those deep articulate notes are still found in larger acoustic suspension designs, but unfortunatly many of today's audiophiles are hung up on an overly articulate midrange at the expense of balance. the popularity of a speaker that plays flat, is well...flat.
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Some music simply has no low bass. When such music is played on a system with great LF extension it may not sound as good as when played on a system with less bass. This is because all recordings have some extreme LF noise, and if there is no LF music to mask it the noise can be annoying. Also, the extraneous LF signal has an adverse effect on speakers that are reproducing the higher frequency music.
1. It is really hard to do good bass without compromising other things... ie changing the toe-in to get good non-lumpy bass and then having imaging and soundstaging suffer.
2. Once I feel like you have good bass, it varies so much from recording to recording that it seems like I am constantly fiddlng with things depending on the recording.. what makes double bass sound defined and good may not make kick-drum sound all that wonderful. Of all things I am constantly messing with, below 60 is is the one, sadly. I think lots of people just give up for the sake of all the information above.
I own Zuaudio's Definition 1.5. I have had many speakers in the past 30 years, but the Definitions are the first speaker that I have owned that do deep, visceral, palpable, air-moving bass and give up very little in the midrange. Very little!! Of course a total of (12) 10 inch woofers helps moves the air a tad. warren :)
I am in the process of re-establishing my 2 channel system and that is really one of the goals...lots of strong, clean tight bass...low growl vibrating the rib cage
What you seek is expensive. It will also be big and ugly rather than a gorgeous piece of fashionable furntiure. Furthermoree, most people wish to remain friendly with neighbours! These are the reasons it is not widely available from your local Hi-Fi dealer.
Bose acoustimass is an early example of how low cost bass from a 4th order compound band pass design has become acceptable to many consumers and proved that aesthetic considerations dominate consumer choices (not vibrating rib cages).
Today, given the lack of marketed designs to the contrary, many feel that ported designs offer a correct and accurate bass sound...acoustimass may be at one extreme but you get the idea. (Acoustimass are great value for what they do and hence their success)
What you seek requires stupendous levels of undistorted energy around 20 Hz...unfortunately it is expensive to create serious amounts of ultra LF without filling the 60 to 120 Hz region with ugly harmonics; excessive harmonics quickly result in an overly dominating bass to the ears (you can barely hear 20Hz but you can readily hear 120 Hz, indeed your ears are some 38 decibels more sensitive at 80 Hz than at 20 Hz).
This is why rock concerts/night clubs are often the place to feel the music...they can afford the professional loud speaker systems that you crave....systems that produce 20 Hz without tons of unwanted harmonics in the mid bass.
1) find an old second hand large studio main monitor (Tannoy, Altec, Genelec, Westlake, PMC, ATC, Meyer etc.)...you can probably get something for $5k second hand that you will also be able to feel in the rib cage (shipping could be a major hurdle).
2) look for several high quality subs to couple with smaller two channel speakers (you probably need at least a couple of 15" woofers driven by 1000 watts each for vibrating the rib cage...again this is not cheap and achieving synergy may not necessarily be easy)
You didn't mention your room size. If it's rather small, a good sub will help pressurize the environment. If you want to rock the house, then you'll need either the aforementioned monitors or a pair of large floor standers with a sub for each channel. The system's overall output SPL will decide the effect.
Although acoustic music doesn't go as loud as amplified rock, my large collection of organ CDs will get my Velodyne ULD-15II to rattle the kitchen windows downstairs from 32 Hz down to 16Hz. I can't hear the fundamental but I sure can feel it.
Integrating the sub with the main speakers is a chore though. It's all about balance. But, if you like, crank up the sub!
Basically I agree with Shadorne that multiple large drivers (in sealed enclosures) is the way to go. I have such a SW system installed as part of my house, and therefore no huge enclosures are visible. However, I must admit that I have heard some very impressive bass from the original Klipshorns (one horn-loaded 15" driver). Maybe it doesn't do down to 20Hz, but it will flap your trouser legs.
Not to forget the Klipshorn corner horn. The Eton towers pictured on my system page also move air. Klipshorn with about 20 watts, Eton more like 400. Had some great parties with those speakers when I was a bit younger. My neighbors must have been very tolerant, I guess:) Seems like I read about the bass drivers in rock concerts being servo-motor driven cones. Is that true?
Hey try living in a tiny condo with a fledgling interior decorator. Some of us are happily resigned to small speakers, and the right small speaker in the right room can give you all the bass you'll ever need. I'm totally happy with my monitors, though a sub might be nice. However a sub is a great way to piss off the neighbors so no dice. Such is life.
Oh thanks for all the great comments. I am currently rebuilding my old VMPS Tower II floor speakers. 7 drivers per tower with 3- 12" woofers in each. They are capable of delivering the bass and are biamped vertically with a pair of NAD 2700's. The room is small but it is what I have.
I wonder if the pair of Monitor Audio Silver 8i's, I have would give better sound if I add a sub? How would that be tied in? Should it be self powered? The Monitors are pretty new and more accurate.
Everyone has their own niche of good sound. Sure, you have your bass freaks, your resolution freaks, your musical freaks, your detail (high's) freaks, your soundstage freaks, your imaging freaks, your midrange freaks, your speed freaks......well you get the idea. Step right up and get your freak on!
If your butt bouncing makes you happy, well turn it up!
Personally, I'm with the midrange freaks. I like good bass, but I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to bass. Bass definition means more to me than absolute bass power. It has to be tight and well defined, no bass bloat for me, thank you. However, to me the midrange is where the magic happens, this is the goosebump territory for me.
