Why the aversion towards speakers with bass

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corElement

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I was wonderring aboout this earlier, a lot of people mention clarity-tone-transparency-how decolouring the sound is important ( which I agree ) but : as you well know, specs can be deceiving and the environment along with your brain play tricks if not carefully tuned.

Which brings me to my question .. why the aversion towards speakers which produce bass? Is this not a subjective matter? It is sound after-all. Its relevant to ones taste and mental configuration.

During my auditions majority of the towers I listened to within my budget across varied brands - many of which are highly recommended by members even in this forum - the towers which I finally bought had built in 10" side firing woofers which many higher model towers from it did not have however they still went lower. But its combined effect with meds and highs was doing 1 thing - it satisfied my senses. Something many other towers which had excellent meds and highs did not have. Whenever I heard them even with a sub there was something missing. I couldn't enjoy a certain deepness to certain sounds where singers sung out of their belly and not their chest. Why? Because that deepness went towards the sub and it messed up the whole thing for me. Mind you im talking about budget speakers here. Yes you can go for consumer brands and get mini hifi which pump boom but thats not the right way to seperate the matter I feel. You need a certain amount of clarity-tightness-decolouration and RICHNESS to sound which those cannot deliver.

My reason for making this thread is - Dont go by what people say when it comes to sound - the speaker and amp have to be relevant to your budget and what your senses are configured for. Dont go exactly by specs because they're often not exact. Take what satisfies your senses.
Because remember - theres no limit to how high a spec you can go which your brain would easily adjust to eitherway, and don't forget the environment either, bass =/= boom. Taste is not chronically relevant to better or worse. Today you might like bass, tomorrow you might like highs. Thus neither are better - or worse.
 

psychotropic

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I don't think I've ever seen anyone on these forums state that low frequency extension (LFE) is a bad thing. The more of the audible frequency range a speaker can produce, the better it is. If a speaker can go down to to 30hz cleanly and with a reasonably flat frequency response that's excellent performance. Who here has ever said that is a bad thing?

Where you might be getting confused is the criticism on some speakers that emphasis bass frequencies. Here what happens is that instead of the frequency response of the speaker being extended from say 60 hz down to 50 or 45 hz, the sounds at 60-70 hz are produced at a higher SPL. This is called a bass bump or bass boost, and is designed to create an illusion of LFE capability which is not there, and usually spoils the neutrality and the flatness of the frequency response. (there are exceptional cases like the audioengine 2s where a bass bump has been used judiciously to overcome the size limitations of the cabinet and drivers to an extent)

You will also see criticism for speakers which produce bass thump at the expense of accuracy, tonality and full reproduction of the harmonics. This is again an undesirable quality as it spoils the accuracy of the reproduced sound and deprives us of a complete musical experience.

Criticisms on the above grounds is not the same as criticising speakers for possessing bass capabilities. There is no one part of the frequency spectrum that is undesirable.....to make the reproduction of a recording more lifelike, all parts, or as many parts as possible, of the frequency spectrum need to be produced and if a speaker can do that, it's an excellent thing and no one will disagree.

I have one more theory on what your post is about. The aversion to floorstanders vis-a-vis bookshelves. Floorstanders have a few limitations, arising out of a number of factors including the cabinet size, number and size of the drivers, complexity in the crossovers, and so on, which makes it a bit more challenging to make a floorstander that is as flat, uncoloured and accurate as a standmount in the same budget. This also usually means that at a particular price point, a standmount may offer superior detail, soundstaging, imaging, and/or flat frequency response. Floorstanders are also a bit more room-sensitive and space-sensitive than bookshelves. They need larger rooms, and more space around them to not overwhelm the listening area. But none of this means that standmounts are inherently superior to floorstanders. As a matter of fact a well designed and constructed floorstander that can produce a broad spectrum of frequencies will usually sound better than a standmount with a more limited frequency range, provided that they handle the mids, highs and other aspects equally well.

