Hi efficient speaker, bass problems

I know i'm going to take a severe tongue lashing for asking this question but . Is it me , whenever I hear low efficient speakers they don't seem to have a grip on the bass like less sensitive units ? The amount of bass is there , and some have good weight , and punch , but where is the control ?
"Is it me , whenever I hear low efficient speakers they don't seem to have a grip on the bass like less sensitive units ?"

What's less sensitive than low efficiency? Super low efficiency I guess. Or ultra-low efficiency. The wayward audio industry has been going in the ever less efficient and lower and lower impedance direction for years. And the manufacturers and dealers wonder why the ship is sinking.......... Yes, it's you. But no tongue lashing, I'm entitled to my wayward misconceptions just like you are.
Boy T M please rewrite your post. Efficency and sensitivity are not the same but not different only opposite. Thus bass is not opposit only different ? ? ?
Viridian ... Your right , you are entitled to your wayward misconceptions .
I am not sure what you're asking. Your title says hi efficient but your post mentions low efficient speakers not having a grip on the bass.

My experience tells me that bass control is a function of the amp, and preamp to an extent. I use very hi-eff speakers and get very good control, definition, and impact from a mix of PP and SS amps.

As to your question, I will assume you meant that you don't hear bass control from hi-eff speakers. I posit that most of what you're hearing is probably due to the speakers being driven by SET or some other underpowered amp. Just a guess.
Tmsorosk, it may be a language issue, but the appearance is that your post is in contradiction to the title of the thread. In addition, your post mentions
low efficient speakers
and then in the same sentence
less sensitive units

so its hard to know what you are asking. Would you care to try again?
Hi Tmsorosk,
As mentioned above by others, control is a function of an amplifier, but there is no doubt that High sensitivity speakers typically show the dynamics and control of an amplifier easier. As far as grip and control. I am using a 86db, 4 ohm speaker, it is fast and accurate. I have had speakers as high as 97db 8 ohm, they required much less amplifier to have the speed and transients that I believe that you are referring to as control.
The Question:

It appears Tmsorosk is asking why do high efficiency speakers have poor bass when compared to low efficiency speakers..

The answer;

Because all high efficiency speakers have an uneven bandwidth when being driven. In order to have good fequency balance from top to bottom and good dynamics you always end up losing some efficiency..

There are exceptions , there always are, IMO to have all 3 will require multiple (5+) drivers, no 2 driver system Will do it.

By high efficiency, I'm describing speakers over 94db/2.83v/m (anechoic)

Tmsorosk, Please rephrase your question so that we are all clear.
High efficiency: Legacy, Klipsch, VMPS... Which one does not have control with the right amp?
Or was it Low Efficiency?

The VMPS and the Legacy have multiple drivers so i can see them being able to achieving all 3. Klipsch ? I don't think so...

"Because all high efficiency speakers have an uneven bandwidth when being driven..."

This depends of the thermal and mechanical power handling capacities of the drivers used. For instance a 4" fullrange driver with 1/2 mm of linear excursion and 30 watts power handling is going to go non-linear long before a 12" prosound woofer with 9 mm of linear excursion and 900 watts power handling. The latter will probably remain linear to a far higher SPL than most similar-sized low-efficiency home audio woofers.

The latter will probably remain linear to a far higher SPL than most similar-sized low-efficiency home audio woofers.

Please define Low efficiency,

Have to disagree here, most domestic homes speakers ( good ones) will not have any issues with power induced linearities at domestic listening levels.

