Why does louder foold people to thinking it is better?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by troy mcclure, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    I have a few basses of various quality (ok 9 or so). no longer have anything high end sold my alembic so I could buy a car.

    It seems to me when i ever I play a Hot bass, listeners jump to the conclusion that it is automatically better.

    My passive basses don;t get much love from my BLs though the sound the most natural to me.

    Any thoughts
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Because louder fools people into thinking it's better ;)
  3. Psychoacoustics.


    It's also why mp3 "works", and why a bunch of audio illusions are successful.

    The brain/ear interface has to do some very interesting things to make our sense work how they do.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    It's not automatically better, but A) passive basses are not necessarily quieter than active ones (my Yamaha BB415's pickups are very hot), and B) volume CAN be a legitimate tone tool. I'm not an audio expert, but I've heard there are undertones and overtones that become audible and make the tone "richer" at higher volume that your ear wouldn't pick up at low volume. Doesn't have to be ear-splitting loud, of course. But then, sometimes what people enjoy IS the music being just plain loud, regardless of tone quality.
  5. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    IS better Boomie, not thinking it's better!

    Every teen knows that a car with loud mufflers goes WAY faster than one without.

    Same thing with a bass.

  6. Check out the Fletcher Munson curve study for a better explanation than I can provide. .
  7. For the same reason Led Zeppelin is better at 1000 db than 10...
  8. One simple explanation is dynamics, if at least it´s not played full power all time.

    Symphonic orchestra use this a lot, volume variations are one aspect of the music, with loud volume it makes dramatic effect.
  9. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Because untrained ears don't know what they're listening for, just that they're listening for something.

    And if it's too quiet, it doesn't sound good anyway.
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north

    My thought is, if it's actually a volume difference they react to, why do you play your basses at different levels?

    Other than that, it's a psychological effect when comparing two sounds; people tend to choose a slightly louder sound over a more quiet sound.

    It could also be that the sound from your active basses are "punchier", has more attack, and people would choose that for the same reasons they choose a high contrast image over a lower contrast image, or a smiley EQ curve over a flatter curve. It just makes a stronger impression at first glance (or listen) even if means they pick the less natural version.
  11. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Good stuff. Also learning how to listen to a bass soloed and knowing how it will probably sound in a band mix is a learned art that takes time and experience.
  12. I turn the volume knob up louder for my passive basses than my higher output active ones so that this becomes a non issue.
  13. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    My passive bass is much hotter than my active ones. I have one that is push/pull active/passive and the tone passive is very cool, the active can be used to work as a boost for it so some people will think it sounds better because they are hearing more of the frequencies they want to hear. If you make it so your passive matches volume with your active then the band mates can really decide tonewise what they like. If something is harder to hear they often think it's more dull sounding.
  14. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    Louder things draw more attention. It's really that simple. I've had people ask me what I thought about this or that 'awesome bass' on a song when in reality it's nothing spectacular, just placed a bit higher in the mix.
  15. Dogghouse


    Jan 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara
    Bass Guy @ Seymour Duncan
    Man I never use "my listeners" as my judges for what's better. I can fool them with a simple twist of a knob. The mention of the added dynamics and overtones is really the only thing that added volume provides, I think. But I can give "the listeners" that just as easy with my low output basses. Overwound pickups also provide mainly more low frequencies at the expense of the highs. Let the amp do the work, I say.
  16. 45acp


    Feb 5, 2013
    Texarkana TX
    Ive been working on my top secret project Flowmaster Bass for over a year now for this very reason. Expect to see them at a Guitar Center near you in the future.
  17. I hate being overly loud because if j make an oopsies they will definitely know. *memories
  18. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    The vast majority of people out there are idiots. That's why.
  19. oysteivi

    oysteivi Supporting Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trondheim, Norway
    Mightn't a hotter output bass with everything else set the same drive your preamp tubes (or other dirt) harder, making them sound more awesome?
  20. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    I think just not bringing the active basses to the gig is the answer. The 1st bandleader I have ever played with who said can you turn up the lows.