Why Arent There More "Low B" Capable Cabs???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    just throwing out a thought,

    but why arent there more companies like Acme, Accugroove, or the defunct Wayne Jones making cabs that sufficiently hit the 31 hz? seems like Eden is really the only of the big companies trying to tackle it.

    with the proliferation of 5 string and 6 string players, you'd think there'd be a clamour for 'em. or are we mostly happy with getting merely the "harmonic" of the Low B.

    [Linda Richman on]

    talk amongst yourselves...

    [Linda Richman off]
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Because it's hard. ;)

    If there was a speaker out there the same size and roughly same weight as my EA VL-110s, that went down to 31Hz, and with at least the same efficiency and power handling, I'd own a pair.

    As it is, the tradeoff of response rolling off in the mid 40s is the one I picked.

    I've got an Acme, but it's not loud enough (a B2 would probably do the trick, but too big for me! and I would *have* to use my PLX to power it, whereas the EAs will do OK with the Clarus).

    Accugrooves look good on paper but they're too heavy for me, generally.
  3. Joker -

    The answer is pretty surprising I think:

    Most people are not USED to hearing the fundamental of the low notes! There is a psycho-acoustic phenomenon that your brain does, it "generates" the appearance of low frequencies from the harmonic structure of the note - an example that has been used many times (I heard it from Mike Tobias) is that a telephone speaker cannot reproduce a tone below 300 hz, but someone with a low voice (like Mike! ;) ) still has a very recognizeable low voice to your "ear" (which is really how your brain is interpreting the tone the ear hears).

    One of the most famous bass enclosures of all time, the Ampeg SVT 810 has a frequency response that drops like a stone at 60 hz. It's putting almost nothing out at the 40 hz of an E string. But,it still sounds deep and punchy - well until you hear something that actually produces that fundamental it does! ;)

    So far in my experience, the best combination of solid fundamental for the B, size & weight, and efficency has been the Eden D-210XST. That's not to say that it's the best cabinet out there (though I may personally think it is :D), but it has more of the whole package that I've found so far. There are a bunch of killer cabinets around that have qualities that make them as good or better for different individuals and situations.
  4. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    If the fundamental was all anyone cared about, all of the people with a low F# string would be left out.
  5. aladdin


    Mar 7, 2003
    Chiba, Japan
    I'll go really simple here to avoid the messy details and maths.

    1. Low tones (40Hz, 31 Hz, etc.) require a lot of
    power compared to 1 kHz for a given speaker. Amps also distort more at this frequency area (so does the speaker cone).

    2. You trade efficiency for low bass in any "normal" sized cabinet. By normal I mean one that you could carry around in a decent sized SUV.

    3. Putting out 30Hz loud enough to compete with the rest of the band and propogate (move along) into the room means moving a lot of air (a big cone movement). Large cone movements mean tough spider and surrounds on speakers (expensive) and big (or expensive and small) magnets. This means expensive woofers or heavy ones.

    4. Very few commercially available speakers can handle a lot of power at 40 Hz. The ones that can are not efficient enough to produce the sound levels desired by consumers (the Acme problem).

    You can have efficiency and low bass. I used to own a pair of Klipsch Klipschorn speakers that could put out 35 Hz at room shaking volume with 10 watts of power. They are the size of a refridgerator. Who wants to carry that around? They are also shaped like giant wedges and they need to be put in the corners of a room.

    Most of the cabs out there try to get above 100 decibels of sound pressure level (spl) for 1 watt of power at a distance of 1 meter from the speaker cone. Search for yourself at Partsexpress or MCM and see if you can find a speaker with that efficiency that can go to 40 Hz and handle high power. You more than likely can't. Building my own cabinets, the closest I have got is 98 dB/W/M at 200 watts RMS (a fancy way of saying continuous) handling and a resonance of 31 Hz. This speaker alone (just the speaker) costs $359.00 US. The price of some cabinets. It also weighs in at 23 pounds. If I were to build a speaker cabinet for someone and I had to use this speaker the price of the cabinet would end up around $2,100.00. All that for a 1x12 and no tweeter? no thanks.

    That's why. I could build a cabinet using a good eminence or celestion down to 50 Hz + or - 3dB for only $50.00-$150.00 for the speaker depending on size and power handling. They will still put out 40 Hz. They will just be down 6 to 10 dB at that output. To tell you the truth, sometimes I am amazed that certain companies can sell things at the prices they do!

    hope that helped and didn't confuse.

  6. You are so right. I thought my 8x10 cab sounded deep and punchy until I tried out an EV 2x15 cab tuned to 40hz. The difference was stunning and I dropped the 8x10 cab like a hot rock.
  7. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    I usually don't hear it mentioned, but to me at least, there is also an audible difference between the harmonic content of a bolt-on instrument vs. a neck-thru instrument.

    I played exclusively bolt-ons for many years, and then acquired a neck-thru and discovered that my cabinets with which I had been satisfied before, were no longer up to the task of playing the low notes from a neck-thru.
  8. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Something else that hasn't been mentioned yet. Supply and demand. As long as the bass playing community is preoccupied with 10's then that's when the bass cab companies will focus on. Sure there are 10's that go low but always remember the general rule of speaker design:-

    "Loud, small, low - pick any 2".

