to make the "explosions" sound bigger, as big as what I had in my head. Eventually my teacher talked me down saying, "nothing short of a real explosion that actually collapses this building is going to satisfy you, so focus on making these pieces work in a format using technology that you can reproduce in other venues, or on recordings." I think it is the same with subs, the kick drum really owns the bottom of the frequency spectrum, and provides the "feel" of subs in a standard mix, you don't have to be in that space as a bassist, and other people's equipment isn't going to tolerate or adequately reproduce your experimentation.
    WestyBassBob likes this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    As everyone mentioned, it sounds good in theory but very hard to achieve for real. Most bass cabs can't go below 40Hz. You might get a sub and make things work somehow, but in small to medium clubs those frequencies might be problematic. I'm not discouraging you though, and I'd like to hear the results if you try that.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  16. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    The reason I went with an octave lower tuning instead of an effect pedal, is that even though my cabs can't go lower than 35hz, and my lowest fundamental is 20hz, the bigger string and lower tuning has less high frequencies, kinda a natural LPF. So when I play an E0, it DEFINITELY sounds deeper than E1 (standard E) because of psychoacoustics.
    If you use an octave down on your E1 it already is only producing harmonics mostly under E and not an actual lower E to trick you into thinking it's producing an octave down, but carries more high frequencies and sounds more similar to a standard bass w synth until you hit about A2 or B2 if I'm not mistaken. Then it sounds like a 10 string (double course) bass and not so much lower mostly anyway.
  17. Gothic


    Apr 13, 2008
    Can you please post any samples with that tuning? Thanks.
  18. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Get yourself an ACME Low B4 cab and you'll have all of the low end you ever wanted.
  19. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019

    Drop E (EAEADG)
    I don't have any solo tracking atm but will asap when I post my new customized legator soon.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
    Gothic likes this.
  20. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Yeah, I second the idea that you should do it if you are driven to for your art.