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Author Topic: Sub or Woofer  (Read 7835 times)

Canute J. Chiverton

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Sub or Woofer
« on: July 06, 2013, 07:35:46 pm »

I see a lot of misguided labeling of Speakers. I was watching a Video where the chap was calling the 12" Bass Speaker in a two way cabinet a Sub. What are the true Technical definitions, from a Sound Engineering standpoint for, 1. Bass Speaker 2. Woofer 3. Sub Woofer?
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Kevin McDonough

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 06:32:24 am »

I see a lot of misguided labeling of Speakers. I was watching a Video where the chap was calling the 12" Bass Speaker in a two way cabinet a Sub. What are the true Technical definitions, from a Sound Engineering standpoint for, 1. Bass Speaker 2. Woofer 3. Sub Woofer?

Dont know if I could give you specific definitions for some of it.

Woofer is obviously the easiest one, its the speaker driver, the paper cone and magnet system that moves and makes the noise.

'Bass speaker' and 'sub woofer' to me would be more about the general accepted opinion than a specific definition, and they are a bit interchangeable. However to me, a bass speaker would be a speaker playing anything within the bass range from low down up to about 120 or 150Hz where as a subwoofer specifically deals with the lower sub frequencies, from 30 to maybe 70 or 80 Hz or so.

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Mac Kerr

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 10:46:23 am »

I see a lot of misguided labeling of Speakers. I was watching a Video where the chap was calling the 12" Bass Speaker in a two way cabinet a Sub. What are the true Technical definitions, from a Sound Engineering standpoint for, 1. Bass Speaker 2. Woofer 3. Sub Woofer?

I don't think you'll find any real definitions, but "sub woofer" sort of implies there is also a "woofer" to be below.

Generally I think it is agreed that a subwoofer is not in the same box as the rest to a full range system. The full range system may include highs mids and lows (or just highs and lows, or just everything), and may require multiple amp channels, but generally the sub woofer will be a separate system.

Mac
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 12:46:09 pm »

What are the true Technical definitions, from a Sound Engineering standpoint for, 1. Bass Speaker 2. Woofer 3. Sub Woofer?

By definition "sub" means "below" as in sub zero implies below zero, the same applies in audio and technically "sub" implies sub sonic but that definition has to be given a broader definition in Pro audio because for the most part sub sonic frequencies are not reproduced, instead "subs" are assigned the lowest octaves which are typically about 30hz to 100hz give or take.
The low frequency driver in most fullrange PA cabs can reproduce frequencies that dip into the "pro sub" range but it won't do it with any authority so in most cases these cabs are crossed over to dedicated subs at 80-100hz and it's more correct to refer to this driver as a woofer or low-mid.
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Canute J. Chiverton

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 11:56:22 pm »

By definition "sub" means "below" as in sub zero implies below zero, the same applies in audio and technically "sub" implies sub sonic but that definition has to be given a broader definition in Pro audio because for the most part sub sonic frequencies are not reproduced, instead "subs" are assigned the lowest octaves which are typically about 30hz to 100hz give or take.
The low frequency driver in most fullrange PA cabs can reproduce frequencies that dip into the "pro sub" range but it won't do it with any authority so in most cases these cabs are crossed over to dedicated subs at 80-100hz and it's more correct to refer to this driver as a woofer or low-mid.

I don't think you'll find any real definitions, but "sub woofer" sort of implies there is also a "woofer" to be below.

Generally I think it is agreed that a subwoofer is not in the same box as the rest to a full range system. The full range system may include highs mids and lows (or just highs and lows, or just everything), and may require multiple amp channels, but generally the sub woofer will be a separate system.

Mac
Ok help me out here then. Lets suppose I have a 3 way system with an Active/Electronic crossover and 3 separate cabinets (Bass, Mids and Highs) Tri Amped.
Bass is crossed over at 200hz to below
Mids are between 200hz - 4K
Highs 4K and above
Is this low end considered A Sub or just a Bass Cabinet?
Based on your recommended Sub Definitions, in order to get a true sub, would I then have to change those settings on the Crossover and add another Bass /Sub cabinet crossed over independently (Such as DSP on an Amp) at 100hx to below?  Whereas the other bass speaker then becomes a Mid Bass, Crossed over lets say at 100hz - 400hz.
Adding that lower frequency range 100hz and below would then make the system a 4 way, right?
I am thinking that the settings (Crossover points) is what would determine the name of the low end. Not trying to complicated things here just to make sure I get facts straight.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 12:03:28 am »

Ok help me out here then. Lets suppose I have a 3 way system with an Active/Electronic crossover and 3 separate cabinets (Bass, Mids and Highs) Tri Amped.
Bass is crossed over at 200hz to below
Mids are between 200hz - 4K
Highs 4K and above
Is this low end considered A Sub or just a Bass Cabinet?
Based on your recommended Sub Definitions, in order to get a true sub, would I then have to change those settings on the Crossover and add another Bass /Sub cabinet crossed over independently (Such as DSP on an Amp) at 100hx to below?  Whereas the other bass speaker then becomes a Mid Bass, Crossed over lets say at 100hz - 400hz.
Adding that lower frequency range 100hz and below would then make the system a 4 way, right?
I am thinking that the settings (Crossover points) is what would determine the name of the low end. Not trying to complicated things here just to make sure I get facts straight.

To me, you would have a 3 way full range system with no subs. You have a woofer, you do not have a sub woofer below it.

It there is only 1 low frequency element, it's not a subwoofer.

Mac
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Canute J. Chiverton

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 12:13:47 am »

To me, you would have a 3 way full range system with no subs. You have a woofer, you do not have a sub woofer below it.

It there is only 1 low frequency element, it's not a subwoofer.

Mac
So a Low/Hi Pass Filter on these new speakers don't really make for a sub then. Forgive the confusion.
If you would then tell me how I can have a Three Way, Tri Amp System utilizing three boxes, Highs, Mids and Lows. Where would a Sub fit in?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 12:16:31 am by Canute J. Chiverton »
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Ryan C. Davis

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 01:58:25 am »

you are sure putting a lot of effort into naming these drivers. I think understanding what type of driver is effective in what freq range is far more important than what you call them. A subwoofer is still a woofer, right? just like a mid range driver of the same makeup would also be a woofer. I think you can call it what you want, call it "papa bass bass" for all it matters.

As far as the subwoofer itself goes, I think Mac has it right, when someone talks about a subwoofer I think about something totally on its own from the full range cabinet.

Quote from: Mac Kerr
...but generally the sub woofer will be a separate system.
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Ryan Davis

Canute J. Chiverton

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 09:14:15 am »

Ok Thanks for all the input. I have two pairs of JBL Scoops (Old Vintage) that I run as Bass and that is what I have always called them, Bass cabinets not subs. Their transducers are capable of going down into Sub Range. I sometimes run a two way system or three way system but none of the other cabinets have woofers in them just Tweeter Cabinet, Midrange Cabinet and the Scoops. Again thanks for the insight.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Sub or Woofer
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 12:33:17 pm »

Ok Thanks for all the input. I have two pairs of JBL Scoops (Old Vintage) that I run as Bass and that is what I have always called them, Bass cabinets not subs. Their transducers are capable of going down into Sub Range. I sometimes run a two way system or three way system but none of the other cabinets have woofers in them just Tweeter Cabinet, Midrange Cabinet and the Scoops. Again thanks for the insight.

Maybe if I use different word it will be clearer. Starting from the high end of a multiway system; Highs, Mids, Bass, SUB Bass.

As Ryan said, they're just names. If the low end of your 3 way system goes below 40Hz, you may not need subs, so why worry?

Mac
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