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Author Topic: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival  (Read 21884 times)

Doug Fowler

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25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« on: March 20, 2013, 02:00:51 pm »

You heard it here first....  :-)

What does that mean?

A couple of years ago I did single ended measurements of various EDM genres using SysTune.  I merely set the averaging to infinite, put the analyzer in RTA mode, and let it run for hours sampling internet streams of trance, house, bass music (drum and bass and dubstep), etc.

One thing that's clear is that there are two frequency bands that dominate the bass region.  50-60 Hz is the norm for for trance, techno, etc., while mid to high 40s seems to dominate dubstep (for sure) and probably drum and bass.  It's not _all_ in these specific regions, but a great deal is.

My theory (and it's just that, nothing "proven") is that 50 Hz has been traditionally chosen because of practical low frequency limits of common subwoofer systems in the past.  They will all do 50 Hz (hopefully :-), and anything below that would be considered gravy.  So to get max oomph out of your average system DJs played on, and presumably home hi-fi setups as well, the bass was focused in an area in which solid reproduction could be guaranteed.

This goes for car systems as well.  I think we're all familiar with the "one note trunk rattler".  I believe it's a fairly simple matter to design a car subwoofer that reproduces one note really well.  I leave it to the reader to speculate what that note may be ;-)

But times are a' changing.

40 Hz is common, 30 Hz is now possible, and in some cases usable sub-30 Hz performance is available, but still fairly rare.  Please don't comment with published manufacturers' specs.  What I heard last weekend at ULTRA confirms this.  There were three systems there that could do 30 Hz, and two for sure that were only a few dB down below that.

1. db audiotechnik J Infra.  Quite expensive, prodigious low frequency output down to 30 Hz, and according to my measurements two years ago, about -4 dB @ 26 Hz.  It definitely delivers the goods.  Beachsound used a different setup, with J subs stacked on top of Infras and it solved the problem of high bass being lost in the crowd when Js are on the ground.  Nice job, Beachsound.

2.  JBL VTX sub, sorry I don't know the model.  I didn't measure this system.  Raul Gonzalez was the system tech and he had it sounding great when I arrived, so we just listened.  The midrange was very clear to my ear, and nothing hurt when pushing test tracks.  It did seem to bark when poorly ripped tracks were played through it.  Subs - lots of extension and the grunt to go with it.  It really came alive when Raul put a + 3dB filter in at 26 Hz.  Very solid subbass sound, I liked it.

3.  BASSMAXX ZV28 -  David Lee has been working on this design for several years now and has improved every iteration.  He used 16x of these beasts on the UMF Worldwide Stage (the "street party" stage), with some uppper bass boxes on top.  We could hear things in tracks that would have not been present with "normal" subs, meaning usable response only down to the mid 40s.  This thing would blur your vision and modulate your voice, no problem.  I have been told this is the weakest of the 2x18 line, with lower power drivers.  I am keen to hear the high power version, this thing is sick.  I have a SysTune measurement of this sub array, attached.  Measurement mic is a Josephson C550H.

So, the low frequency extension is available.  We'll see who actually leverages it in the future. 

Edit: Marker #2 is 24.9 Hz, 12.6 dB

Edit # 2:

Dear DJs - please make better sounding tracks.  We can hear the difference between MP3 and .wav on these systems.  Your audience deserves better.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2013, 12:48:03 am by Doug Fowler »
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Ivan Feder

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 03:26:14 pm »

#1!!  ;D


Dear DJs - please make better sounding tracks.  We can hear the difference between MP3 and .wav on these systems.  Your audience deserves better.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 07:05:59 pm »

Some of us have realized the need for solid bass down that low for awhile :).

One thing that is often overlooked is actually LISTENING to the subs.  What happens to a lot of subs that "claim" low freq reproduction-is that at those low freq-the distortion is so hig-as is is actually louder and masks the low fundamentals.

Delivering bass that low-loud is not an easy thing to do-and also do it without sounding "flubby".

It is very important to LISTEN to the loudspeakers-not just read the spec sheets-as they don't tell the whole story.
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Doug Fowler

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 07:39:24 pm »

Some of us have realized the need for solid bass down that low for awhile :).

One thing that is often overlooked is actually LISTENING to the subs.  What happens to a lot of subs that "claim" low freq reproduction-is that at those low freq-the distortion is so hig-as is is actually louder and masks the low fundamentals.

Delivering bass that low-loud is not an easy thing to do-and also do it without sounding "flubby".

It is very important to LISTEN to the loudspeakers-not just read the spec sheets-as they don't tell the whole story.

All that, and the fact that if you have that super deep LF extension, the stuff that is an octave higher is being reproduced almost effortlessly. 
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John Heinz

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 09:16:20 pm »

You've hit the nail on the head about the resolution of modern PA systems. I'm always amazed at guys who tune a PA with an Ipod and then complain about not having a Big Ben wordclock. The trick is the boxes can go that low, but can the amps hold up over time. Think there is going to be a new category of power amps for sale, the Bass Pump. I'd love to see someone do a shootout of big amps holding low tones at full power over time.

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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 09:26:46 pm »

I'd love to see someone do a shootout of big amps holding low tones at full power over time.



See link
http://www.speakerpower.net/comparative-performance.html

I believe the long term power ratings are "forever" ratings. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 09:29:31 pm by David Sturzenbecher »
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Doug Fowler

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 09:51:23 pm »

You've hit the nail on the head about the resolution of modern PA systems. I'm always amazed at guys who tune a PA with an Ipod and then complain about not having a Big Ben wordclock. The trick is the boxes can go that low, but can the amps hold up over time. Think there is going to be a new category of power amps for sale, the Bass Pump. I'd love to see someone do a shootout of big amps holding low tones at full power over time.

John Heinz
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In fairness, I have .wav on my iPod for test tracks and a Send Station line level output device, so it's pretty good.

Point taken, though.
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paul bell

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 11:04:26 pm »

I'm thinking Speaker Power is what's being used in the BASSMAXX speakers.

Interesting thread, thanks Doug for posting up the info.

I too have a selection of WAV files in my phone.

And I agree with Ivan about listening, many subs today get loud & go low but how's their sound quality ?
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Christian Tepfer

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AW: Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 02:59:23 am »

I'm thinking Speaker Power is what's being used in the BASSMAXX speakers.

Interesting thread, thanks Doug for posting up the info.

I too have a selection of WAV files in my phone.

And I agree with Ivan about listening, many subs today get loud & go low but how's their sound quality ?
I agree that subs can reach lower end frequencies nowadays. We should not forget the time domain, how do they reproduce the audio material? Is a bass note really just a note or do we end up with a bass "carpet"? There is still a long way to go imho.

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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: 25 Hz is the new 50 Hz - ULTRA Music Festival
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 08:40:50 am »

Doug,
Could you detail the deployment of the subs at the three systems you identified? Flown, L-R under an array hang, center clustered?

Thanks!
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