I'm with Jmcgrogan2 above ^^ (midrange junkie)
I hear and feel exactly what Blueskies describes when I visit my friends at a very Hi-End auto shop, where they do custom installs including JL sealed subs (not the boom-boom stuff either)
I've watched these guys lay-out a Rolls Royce, exotic sports, muscle cars, you name it.
I visit them quite often and audition many of their big $$$$ installs, very impressive sound.
The kind of excitement you get at a good amusement park riding the wild rides while the classic jams are crankin.
I don't think you're talking about feeling air move from what I have read from some of the posts. You are into being pounded by SPL nadir Hz bass that most of us audiophools, while loving it every once in awhile, would not trade the beauty of the mids for. Ass kicking bass? sure enough. But what you're looking for? I go to concerts for that.
I understand that bass divides the men from the boys speaker-wise. Should it be felt? Well depends. If you mean should it be felt at all times, then the answer is no. On the other hand, if you mean that when necessary should it be felt, then I resoundingly say yes. You seem to favour amplified music and use rock concerts as your baseline. Doing this will, in my opinion, inevitably lead to too much bass of the boomy variety. Since many people augment the bass with a sub and, therefore, have to adjust the level of the bass (leaving aside the cutoff point and slope) I think that you can, no matter how unnatural, get the type of bass you want with a sub, decently sized main speakers and enough power, bearing in my mind that the fundamentals of the lowest note of an electric bass are not near the sub woofer region. Doing this will take a strain off the main speakers' woofer(s) and the amplifier driving it (them) and provide cleaner bass in the frequencies that matter bass-wise in music. So, I think your question probably has more to do with the volume of the bass heard and how clean it is than with how very low it will go.
I agree with you Blueskiespbd....however, some people do not have the skills, room, budget, desire, need....or any number of "other reasons" to consider those freq's important to their overall musical enjoyment.
Myself.....deep bass is a "must have" to truly enjoy some of my music. I'm very lucky to have a large dedicated room, and the components to provide this enjoyment. (was not always the case...bass was not very good in my old room).
In my experience, I also have come to the same conclusion as Blueskiepbd.
The reasons I place on not getting bass right are:
1) Incorrect loudspeaker placement. For the best explanation of this, see Romy The Cat's Article on "The Dead Points of Live Sound" http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=994 The speaker-room interface is the MOST important link in the audio chain, bar none. Any deviation from this, and I do not care what it is (formulas, computer models, the way 99.9999% of us including me have sited our speakers, WAF, etc.) renders most of the rest of the argument of one's system to me, moot - you simply are not getting anywhere near the most out of your system. And, while the conventional wisdom is to push the speakers towards walls for low frequency reinforcement, the opposite is true - most audiophiles have not pulled them out enough (try it).
2) Ignoring the Fletcher-Munson Curve. While I'm obviously far more of a subjectivist, unless we turn up the volume to levels beyond where oh so many audiophiles listen, there will be no bass felt or heard.
3) Improper amplifier-loudspeaker matching. While I don't use high power solid state amplification, most of us know the pendulum has swung the other way. And, for many running low power tubes, their respective loudspeakers are too demanding a load to produce the entire frequency spectrum.
Finally, "better" bass means quality AND quantity. Either without the other is most definitely not "better bass".
For those bass lovers...try Black Eyed Peas, "They Don't want Music" with James Brown....it is certainly fun, even if it is a bit over compressed (like most modern pop CD's). It will certainly test your room RT and driver damping, as it has some very closely spaced bass notes.
For those mid range lovers, I hear you and agree....I would never trade good mid range for bass that clouds the lower mids with third order harmonic distortion.
Quality before quantity...
Glad to know there is some support out there for the concept of paying attention to the bass. No, I don't want overpowering bass, muddy bass etc. Let's reproduce what is on the source for a change. I like what Pbb said.."the bass separates the men from the boys..." Does PBB mean Play Big Bass? lol
For me if I listen to a piece that has good bass and it is not being reproduced by the system it usually a problem with the owner's attitude toward bass. I mean if it were important wouldn't it be addressed? I know the room size ais a major factor but can't adjustment be made even in a smaller room to properly try to get the lower notes out of any system. Bass is a stepchild...bass is forgotten and so lonely and ignored by too many Aphiles. Oh you want some low bass? try Jennifer Warnes..The Hunter- Way down Deep intro...
viseral doesn't mean boom...most audiophiles judge loudspeakers using the most simple recordings. its the big stuff..classical/orchestra, progressive rock, jazz/big band, and yes, even border-metal such as zepplin, deep durple, etc, where speakers that pretend to have a flat response and tonal accuracy from top to bottom fall apart. Even the weight of low piano notes can have a viseral impact through a good design, big or small. when you hear the generalization that the midrange on a pair of speakers is a bit recessed, its often because we've all been trained by much of what's out there to pay too much attention to the mids. this in turn causes complaints about the sound of many cd's and vintage lp's. who has ever heard 'exile on mainstreet'or 'london calling' used in a demo? its always that 'whisple' recording (whispy female voice, and simple instrumentation) that pretty much 'can't' sound bad on anything. if we aren't getting a somewhat realistic overview of whats on the recording, why is someone's fingers sliding on a string the basis for a purchase?
Jaybo...Point well taken that audiophiles, and store demos, usually focus on imaging, and that is best exhibited by small speakers of limited LF extension. I have come to realize that "superb imaging" with that female vocalist somehow levitated in space between the two speakers is a really synthetic (dare I say phony) phenomena. It depends on critical speaker placement and room treatment, and the listener immobilized at a "sweet spot". I know the effect well, but have become a bit tired of it. I much prefer a multichannel system, where sound sources can be actually placed around my room instead of being "projected" by some psycho acoustic trick.