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Low volume speaker vs high

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by badgrandad, May 20, 2005.

  1. Ive been using and enjoying my rig (a GK400rbiv and a Dr. Bass rx212) for about 8 months, and even though I have used it in many gigs and many gig situations, I have never had to push it very hard to get decent /more than enough volume.

    Last night I had an outdoor gig where the PA was a set of no-name 12" mains (with a horn) and nothing else. This would be the test! I turned the amp up farther then I ever have before (12 o'clock on input and main, 11:00 on boost) and gently tried my 5 stringer out. Whoa! I watched the speaker to see how badly they were "excursing" and realized I had not pushed this cab hard enough before to get any serious amount of performance. What I realised and hence the pupose of this post is, the tone really improved exponentially when I pushed it this hard (the speakers were moving well within what I felt was a safe range) and I got tones I never thought I could, really exceptional and full.

    I will probably not get the chance to push it this loud again for some time, is there some way I can get this kind of performance at lower volumes? Do I just need a 1-12 cab or a lower power rated cab to do this at lower volumes?

    Do cabs "break in" and warm up (at lower volumes) after you play them a while?
  2. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    lifted from WeberVST's website

    Equal Loudness Curves
    You will see lots of references to equal loudness curves or equal loudness contours. These are based on the work of Fletcher and Munson at Bell labs in the 30s, or perhaps refinements made more recently by Robinson and Dadson. These were made by asking people to judge when pure tones of two different frequencies were the same loudness. This is a very difficult judgement to make, and the curves are the average results from many subjects, so they should be considered general indicators rather than a prescription as to what a single individual might hear.
    Fig 2. Equal loudness contours or Fletcher-Munson curves.

    The numbers on each curve identify it in terms of phons, a unit of loudness that compensates for frequency effects. To find the phon value of an intensity measurement, find the db reading and frequency on the graph, then see which curve it lands on.

    The interesting aspects of these curves are that it is difficult to hear low frequency of soft sounds, and that the ear is extra sensitive between 1 and 6 kilohertz.
  3. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    To answer your question, just EQ a bit at lower volumes. You still won't get the same feeling, as your body will not be producing the same endorphins as it would when stimulated by high SPLs.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    besides the FM curves and the eq suggestion,(both of which are based upon how we hear the various frequencies at low and high volumes, and the fact that louder usually sounds better to us), there is another phenomenon i have noticed which seems to be based more upon the performance of a given speaker relative to how hard it is being pushed.

    let's say you're playing at a loud volume. using one or a a low number of speakers that are being really pushed, i have percieved that they tend to get a thicker fuller sort of tone than "normal".

    when using several speakers to acheive the same net volume, those speakers individually arent being pushed all that hard. in these cases i've noticed that the cabinets tend to sound a bit more open and articulate.

    i like both tones, although i know lots of cats who prefer one of the other.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    You're likely describing power compression in the first case, which is the point of diminishing returns vis a vis input power to output loudness. Could just be good old fashioned cone breakup distortion too though. :cool:
  6. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    maybe a little of both. In any event, sometimes that sounds pretty darned cool, sometimes i prefer my sound without that sauce. :smug:
  7. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    It could also be caused by the change in TS parameters with the increased voice coil temp (and therefore resistance).
  8. And there is the idea that bass players like distortion. It works for guitar players...


    I understand a bassist is often disappointed when he first hears a true bass horn compared to his favorite direct radiator rig, because horns offer lower distortion.
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    could be.

    i'm one of those cats who likes a ton of different cab sounds (as well as bass and preamp sounds) It all depends on the song, gig, bass being used, preamp used, venue, my mood, and just about anything else.

    i've played a ton of stuff from high end pa speakers to the most colored cabs imagineable, and i honestly can say that i've liked somethign about most of them. (some sucked - :p )

    maybe i'll get to be like tombowlus when i grow up and have at leat one of every cabinet ever made. :smug:

    love ya tom...... ;)

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