ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Subwoofer Forum => Topic started by: Goerge Thomas on July 06, 2015, 03:04:21 pm

Title: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 06, 2015, 03:04:21 pm
Hello everyone,
I am providing sound for a 500 to 1000 person outdoor music festival later this summer. In years past I have used four peavey versarray 218 subs each with their own dedicated amplifier Center clustered and it has been decent at the sound volumes that we run though pretty close to maxing them out. There's a local company here in Ohio that has four of the lab subs that are built that I was looking to use for the festival and center cluster this year. Having never used the lab subs before but seeing a lot of praise about them, what should I expect compared to my previous set up? Do I need more than four to get them to really come alive? Or is a cluster four enough with these? We are only looking for extension down to 45 or 50 Hz, we are mostly looking for output considering this is dance music. Something that I forgot to add to my original post is that people will be at the closest, 5 feet away from the mouth of the subs and no farther away from the subs than 75 feet for the area that people will be watching from. So while it will be outside, the space that I am trying to focus on is not a large area
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Caleb Dueck on July 06, 2015, 07:03:38 pm
Can you clarify "dance music"?  LAB subs are good, but outdoors if very bass heavy material, you will likely want 8.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: John Halliburton on July 06, 2015, 08:49:04 pm
Can you clarify "dance music"?  LAB subs are good, but outdoors if very bass heavy material, you will likely want 8.

But it has to be quite a bit better than the four Peavey subs...

John
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 06, 2015, 10:04:47 pm
But it has to be quite a bit better than the four Peavey subs...

John

I'm talking not sub 50 hz edm music. For the most part it is just dance/dj music. I'm honestly not sure if 4 labsubs will be equal to or greater than the 4 VR218's we have right now. I don't know if you are being sarcastic or not. They are not high end subs but not JBL JRX quality either. For the show.....They don't need to extend low. IE: nothing under 50 hz. AN example of a song they would play is calvin harris - feel so close... we are not talking skrillex sub bass music. Does this help?
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Scott Carneval on July 07, 2015, 07:22:59 am
Calvin Harris is EDM. Without measuring that song I can't say for sure, but I'd be willing to bet it has content below 50 cycles.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 07, 2015, 07:51:05 am
Hello everyone,
I am providing sound for a 500 to 1000 person outdoor music festival later this summer. In years past I have used four peavey versarray 218 subs each with their own dedicated amplifier Center clustered and it has been decent at the sound volumes that we run though pretty close to maxing them out. There's a local company here in Ohio that has four of the lab subs that are built that I was looking to use for the festival and center cluster this year. Having never used the lab subs before but seeing a lot of praise about them, what should I expect compared to my previous set up? Do I need more than four to get them to really come alive? Or is a cluster four enough with these? We are only looking for extension down to 45 or 50 Hz, we are mostly looking for output considering this is dance music. Something that I forgot to add to my original post is that people will be at the closest, 5 feet away from the mouth of the subs and no farther away from the subs than 75 feet for the area that people will be watching from. So while it will be outside, the space that I am trying to focus on is not a large area
Since they are a local company-why not just take 1 or 2 of your curretn cabinets and go over there and do a quick side by side.

I bet you will be QUITE surprised what a pair of 12" in a proper horn can do as compared to front loaded 18" drivers.

Now that is ASSUMING the cabinets were built properly-no air leaks, proper sizes, all sealed up etc.

If not-then all bets are off as to the performance.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Lyle Williams on July 07, 2015, 07:55:02 am
Commercial decision.  Which option makes you more money?
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 07, 2015, 10:17:21 am
But it has to be quite a bit better than the four Peavey subs...

John

The VR218 is actually a respectable 2x18 reflex box.  Without measurement and only passive observer status, I'd put them a notch under the SRX728.
Title: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim Weaver on July 07, 2015, 11:30:13 am
Is there any reason you can't run both?

If you have the dsp available you can run your peavey's with the mains, then run the labs on an aux. apply a little delay to the mains and you'll be alright.

