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Author Topic: Really big sub, bad pic  (Read 6555 times)

Duane Massey

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Really big sub, bad pic
« on: March 28, 2010, 06:18:52 pm »

http://i44.tinypic.com/9ih36o.jpg

Approx dimensions were 17' wide, 7' tall (inside), and 23' deep.
Had 5 TAD1601 woofers, each receiving a massive 80watts each!

Yes, that is drywall (2 layers over 4 layers of 3/8" plywood, all glued together)). The fire marshall insisted these were room structures and had to have gypsum coverage.

There were a pair in this room (roughly 10,000 sq'). This was in the later 70's.
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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

Ben Lawrence

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 07:55:31 am »

The original Matterhorn

Silas Pradetto

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 09:19:48 am »

I want to live in a subwoofer!
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 10:44:44 am »

Although this pic doesn't show it, the top of the cabinets were constructed of 2x12's on 12" centers. They were topped by floors with metal railings and spiral staircases, along with a couple of stand-up tables and a few stools.

The walls were also constructed of a mixture of 2x6's and 2x4's, with the "cavities" filled with sand.

No handles were provided.
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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

Art Welter

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 02:38:27 pm »

Duane Massey wrote on Tue, 30 March 2010 08:44

Although this pic doesn't show it, the top of the cabinets were constructed of 2x12's on 12" centers. They were topped by floors with metal railings and spiral staircases, along with a couple of stand-up tables and a few stools.

The walls were also constructed of a mixture of 2x6's and 2x4's, with the "cavities" filled with sand.

No handles were provided.


How did they sound?
What did the rest of the system consist of?

Art Welter
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 07:55:51 pm »

Art, I can honestly say that I've never heard their equal. Admittedly, we were limited by the fact that vinyl was the predominate media in that era, but we did bring in a 1/2 track reel machine with an "audiophile" recording of a few selections, including "1812 Overture". Disco was the big thing at first, so we did have a lot of "boom boom" happening.

When a decent cut was played, you could place a balloon at about 10' from the mouth of one of the horns and it would move off the dance floor within a few measures. The low end was very accurate; if the recording went "bump" the system went "BUMP". not "boom". If you walked into the horn mouth (which was not uncommon for the patrons) your chest would feel quite a bit of impact, but the it was difficult to see any speaker cone movement, even while shining a flashlight on the cones.

The rest of the system consisted of 4 Community Leviathans w/ Wilder woofers, 4 Community horns w/ TAD 4001's, and 4 Community horns w/ TAD 2001's. Electronics (the weakest part of the system) was all custom-built by our company, and was a pile of mono 80-watt amps with 2 mono 4-way crossovers.

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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

Art Welter

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 09:43:43 pm »

Being impressed with 8 foot long straight horns around the time you built this, I can imagine a 23 foot deep horn would be a stunner.

How many 80 watt modules were used on the sub?
Ever measure the SPL?
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 10:01:49 pm »

Art, we didn't have test gear back then, just our ears. Not exactly a high-tech company just some partially insane guys who gravitated towards the unusual. Each 15" woofer in the big horns  had it's own amplifier. The Levi's were each driven by one amp, and the horns were paired up on separate amps.

Somewhere there are pics of the construction process, and the best one shows one of us inside the compression section installing the woofers. To perform this task, there was a removable "hatch" on the top, and we had to lower ourselves into the compression section to bolt in the woofers. We even built a ladder inside as part of the structure.

I will probably never get the chance to build something like this again, although we did build a few smaller horns over time. Lot of work, but a lot of fun (and satisfaction).
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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

George Friedman-Jimenez

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 07:12:11 pm »

How did the sound quality compare to a modern well tuned system in the same size room?
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2010, 07:53:51 pm »

George, that's a difficult question to answer. To this day I've never heard any system with the low-freq response at full volume, period. These were a pair of full-size, no-compromise 20hz horns, and they were the tightest subs at high volume levels that I've ever heard.

The rest of the system was less impressive, although it sounded quite good. This was a dance system, and the focus was only on the dance floor. When you were on the floor it was extremely clear and transparent, even at high levels, and the dynamic range was flawless. Of course, nothing in the system was working very hard.

Would it compare to a $ 250k system of today? Maybe. maybe not, but the entire system cost the client less than $ 20k. I will say that the dynamic range was as good or better than anything I've heard. It would have been interesting to hear a well-produced CD instead of vinyl, as that was the biggest limitation of the system.
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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

George Friedman-Jimenez

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 07:37:00 am »

Very interesting that you say they were the "tightest" subs at high volume that you ever heard, and had excellent dynamic range.
How many 15" woofers did you have in each, and how were they placed in the vertical dimension?
I know you say you had no measuring equipment, but in the design process, did you calculate the group delay?
You say there were 2 of them and you used them for playing back vinyl recordings, so I imagine your system was stereo, right?
Did you run the bass mono?
Do you remember where the crossover frequency was?
Ever use them for live sound?
Very interesting.
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 10:29:45 am »

George, there were 5 woofers in each cabinet, and they were spaced 1" apart. It doesn't show in this pic, but the throat opening was approx 5". I believe the croosover point was fixed at 90hz, but I honestly don't remember, as the crossover was designed by our engineer, Rick Wheeler, who also did the research into the horn design. No delays, no limiters, no processing other than the simple crossover.

My description of the system's performance can only be relayed in subjective terms, and it's difficult to compare apples to oranges (not to mention my hearing at age 27 as opposed to age 58), but technology was very different back then. When I use the term "tight" I am referring to the lack of colorization to the sound reproduction at high volume levels. As I described earlier, when the subs were being driven at full volume the woofers were barely moving, and there was absolutely no vibration in the cabinets.

The system was not designed for live music, and the original club was a disco. When the venue changed owners it was turned into a live rock venue, but the bands (with one exception) did not use the system, as the stage was built in front of two of the hanging speakers, and between the sub horns. The exception was my band, and we would run a feed into the subs only. "Jaw-dropping" was the term most often used in describing the kick drum, and the location of the stage was almost ideal, as the drums were located just outside the pattern of the sub horns.

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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

John Norris

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2010, 12:34:26 pm »

Duane - what a fascinating post. This is the first time I've ever read about a sub of these gargantuan proportions being used in a commercial venue.  

You use the past tense to describe the sub. Does it not still exist within the building that used to be a disco?
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Duane Massey

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2010, 10:54:12 pm »

John, the original club was Studio 1000, a teen club. It was sold a year later and was turned into a rock club, The Limit, and was successful for a few years, with the sound system remaining intact.

After a decline in business, the club was sold to another owner to be used as a C&W club called Diamondback Saloon (associated with Ken Stabler). The "sound expert" who was hired for the remodel determined that the cabinets were fake, some sort of gimmick, and convinced the owners to demolition the pair without even hearing the system. They had to bring in some heavy equipment for the task, and it took several days (and a lot more than the "expert" had told them it would cost).

All of the gear was sold off for next to nothing. If I would have known what was happening I would have bought all the TAD components
if possible.

I've built several "sub monsters" since then, but that was the first and most impressive.
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Duane Massey
Houston, Texas, USA

drewgandy

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Re: Really big sub, bad pic
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 12:37:21 pm »

Duane Massey wrote on Sun, 04 April 2010 21:54

John, the original club was Studio 1000.....
All of the gear was sold off for next to nothing......
I've built several "sub monsters" since then, but that was the first and most impressive.


Such sad stories all the time.  

drew
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