Please rec subs that can reproduce clean high bass, clean mid-bass, and clean deep bass as low as intended to be heard in the film, at mid-low volume

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
When I am comparing subs online, is there any spec I can look at in particular that is going to tell me what sub can perform clear and detailed and perfect at low volumes, and what subs can't? I mean they have spec sheets that tell you which ones can play at 20hz at 100spl, which ones can go down to 15hz, etc, but what am I supposed to look at just on these sites that's going to tell me this one is detailed at low spl and this one isn't? Or are all the top brands people bring up here going to do equally well at that, outside of maybe the sealed vs ported trade off? All the sealed top brands people mention here will be equally clear and detailed by sealed standards at low SPL at similar sizes and costs? All the top ported brands people mention here will be equally clear and detailed by ported standards at low SPLs at similar sizes and costs? Or are some brands or models known for that, some not? Some drivers do well at that that the top brands use, and some drivers are poor at that but perform more detailed at high volumes than the other brand?


The same type of question, but am I at risk of this happening if I buy one brand vs another? How will I know which of the top models have this problem and which dont, or do they all not, only crappy cheaper subs? I know the room also plays a huge role but I cant change my room for better or worse, and there's no way to know ahead of time, so that's why the question is focusing on the subs.
Most subs should sound very good at low SPLs. Look at any of the often recommended brands around here; they all do fine at 100dB and below. Hsu, SVS, and Monoprice Monolith are a few brands that are all solid. By the way, subwoofer range frequencies do not contain much of what anyone would consider detail, and that is even more true at lower SPLs.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Car contests aren't based on ULF, tho. I suppose you could turn the sub up much higher than the rest of the speakers to hear the production of the sub more clearly, but it'd have to be quite an imbalance to appreciate ULF....
They're not usually trying to hit the <20Hz area, but they can. The imbalance can be 30dB, if the contest allows making adjustments after the RTA test.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Most subs should sound very good at low SPLs. Look at any of the often recommended brands around here; they all do fine at 100dB and below. Hsu, SVS, and Monoprice Monolith are a few brands that are all solid. By the way, subwoofer range frequencies do not contain much of what anyone would consider detail, and that is even more true at lower SPLs.
You're calling 100dB 'low SPL'?

At real 'low level', such as ~85dB, subs definitely aren't for detail, but producing sound at that level really helps the overall perception of the audio content.

Have you ever noticed how the music in your car sounds when another car that's producing bass is nearby? The bass doesn't even need to match what your stereo is playing, it just needs to be there. Obviously, if the other car is producing earthquake-type level, it's not the same but it's something that has been noticed and tested.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks everyone for all the more posts answering my questions, and it's great to see the discussion in general. Feel free to respond to each other and discuss and I can learn by reading from the sidelines too.



Great info thanks. Hopefully under those numbers will be what I like, but either way for my hearing I'll plan to keep things below those levels. I wonder if it is hz dependent too. Would 100hz sounds for 4 hours be safe for your hearing above 95 db like it says on the chart, but 10hz sounds for 4 hours, even if you cant hear them, would be unsafe for your hearing even below 95 db? It sounds like I wont be chasing ultra low frequencies anyway, but if I had, I had wanted to know if they have more health risks compared to 50hz or 100hz etc.
If you think you'll enjoy 10Hz for any length of time, good for you but I really think you should look for something that does 25Hz and above. The low limit isn't like a brick wall, an 'either/or' situation where you either have <20Hz or you don't.

Go to a place (maybe a truck stop) and listen for the low frequencies as semi trucks drive slowly- at some point, you'll probably decide that you don't enjoy the ultra low frequencies and if you do, it will become apparent that the time and expense of trying to have that in your theater isn't really worth it. Again, a lot of the sounds we think of as 'super low frequencies' are higher than expected.

FWIW- if you go to events with live bands- most PA systems for music don't do much below 50Hz. The reason it sounds like they do is because the low frequencies they produce are at a level and driven by speakers that a home system won't be able to replicate. Outdoor large venue systems are driven by thousands of Watts and often use a dozen subwoofers that would never fit into a house.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
You're calling 100dB 'low SPL'?

At real 'low level', such as ~85dB, subs definitely aren't for detail, but producing sound at that level really helps the overall perception of the audio content.