Or, another option is to run the labs up to about 60-70hz, then crossover into the peaveys as a midbass. They'll be plenty happy from 80-120 ish. Thats a pretty common thing for a dance rig.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim Weaver on July 07, 2015, 11:32:17 am
Even though you say you don't need sub 50 hz, there's nothing wrong with having it available. You might even find out you've been missing something all along!
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 07, 2015, 11:48:49 am
Even though you say you don't need sub 50 hz, there's nothing wrong with having it available. You might even find out you've been missing something all along!
EXACTLY

Many people say they don't anything low, but they have never heard a system that can do it properly/easily.

Once you get "exposed" to true solid deep bass, there is no going back--------
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 07, 2015, 07:31:05 pm
EXACTLY

Many people say they don't anything low, but they have never heard a system that can do it properly/easily.

Once you get "exposed" to true solid deep bass, there is no going back--------

Things I need versus what I want on a budget have to be factored in sometimes!  ;D
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 07, 2015, 08:19:21 pm
Things I need versus what I want on a budget have to be factored in sometimes!  ;D
So ask yourself this question.

The artist put those sounds on the recording (or produces them live) because HE WANTS people to hear them and they are a part of the music.

When you can't reproduce them, you are not doing the music justice.

A comment heard after a demo a few weeks ago at Infocomm
"So THAT is what the song is supposed to sound like"  YEAH!

And it is not just EDM or dance music.  What about a pipe organ?  Or a concert bass drum? Or the low F on some pianos.

Most systems can't even reproduce the low B on a 5 string bass-and that is used in many forms of music.

Here is a graph of some traditional instruments to give an idea that low freq DO exist in normal music.


So YES it DOES matter

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Scott Carneval on July 07, 2015, 09:58:02 pm
Pretty much out of sheer boredom I just ran a few songs through the spectrum analyzer in SMAART.  These are all 320kbps MP3 files, so take that however you'd like.

EDM:
Calvin Harris - Feels So Close - had plenty of LF content centered at 41hz.  (Royal Blue Trace)
Skrillex - Promises - had a lot of LF at 49hz and had a much quieter note at 35hz (Green Trace)
Skrillex - Cinema - was centered at 46.9hz with not much below that (Orange Trace)
Major Lazer - Lean On - had content centered at 38hz (Purple Trace)


Hip-Hop:
Meek Mill - Check - LF Centered at 35.2 hz (Orange Trace)
T-Wayne - Nasty Freestyle - LF at 26.4 hz (Red Trace)
Big Sean - IDFWU - LF at 29.3 hz (Blue Trace)
OT Genasis - CoCo - LF at 38.1 hz (Purple Trace)

Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Scott Carneval on July 07, 2015, 10:18:17 pm
And a few older tracks for comparison:

Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer - 32.2hz (Purple Trace)
Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait - 38.1hz (Red Trace)
Usher - Yeah! - 41hz (Blue Trace)
Stevie Wonder - Do I Do - Peak at 65hz but had content at 47hz too (-7db) (Green Trace)
MJ - Billie Jean - 47hz (Orange Trace)
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 07, 2015, 11:16:59 pm
So ask yourself this question.

The artist put those sounds on the recording (or produces them live) because HE WANTS people to hear them and they are a part of the music.

When you can't reproduce them, you are not doing the music justice.

A comment heard after a demo a few weeks ago at Infocomm
"So THAT is what the song is supposed to sound like"  YEAH!

And it is not just EDM or dance music.  What about a pipe organ?  Or a concert bass drum? Or the low F on some pianos.

Most systems can't even reproduce the low B on a 5 string bass-and that is used in many forms of music.

Here is a graph of some traditional instruments to give an idea that low freq DO exist in normal music.


So YES it DOES matter

http://www.contrabass.com/pages/frequency.html

I would certainly agree that matters, Ivan. However, we are all for the most part in this as business folk and know fully well that there are almost always compromises when it comes to providing sound. If a client comes to me with a very specific budget with a set of criteria and I tell them that with their budget that I cannot meet all of their criteria but most of their criteria, they generally are happy. It is my job to make the most of what I am tasked with.

I generally cross my subs over at 45 HZ so that I can get the most out of them using what my clients have paid for. I generally make this very clear that they will sacrifice one thing for another when it comes to budgets and my services. In this case my clients have elected for output over extension.

