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Hearing the notes below the Low B debate

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JAUQO III-X, Sep 30, 2005.


  1. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    this is for those that seem to have a misunderstanding about hearing below the Low B string.Moo(and please this is not a personal attack at all)why am I able to hear the open low C# string so clearly(as well as so many others)?well it may be because before I was able to hear the actual note I heard it in my head(and no one to date has spent as much time as I have with the development and continued development of my Low C# string theory(remember there was a time when some Bassist said that they could not hear below the E and some could)believe it or not some people can hear very clearly below 21hz.I feel that my debut CD has dispelled some(and continue)Myths about the capturing of very low notes onto a recording.for those who have heard the entire recording I chose to record my Subcontra Bass in the midst of so much energy and the very chaotic and pushing guitars and Drummer so that one can hear what this low note is very capable of acheiving thruought so much movement.I have to say that if someone continues to stress that since they can't hear it then there must be a hint that something is wrong with me:)all I'm saying to anyone that may doubt this concept,don't because it is very very real and it is slowly catching on.
    check out what so many had to say about the recording(and these are just a few of the TB members)not to mention that so many of the biggest and most famous names in the Bass community seem to find it interesting and every one has commented that the low end is very clear and sits perfect in the mix.I recorded a trio Recording earlier this year with Drummer Bernard Purdie where 98% of the recording I used my fretless Subcontra Bass again and Bernard was able to hear it throughout the entire recording and we(the rhythm section)are tight.the debate of one not hearing the low notes from the Low F# or C# is really getting tired and yes I do understand that some ears simply cant hear below a certain point but the non believers should respect the fact that some ears can really hear beyond the open low B string.Jean Baudin told me himself that before hearing my recording he had never heard the Low F# string recorded so clearly and he said he could even hear the clarity of my Low C# string.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=157341&highlight=jauqo
     
  2. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Racine,Wi
    Well, I can hear it! I have the CD and it bangs HARD. The first time I listened to it was on a cheapo CD player and I STILL heard all the notes. Great CD by the way. :)
     
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    This is tangentially related to the question: "why play 5-string through a cabinet that doesn't even reach 40Hz?" The answer is that there is a lot more to a note than just the fundamental. When a low B is played through such a cabinet, the note doesn't just disappear. Guess what: bassists have been using lo-fi cabinets with success ever since electric bass was invented. The harmonics of the low notes are still easily heard. There's also the psychoacoustic phenomena: the brain fills in the fundamental that the ear cannot detect.

    So: I respect Jauqo and other players who go through the trouble to reproduce those lowest fundamentals: doing so does make a difference. But the bottom line is, ultra-low notes are effective even if the low fundamentals are not reproduced.
     
  4. tbitsky

    tbitsky

    Apr 15, 2005
    Here's an excerpt from a physics document that sums up what I've always felt about 5 string basses:

    This article supports another I read, which described how the seperation of notes diminishes on a bass below the 5th fret on an E string (it was a mathematical argument against 5 string basses).

    If you're hearing extra clarity on your bass below the low E, what that means is that you're actually accentuating the overtones. Mutant humans aren't hearing below 20hz, they're hearing the overtones within their normal hearing range.
     
  5. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    There ya go...

    So, can't we all just agree that we can hear "something" and that the "something" we hear sounds good and get back to making music?
     
  6. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    There was a study done where a recording of a cello was played for a group of cellists and a group of non-cellists. The non-cellists were asked if anything abnormal about the recording, and the answer was unanimously (I believe) "no". The cellists, however, were quick to point out that the fundamental had been removed from the track. Those who weren't "in the know" were fooled by their brains that they were hearing a non-edited recording - the brain is very good at filling in what's not here in terms of audio.

    Jauqo - this is just the input from a lowly Acoustics undergraduate degree holder who works in noise and vibration for a living. I'm certainly not calling you out in any fashion, but I have to ask - what sound system do you believe your listeners are using in order to hear your fundamentals? Keep in mind that manufactuers can rate speakers in any fashion they want - most "good" stereos however, even the high stuff, don't go very far below 100 Hz, at least in the "usable" frequency range. (I'm sure some audiophile will jump in now with a story about how they used a sound level meter to verify their setup produces 13 Hz at 96 dB at 1 W at 1 m, but I tend not to listen to audiophiles anyway. :D)

    The point is, whether or not you can hear 20 Hz is less of a question than the fact that it's more than likely that people will be listening to your recording that have a snowball's chance in hell of reproducing anything _close_ to the fundamental of your lowest notes. Will they hear them? Sure, they'll hear notes, but there's no physical way their hearing the fundamental through their system. Again, we're back to the concept of hearing the various harmonics of the frequencies that are being produced by your instrument.
     
  7. willgroove2

    willgroove2

    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    well i understand what your saying in a technical sense(barely,im not too good at math)but i was at jauqo's session with bernard and at the mix session for his first cd and I heard every note.part of it was the enginering, part of it was the fact that my ear got used to hearing note's that low.i played the sub-contra for a few minutes and had to adjust my touch to play it but i could always hear the note,it's just a lot lower than your usual bass and i play a five string everyday.
     