Have you ever noticed how the music in your car sounds when another car that's producing bass is nearby? The bass doesn't even need to match what your stereo is playing, it just needs to be there. Obviously, if the other car is producing earthquake-type level, it's not the same but it's something that has been noticed and tested.
For infrasonic bass, 100dB is not a whole lot.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
For infrasonic bass, 100dB is not a whole lot.
100dB is 100dB, it just feels different. It won't punch out someones' midrange and make their ears ring in the same way, but it can still do some damage over long periods and when it's being produced at the same time as full frequency range audio at the same level, it's loud.
 
S

Speakernewb100

Enthusiast
Regarding what my friend told me that 12" drivers are good because bass needs space to proliferate, and smaller drivers make shorter waves, most here and elsewhere have said he doesnt know what he's talking about, but just now I got the first comment agreeing with him, bringing up this info or theory. I am posting it here to bring it up for review and discussion.

As far as drive power to surface area is concerned, your friend is actually right, it is not for nothing that the largest IMAX subwoofers are operated with 12 inchers. However, when scaled down to a small area, the differences become marginal. If you don't care about the last bit of level gain, you can be happier with a smaller box. When listening quietly, the design is crucial so that the wave can separate even at low levels. Large-area spiders (could be mistranslation? He doesnt speak english) and the softest possible surrounds in large-volume closed housings or open dipole construction produce a very voluminous deep bass even at low volume.
A) Any truth to this?
B) If there is, then should I be looking specifically for sub models that have, to use his terms which I dont know what most of them mean, "large-area spiders (could be mistranslation? He doesnt speak english) and the softest possible surrounds in large-volume closed housings or open dipole construction"? Which models have that which dont? Do the HSU's?
 
S

Speakernewb100

Enthusiast
100dB is 100dB, it just feels different. It won't punch out someones' midrange and make their ears ring in the same way, but it can still do some damage over long periods and when it's being produced at the same time as full frequency range audio at the same level, it's loud.
Any idea if the infrasonic frequencies are more or less damaging to listen to, at the same volume, as higher frequencies? I was assuming it might be more damaging, but going off comments suggesting you can hear higher bass frequencies at say 85db or 100db, but you wont hear or feel infrasonic frequencies unless you turn it up real loud, it makes me wonder if it would be less damaging? Unless it's possible for it to be damaging either though you can neither hear or feel it?

I was also thinking about the idea that since I plan to listen at low or mid volume, and infrasonics cant be heard or felt at low or mid volume, only high volume. In that case, could I do a custom curve where I turn up the infrasonics way higher than the rest of the frequencies? You couldnt do this with audible frequencies because then your ears would get blasted inconsistently whenever some frequencies turn off, but if with infrasonic, it requires a lot higher volume to be able to feel it, then wouldnt putting it to much higher volume in practice actually just be like equaling it out with the rest of it the bass?

The would be a way to use it even while listening at mid volume. I could listen to all the audible frequencies at 80db or something, and then turn the infrasonic volume up to 120db, and because it's not audible, and because it requires turning up way higher to even feel it, then it will still feel only like 80db.

I dont know the exact numbers, but thats the concept. Would that work? The whole reason I want to listen to most frequencies at mid volume is because I dont want them to be too loud. But since the infrasonic frequencies arent audible anyway, and apparently you cant feel them at mid volume either, then that concern does not exist with them, and they can be turned up higher. The only concern remaining would be able to ear health and hearing loss, since even if u cant hear the frequencies they are still there.

Do the infrasonic frequencies become noticeable before reaching an SPL that it is not healthy to listen to?
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Spartan
Regarding what my friend told me that 12" drivers are good because bass needs space to proliferate, and smaller drivers make shorter waves, most here and elsewhere have said he doesnt know what he's talking about, but just now I got the first comment agreeing with him, bringing up this info or theory. I am posting it here to bring it up for review and discussion.



A) Any truth to this?
B) If there is, then should I be looking specifically for sub models that have, to use his terms which I dont know what most of them mean, "large-area spiders (could be mistranslation? He doesnt speak english) and the softest possible surrounds in large-volume closed housings or open dipole construction"? Which models have that which dont? Do the HSU's?
Ummm your friend really doesn't know what he's talking about honestly you should not be getting your sub purchase advice from him
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Regarding what my friend told me that 12" drivers are good because bass needs space to proliferate, and smaller drivers make shorter waves, most here and elsewhere have said he doesnt know what he's talking about, but just now I got the first comment agreeing with him, bringing up this info or theory. I am posting it here to bring it up for review and discussion.