Sorry , should have said High sensitivity speakers . One of the above posters mentioned amps , and yes now that I think about it the high sensitivity speakers that friends use are being powered by low powered amps .
In that case it is prolly a function of amp output impedance and not
power. Tube amps, especially set amps are of high out put
impedance. When this reacts with a speakers impedance which can be low in the bass and higher in the treble (without a zobel network which
wil lower efficency) the result is a less controlled and responsive
In my opinion a fairly high output impedance (low damping factor) amplifier actually works extremely well with proper loudspeaker matching. In the bass region, a high output impedance has the effect of raising the woofer's electrical Q, which reduces electromagnetic damping. But if we start out with a woofer + box that would "normally" be overdamped, the net result with the low-damping-factor amplifier is a properly damped system... but in addition, you get a "free lunch": You end up with deeper bass extension than you would have gotten with a high-damping-factor solid state amp! If done right, you can get as much as 1/3 octave deeper extension. To put this in perspective, this is more than you'd normally get from doubling the box size while maintaining the same efficiency. I exploit this "free lunch" routinely.

Extension, dampning and efficiency are the tradeoffs. The vectors go in different directions. The op questions grip vs eff. The extension is not. as I understand. part of the query. But I'm all in for a free lunch of any kind. Elucidate
It looks like you have answered your own question. When listening to high sensitivity speakers your friends were using low powered tubed amps. We have all talked all around your question.There are some tubed amps with very good control, but many low powered amps, even though they play adequate and at times good bass, often they don't have the control of higher powered tubes or most solid state amps. It is typically not caused by a well designed speaker. Tim
My gut instinct tells me that even any well designed speaker, high or low efficiency, is likely to have bass deficiencies unless setup properly and matched to the right amp and associated gear.

Also, I would not expect most amps to deliver equally excellent bass performance on both high and low efficiency speaker designs.

Other than these things, I would say the devil is all in the details....
Hi Mapman,
I am currently using a very highly modified old Pure Class A Sumo Nine. I am using it on 86db 4 ohm speakers and have used it on 97db 8 ohm speakers as well as a few others, I have heard nothing but excellent bass in weight, speed and control from this amplifier. I see no reason that most well designed solid state amplifiers could not give good bass on most speakers, there are exceptions of course (kappa 9 comes to mind). Good tubed amps also do a great job as long as the speakers load stays out of the capacitive region (neutral to inductive load).

That's good to know.

I don't doubt many good amps would sound quite excellent with both.

I just wonder though if any one is truly optimal in both cases or if the two extremes require different amp characteristics for optimal results in both cases?

Of course, "optimal" is a subjective thing, but in general I am hard pressed to recall where two different speaker/amp combos sounded exactly the same an an a/b test.

If they sound different, then each individual will have to prefer one over the other, right?
Tmsorosk, If I understand you correctly, I hear the same thing, you are not alone.
Hi Mapman, Speakers and amps are both very subjective. I'm sure that one guy would tell you his amp sounds good on about anything and another guy would say, I've heard that amp and it sounds like crap, same with speakers.
I don't recall ever seeing 2 different systems being compared as even very close, much less exactly the same. I have seen reviews where 2 amps or preamps or even speakers were very close and shared characteristics. So, I'll take your last question as a statement and agree. If they sound different, each individual will have to prefer one over the other.
Unsound.. Glad to see someone hears what I do .
A friend and I were talking about this , since he has high sensitivity ( 94db ) speakers , so we are going to put it to the test , and see if my mid sized solid state amp ( Levinson #431 , 200wpc ) will grip the bass bins on his JBL Project K2s better than his great sounding Luxman MQ-88s ( 40wpc ) . Were going to lug my amp over there this week end . I'll post back in next week with the results of this simple test .... Have A Great Day... Tim
Most speakers I have heard that do bass well are not considered high efficiency.

I do not have enough experience with high end high efficiecy speakers to say.

I think I notice it with more common commercial and other horn designs I have heard but that may not be a fair comparison.

I suspect that high efficiency designs do bass best with different amps (tube amps?) than less efficient ones in general ( SS amps).

It seems to me that crossovers in lower efficiency speakers that do bass well have something to do with it but not sure why exactly.
It will take a multiple driver system to have 90+ db sensitivity and have good bass.

