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strings and cabinet frequency response

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jaggedsphere, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. jaggedsphere


    Jul 15, 2002
    I am told these are the various frequencies of the strings on a 5er:
    G 98 Hz
    D 73.4 Hz
    A 55 Hz
    E 41.2 Hz
    B 30.9 Hz

    what I would like to know is does one really need a cabinet which can handle 30.9 Hz for proper representation of their B string? :confused:
  2. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    That is a matter of much debate.

    One school of thought is that as long as you get the first harmonic (61hz) it willl sound fine. In this school you would fine Ampeg 8x10 boxes and most other commercial cabinets that are 6-10 db down at 40hz (and 10-15 db down at 30hz).

    The other school of thought is that if you really want to hear 30hz, your cabinet must be able to reproduce it at the same volume as the rest of it's range. Folks following this concept play Acme's and the like, which are no more than 3db down at 30hz or so.

    The downside of a cabinet that goes very low, is that it is also very quiet (makes 92db/1 watt instead of 100+db/1 watt) and you need several of them and a kilowatt to get loud (and then you are thunderous).

    Most folks usually ignore specs and buy whatever famous folks at the time happen to be endorsing and advertising in Bass Player, and get jazzed about the current "killer tone". Ultimately, it's the choice between an idealized bass guitar tone that is currently the rage, and the exact signal your bass makes (which you may not like as well).
  3. flacko


    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    Yes. If the cabinet cannot output sound at that frequency you are not going to hear all the tones possible from the string. That ain't scientifically proper but musically it may not matter, although IMO you are limiting your options

    If the cabinet can handle that frequency to a certain degree you can maybe EQ in that frequency range slightly to make it more prominent .

    If the cabinet can handle it correctly then you will hear a proper representation of the low B on your bass. You then have a choice of modifying it with EQ to your taste.

    My 2 penny worth.
  4. jaggedsphere


    Jul 15, 2002
    a thought accoured to me. When one plucks a string it is not just one narrow tone or frequency we hear but varying harmonic OVERtones. right?
    so if the B string is indeed 30.9 Hz and we have a cabinet which can represent the fundamental, what about harmonic UNDERtones?(how 'bout that for a band name?:cool: ) how far would they audiably extend?
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    There are no "undertones", a string's lowest frequency of vibration is the fundamental, corresponding to the full length of the string.
  6. jaggedsphere


    Jul 15, 2002
    hmm good to know....:)
  7. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    A low B through a system that doesn't put out at 30 Hz can still sound very good. Which is good, because most bass speakers on the market don't do enough down there to really be audible underneath all the other frequencies present.

    When you play those low notes through a cab that does reach that low (Acme, for instance), it's a bit of a revelation, though.

    The SVT begins to roll off at 100Hz, I believe (albeit slowly). A number of people are fond of the Bag End S15 which doesn't reach below 50Hz - even for 5-string use.

    IOW - it's certainly not a requirement, more a matter of taste. Buy a cab because it sounds good to you.
  8. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Actually, there are. The harmonic series doesn't apply for the initial attack of the note - the time when the string begins moving. Depending on playing style, there can be a very wide range of frequencies present. Even infrasonic. A thumb slap, for instance. Through magnetic pickups you still get a pretty good amount of infrasonics; with peizos you need to be careful.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Actually I have to correct myself. There is such a thing as an undertone series, but it's more a mathematical concept. For musical instruments I think you can disregard any effects below the fundamental. There is no sound at half the frequency of the fundamental like it is for the double frequency (first overtone).

    Edit: geshel, you beat me to it. I agree there is an idealized theory with regards to the overtone series, it's only valid for the "steady state" where the string's vibration has stabilized. I guess the miscellaneous frequencies produced before that does have an effect on the sound of the initial attack, but that they would just muddy up things if they didn't die away quickly.
  10. No, not in the overall scheme of things. Will your band mates protest if your cab doesn't respond much below 40 hz? Will anybody pay you or your band 1 cent more or less depending on your cab responding below 40 hz? Will women/men flock to your side of the stage because of your cab response? Response below 40 hz is really a personal thing. If you feel you need it, then you should get it. If you don't then don't. Nobody but you and other bass players really care one way or the other. jmho
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I play BEADG fiver and don't worry about cabinet specs or B-string fundamentals, I just get whatever works best for me: that can include my ears, my bandmates' ears, and my best estimation of the audience's ears.

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