A) Any truth to this?
B) If there is, then should I be looking specifically for sub models that have, to use his terms which I dont know what most of them mean, "large-area spiders (could be mistranslation? He doesnt speak english) and the softest possible surrounds in large-volume closed housings or open dipole construction"? Which models have that which dont? Do the HSU's?
We’ll no. Your “friend” is an idiot. A 20hz wave is 56 feet long. Doesn’t matter if it comes from a 10” sub, or a 24” sub.
The “spider” is part of every subwoofer driver. EVERY DRIVER. He. Is. Stupid.
The “first comment agreeing with him”??? Is where??? Don’t see it.
As far as health concerns. Get real. ANY movie content that is anyway near 20hz, will be for such a short period that it is completely negligible x not to mention the volume control...
 
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William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
@highfigh why are you freaking this guy out with health concerns. He just wants to watch some movies and shake his seat once awhile. It’s not like he’s gonna run 20hz sine waves at 150db for five hours straight!!! What is your problem with bass?
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Regarding what my friend told me that 12" drivers are good because bass needs space to proliferate, and smaller drivers make shorter waves, most here and elsewhere have said he doesnt know what he's talking about, but just now I got the first comment agreeing with him, bringing up this info or theory. I am posting it here to bring it up for review and discussion.
A) Any truth to this?
B) If there is, then should I be looking specifically for sub models that have, to use his terms which I dont know what most of them mean, "large-area spiders (could be mistranslation? He doesnt speak english) and the softest possible surrounds in large-volume closed housings or open dipole construction"? Which models have that which dont? Do the HSU's?
Your friend still doesn't know what he is talking about. You need to be looking at end results, i.e., measurements, not design criteria. The end performance is all that matters for the goals that you are after.

Any idea if the infrasonic frequencies are more or less damaging to listen to, at the same volume, as higher frequencies? I was assuming it might be more damaging, but going off comments suggesting you can hear higher bass frequencies at say 85db or 100db, but you wont hear or feel infrasonic frequencies unless you turn it up real loud, it makes me wonder if it would be less damaging? Unless it's possible for it to be damaging either though you can neither hear or feel it?
Loud low frequencies have been shown to make hearing more susceptible to damage but they have not been shown to cause damage in themselves. In other words, extremely loud bass is probably dangerous, but it's not as bad as loud midranges where human hearing is most sensitive.

I was also thinking about the idea that since I plan to listen at low or mid volume, and infrasonics cant be heard or felt at low or mid volume, only high volume. In that case, could I do a custom curve where I turn up the infrasonics way higher than the rest of the frequencies? You couldnt do this with audible frequencies because then your ears would get blasted inconsistently whenever some frequencies turn off, but if with infrasonic, it requires a lot higher volume to be able to feel it, then wouldnt putting it to much higher volume in practice actually just be like equaling it out with the rest of it the bass?

The would be a way to use it even while listening at mid volume. I could listen to all the audible frequencies at 80db or something, and then turn the infrasonic volume up to 120db, and because it's not audible, and because it requires turning up way higher to even feel it, then it will still feel only like 80db.
If you cranked the infrasonic bass to where you could sense it at an overall lower system SPL than you would normally, it probably would sound unnatural. I wouldn't bother doing that. You would just end up with a lot of stuff having rumble which it wouldn't normally would have otherwise.

Do the infrasonic frequencies become noticeable before reaching an SPL that it is not healthy to listen to?
The answer is basically found in this paper. The short answer is unless you are after single-digit frequencies than no, the threshold for human hearing of infrasonic bass does not reach hazardous levels.
 
S

Speakernewb100

Enthusiast
There was a misunderstanding of my post with some responses here. To clarify, I do not talk to my friend anymore. I wanted an excuse to get 30 inch drivers and he told me 12 inch is great, from that point on I said that's it, we're done, and I deleted his number.... No just kidding. But for reasons totally unrelated to subs or any negative feeling, I dont talk to him. He was more of an aquaintance really, and this came up one time when he told me this advice, otherwise I dont talk to him to be able to ask follow up questions or anything.