With that being said, if with minimal effort or budget change I can give them a better result, I am almost always willing to pursue that for the results. This is part of why I am asking about merits of using different particular subs for this event even though my clients have been satisfied with the system in the same set up in the past.

Having said that, unfortunately I do not have the ability to go and give these subs a listen before I would commit. They (as a block of 4 rented) are budget friendly enough for my clients to agree to use them if I think it will be an noticeable improvement over our current equipment. Furthermore, the equipment that I'm talking about potentially using is not a widespread product that many have experience with so I am genuinely unsure when I ask these questions if it would be an improvement. I'm looking for subjective opinions.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 08, 2015, 07:44:18 am


I generally cross my subs over at 45 HZ so that I can get the most out of them using what my clients have paid for. I generally make this very clear that they will sacrifice one thing for another when it comes to budgets and my services. In this case my clients have elected for output over extension.

With that being said, if with minimal effort or budget change I can give them a better result, I am almost always willing to pursue that for the results.
So are you saying that if they are willing to pay more-then you will lower the highpass filter?

What if they want to go to 30Hz, are your subs capable of doing that without being strained?

If so, then why not just keep the filter that low.

If you have to rent additional subs to get to 30Hz, then I would argue that is not "at minimal effort or expense". 

Agreed that not everybody needs that low extension, but when you have it, it just makes everything better.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 08, 2015, 07:49:04 am
Pretty much out of sheer boredom I just ran a few songs through the spectrum analyzer in SMAART.  These are all 320kbps MP3 files, so take that however you'd like.

EDM:
Calvin Harris - Feels So Close - had plenty of LF content centered at 41hz.  (Royal Blue Trace)
Skrillex - Promises - had a lot of LF at 49hz and had a much quieter note at 35hz (Green Trace)
Skrillex - Cinema - was centered at 46.9hz with not much below that (Orange Trace)
Major Lazer - Lean On - had content centered at 38hz (Purple Trace)


Hip-Hop:
Meek Mill - Check - LF Centered at 35.2 hz (Orange Trace)
T-Wayne - Nasty Freestyle - LF at 26.4 hz (Red Trace)
Big Sean - IDFWU - LF at 29.3 hz (Blue Trace)
OT Genasis - CoCo - LF at 38.1 hz (Purple Trace)
That is a nice comparison.  I assume you captured the trace when the lowest notes were being played?
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 08, 2015, 08:20:17 am
Most systems can't even reproduce the low B on a 5 string bass-and that is used in many forms of music.

I think there are a few bass players on this forum.  I own a 5 string but I'm not normally a bass player.  What I've noticed is that most bass amps lose pitch definition below about G.  So other than the open E on the endless E funk jams, most bass players don't use the bottom 2-3 notes on a 4 string.  And 5 strings typically just make shifting a pattern easier in the middle of the neck instead of jumping their hand up and down.  Whenever you hear someone on a 5 string below the 5th fret, it's usually a pitchless rumble unless they've got an amazing amp.

Stuff done on synthesizers is an entirely different story.  Since that is often arranged listening though studio monitors with subs, folks get in love with low end.  And if you're providing for that, you should be able to go there.  I periodically do sound for a dance studio and while it's typically pop music, there's definitely 35Hz going on.  Fortunately the theater we do this in is pretty well balanced, and with room gain I have enough rig to get levels of those low notes that is enough for the parents to be impressed with the money their spending on their kiddies.  As Ivan often says, you can get very low notes out of almost anything, it's how loudly you can do it that matters.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Steve M Smith on July 08, 2015, 08:29:08 am
And 5 strings typically just make shifting a pattern easier in the middle of the neck instead of jumping their hand up and down.
I'm not a bass player, but I do play bass sometimes.  Once I was playing guitar and mandolin in a band and the bass player wanted to play another of his many and varied instruments so I took his five string bass from him and said I would play four fifths of it for the next song.
Within seconds I was using the fifth string.  Not for lower notes, just for the ease of playing.
 