Of course I do agree that you must trust your ears and buy what makes you happy :)
 

corElement

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I don't think I've ever seen anyone on these forums state that low frequency extension (LFE) is a bad thing. The more of the audible frequency range a speaker can produce, the better it is. If a speaker can go down to to 30hz cleanly and with a reasonably flat frequency response that's excellent performance. Who here has ever said that is a bad thing?

Where you might be getting confused is the criticism on some speakers that emphasis bass frequencies. Here what happens is that instead of the frequency response of the speaker being extended from say 60 hz down to 50 or 45 hz, the sounds at 60-70 hz are produced at a higher SPL. This is called a bass bump or bass boost, and is designed to create an illusion of LFE capability which is not there, and usually spoils the neutrality and the flatness of the frequency response. (there are exceptional cases like the audioengine 2s where a bass bump has been used judiciously to overcome the size limitations of the cabinet and drivers to an extent)

You will also see criticism for speakers which produce bass thump at the expense of accuracy, tonality and full reproduction of the harmonics. This is again an undesirable quality as it spoils the accuracy of the reproduced sound and deprives us of a complete musical experience.

Criticisms on the above grounds is not the same as criticising speakers for possessing bass capabilities. There is no one part of the frequency spectrum that is undesirable.....to make the reproduction of a recording more lifelike, all parts, or as many parts as possible, of the frequency spectrum need to be produced and if a speaker can do that, it's an excellent thing and no one will disagree.

I have one more theory on what your post is about. The aversion to floorstanders vis-a-vis bookshelves. Floorstanders have a few limitations, arising out of a number of factors including the cabinet size, number and size of the drivers, complexity in the crossovers, and so on, which makes it a bit more challenging to make a floorstander that is as flat, uncoloured and accurate as a standmount in the same budget. This also usually means that at a particular price point, a standmount may offer superior detail, soundstaging, imaging, and/or flat frequency response. Floorstanders are also a bit more room-sensitive and space-sensitive than bookshelves. They need larger rooms, and more space around them to not overwhelm the listening area. But none of this means that standmounts are inherently superior to floorstanders. As a matter of fact a well designed and constructed floorstander that can produce a broad spectrum of frequencies will usually sound better than a standmount with a more limited frequency range, provided that they handle the mids, highs and other aspects equally well.

Of course I do agree that you must trust your ears and buy what makes you happy :)

Thank you that was pretty educational :D ( btw I wasnt referring to anyone in specific, I just read about people often being against speakers having the capability to produce some lower freqs which I dont agree to, as you said they must produce all frequencies equally and retain decolouration and a certain amount of transparency. These are also majorly affected by their sources and amp.)

Yes the thumps are very VERY annoying, I had a 8" sub which had 40hz in specs and my floorstanders themselves do around 35hz ( stated 40 in specs ) the sub was riddled with thumping and rumbling, everyone used to go wow at the houseshaking but noone ever noticed the incapability of the sub to produce the lower freqs yet my floor standers are producing nice playful rich deep low freq even though theyre stated 40hz. So yeah I understand what you mean by thumping and how it ruins the experience.
 

heliumflight

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Yes I agree that quality bass is more important than quantity bass!

--
helium
Amp: Lyrita SET 2A3
Speakers: Vintage B&W DM4
Source: LG DVD + Beresford DAC
Cables: Lyrita's I.C & cables
 

marsilians

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Hi

If you notice, most people do like bass. Its just that you require different performance from your setup when it comes to HT and music. If you search through the forums you will realise the following high level expectations:

HT : For most movie scenes you will have many frequencies coming together in a scene such as a helicopter flying around with blasts going off and people screaming and what not. In such cases you want to feel the effects of the hardest frequencies to produce (which is the low end). IOW, you need deep bass that is extended - something like a "boooooom" effect. This is the reason you find HT subs that are open ported with huge drivers that can push that much air.

it is easier to produce this tone esp. since most of us have not really heard a blast and think that what we hear is the real thing. We dont have a definite framework.

