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Notes and Frequencies

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kgantzer, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. kgantzer


    Mar 6, 2004
    I have a 5 string, and am looking for the bass cabinet that will handle the low B. I am looking for a cabinet to compliment my 2x10 combo that really goes down low.

    What is the frequancy of a low B, in hertz (Hz)?

    Any ideas where I might find a table of notes and their associated frequencies?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    It is around 31 hertz, give or take 1/2 of a cycle.
  3. bassmantele


    Jul 22, 2003
    Boston MA USA
    There's an amp FAQ with around here with the frequencies of all the notes at the bottom of the page.
  4. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Read this article:


    Also, I have bought Madisounds components, they are great
    to deal with.

    A Google search on string freq's will get you all the numbers
    you need. You are intelligent enough to do your own searches
    if you are smart enough to have found the best bass site
    in the Milky Way.

    Low B = 30.9 Hertz
    Hertz= cps= cycles per second.
  5. kgantzer


    Mar 6, 2004
    Thanks for the help. This leads one to believe that a cabinet that is rated to handle 30 Hz is more capable than a cabinet rated at 40 Hz, at least as far as low B reproduction goes.

  6. My spread sheet has all this information.

    You can get it from my signature.
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi kgantzer, I can share a little of my experience with you.

    First off, there are very few speakers/cabs that can really handle 31 Hz with any authority. Down in that part of the spectrum, we're really talking about very powerful subwoofers, something along the lines of EVX-180A's in a folded horn cab (in other words, think big and heavy)! When we do outdoor rock gigs, I use a pair of EVX-180A's fed with 2100 watts each (Stewart 2.1's). And sometimes that's barely enough.

    But, the key concept is "that's my sound". In other words, I like my audience to feel that deep thunderous bottom end, that you can't really "hear", but that crawls up your legs and loosens your bowels, and makes your pant legs vibrate at fifty yards. Getting that kind of bottom end "out there" into the audience requires huge amounts of power, and very heavy equipment. It's true that one can occasionally get some assistance from the PA and so on, but that doesn't eliminate the need for gear that can handle a good strong fundamental.

    The flip side of the coin, though, is that most people don't really require that sound. The ear (and brain) do amazing things with low frequency sound, for instance there's a "completion phenomenon" that occurs when you have a signal rich in harmonics but devoid of a strong fundamental. You still "hear" the fundamental, even though it's not really there (your ear kind of "fills in" the missing part of the spectrum). Also, there are many playing styles (like slapping, for funk and fusion) where the midrange is just as important as the low frequency fundamental, if not more so. In fact, sometimes the presence of a strong fundamental makes the sound "muddy", and it's possible that you might get a better sound (overall) without the mud.

    Also, there are very few speakers that will handle a strong 31 Hz signal. I wouldn't even dream of trying it with 10" speaker cones, they'd try to jump right out of their frames. When I'm playing a bass that has an especially strong fundamental (like Alembic's for instance), sometimes I have to EQ down everything below 50 Hz just to save my speakers. That's where "clean headroom" is meaningful, those low frequency transients really suck up the power, and generally speaking they'll put extreme stress on your speakers. Also, if you have an amp and speakers that will handle the ultra low frequencies, you have to watch out for "sub-sonic" transients, like when you slap the B string you can get stuff that's way below 31 Hz, and if your amp and speakers try to reproduce that, it can be big trouble for your rig.

    If you really need those low frequencies, there's no way to avoid "big" speakers, and a "big" amp. That's just physics. There's absolutely no way a 10" speaker is going to deliver 31 Hz with any authority. You have to go with 18's, or "lots" of 15's, or something like that.

    Over the years, I've learned a few things. One is, I'm getting too old to be hauling around big subs. My back isn't what it used to be, and I rarely have the benefit of a team of roadies these days. The other thing is, that it's possible to get an authoritative and nicely balanced sound without going overboard on the low frequency fundamentals. And, most of the time, it's not "necessary" to use those 31 Hz signals, except in rare circumstances. For indoor gigs, like most ordinary club gigs, the shape of the room and the geometry of its components is typically highly variable, and I don't usually have time to set up the EQ "correctly" for the room. Most rooms have all kinds of odd low frequency resonances, and sometimes even the stage itself can be "boomy". In those situations, I find it far more useful ("operational") to go with the balanced midrangey sound, rather than going through all the time and trouble to set up a thunderous low frequency extravaganza.

    So, just a couple of tidbits to consider. All IMO of course (and IME). :)
  8. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Like Josh I'm a four-stringer that detunes to drop D occassionally. I'm using two 112 Bergantinos most of the time with lots of headroom as mentioned. My band always uses PA support even in clubs. We rarely use anyting but our system. We have large QCS amps MX3000a for the subs (EV T-18) and MX2000a for the EV mains. The 18" subs, that are not front loaded, are very good for a thunderous bass and kick drum. You can really feel it as Non stated. Outside gigs are a completely different story. Our nice medium to small PA will barely make it outside. Usually at Fests etc. there is a sound company with big folded bins or arrays that make the sound huge. For those gigs I'm currnetly using my Bergantino NV-610 and PLX Demeter rig in bridged mode. It's very punchy and loud, but I doubt the audience can really hear anything but the PA support unless they stood right in front of the stage in between the PA. I'm using that rig to hear myself mostly.
  9. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    The poor guy will have to download a 6.5GB file just to get the frequencies for the equally-tempered diatonic scale? :)
  10. Most everything you say is true in the fact that the gear and designs you mention will do what you say but a few things have changed since the 70's. It is possible with modern design and components to produce enclosures with small speakers that hit 31hz. Go take a look at Acme bass cabs and tell me it isn't true. Granted they're not the most efficient design on the planet but the definitely get the job done. I own a Low B-4 and can "over-power" most clubs sub-woofers. I am currently working on my own design that will be slightly larger, lighter, and more efficient and still hit 31hz with authority. It can be done.
  11. Wrong.

    Please state the correct facts.

    The unzipped file is 2.5mb, and the ZIP file is 834kb. The ZIP fits on a floppy disk with room to spare.

    Even for the cheap guys who still insist on using dial-up modems, an 834kb download is not an inconvenience.
  12. It's kind of off topic, but yesterday I visited a friend who had his little "jam room" upstairs, and he was telling me that in that room the D note would just disappear. I didn't really believe him until I was playing, and sure enough, the D just dissipated, no sustain, and it was both of his amps, any of his basses, and just in that room.

    I've had cabs that shook at a certain note or shook the room at a certain note (C, C# or D), but not dead at a certain note.

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