 
Steve.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on July 08, 2015, 08:31:45 am
 A few years ago I put a bunch of subs with great low frequency response into an install. The problem I found was that most of the music the customer ended up playing was classic rock. Music that was not mastered or recorded with the ability to even have a clue what was happening below 40hz. It turns out the extended frequency response of the subwoofers just brought forward a bunch of low frequency muck, that was never intended on being heard. At the customers request, the HPF got moved up a little. Having crazy low frequency extension is great if your material needs it, but can be detrimental if not. So... YMMV


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Scott Carneval on July 08, 2015, 09:07:36 am
That is a nice comparison.  I assume you captured the trace when the lowest notes were being played?

Yeah, I just watched/listened and waited for the 'drop'.  A few times I had to rewind the track to catch the right note.  I was sort of surprised that Skrillex didn't go lower than 40, and I was really shocked to see Peter Gabriel at 32!
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 08, 2015, 01:20:02 pm
So are you saying that if they are willing to pay more-then you will lower the highpass filter?

What if they want to go to 30Hz, are your subs capable of doing that without being strained?

If so, then why not just keep the filter that low.

If you have to rent additional subs to get to 30Hz, then I would argue that is not "at minimal effort or expense". 

Agreed that not everybody needs that low extension, but when you have it, it just makes everything better.

I don't keep it that low when my equipment cannot reproduce those frequencies at the volumes the subs are run at to give my client the volume he wants it at. I will not risk my equipment or waste power needlessly if at the output they are used at, any lower frequency would not be noticeable with my gear.

If you are saying I owe it to them to lower it then I would have to say I disagree. They have other options in providers and I explain what my gear can and cannot do before they sign me.

If you are saying if a show calls for music that plays Specifically low but my gear can't play quite THAT low At the volumes asked but can go low enough for client satisfaction At the price they pay me that I should turn the job down... Then I say that you and I are different businessmen.

I try to do the best job with what I have and am afforded. My limitations to clients are clear and I always provide options for clients when they want more than what I can provide.

I can see now that while this is generated some interesting discussion, my original question should have been more along the lines of asking about a Factual comparison. A comparison of output and low-frequency extension between four lab subs that are Powered and processed properly and four vr218s powered and processed properly with both setups center clustered.

Thanks everyone for their input this far.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 08, 2015, 08:05:42 pm
Yeah, I just watched/listened and waited for the 'drop'.  A few times I had to rewind the track to catch the right note.  I was sort of surprised that Skrillex didn't go lower than 40, and I was really shocked to see Peter Gabriel at 32!

Which version of Sledgehammer?
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Scott Carneval on July 08, 2015, 09:10:16 pm

Which version of Sledgehammer?

I was only aware that one version existed. I didn't notice til you asked, but it's been remastered. Here's a screenshot (I was playing it last night thru my Mac, but I also have it on the iPhone)

(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/08/b0aefaafa54e93f7cefdc3f094be071c.jpg)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 08, 2015, 09:47:37 pm
A comparison of output and low-frequency extension between four lab subs that are Powered and processed properly and four vr218s powered and processed properly with both setups center clustered.

Thanks everyone for their input this far.

I've not setup or driven a rig with VR218, but I've heard them used and was impressed with the output and found the subjective sound to be acceptable for the use they were given.

I've heard a couple iterations of the LABhorn, one of them decidedly compromised.  The better-built units were impressive and I suspect the measured output would exceed that of the VR218.

Those things said I suspect that if you and your clients are accustomed to the 2nd and 3rd order harmonic content of reflex loaded subs you may not immediately take to horn loaded subs.  The harmonic contribution can nearly equal the level of the fundamental and you get a fair bit of "gack" that you cannot simply EQ away.  That will be gone.  So will the sound of additional distortion as you approach Xmax.  IF you really* slam the LABhorn you'll toast the drivers before you hear the sound of stress.  *really is a relative term, as it will take half (or less) of the power the VR218 take to achieve the same SPL.

All loudspeaker designs are exercises in compromise.  In the case of horns you get output and efficiency at the expense of size & weight; for reflex designs you get output and extension at the expense of distortion and efficiency.