    You can't have all 3 with existing technology. Acme's are small and low, but not loud. An 18" sub is low and loud, but not small. Oh and those Wayne jones cabs that are supposedly flat to 31Hz - well the one I played must have been faulty. I got more bottom end out of the el-cheapo eminence loaded 15 sitting right next to it, and it wasn't even a contest. So don't believe everything your read.
  9. dnburgess


    Jul 20, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Proprietor: Bass People, Green Square Music
    Its important to distinguish between efficiency and loudness. Efficiency (or sensitvity) is normally measured as the output in dB one metre from the speaker given a continuous input of one Watt.

    Perceived loudness depends not only on efficiency, but also on power handling capability. With massively powerful solid state power amps getting more affordable, maximum output levels (as well as sensitivity) should be considered in assessing the likely perceived loudness of a speaker.

    For example, the sensitivities (dB @ 1m/1W) of Acme B1, B2 and B4 are 90, 93 and 96 respectively.

    The maximum CONTINUOUS ouput levels are 112dB, 118dB and 124dB respectively. I'll leave you to decide whether a continuous 124dB is loud enough.
  10. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    All true. The thing that bothers me most about sensitivity ratings is they use 1K, regardless of the speaker. To me that's kinda pointless for a speaker designed to handle low frequencies. But that's the standard.

    As always, I will reserve my judgement about Acme's loudness until I hear them with my own ears.

  11. This is true. In theory you should just be able to extrapolate the sensitivities at other frequencies by looking at the frequency response numbers. Any decent speaker should be within a couple of dB of the 1k sensitivity between it's low and high cutoffs. Of course, some companies use the -10dB points for that, which is a bit misleading. The general rule in theory and in most other engineering disciplines is that the cutoff frequencies are at the -3dB points (or half power points). I think manufacturers should be forced to adhere to standardized test procedures and to a set of standard parameters for their specs. They should also publish the frequency response and phase response curves. Of course, the final determiner of a speaker's performance should be your ears....

    Like Pete and Geshel said, it's difficult to get speakers to effectively go that low. You need big boxes and long excursion drivers to acheive it, and the resulting cabs will always be pricey.
    Most big PA subs roll off at 40Hz. A select few go lower and do it well. Meyer's 650 goes down to 27Hz, I believe.

    Personally, I don't see a need to reproduce the fundamental notes of the bass at massive levels. In a lot of situations all that low end would get in the way and make things pretty muddy. I've been in a lot of situations as a sound engineer where this has been the case. There is also way more energy at the 2nd harmonic frequencies (2x the fundamenal) on a bass than there is at the fundamentals so we hear a lot more of those frequencies than the fundamentals anyway... Different strokes, I guess.

    I would say that size and price are the main factors why most manufacturers aren't strongly persuing cabs that go ultra low.
  12. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, I agree. I think more often than not, we convince ourselves that we want to hear lots of sub-50Hz fundamental. That is until we actually hear it. Then many times you realize that it is not as beneficial to the overall sound as one would hope. Take for example all the crap that an audio engineer has to go through to phase align the sub-100Hz frequencies in a recording. If these are not aligned correctly, then you get muddy, hollow, undefined sounds with no attack. How do you think this to being on a hollow stage? I just don't buy into this 'it goes down to 30Hz bullsh*t.'

    BTW, I just read an interesting article at harmony-central about speaker arrays. They talk about the effects of coupling. This is putting speakers in very close proximity of each other. The shorter the distance betweed the cone centers the more bass response you will get. This theory would suggest that the best bass sound would come from a densely-packed bunch of 8" cones.
  13. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    You're not understanding it correctly. Coupling is when the drivers act more or less as a single unit. This is not at all, by itself, inherently superior to the case where they are a single unit.

    "The shorter the distance betweed the cone centers the more bass response you will get" -- don't know where you read that, but it's not true.

    Besides, your conclusion is pretty sketchy anyway - why 8" cones? why not 6"? According to the theory as you see it, there'd be no endpoint to that. ;)
  14. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    It's not altogether untrue either. Take your standard 4x10 for example. If you broke it down into 4 seperate 10" speakers, and spread them across the stage, it will sound nothing like what it did when they were all in close proximity.

    Awwww leave him alone. You are being a beligerent bully again ;) And I don't wanna have that Phil Jones conversation all over - it took up 4 pages and you came out looking like a chicken remember :)
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I play 5-string, but would never choose a speaker cab simply for how low it goes. I want a good overall sound, I also want tone that doesn't disappear in the mix. Price, portability, and ease of use are factors as well.

    Sure, 30Hz performance would be nice to have in addition to the above factors, but it's not a top priority because the bulk of my playing is done in four-string territory. And what Gard said about psychoacoustics is relevant also.
  16. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    I'm with BFunk. (maybe that's why we both play the DB728) I don't WANT to hear 31hz coming out of my speakers. I had an EA cab for 2 weeks and hated it - sounded great, but not my cup.

    Most of the time when i'm recording I have the high pass filter on - why? Because it leaves some space for the kick and makes the bass punchier.

    Now i'm not saying that you guys in the "flat to 31" club are crazy, just making the point that it's not what everyone wants to hear. And that might just be why more cab makers DON'T spend the extra time, money, and effort in that direction.
  17. Exactly. When the kick and bass clash you get mush....:meh:
  18. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Because the low B is for silly heads.

    You have to be NU-METAL and tune to an A, then the amp works betterer.
  19. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Vanselus, that's twice in one month! People are going to start talking about us. :D
  20. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    yeah, we really gotta stop agreeing like this!