  8. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Don't get me wrong - I'm not here to say that when you pluck the string nothing comes out. I'm sure that Jauqo was able to create an awesome CD, and the fact that the drummer was able to lock in with him is a testament to the fact that he is able to play effectively with telephone cables for bass strings. ;) I'm simply backing up what others have said before - yes, sound comes out and it works just fine. Great! Mucho props to Jauqo for pursuing his passion and pushing the extended range envelope. But there is a physical limit both for the speakers and the human ear that cannot be bypassed. If Jauqo was able to make an awesome CD, than that statement isn't worth a spit in the grand scheme of things, but that doesn't make it untrue. ;)
     
  9. Again, there is a lot more to a note on a musical instrument than the fundamental. So it's quite possible to hear notes with sub-20Hz fundamentals even if you can't hear the fundamental frequency. On a bass guitar, the fundamentals on the lower strings is generally much lower in level than the second harmonic.

    You (we) ;) can hear the low C# note on a bass guitar, but most of use wouldn't be able hear a pure tone at 17.5Hz.

    Where can I get a copies of this disc? I am quite interested from a player's point of view and an engineering point of view. I'm constantly looking for CDs with extreme low end extension to test the limits of our system. So far, pipe organ music is king for that. Our speakers are flat to about 17Hz.
     
  10. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Well said. :)
     
  11. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    With all due respect to the schooled authorities whether one can hear the fundamentals or the harmonic overtone the bottom line is that the open Low C# string can clearly be heard,one can attempt to dispute what is factual but for all non believers(and those who simply don't want to believe)just take the time and do a little more research into what this Low frequency concept is from a electric bass perspective.
    If a pipe organ or a Borsindorff piano can go below 17hz why not an electric bass.and please for those who have so much dispute with this concept,please before you criticize just open your minds and ears.when I recorded and mixed the CD I purposely made it possible for the Low frequency to be heard on even the cheapest of systems.so from my perspective no matter what the non believers say or may say I think as I've said before,I have dispelled a lot of myths about capturing the low frequency of the open low C# string.I'm sure this debate will continue but the proof is right before us all.






    and I agree with Mark.

     
  12. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Please elaborate on what you did to your recording that would enable a $200 shelf system reproduce a sub 21 Hz fundamental.
     
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    That is usually true... the notable exception being extremely hi-fi audio systems.



    It's true that separation between notes diminishes way down low. However any so-called "mathematical argument" against 5-strings would only hold water if basses produced sine waves. Fact is, they don't: they produce complex waveforms. I'd wager that 95% of people who listen could tell the difference between open B string and 12th fret B string even when I play through my Berg NV610, which only reaches 45Hz or so. They are different notes. Removing the fundamental from the open B string will change it's timbre, but will not make it sound an octave higher.
     
  14. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I've said it before; unless you're making music solely for high-dollar, super audiophile studio engineers or for other contra and subcontra bassist, what difference does it make???

    "Joe Listener" won't give a rat's ass whether or not you were able to hear the fundamental of the low C# when you recorded it..

    Let's move on, please...

    :rolleyes:
     
  15. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    It dosen't matter if joe listner can't tell the difference between an open A E or B the fact of the matter the open Low C# string can be heard.My CD(I don't make)was not made for super audiophile studio engineers or any other Contra or Subcontra Bassist because if it was I think personaly it would have been the dumbest thing I could have done to date.and it does make a difference for those listening whether a Bassist or joe listner simply because if it's being enjoyed by the listener then the end result is a positive.
     
  16. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Lo end Punch do you mind saying what kind of cheap CD player you were listening to?and with all due respect to the low end authorities here that find it so hard to believe,maybe they can answer the ? as to how I'm able to place such a low frequency into a cheap speaker system because even tho the CD is available for possible study,maybe coming from someone else the Low C# theory may have more credibility(and please everyone,can we keep this topic sensible and mature).
     
  17. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    My point exactly.. Can I bob my head and pat my foot to it? If so who cares about all the physics and acoutics because in the end that's not what your listening audience cares about or wants..
     
  18. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Thank you.
     
  19. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hey Jauqo, it's me, Bob. With the juggling DVD. How ya doing?

    Anyways, I hope you remember playing your CD for me in January downstairs at NAMM and me simply not being able to hear the low stuff. I'm not sure why you can hear the lowest tones and I can't but I'm sure it's similar to why mildly hot food to others makes my head sweat or why I can juggle 5 balls without paying attention and most people can't even tell it's 5 balls. We're just different. As you get closer to the limits of perception less and less people will be able to follow you.

    Geshell's post in the other thread may have some bearing on why I couldn't hear the low tones on your CD. If I'm relying on the overtones to discern the note and we were listening on a top of the line super clean system so the overtones from distortion are minimized, add a little NAMM background noise, and all of the sudden I can't hear the subs anymore. But I also listened to Yvesse's clips and I could somewhat hear the notes but as they got real low it slipped into a more percussive atonal growl or something. I heard those notes on my computers speaker so I think I only heard overtones and like we do with phones, I just filled in the bottom in my head.

    So basically I think you can hear it because your ears are physically capable of hearing that low and you've been working at it for years. I think it's reasonable to assume that many people on first exposure will hear nothing or just noise.

    And that's my thoughts on why some hear and others don't, hopefully no one will add all kinds of ridiculous value judgments to that and go berserk.

    You still owe me a copy of that CD
    ;)
     
  20. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    i love sub tunings.
    in '90 i was using a ken smith 145 guage string for
    a low f# on my old warwick thumb.(f# b e a d g)
    there are lots of bass players (albeit commercially obscure) who have
    been working on extended sub-tunings for many years ;)
    -with great results. i'm a believer. with all the harmonics and the speed of the waveform vibrations, imo it's definitely a sound that's in the realm of "brown"
    cheers
    d