Hi Weseixas,
I'm not sure your last statement is entirely true. Maybe if you mean bass down to 20hz, but I have used a couple of different 15's that get you down to near 30hz that did a great job, with sensitivity ratings of 97 & 99.
Both were several years ago, it may be true today, but I'd be surprised that there are no good Hi Sensitivity drivers at all today.
Hello Tim,

I'm sure that speaker was not 97 or 99 db 1w/1m @ 30 hz or even 50 hz, very unlikely. Now put it in a 2 way system where it's bandwidth is as high as 500-700 hz, there is no way it will maintain that kind of sensitivity at 30 hz without somekind of EQ. compensation.

If you want to do it right and with low distortion it would require multiple bass drivers IMO, can it be done without , yes and draw the kind of comments mentioned by the OP...

Hi Wes,
Well after I wrote, I searched my memory long and hard, You are correct, but absolutely wrong. I recall one was an Audax pro 15. 101 sensitivity, Fs was around 23, but qts was something like .2, we added a fair amount of mass which drove the fs down to around 19 or 20 and qms changed enough that qts was around .32... Sensitivity was still in the very high 90's. I'm not exact on numbers, but I'm not off by much. So, yes we modified the woofer, it wasn't stock, But your statement of "no way" it worked fine without eq compensation. I don't recall the exact model, but it was a PR380 series... Take a look, then say "ok way".
Take a look, then say "ok way". -Timlub

Huh? OK WAY... LOL...


AAC Acoustic Society Applications of Composites, now owns the brand Audax took over the manufacture of certain models. We will show you very soon on this site"

I might still have a few Audax manuals from way back when they used to supply us with drivers. I'm sure that model is listed, easy to model what you say ...

Interesting, 98-99 db output at 30 Hz/M/W and flat to 500 hz ?

Let me see if i can find those manuals....

Read what I said, Low 30's, High 90's.... I called my old partner, he recalled 3db down @ 34 & finished sensitivity of 98...
Also, if I recall, their were about 15 or twenty models in the PR380, resonances from 19 to 50 and final qts of .15 to .67, all had sensitivity of 97 to 103.
I assume the way you speak that you have had a fair amount of speaker manufacturing experience yourself, So What happens when you add mass to a driver?
Especially one with that motor structure.
By the way, the old Audax site still has archives, in french, but if you really feel the need to continue the challenge, they are there.
The Levinson amp did add some punch in the lower octaves , made the Luxman sound a bit unmoored in comparison , but lost out in other areas . Ive never had much luck with biamp set ups , but we decided to try it while we had every thing we needed in house . The results were eye opening , it seemed to be the best of both worlds . Of coarse by that time we were all full of wine .
High efficiency speakers with bass problems is fast becoming conventional wisdom. There's no way I can refute any of the 'facts' or specs mentioned but all I can say is I'm getting some very decent bass out of my Tonian Tl-D1s. Yes, it drops off quickly below 40 Hz but the quality is so good I simply don't miss the earth shaking aspects. Low notes, as they are, can hit like a hammer, my skin and couch vibrate in sympathy, the room pressurizes, and the occasional picture vibrates against the wall. The only trade off is that last octave or so. Big deal. Not much down there anyway.
I firmly believe the Burson PI-160 I recently got has a lot to do with the quality of the bass I'm hearing.
TImlub, read what i asked, was it flat from 30hz- 500hz, it was not, so why all the vitriol and condescension in your response, is this how you want to have a technical discussion.

Good grief .....
Weseixas, TAD makes high compliance 15" drivers that have free air resonances in the 20s. At least one speaker, the Classic Audio Loudspeaker, has used these drivers to make a 3-way system that is good to 20Hz. It is rated at 97 db.
Thanks Atmasphere and my original statement was that it would have to be a multiple driver system not a 2 way for it to work and have good bandwidth..

