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The Paradox of Volume

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ccyork, May 31, 2004.


  1. ccyork

    ccyork

    Jan 26, 2004
    USA
    Here's a question that I'd like to find an answer to. The other night we played a large room with about 100 people and I had my GK7000RBII turned up to only about 9:00 and everyone in the audience considered it plenty loud. Why is it that when we rehearse in a very small room that I need to turn up to 3:00 in order to be heard?

    Has anyone else ever experienced this phenomenon? Is there anything we can do with speaker placement that could recitify this? Evidently getting the correct volume has a lot less to do with power output than I thought...
     
  2. Corwin81

    Corwin81

    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
    Bass has a longer wavelength, so it travels further and people in the audience will hear it. That's why when people are driving by with loud music, you usually only hear the farting bass(they overcompensate since they don't hear it as badly inside the car)
     
  3. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL

    Right on. Next time at preactice, get a longer speaker cable, and put your cabinets farther away from you. And then notice the difference!
     
  4. Ericman197

    Ericman197

    Feb 23, 2004
    Iowa
    They say subwoofers like 1x18" cabs need a lot of space to open up for a reason. The full wavelength of a 30.87Hz sine wave is about 11.11 meters, or 36.46 feet. Since most big subwoofers ( and bass cabs for that matter ) are going to be pushing mostly lows notes, low B to high G or 30.87Hz to 97.99Hz, then you're going to need about 36.46 to 11.49 feet respectively for the full wave. That's why you can hardly hear yourself in a small practice room... any guitar sound will be non existant 1,000 feet from the practice location, but you'll still hear the bass... you have to turn yourself up to that point to compensate, because you may only be about 5 feet from your amp.
     
  5. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    If that were true, then headphones would have no bass, or even midrange, at all! ;)
     
  6. ccyork

    ccyork

    Jan 26, 2004
    USA
    Ok Bob...so what do YOU think is happening, and how can I fix things so I don't have to crank my amp up so loud in rehearsal? :)
     
  7. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Maybe you rehearse too loud?
     
  8. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yep. Ears do not percieve the length of the soundwaves; they percieve how often the peaks and valleys hit and vibrate the structure of the ear. In other words, how frequently the vibration moves back and forth, hence frequency.

    Most practice rooms are heavily soundproofed. Typically carpet and/or foam on every wall; so the room doesn't leak much sound, but it also has absolutely NO natural reverb. It's a very common practice, but really a half-baked idea; in that kind of room, you can turn up to 130db and it will still seem to sound quiet. Try putting up some sheets of plywood or sheetrock on one or two walls to make the room more "live". You can put them over the existing soundproofing, so it'll still be quiet outside the room. You can try various placements of the reflective material to "tune" the room to where you like it.

    You'll find that you won't need to turn it up very much to sound loud, and since the overall volume is actually lower, your soundproofing will work that much better in keeping the neighbors happy.
     
  9. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    getting warmer
    If the guitar amps and other higher frequency drivers are pointed at you, they will drown out any bass that you may be perceiving. Have the guitar players setup so that they aren't pointing their rigs right at you.

    Going along with this, guitar player generally turn up way too loud becasue they tend to stand too close to their amps. They are basically shooting their sound right to their knees.
     
  10. ccyork

    ccyork

    Jan 26, 2004
    USA
    I think at the next rehearsal I might try having the guitar player stand next to my amp, and I'll stand next to his. Or maybe we can try placing both our amps across the room from both of us. Do you think this might help?

    I just KNOW we don't need to be turned up so loud...
     
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Yup, that's been a problem in every band I've been in. ;) Even though we rehearsed in a garage or rehearsal studio, the guitar players cranked up, forcing everyone to follow suit.
     
  12. Ericman197

    Ericman197

    Feb 23, 2004
    Iowa
    I thought you needed to have a certain length of the wave though... the shorter the length of the wave you get, the louder it'd have to be amplified to be perceived as the same volume as the rest.
     
  13. I think that has to do with organ pipes or something.
     
  14. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    No, although the human ear tends to be much more sensitive in the 1 to 5 kHz range than the rest of the spectrum, especially at low levels and low frequencies. That's a major reason why guitars tend to be loud with a lot less power than the bass has.

    Here is an explanation of that psychoacoustical phenomenon: http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook/Equal_Loudness_Contours.html
     
  15. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    The problem could also be due to standing wave cancellation in the bass frequencies. This is dependent on room size and shape. I'm no expert by any means, but I've experienced the same problem with the cube shaped rehearsal room. CUBE = BAD.