1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

low E vs the rest

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lexington125, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. lexington125


    Sep 11, 2013
    hollywood, baby......
    someday I will find 4 or 5 other guys who want to play the blues the way it was played before it became all about guitar heroics
    There is still a very healthy market of bass players who are dedicated 4 string players, have no interest in playing a five AND have no interest in de-tuning. That means that there is a large number of amp/cab buyers who have no need for any capability below 40 or 41 hz, ever.

    if a modern cabinet maker was able to offer a cabinet specifically to this market, would he be able to make significant design/construction decisions that would optimize the performance and efficiency of the cab in the 40hz and up range at the expense of substantially degraded performance below 40hz?

    would ignoring the range below 40hz offer any significant savings or performance increase? or is the difference between 40hz and say 30hz not significant in terms of cost or performance for cab designer/builders?
  2. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    1) EVERY cabinet in the market has capability below 40Hz.

    2) Modern (especially modern) bass is all about upper harmonics. Record your bass, play low B and see freuquency diagram. Then EQ cut everything higher than the fundamental and hear what's left - nothing interesting.
  3. I got news for both of you. Only modern uber performance cabs can pump 40hz at volume and most of us don't like it when they do.
  4. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    That's true man :)
  5. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    My cab is 10dB down at 42Hz and it really isn't a problem.
  6. OP, nearly all cabs are vented (reflex) designs.

    Due to the nature of this design, they should not be operated at power below the tuning frequency.
    The acoustic loading on the driver unloads very rapidly below the tuning frequency.
    This exposes the driver to mechanical damage, similar to what would happen in an open box or hanging in free air.

    Very few commerical cabs tune below low E (41 Hz).
    By definition, this makes these cabs "4-string specific".
    Cabs that support 31 Hz (low B) at full power are quite rare.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    The trade offs happen when you try to go lower, not when you try to limit the low end frequencies. The good news is that most if not all production cabs really fit into your description of what you're looking for...effectively reproducing a 4 string bass guitar.

    I DO play a 5 and I still sculpt out everything below about 35hz pretty drastically anyway.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I jam in modern metal styles and don't really care about anything below 100 Hz.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Below 100hz is covered by the 7 string guitars chunking away?
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    When it comes to the very low end, I think that underperforming cabinets are well represented in the market place already. For most manufacturers, there is always cost/performance tradeoffs in the design. Not all cab are transparent and each offers their own advantages and disadvantages. The problem is with so many to choose from, it is hard to know which to consider. Many people go with what they know or what is available in front of them.
  11. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    It's not like I'm using a high pass filter or anything but I'll lighten up down there. Between guitars (in 7 strings in drop B + low F# tuning) and aggressive double bass, etc, and a generally huge volume level (IMO general volume levels bring out the low lows sufficiently on all instruments, especially with big cabs)... there are enough lows. Everyone is shooting for optimal clarity and definition in their tone and there are still tons of lows, even when we try to clean it up. Some people call it low end, I often call it "mud" in a metal context.
  12. jfn77


    Apr 23, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Sub-bass frequencies (below 60Hz or so) sound and feel good -- at home with properly placed subwoofer or with headphones. It's just that they don't work well in most live performation situations. Due to the nature of sound waves at those very low frequencies they bounce all over the room from every hard surface, thus creating nulls over here (by cancelling each other) and excessive booming over there (standing waves). A room would have to be analyzed and measured very well from multiple listening points to determine the least worst placement of the bass cabinet, and it often isn't where the stage is. It's always a compromise. Then the signal would have to be measured again and processed by surgically EQ'ing down all the spikes. This is a must for every home theater system with a subwoofer. But it often isn't very practical in a live band situation.

    Luckily the fundamental sub-bass frequencies aren't THAT important in live music. You still got the second harmonics and so on. :)
  13. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    While every cab on the market (even 1-inch computer speakers) will 'respond' to a 40 Hz signal, few provide a usefully audible response at practical playing levels.

