It Hz So Good...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ZenG, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Frequency Spectrum

    Low End From An Amp/Cab Speaker:- It's only going to go as low as the frequency rating of the speaker. Which is probably why a lot of players with 5 string basses that have a low B string experience little satisfaction.

    If the amp specs and speaker are rated 40Hz bottom....then the B string is not going to cut it no matter what string they use.

    I notice there's a bit of a range in the low Hz rating on many cabs and combos.

    Not many cabs and combos(from the specs I've been able to glean from Google perusings) go lower than 40Hz.

    JBL made an 18" speaker (K151) back in the day that went down to 35hz.
    I was told they also made a 12" bass speaker (JBL 2140?) that went that low too.
    Apparently it gained legendary status in it's day. I can't find much info on the net about them though.

    From the Bass-Guitar-Info site posted above , we see that a bass E string is 41Hz while a low B is 31Hz.

    Kind of weird that many rave about the 4x10 sound and tone when many I've been looking at on the net, the specs for lowest Hz are not as low as many 12' and 15's.

    And some 12's are rated lower Hz than 15's.

    I would venture that if you droptune an E string to D, you may be putting yourself in a Hz zone that your amp/speaker cannot handle because it is not designed to perform that low.

    So when shopping for cabs, maybe it's not a good idea to just focus on speaker size and watt capability.
    Maybe looking at the Hz specs first would be prudent.

    You want "deep", the speaker(s) has to be able to achieve that Hz level.

    If it/they don't then you will never get that Hz sound response. New or different strings will not go far enough. Nor will just swapping out pups on the bass.

    Do you agree or disagree with this.?

    If not...explain why...
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Overtones vs. Fundamentals
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I'm going to disagree, as you are missing 2 VERY important parts of the equation.

    The first part is that the driver by itself isn't going to reproduce low end very well at all, it must work with the cabinet to attain the real world acoustic response. In fact, taking identical drivers and placing them in differently designed cabinets will result in totally different low end response and extension. There have been numerous threads about how the cabinet and driver work together as a electro-acoustic system.

    The second part is that the fundamental of the lowest say 1/2 octave of the bass is more than 50% harmonics, and in general we find the harmonics (of the right proportions) more pleasing than the fundamental at the lowest notes. As proof of this, playing a low B on a speaker that can actually reproduce a low B at 3dB down then increasing the high pass filter to between 40 and 50Hz tends to make the note more distinct and tonal by reducing the fundamental and allowing the 2nd and 3rd (typically) to dominate.

    Another thing that might be skewing your thinking is that many cabinets give a low frequency response specification that is 10dB down from (nominally) flat response. This makes the cabinet appear to go lower than it really does. What's important when comparing cabinets for low end extension is to look at the F3, F6 and F10 specs. (that's 3dB, 6dB and 10dB down from nominally flat) as this gives you the complete picture of what is really happening. You might be surprised that the cabinet that yo think goes really low compared with another only goes lower on paper because of the level the spec is derived from. Always compare at like dB down points to get an accurate picture.
    rodl2005, onda'bass, Geri O and 45 others like this.
  4. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    Lompoc, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I don't want a cab that will produce 30hz. In a live band situation it'll end up as a low-end mess. In fact I prefer the sound guy keep me pretty much out of the subs if I'm going into FOH. A good sound guy will use them judiciously, and more for kick than for me.
    nbsipics, Stumbo, Mugre and 9 others like this.
  5. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    If sub 100 Hz was terribly important, then why would Noble add a switch to cut those frequencies on a $1,000 preamp, with only two EQ knobs and that one switch? I'm sure those frequencies are meaningful to some, but I'd bet many of the folks with better sound will be found cutting there.

    To the OP's point, it's certainly a good idea to check the cab's frequency response, and not just rely on a driver spec or diameter as "good enough."
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  6. Thanks..:) if I don't ask I will never learn...
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    lowplaces likes this.
  8. Disagree.