For music : its more discerning. You dont want one set of frequencies to take over. Thats why you need "detail" or separation in the reproduction. In such cases you might still use a sub but you need a quick "boom" without extensions pertaining to the instruments. Here our framework is a bit more tangile in that we would have heard certain instruments in real life and have expectations on how they should sound when reproduced by a system.

This is the reason many people tend to have multiple systems with multiple brands of products - one for HT and other for music as there is no one size fits all unfortunately.


Hopefully this explains the principle behind what you are after.


Thank you that was pretty educational :D ( btw I wasnt referring to anyone in specific, I just read about people often being against speakers having the capability to produce some lower freqs which I dont agree to, as you said they must produce all frequencies equally and retain decolouration and a certain amount of transparency. These are also majorly affected by their sources and amp.)

Yes the thumps are very VERY annoying, I had a 8" sub which had 40hz in specs and my floorstanders themselves do around 35hz ( stated 40 in specs ) the sub was riddled with thumping and rumbling, everyone used to go wow at the houseshaking but noone ever noticed the incapability of the sub to produce the lower freqs yet my floor standers are producing nice playful rich deep low freq even though theyre stated 40hz. So yeah I understand what you mean by thumping and how it ruins the experience.
 

corElement

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Nice I like where this thread is going. Pretty educational - so far some of the ideas I had in my mind are turning out right, esp about what was mentioned about booooom vs detail. I would imagine a cylindrical vs box shape also plays a good role in this matter.
 

captrajesh

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You cannot actually hear anything below about 40Hz, the auditory canals canno pick up a wave that long. The sensation is transferred to your cochlea by air movement vibrating your body.

Cranky, with due respect to your knowledge, I beg to disagree. An average human audible frequency range is from 20Hz to 20000Hz and all that is only heard by the physical movement of tymphanic membrane of the ear.

Tactile sensation is incidental, caused by the moving columns of air.
 

tsvr5

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i think you got it correct seakers without base will let you enjoy only a certain type of music, whereas speakers with bass let you enjoy most of the tracks. at the end of it it is best to buy something that please your ears and fits in your budget.
by the way which speakers did you buy
 

marsilians

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General rule of thumb states that an active hearing range for healthy people is between 20 - 20KHz. There are also a number of scientific publications that state the range is between 15 - 18KHz. As Cranky has noted its not as simple as it has been made. Human Physiology is very complicated and could be understood only through a lot of assumptions.
 

iaudio

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General rule of thumb states that an active hearing range for healthy people is between 20 - 20KHz. There are also a number of scientific publications that state the range is between 15 - 18KHz. As Cranky has noted its not as simple as it has been made. Human Physiology is very complicated and could be understood only through a lot of assumptions.

Cranky, Thanks for that info. So the 20hz to 20khz is more theoretical.
I think this topic is an area where Suri can speak authoritatively. :)

corelement, Nothing wrong with having bass, be it tight n fast or a bit extended,it all depends on the music you enjoy. What you hear people here showing an aversion for is anything that will cloud up the rest of the frequencies. :D
 

gannyboy

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Human physiology is complicated alright but definitely not built on assumptions!!... It is rather understood after meticulous scientific experiments that are done continuosly with periodic updates. These extreme frequencies we usually dont hear in a normal environment and there are specific hair cells for specific frequencies in specific areas of cochlea. The hair cells which never vibrate when they do so the brain picks up as extreme frequencies. The pressure wave causes this vibration which is actually transmitted either throught the tympanic memnrane or due to the skull vibrating or both. Von Bekesy has done extensive studies on this. Also, the very low frequency high amplitude wave not only damages your sub...he he your hair cells also!!! :)

cheers!!
 

kaushik

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Extra bass unit degrades the imaging and presentation of of depth with a stereo system when not properly matched .
The subwoofer unit has to be fast enough for proper match
and these come costly.