    The concept that the fundamentals are not important is of course fundamentally flawed by the fact that nearly ALL of the fundamentals on the bass guitar ARE being used. In fact, most players use the fundamentals from about A (on the E string) up. The tone we think of as modern, actually has full volume fundamentals for most of the scale. Those who advocate that the fundamentals are not needed are really talking only about the fundamentals of the lowest notes.

    With few exceptions, bass cabs that would usefully reproduce the lower fundamentals have only recently become available. Most cabs will provide usefully audible response for the second harmonic of the lowest notes. For 4-string bass that would be more or less 'flat' response down to about 82 Hz (and about 62 Hz for a 5-string). Players have gotten used to this 'second harmonic bass' thanks to the ear/brains ability to synthesize the fundamental (we hear it even though it is not present), but the notes are actually more musically 'complete' with the fundamental. The low notes sound more natural (and more like the upper notes) with their fundamentals present to complete the note.

    The fundamentals can be problematic due to venue acoustics, but this is easily tamed by cutting the bass (EQ). As a secondary benefit, this actually frees up a lot of power from the amplifier, as it is no longer producing power that is not producing usefully audible sound (and in fact is likely pushing the bass driver into non-linear operation, causing harmonic distortion, fart out and blown drivers). The down side is that such cabs are either larger and heavier than their second harmonic brethren or are less efficient. With modern (light weight) construction techniques, high power amplifiers inexpensive and widely available, and drivers with high power handling and large displacement volumes, a cab can be made that will reproduce the fundamentals at useful spl's that is smaller and lower in weight than its second harmonic brethren. The power, impact and depth in the sound that we so enjoy about the bass guitar continues to the bottom of the bass scale. No question, that great music can be made without it, but it can also be made with it. It works either way, and in this age players can now have a choice.
  14. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I gigged a very strong powered sub along with a 410 rig for a short time - sort of an experiment. It was fun to make those lows on stage with a 4 string - an exaggerated amount of lows. I learned to take 40 hz more seriously. I sold off that whole rig after I was satisfied with the experiment.

    I feel it's worth the quest for a bass rig that will support music down to the B string range. If we can a good B note then we'll probably get a great E note. Long live the E.
  15. 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)
    Well I fancy myself a small-scale modern cab maker, and imo the answer is YES!

    I currently design with the first overtone of low-B, 62 Hz, as the target. My cabs range from -1 to -4 dB at 62 Hz, which of course does a nice job up at the 82 Hz first overtone of low-E, but if I optimized for low-E (which includes taking fartout resistance into account), I could shrink the box size and/or increase the efficiency.

    For instance, I don't use the high-efficiency Kappalite 3012HO woofer because it doesn't meet my 62 Hz target. But it would easily meet an 82 Hz target, and give us 3 dB more efficiency. That's like doubling our amplifier power.
  16. No no no, he thinks he needs the low fundamentals.
  17. Good answer.

    I agree with the OP. Most cabs are designed and optimised with a low B in mind. No use to many players - myself included.
  18. username1


    Dec 28, 2005
    alberta canada
    I think one of the reasons that people love the ampeg 810 cab so much is because of the rolloff in the low frequencies. It gives a tight sound that cuts through a mix without all the mud. I would bet that there isn't much below 80hz coming out of one of them cabs and they sound great.
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Another +1.

    Hell, I play a lot of modern rock on a five string tuned a half-step flat, and my favorite cab is a sealed 6x10 that starts rolling off closer to 50Hz.
  20. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    Originally Posted by Downunderwonder
    "I got news for both of you. Only modern uber performance cabs can pump 40hz at volume and most of us don't like it when they do."

    Sealed cab starts rolling off (-3db) closer to 50 Hz (than to 40Hz). With a 12 db/oct. rolloff starting at or a little below 50 Hz, there will be plenty of usefully audible fundamental down to 40 Hz and then some, especially with just a touch of EQ. And this is your favorite cab, so you must like what you hear.

    Not sure how this supports Downunderwonder's assertion (most don't like it - bass with the low fundamentals), but it sounds like a great cab to me. :>)