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Author Topic: Question on sub/system setup for EDM  (Read 24005 times)

J. Taylor Webb

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Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« on: June 15, 2012, 07:47:56 pm »

First I have to admit
A) None of these techniques are my own ideas
B) This current thought process is totally inspired by an article in May's LSI
about the unique and amazing systems at the Ultra Music Festival.

OK, the question -
Who out there that's reinforcing EDM for live events(or other?)is combining different
subs to cover various freq ranges ? Not just slight variations, but different formats
altogether? I keep hearing that shouldn't be done, even with separate signals/frequencies.

I have been doing this for years, with a much smaller scale mind you, and I feel some of the results have been quite good. SO, the concept on a larger scale really interests me.

A couple of things I'm most interested in
* Is a five(or even six) way system overkill, and just outdated with modern technology and driver/enclosures? Who has pushed the envelope on this?

* How really difficult is getting the crossover region(s) coherent with mixed horns and direct radiators on larger scales ? - and what kind of slopes and filter types do better for some of these ? Does combining modest underlapping with specific filters ever help?-  etc.

* Do horn loaded subs do better for the lowest octave; or ... are there specific advantages to using DR boxes for that ( as in the UM Festival example).
I use blocks of horns to get extension, and that has seemed to do OK on the smaller scales
events I've worked with, so curiosity has set in there.

A few other things ...
Any general rules of thumb for this type of thing?(other than don't do it) ;)   
On the lowest infra bass region, what are some more common freq. bandwidths?
How far up do some of you go with these additional boxes; i.e. - past the traditional 80-100hz
or so sub/full range xover point?(as in the UMF example)
I do realize that this is all really only good for the bass driven EDM stuff, and wouldn't see real advantage to most live music.

Last note - This isn't a question about horns vs. direct radiators, we've all been down that road(too many times?)

OK, I might be over-thinking this, and Iv'e probably stirred up the waters enough for one day.
Thanks in advance
Taylor




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Taylor Webb

Matt Long

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2012, 10:34:15 pm »

the Answer- I do.
Typically because in a given circumstance is not ideal. Usually because the equipment at hand is a hodgepodge of gear acquired over the years in various states of repair, mostly bad, and I come to try and save the day [shoot me now]. I specialize in Electronic dance music in the San Francisco Bay area and have mastered the art of the FRANKENSYSTEM! Basically taking parts from dead or bad systems and combining them to create monster sound. The challenge lies in delivering both punchy mid-bass and Deep bass lines that often have fundamentals well below 40hz while avoiding IM distortion in the woofers covering the range in to the 1k area.

And with some electronic music, like drum and bass and dubstep, the mid-bass contains long note sustains  that can really make the IM obvious to any listener, especially if vocals are also present. This is the case in a typical 3 way set-up (think JBL SRX) or even a not so great 4 way (think QSC KW series). What will happen is the highly compressed narrow dynamic range program material will be played as loud as the DJ is aloud to. Often times clipping the channel on the mixer, and or the master out, unless the tech turns it down themself and stands there looking pissed(especially if the dj is from the UK). So you get clipped over-compressed full spectrum signal and your job is to make it sound good, because if not, it's your fault...(right).

Even if the DJ behaves there is an inherent challenge that these music styles present. They will quickly expose any weak links in the signal chain, be it available power because the long sustaining bass drains amp capacitors quickly, or a lack of protective limiting (keep recone kits around don't wait for them to blow), or all to common and under addressed is Inter-Modulation Distortion caused by a group of drivers covering too wide of a band. The IM distortion of a system caused by electronic music tends to happen at the upper end of the bass spectrum from about 90-140(one might even say 180). This is exacerbated by the way DJs use the DJ mixer Eqs with the bass knob at 2-4 o'clock(unity being 12). If a woofer and amp that make up the band in question have to keep up with this midbass assault while handling transients >=3 octaves higher trouble often arises. So if a track is heavy at 100hz that band will have trouble with 800hz or greater.

So that is why I use different sets of subwoofers that cover 3 ranges: bass 40-80, mid-bass 80-150  and infra-bass 20-40. Note that each band is only one octave wide, this really helps. If I can't get Infra-bass due to limitations I use 2 bands 36-74 and 76-140ish. These are averages that I use and each different set of speakers will have different "alignments" lets say. Although time/phase aligning such systems that are not designed to play nice with each other can be a nightmare. Try getting turbosound flashlight single 21's to work with funktion one 218s in the same stack...time align based on length of horn and sweep down their freq range. BAZAAR! It kind of sounds like bad dubstep more than a sine sweep. then sweep back up and it's totally different. I think it's from an air pressure reactance type effect of the misaligned phase curves. But I digress.