For people looking bass extension speakers
it is recommended that proper research for such matching.
high amplitude wave not only damages your sub...he he your hair cells also!!!

:) main factor hair damage is the hard water... trust me on that!
 
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corElement

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Extra bass unit degrades the imaging and presentation of of depth with a stereo system when not properly matched .
The subwoofer unit has to be fast enough for proper match
and these come costly.

For people looking bass extension speakers
it is recommended that proper research for such matching.


:) main factor hair damage is the hard water... trust me on that!


The matter wasn't about extra bass though, its about a speaker having the capability for producing good bass. :p
 
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odyssey

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CorElement
the problem starts with the phrase "good bass" - to the majority (average person), this means (or rather they mistake it for) one note bass, or room/speaker induced overhang. This phrase is often used to for bass coming from a badly tuned sub or a bad sub (or close to it) only that the average person doesnt understand this. Overemphasized bass freqs is what many people are looking for and believe represents a good speaker/system. Good bass is (as cranky defined) - without overhang, fast, with good definition.

cheers
 

corElement

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Another thing to consider is driver-introduced LF distortion.

What generally happens is that for even very good drivers, as you go lower the distortion tends to increase. So even for a driver with (say) 1% HD, at 40Hz this could spike to about 10-15% HD, and lower frequencies it gets worse.

So essentially when you play a 30Hz tone through the speaker, it produces 30Hz in X quantity, and 60Hz in (X * 15%) quantity, so you tend to hear both the tones. And since the ear is a lot more sensitive to 60Hz than 30Hz, you think the speaker has lots of bass, when actually, a large percentage of that is purely distortion. Bass does not actually become 'audible' before 42Hz.

Food for thought: The 0C (16Hz) pipe on a church organ is thirty-two feet long. That is the kind of instrument you need to go that low. 1C is sixteen feet, obviously - for 32Hz. Those numbers give you a sense of how big the volume of air needs to be for that much level (church organs can do 120dB) at those frequencies.

01bavo_haarlem.jpg

That was pretty good to know. Thanks :D
 

sbg

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sbg

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The test is not 'wrong'. It is not accurate, because the equipment used to administer the test is not calibrated to any standard at all. And the person administering the test is you. Since you have to quantify 'equal', it is still very subjective.

You *have* to understand the test in the context of how it is administered, and the text on the page. It is indicative, as even the text says - but even then the 30Hz sensitivity is close to 24dB lower than 1.5KHz tone, and you've got a huge midrange peak in your hearing at 3KHz and 8KHz, or the resonance of your headphones. We'll never really know till you have a calibrated test done. And it does start dropping off - at 16KHz you are -30dB down from the 3Khz tones.

Oh, and you'll notice it is from 30Hz to 16KHz. That is more or less the outer limit of human hearing - though some people have supernatural hearing and can go all the way to 22KHz.

Very Ture.
But my original point of reference was ability to hear above 14KHz.

In fact I did the test with other headpones.
CX300
loudness%20test%20cx300%20.JPG

SE310
loudness%20test%20shrue%20.JPG

sony mdr-xd300
loudness%20test%20sony%20.JPG


And the earlier image was related to Creative PC Speakers.
( settting were all Flat(no dsp/eq ) and in Audio creation mode for Creative X-fi, Creative x-Fi titaniumn( repeated the test on another pc also)

All sounded in 3 different responses for each freq.
This was like more of a headphones test than my ear's test:D.

Also to note is, only speakers and Shures were able to give the tone at 16khz - and was a bit irritating and what ever the plotting is for loudness with reference to 1khz is "so so", dificult to compare.
the other headphones responded with a hiss similar to running a Blank Audio tape at a high volume - so was it the actual tone or the atifacts to deliver 16kHz tone - i am not sure.

Personally sony sounded in a balanced way ( but the sound quality is Filmsy when compared to Shures - including bass)
 
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