So when I said I got a first comment agreeing with him, I meant someone else finally agreed with him, which makes it now 1 person agreeing with him compared to 10 or 15 who have said its bad info. And I copy pasted pretty much word for word what this other person told me over typing.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
As far as hearing loss, I will be using this very regularly so that's a good point, I would always want to play it low enough that even high usage will not cause hearing loss over time. If the ears more sensitive to bass volumes than non-bass volumes, I should learn what volume to keep the bass below to avoid hearing loss. I mean, I would assume with non-bass at least that if it's not uncomfortable to listen to, then it wont cause damage, but if you're suggesting with bass it could feel comfortable, but actually still be bad for your ears over time, then I should look out for that. You may not have meant that is the case though, Im not sure.



Does this suggest that even if I could achieve a sub setup that would be able to accurately play every 1hz - 15hz movie scenes, I still would not want to do it because it's unhealthy or can make people nauseated? Or is that only these specific riot control low hz sounds but not low hz sounds they put in movies?

In general, I want to be very health conscious so I'm glad you brought up these questions. Are there any health risks in general I should be aware of when shopping for subs, that is different than watching TV with normal sound like built in TV speakers, or different even than bedlayer speakers in a surround set up? With those, it would only damage your hearing or make you sick if you blasted it to the point of making your ears uncomfortable. I dont know if bass is different or not.

Can you tell me SIB-KISS is?
I'm not sure if you are trying to conduct military experiments, or truly want to enjoy music in the home. One thing I do know is that you need physics 101 ASAP.

Your continuing misconceptions, have now reached the point of the obtuse.

I told you before your parsing of the bass decade has no relevance in fact. There are bass decades, mid decades and treble decades. Passing it further than that is mental masturbation.

Now, this is fact, any reproducer that has an f3, in the 25 to 20 Hz range with adequate output will do the job.

Now just pick a well designed and reliable sub that meets that simple criterions and enjoy.

You have spouted enough bilge here to be good for several years, now move on.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
Any idea if the infrasonic frequencies are more or less damaging to listen to, at the same volume, as higher frequencies? I was assuming it might be more damaging, but going off comments suggesting you can hear higher bass frequencies at say 85db or 100db, but you wont hear or feel infrasonic frequencies unless you turn it up real loud, it makes me wonder if it would be less damaging? Unless it's possible for it to be damaging either though you can neither hear or feel it?

I was also thinking about the idea that since I plan to listen at low or mid volume, and infrasonics cant be heard or felt at low or mid volume, only high volume. In that case, could I do a custom curve where I turn up the infrasonics way higher than the rest of the frequencies? You couldnt do this with audible frequencies because then your ears would get blasted inconsistently whenever some frequencies turn off, but if with infrasonic, it requires a lot higher volume to be able to feel it, then wouldnt putting it to much higher volume in practice actually just be like equaling it out with the rest of it the bass?

The would be a way to use it even while listening at mid volume. I could listen to all the audible frequencies at 80db or something, and then turn the infrasonic volume up to 120db, and because it's not audible, and because it requires turning up way higher to even feel it, then it will still feel only like 80db.

I dont know the exact numbers, but thats the concept. Would that work? The whole reason I want to listen to most frequencies at mid volume is because I dont want them to be too loud. But since the infrasonic frequencies arent audible anyway, and apparently you cant feel them at mid volume either, then that concern does not exist with them, and they can be turned up higher. The only concern remaining would be able to ear health and hearing loss, since even if u cant hear the frequencies they are still there.

Do the infrasonic frequencies become noticeable before reaching an SPL that it is not healthy to listen to?
You're concerning yourself with a frequency range that isn't produced often, not easy to achieve, it's expensive to do and it's usually for special effect unless it involves large percussion instruments or a pipe organ.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
There was a misunderstanding of my post with some responses here. To clarify, I do not talk to my friend anymore. I wanted an excuse to get 30 inch drivers and he told me 12 inch is great, from that point on I said that's it, we're done, and I deleted his number.... No just kidding. But for reasons totally unrelated to subs or any negative feeling, I dont talk to him. He was more of an aquaintance really, and this came up one time when he told me this advice, otherwise I dont talk to him to be able to ask follow up questions or anything.

So when I said I got a first comment agreeing with him, I meant someone else finally agreed with him, which makes it now 1 person agreeing with him compared to 10 or 15 who have said its bad info. And I copy pasted pretty much word for word what this other person told me over typing.
The comments I posted about having great bass came from having 30" ElectroVoice woofers- last time I checked, they were selling for about $2500 each, so I think that puts them outside of your budget.