Sorry about the rant. I've got some pent up angst from fighting dj's over their levels. But I hope I've been able to explain my experiences and resulting techniques clearly(ish).

I would like to note that a proper system with high quality gear is much more forgiving. SH-46's over TH-118s are all you really need...or DBH218-LCQPRS(or whatever its called).

Best of luck
/endrant
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 05:39:41 pm »

First I have to admit
A) None of these techniques are my own ideas
B) This current thought process is totally inspired by an article in May's LSI
about the unique and amazing systems at the Ultra Music Festival.

OK, the question -
Who out there that's reinforcing EDM for live events(or other?)is combining different
subs to cover various freq ranges ? Not just slight variations, but different formats
altogether? I keep hearing that shouldn't be done, even with separate signals/frequencies.

I have been doing this for years, with a much smaller scale mind you, and I feel some of the results have been quite good. SO, the concept on a larger scale really interests me.

A couple of things I'm most interested in
* Is a five(or even six) way system overkill, and just outdated with modern technology and driver/enclosures? Who has pushed the envelope on this?

* How really difficult is getting the crossover region(s) coherent with mixed horns and direct radiators on larger scales ? - and what kind of slopes and filter types do better for some of these ? Does combining modest underlapping with specific filters ever help?-  etc.

* Do horn loaded subs do better for the lowest octave; or ... are there specific advantages to using DR boxes for that ( as in the UM Festival example).
I use blocks of horns to get extension, and that has seemed to do OK on the smaller scales
events I've worked with, so curiosity has set in there.

A few other things ...
Any general rules of thumb for this type of thing?(other than don't do it) ;)   
On the lowest infra bass region, what are some more common freq. bandwidths?
How far up do some of you go with these additional boxes; i.e. - past the traditional 80-100hz
or so sub/full range xover point?(as in the UMF example)
I do realize that this is all really only good for the bass driven EDM stuff, and wouldn't see real advantage to most live music.

Last note - This isn't a question about horns vs. direct radiators, we've all been down that road(too many times?)

OK, I might be over-thinking this, and Iv'e probably stirred up the waters enough for one day.
Thanks in advance
Taylor

In EDM, I have found there are three important areas, most of which was addressed in the LSI piece:

Smack - mid-bass, as Matt says.
Meat - where the majority of LF content lies, genre dependent
Drop - below 40 Hz.

For trance, house, and techno (mostly, not an iron-clad rule by any means), the meat normally lies between 50-60 Hz.  55 Hz is a good target frequency for optimization (and rear cancellation).

For dubstep, the meat lies lower, mid-40s normally in my experience.

Drop can happen any time, regardless of genre.

I believe horn-loaded systems offer the best 'smack'.  BASSMAXX (David Lee), as the article pointed out, has been optimizing his setup for a couple of years now using a direct radiator and a horn loaded box together.

At InfoComm, EAW introduced a new sub in the new Avalon series.  I don't recall the model, but it is a 21" direct radiator with a horn loaded component in one box.  I have not yet heard it.  EAW engineering did tell me they have spent quite a bit of time tweaking the interaction between the two components to get the desired result.  I think they are on the correct path.

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Jon Geissinger

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 06:36:26 pm »

Unqualified response:
LabSubs on the bottom
Altec A7s for the rest
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Doug Fowler

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Matt Long

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2012, 04:46:29 am »

Info on the new EAW EDM sub:

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/eastern_acoustic_works_debuts_next-generation_sub.two_subwoofer_system/

Interesting,
Thanks for the info Doug. I'm not a big fan of the Avalon Series in general. I've spent a good amount of time fixing and/or "moding" these as well as the LA series(not a big fan of either). But it does sound like EAW is trying to step it up. Please note I'm not trying to bag on EAW, Their KF series rocks. I've used the bassmaxx Trips/Deuces often and can attest to the fact that direct radiator subs with these is challenging but also can be rewarding. I usually DR Subs for the mid-Smack. A good note on this point that Sealed subs work better in these array due to the lower group delay presented by a port, often times in the region I'm trying to cross over and the filter add more delay. Any consideration you can do prior to setting up a complex array concerning alignment issues will help out a lot when you go to set up and are setting the delays. I tried to use an all pass filter on the fly in sound web london to match a vented box with a horn(not tapped) on the fly and gave up eventually. Only with a good plot of the phase response of each cabinet have I ever had any success with that correction method.

