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Author Topic: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?  (Read 7701 times)

Royce Van Norman

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Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« on: July 02, 2016, 12:37:33 am »

For most musicians that bring their PA with them, the biggest problem with subwoofers is their size and weight.  They are difficult to transport, set up (especially alone) etc.

There are basically two parts to a subwoofer - the speaker and the box. 

So it occurred to me, why do these have to be permanently fixed to each other?  Wouldn't it be a simple matter to design a box that was either modular (breaks down into pieces) or is collapsible so that you can lay the box flat in the vehicle, assemble the box at the venue, and drop in the speakers?

Maybe even have a "Speaker cage" to offer protect the speakers themselves, but that could easily be dropped into the box and fixed in place when you arrive at the gig.

It is late in the evening and my brain may not be functioning correctly after the long work week, but this seems like a simple solution that wouldn't be that hard to accomplish, but would be darned useful to musicians/bands that don't rely on permanently installed systems.  Also, there may be some added benefit to allowing the use of larger boxes or multiples if the modular idea would work.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw this out there. To be transparent, i have not ever built a sub myself, so there may be good reasons why this isn't done, but it strikes me as a good idea... I defer to the sub-wizards here.
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2016, 04:30:13 am »

Or you could just buy one high output sub and save a lot of work and cargo space.
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Royce Van Norman

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2016, 06:15:58 am »

Or you could just buy one high output sub and save a lot of work and cargo space.

Or you could just buy one high output sub and save a lot of work and cargo space.

True, and that is most likely what I'll end up doing.   However, the more I read on the forums, regardless of the sub output, the more posts I see saying "one sub will never be enough... you need two... no you need four....no eight".

Most likely I'll end up getting a powered sub in the 1-2k range (price not htz lol.) such as ETX, Yorville, JBL, RCF etc.  Mostly, what i want is musicality... I'm still researching what would suit my needs best and I don't mind delaying and saving more $$ if a better option can be had, but when I think about all the music gear I'm transporting, 2 or more 18" subs starts sounding unreasonable without renting a u-haul.  That led me down this little thought path of wondering if there were a better way of doing things.
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Kevin McDonough

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2016, 07:23:07 am »

True, and that is most likely what I'll end up doing.   However, the more I read on the forums, regardless of the sub output, the more posts I see saying "one sub will never be enough... you need two... no you need four....no eight".

Most likely I'll end up getting a powered sub in the 1-2k range (price not htz lol.) such as ETX, Yorville, JBL, RCF etc.  Mostly, what i want is musicality... I'm still researching what would suit my needs best and I don't mind delaying and saving more $$ if a better option can be had, but when I think about all the music gear I'm transporting, 2 or more 18" subs starts sounding unreasonable without renting a u-haul.  That led me down this little thought path of wondering if there were a better way of doing things.

There has been at least one "two part" concept that I am aware of, designed by Rog Mogale, but being a large hornloaded scoop, even then it still wouldn't be suitable for your needs.

In terms of a reflex sub like you mention, its very hard to remove any bulk or size as they're usually all designed and packaged as small as they can be. Yes in theory you could maybe have some sort of clip system where the box could be broken into two halves, and this may help squeeze two smaller pieces into a space where one large one wouldn't fit, but you're not really saving any actual volume, just spreading it out a little better.

However that, and the idea of a collapsible or folding box, the comes onto the second part of designing a subwoofer: rigidity.

There is a lot of pressure inside a subwoofer, a lot of moving air trying to escape, and a big part of good sub design is using clever bracing and construction techniques to stop panel resonances and keep the structure as solid as possible.

All of the hinges and unclipable joints that would be needed to make a box collapse would be major points of weakness that could fail over time, cause air leaks, and detract from the sound of the box.

While we (and our backs!) all wish it wasn't the case, until someone comes up with a miracle new technology its an unfortunate reality of sound (and physics) that good low frequency reproduction at PA system volume generally needs big, heavy, solid boxes.


One idea that I have seen work fairly well though is using the internal volume to store the top speakers.