    As I understand acoustics and human hearing, we don't hear as well down in the sub 50 Hz range as we do say in the 500 up to several KHz. Originally, the telephone system was optimized to best reproduce the range of frequencies of the human voice, because that is what our ears hear the best, even as we age and lose the High frequencies in our hearing.

    Yet it also seems that we have a harder time hearing voices as we age. That is because as our high end hearing drops off, we are not getting the harmonic content of voices, and other sounds as well. The details of sounds are in the harmonics. The same applies to bass.

    Our hearing mechanisms are mechanically pretty small in comparison to the wavelengths in use. Anything below 50 Hz (arbitrarily chosen number) is starting to be less a sensation of sound as we think of it for hearing, and more a sense of vibration that we feel in larger body parts that are closer to being resonant at lower frequencies. This is where the legendary brown note comes from. We literally feel the vibrations in our gut, more than we sense it in the small parts of our ears.

    It is this harmonic content that gets recorded and played back for our listening pleasure. That's what works with the rest of the song. If you want to excentuate the really low end stuff to feel it in your abdominal tract, that's fine. But it's more like riding a roller coaster than it is driving to the grocery store. There is a thrill to it, but you wouldn't want to do it 24/7.
  9. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    More interesting info:
    Missing fundamental - Wikipedia

    Just to simplify, too much sub-50Hz content can be nauseating and exhausting to the listener. (Oh wait, I just got the thread title!)
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2017
  10. RE the included Wiki...
    Interesting stuff.
    I had no idea my brain was so busy! :p
    Pbassmanca and agedhorse like this.
  11. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Always appreciate the info, @agedhorse ...

    ... don't appreciate "zombie-walking around the house, eyes glazed over, half smile on my face, bumping into walls" thing that goes on, after reading...
  12. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I'm glad these were separated by a period...
    BadExample and Westsailor like this.
  13. The low frequency rating is not a threshold. Its typically the lowest frequency that is within 3 db of the response curve. The roll-off below that frequency is drastic, but still there. 31 Hz might still be 6 db below 40hz, and usable, albeit weak in comparison. I've got a pair of 15" drivers that have an fs = 29 Hz. I can drive them with a frequency generator down to around 23 Hz and its audible, albeit weak. If you have a rated speaker for 40 Hz, you could put them in a cabinet optimized for 31 Hz, and possibly flatten the response so the difference between the E and B strings was better, closer to a 3 db difference. Although, manufacturers would be doing this and marketing exclusive "Low B" rated cabinets if it was productive. Here's a thread, with some referenced threads on low B performance and cabinets:

    Low B Cabinet Ratings?
    rtav likes this.
  14. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    The distortion of a speaker that is driven below its -6 or -10dB point starts to increase rapidly which results in the generation of harmonics (many fairly unmusical) which is more of what's being heard.
    Pbassmanca, BadExample and RoadRanger like this.
  15. Yes! Glad I got that right as well. Punctuation is just as important in writing as it is in playing bass.
    Lots of low end with little harmonic content doesn't punctuate your bass playing
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  16. Is that the Fart?
    agedhorse likes this.
  17. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    The "Fart" may become Ex-stink ;)
    Some of these new designed drivers and cabs can get dangerously loud without hardly distorting.
  18. The Duluth Trading Buck Naked Bass Cab. :woot:
  19. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Waves has demos of Maxxbass and Renaissance bass mentioned in the article.
    It can fool your brain into hearing bass and octave and a half lower than it is actually is playing. Good for mixing for small speakers. Face it, you send or post a demo and people play it on computer speakers.

    MaxxBass - Bass Enhancer Plugin | Waves
    Renaissance Bass - Bass Enhacement Plugin | Waves
    navijaz likes this.
  20. navijaz

    navijaz Guest

    Sep 20, 2016
    I am going to throw myself under the bus and say that the absolute low end is musically unimportant. We don't hear it all that well anyway, not being whales and all. Until the advent of sub-woofers, most speakers were technically not even able to reproduce the fundamental of a low E. Nobody ever knew or cared.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 25, 2022

Share This Page