At the end of the day I'd throw a bunch of easy to move and stack, TH-118's at it, done....Possibly with a center cluster of 4-8 DTS10s flat stacked in 2x2 - 2x4 mouths in the middle or some TH-221s for extension below 34. Just be sure your 3 way mains can keep up at the crossover point. Like SH46, Res4, or KF750.

-Matt
San Francisco, CA
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Doug Fowler

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2012, 12:33:25 pm »

Interesting,
Thanks for the info Doug. I'm not a big fan of the Avalon Series in general. I've spent a good amount of time fixing and/or "moding" these as well as the LA series(not a big fan of either). But it does sound like EAW is trying to step it up. Please note I'm not trying to bag on EAW, Their KF series rocks. I've used the bassmaxx Trips/Deuces often and can attest to the fact that direct radiator subs with these is challenging but also can be rewarding. I usually DR Subs for the mid-Smack. A good note on this point that Sealed subs work better in these array due to the lower group delay presented by a port, often times in the region I'm trying to cross over and the filter add more delay. Any consideration you can do prior to setting up a complex array concerning alignment issues will help out a lot when you go to set up and are setting the delays. I tried to use an all pass filter on the fly in sound web london to match a vented box with a horn(not tapped) on the fly and gave up eventually. Only with a good plot of the phase response of each cabinet have I ever had any success with that correction method.

At the end of the day I'd throw a bunch of easy to move and stack, TH-118's at it, done....Possibly with a center cluster of 4-8 DTS10s flat stacked in 2x2 - 2x4 mouths in the middle or some TH-221s for extension below 34. Just be sure your 3 way mains can keep up at the crossover point. Like SH46, Res4, or KF750.

-Matt
San Francisco, CA

KF750 - I did a small ULTRA @ Central Park a few years back on the Summer stage.  The first thing I noticed is how punchy the LF was.   
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J. Taylor Webb

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 01:03:28 pm »

In EDM, I have found there are three important areas, most of which was addressed in the LSI piece:

Smack - mid-bass, as Matt says.
Meat - where the majority of LF content lies, genre dependent
Drop - below 40 Hz.

For trance, house, and techno (mostly, not an iron-clad rule by any means), the meat normally lies between 50-60 Hz.  55 Hz is a good target frequency for optimization (and rear cancellation).

For dubstep, the meat lies lower, mid-40s normally in my experience.

Drop can happen any time, regardless of genre.

I believe horn-loaded systems offer the best 'smack'.  BASSMAXX (David Lee), as the article pointed out, has been optimizing his setup for a couple of years now using a direct radiator and a horn loaded box together.

At InfoComm, EAW introduced a new sub in the new Avalon series.  I don't recall the model, but it is a 21" direct radiator with a horn loaded component in one box.  I have not yet heard it.  EAW engineering did tell me they have spent quite a bit of time tweaking the interaction between the two components to get the desired result.  I think they are on the correct path.

Hi Doug
Thanks for the response and specific info
That's good to know about choices of drivers and
Boxes as well as the freq ranges.
It helps me with my insatiable curiosity
I guess it all depends on specific goals, and with EDM
that's a lot of clean high impact low end
Thanks again to all for info and input
Taylor
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Taylor Webb

Jeffhtg (Jeff Kenney)

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 09:27:22 pm »

Hi Doug
Thanks for the response and specific info
That's good to know about choices of drivers and
Boxes as well as the freq ranges.
It helps me with my insatiable curiosity
I guess it all depends on specific goals, and with EDM
that's a lot of clean high impact low end
Thanks again to all for info and input
Taylor

I was very pleased this year at EDC MCO with the combination of the JSUB on top of an Infra. A very simple set up that provided all 3 types of EDM bass... In the past working with a big EDM artist that did a ton of shows we flew J subs and used b2's/infras on the ground.. but this new bass stack was simple awesome... and it worked in a much larger scale than I've ever seen before.

Doug you did our alignment and tune back in 2011 in Orlando didn't you?
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Andrew Brubaker

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Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 12:38:07 am »

To go off of the idea of this post, I have been wanting to know more about doing a multiple sub setup and have been looking into doing this for when I have EMD type gigs. I currently have 4 SRX728 and have been thinking about adding in some LA400 to be the midbass subs. What are peoples' thoughts? Other sub recommendations?
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Question on sub/system setup for EDM
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 12:38:07 am »


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