On at least a couple of occasions I have saw custom designed subs that have removable panels on the side. During transport the mid tops can be sat inside the sub woofer, and then taken out and the removable panel firmly attached for the gig. These are usually screw on panels with a good handful of machine screws and tee-nuts to make sure the panel is secure and doesn't leak air once the sub is in use, but I'm sure someone sufficiently motivated could design some sort of quick release clip system that would work.

I don't know if there is anything like this commercially available, but if space saving was really a major concern it could be an avenue to explore with someone who is capable of designing and building speakers.



k
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2016, 09:02:56 am »

Community used to make (back in the day) the Levithan with extension that was in 3 parts.

The driver part was a double 15 sealed cabinet.

It bolted to the levithan horn.  Then the extension bolted to the horn.

When transporting the levithan would rest inside the extension.

But I am sure this is much larger than you are talking about.

The problem with a cabinet you assemble on site is that it will buzz/rattle etc pretty easily (At least more than likely it would)
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Ivan Beaver
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Barry Singleton

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2016, 11:12:03 am »

  I still have Levi's and while I still think they are cool, I wouldn't call them subs, at least by todays standards.

  I will go ahead and say it, a Danley Mini will go as low as a Levi with the extension flares and you can carry a Mini with one hand. Four of them make a lot of noise. If you want small and light, I haven't seen or heard anything that competes.

Barry.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2016, 01:14:24 pm »

  I still have Levi's and while I still think they are cool, I wouldn't call them subs, at least by todays standards.

 
Agreed.

Back then they were just "bass cabinets".  Or Lows.

It is interesting to compare the "standards" of days gone past with current technology.

For example: I can pick up a 20,000 watt amp with 1 finger today.

I was renting out sound systems for quite a few years before I got to 20,000 watts.

And then it took several racks and probably weighed well over 500lbs.

Loudspeakers keep getting smaller and smaller with greater and greater output.

Kind of a let down to us 'ol timers who are used to huge piles of gear.

Now 1 or 2 cabinets can replace what used to be a wall of PA.

Sonically it is much better-lighter-goes up faster etc, but still doesn't look as cool.

I guess it depends on what is most important.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 01:16:31 pm by Ivan Beaver »
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Ivan Beaver
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2016, 05:56:52 pm »

True, and that is most likely what I'll end up doing.   However, the more I read on the forums, regardless of the sub output, the more posts I see saying "one sub will never be enough... you need two... no you need four....no eight".

Most likely I'll end up getting a powered sub in the 1-2k range (price not htz lol.) such as ETX, Yorville, JBL, RCF etc.  Mostly, what i want is musicality... I'm still researching what would suit my needs best and I don't mind delaying and saving more $$ if a better option can be had, but when I think about all the music gear I'm transporting, 2 or more 18" subs starts sounding unreasonable without renting a u-haul.  That led me down this little thought path of wondering if there were a better way of doing things.

How much output do you need?

I suspect something like a EAW SB2001 with a proper amp would have about the same output as 8 powered 18" in the $1-2K range and sound better as well.

It will not be as flexible, but it will be as loud and have more low extension.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2016, 06:01:00 pm »

  I still have Levi's and while I still think they are cool, I wouldn't call them subs, at least by todays standards.

  I will go ahead and say it, a Danley Mini will go as low as a Levi with the extension flares and you can carry a Mini with one hand. Four of them make a lot of noise. If you want small and light, I haven't seen or heard anything that competes.

Barry.

Having 4 Mini will let the user create useful directional sub arrays in relatively small venues, too.  They're not much bigger than a large suitcase (cubic volume).  Combined with a 4 channel power amp with DSP and you've got a lot of capability.
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Royce Van Norman

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Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2016, 08:03:52 am »

Having 4 Mini will let the user create useful directional sub arrays in relatively small venues, too.  They're not much bigger than a large suitcase (cubic volume).  Combined with a 4 channel power amp with DSP and you've got a lot of capability.

Thanks for the great replies everyone... Makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of multiple minis especially.  I'll have to review what I can afford and what would work best for me.  Unfortunately, my music gear (which is not how I make a living) just got pushed to the back seat due to the need to re-vamp my kitchen *water leak. 

Anyway thanks again.  Cheers
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Transportable Subs -- Is this idea just crazy?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2016, 08:03:52 am »


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