I don't no if the earth shaking aspects , couch and picture shaking is a product of low bass or to much energy at a given frequency Nonoise . The speakers I use go very low , the manual says ( -3dB @ 24 Hz ) and I don"t get shaking and vibrating , just punchy , full bass thats free from overhang .
See my system link for a visual look .
.... Happy Listening ...

When I said my fingers and couch vibrate, I meant only that. A tingly feeling that's in sync with the lower fundamentals of the music. The occasional picture vibrating is the same.

I do like your system and its ability to go low and accurate but in my smaller room, it would be overkill. I guess the room size I have plays a big part in the pressurizing effect, but it never happened on this scale before I got the newer Burson. The older Burson only hinted at it.

Another horn bashing post. This is great if all had horns then the audio markets would dry up since all would be listening to much to care about upgrades so slam horns dont try them,post wrong biased opinions, leave them for me and other wise audiophiles..
For those that might not know, JohnK is a manufacturer of horn loudspeakers.
All forums have bashers....and defenders.

I am a fan of facts and honest opinions, but not "bashing". It is usually not very productive.

I suppose its part of human nature and hard to resist the urge sometimes....

"Sad, but True".
Weseixas, that TAD driver I mentioned can cross over easily at 500Hz. So it can be matched with a horn midrange easily enough. I've seen some such horns have good response to 17KHz, although for what I want to call 'hifi' I would want to supplement that with a super tweeter at least.

OTOH you could cross over to a smaller Lowther or the like, but IMO its still nice to have a super tweeter so you can have a wider sweet spot.
I just reread this thread, and I don't see any "horn bashing" posted anywhere.
As far as the "free lunch", well, it's been my experience that one usually gets what one pays for. Even the example that Atmasphere offers, is far from free.
My position is that many speakers have bass problems regardless of design or rating.

I have a pair of Aerial 10ts that are about 6 dB down at 21 Hz, and are rated at 87 dB. They do the fast, punchy bass.

I also have pairs of mid-bass and bass horns that barely get to the upper 20s, and are probably around 105 dB. They do faster, punchier bass. What the horns also do that the Aerials cannot is pressurize the air, and IMO this renders a more believable bass sound. And the horns do it at 85 dB volume. They could be EQ'd lower, but that would only increase distortion.
Probably fair to say all speakers have bass problems.

Just some more than others.
Wes, yes you read a bit of attitude from me.
The 500 hZ statement was added by you, I don't recall just how
Far it was capable of, but I crossed it at 400. I took issue with you
Proposing that it was clearly not possible for the driver to perform
As I had claimed, when in fact it did. Even when I gave you the part
Series, you challenged that it would be easy enough to model.
Sorry for short & abrupt typing, I am out of town typing on my phone
Atmasphere, I'm not disputing what you say about the TAD system, it is a multiple driver system not a 2 way, go back and look at my original response, i said the correct way is with a multi-driver system , no one driver is going to go from 30-500+ hz IMO and still produce high sensitivity it would also produce 2 much distortion IMO.

The OP wanted to know why weak bass, this is what we are attempting to discuss not bashing, but we do have a few insecure text book nimrods on board who believe we all should be Horn Borgs and any disagreement is bashing or hating, of course present company is excluded .. :)
Dan does your horn system have bigger woofers than your Aerial?
Weseixas, you wrote:

no one driver is going to go from 30-500+ hz IMO and still produce high sensitivity it would also produce 2 much distortion IMO.

I guess I take issue with this. The TAD driver I mentioned does exactly this range quite easily, and does do at 97 db. Yet it is quite fast and transparent.

But more recently I have heard some field-coil powered 15" drivers that are even faster and more transparent, and cover the same range yet are more like 98 or 99 db (without a horn). It is used in a speaker that got 'Best Sound at Show' in TAS' CES issue a couple of years ago.
But more recently I have heard some field-coil powered 15" drivers that are even faster and more transparent, and cover the same range yet are more like 98 or 99 db -Atmasphere

Interesting and thanks for the info and response