Read TLS Guy's post and do that.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
@highfigh why are you freaking this guy out with health concerns. He just wants to watch some movies and shake his seat once awhile. It’s not like he’s gonna run 20hz sine waves at 150db for five hours straight!!! What is your problem with bass?
I'm not- I'm trying to get him to stop searching for a unicorn but if he actually does hit the SPL he posts about, he WILL affect his hearing. not if.

I don't have a problem with bass but he doesn't understand what he thinks he wants to do.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
You're concerning yourself with a frequency range that isn't produced often, not easy to achieve, it's expensive to do and it's usually for special effect unless it involves large percussion instruments or a pipe organ.
The lowest fundamental on any pipe organ I am aware of is 16 Hz, which is the lowest 32 ft pipe in the pedal compass of a pipe organ.

However the F3 of a sub is not a brick wall. So if a sub has an F3 of say 24 Hz and is ported with a roll off of 24 db. per octave at 16 Hz it will be 15 db down at 16 Hz, but room gain will make that significantly less. If it is a sealed sub or a TL it will be 9 db down. If it is a sealed sub though, there is likely a high pass filter active to prevent driver damage. So far a sealed sub the roll off is likely also 24 db per octave at least.

Jonathon Scott on occasions hold that last pedal of 32 ft. stop of an organ to see if it is reproduced. The F3 of my large line is in that range, but that note is easily audible in my room, and causes some vibration though out the room. Of course there are harmonics and of it an open pipe the second harmonic as 32 Hz will be the loudest. If it is a stopped pipe it will be the third harmonic at 48 Hz.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
The lowest fundamental on any pipe organ I am aware of is 16 Hz, which is the lowest 32 ft pipe in the pedal compass of a pipe organ.

However the F3 of a sub is not a brick wall. So if a sub has an F3 of say 24 Hz and is ported with a roll off of 24 db. per octave at 16 Hz it will be 15 db down at 16 Hz, but room gain will make that significantly less. If it is a sealed sub or a TL it will be 9 db down. If it is a sealed sub though, there is likely a high pass filter active to prevent driver damage. So far a sealed sub the roll off is likely also 24 db per octave at least.

Jonathon Scott on occasions hold that last pedal of 32 ft. stop of an organ to see if it is reproduced. The F3 of my large line is in that range, but that note is easily audible in my room, and causes some vibration though out the room. Of course there are harmonics and of it an open pipe the second harmonic as 32 Hz will be the loudest. If it is a stopped pipe it will be the third harmonic at 48 Hz.
There are two instruments that have a full-length 64' stop. The first one is the Midmer-Losh organ at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The second one is the Pogson organ in the Organ Sydney Town Hall, Australia. Those two would have a fundamental vibration at 8 Hz.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
The lowest fundamental on any pipe organ I am aware of is 16 Hz, which is the lowest 32 ft pipe in the pedal compass of a pipe organ.

However the F3 of a sub is not a brick wall. So if a sub has an F3 of say 24 Hz and is ported with a roll off of 24 db. per octave at 16 Hz it will be 15 db down at 16 Hz, but room gain will make that significantly less. If it is a sealed sub or a TL it will be 9 db down. If it is a sealed sub though, there is likely a high pass filter active to prevent driver damage. So far a sealed sub the roll off is likely also 24 db per octave at least.

Jonathon Scott on occasions hold that last pedal of 32 ft. stop of an organ to see if it is reproduced. The F3 of my large line is in that range, but that note is easily audible in my room, and causes some vibration though out the room. Of course there are harmonics and of it an open pipe the second harmonic as 32 Hz will be the loudest. If it is a stopped pipe it will be the third harmonic at 48 Hz.
That's the reason I mentioned pipe organ as the source of <20Hz frequencies. BTW- I saw a video of the organ that was being repaired in Atlantic City and it does have pipes long enough to produce such low frequencies- it was a great way to show that full-range speakers can benefit from a good/great subwoofer because the low notes were modulating the midrange coming from my speakers. If not separate subs, the mid-bass drivers really need to be in separate enclosures if the system is a 2.5-way, like mine. Considering the fact that my speakers use two 6.5" drivers, they did very well with the lowest frequencies.

I had mentioned the crossover not being a brick wall and showing that the F3 isn't, as well, is good for general info.

The thing about sound is that it can trick us into 'hearing' what isn't there and even if the speakers can't reproduce some frequencies, materials that happen to resonate at those frequencies can help a great deal to make it audible.
 

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