Goerge, it's hard to talk about direct comparisons because there are so many different things to compare to each other - the matrix would be huge - and for the most part there are no comparisons to discuss.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 08, 2015, 10:29:28 pm
I was only aware that one version existed. I didn't notice til you asked, but it's been remastered. Here's a screenshot (I was playing it last night thru my Mac, but I also have it on the iPhone)

(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/07/08/b0aefaafa54e93f7cefdc3f094be071c.jpg)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Originally released on "So" in 1986.  Then on the 1990 compilation you found; again on "Hit" in 2003, and "So" was also remixed/remastered for a 25th Anniversary edition that was sold on Gabriel's site.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Goerge Thomas on July 08, 2015, 10:48:22 pm
I've not setup or driven a rig with VR218, but I've heard them used and was impressed with the output and found the subjective sound to be acceptable for the use they were given.

I've heard a couple iterations of the LABhorn, one of them decidedly compromised.  The better-built units were impressive and I suspect the measured output would exceed that of the VR218.

Those things said I suspect that if you and your clients are accustomed to the 2nd and 3rd order harmonic content of reflex loaded subs you may not immediately take to horn loaded subs.  The harmonic contribution can nearly equal the level of the fundamental and you get a fair bit of "gack" that you cannot simply EQ away.  That will be gone.  So will the sound of additional distortion as you approach Xmax.  IF you really* slam the LABhorn you'll toast the drivers before you hear the sound of stress.  *really is a relative term, as it will take half (or less) of the power the VR218 take to achieve the same SPL.

All loudspeaker designs are exercises in compromise.  In the case of horns you get output and efficiency at the expense of size & weight; for reflex designs you get output and extension at the expense of distortion and efficiency.

Goerge, it's hard to talk about direct comparisons because there are so many different things to compare to each other - the matrix would be huge - and for the most part there are no comparisons to discuss.

Thanks Tim. Good food for thought. I appreciate that. 
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: William Abel on July 09, 2015, 08:29:37 am
George,

I own 2)VR218's and 4)VR118's, I've used them outdoors, they we're fine for live bands but, seemed to be lacking for dance music. I built 6-LABhorns (I'm a cabinet maker) and used 4-LABs with the same tops in the same outdoor area the following year for dance music. The 4-LABhorns easily out did the 18" subs. Personally I love the horn clarity and punch. As posted earlier, the LABhorns need to be well constructed.

Bill   
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Jacob Shaw on July 17, 2015, 11:31:47 pm
I produce electronic music, and I can assure you that any content below 40hz has harmonics that are audible.  I failed to add harmonics to a bassline for the first tune I sent to get mastered, and the engineer added it for me (using a mild distortion plugin).  Tubes do this to instruments, and even the classic 808 bass has harmonics.  A strait up sine wave as a bass instrument simply does not have the impact to be noticed/recognized. 

I will say that it is rather important to reproduce those notes.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Spenser Hamilton on July 18, 2015, 10:06:44 am
The VR218 is actually a respectable 2x18 reflex box.  Without measurement and only passive observer status, I'd put them a notch under the SRX728.

Subjective Opinion Alert: VR218 is a touch louder than a 728, but cuts off a fair bit higher. The Spec Sheets seem to corroborate this.

Pick your poison.

A good pile of LABs should eat both alive in output and extension.
Title: Re: Four lab subs enough for small outdoor music festival?
Post by: Bill Hornibrook on July 18, 2015, 02:29:51 pm
I was sort of surprised that Skrillex didn't go lower than 40, and I was really shocked to see Peter Gabriel at 32!

Those old dubstep tracks really didn't go all that low. Now that Skrillex (and everyone else) has moved on from the genre, he's mixing in more and more sub 40 content. Check out his new collaboration with Diplo "Where are U Now" (doing nicely on the charts btw) which has some stuff in the mid 30s.

Speaking as a club DJ, what I've noticed is exactly what you did in those traces: Today's hip-hop is where the really low frequency content resides. That said, I'm good with subs that get to the low 30s - which just about gets it all if they can get there strongly. That 26ish note in "Nasty Freestyle" is kind of a quick thing that pops up infrequently amid a mind numbing low "D" drone (36hz).