Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jivetkr, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. jivetkr

    jivetkr Supporting Member

    May 15, 2002
    Can someone explain to me what a transient is & how it relates to bass amplification?

    I've also heard it refered to as "attack transients"

  2. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Transients are rapid changes in signal level. If you were to measure the envelope, or shape of a bass note with respect to volume, you will see a very high peak lasting a few milliseconds, followed by a sharp decay to the sustained level. This is called the attack transient. We hear this portion of the signal as the bass' punch.

    These transients are extremely high with bass, sometimes as much as 10x the sustained level. That is one of the reasons why bass amplification systems need high amounts of headroom to handle these signals without distortion. One way of handling this change is using limiting, which puts a limit on how high the signal can go. This lets you increase the sustained volume without overloading the system. The disadvantage is that the bass appears to loose it's punch, which can sound lifeless.