Loud vs. Tactile Bass

I’m wondering what the difference is between loud and tactile bass or if there is any (I believe there is), and how to get more tactile bass, especially low bass notes. I’m defining tactile bass as bass you can feel throughout your body as opposed to just loud bass you hear. I know there’s a relationship with frequencies with low infrasonic notes being predominantly felt instead of heard (although most bass notes can be felt if loud enough), and a relationship with volume where the bass has to be loud enough to be tactile. But there is more to it based on my experiences. I’ve heard a pair of 10” subs in a car and even though they had low tuning they seemed to get loud without as much tactile sensations compared to a single 15” subwoofer which seemed more tactile at all volume levels and way more tactile at high volume levels. Both scenarios had similar cone surface areas. I’ve heard Paul McGowen mention that larger subwoofers “couple” to the air better but outside of him using that term I’ve never seen it mentioned. I’ve also tried to Google search tactile bass but almost all the results are about bass shakers you attach to your listening chair. What are your thoughts?


Are you talking home theatre or music?

The lowest bass under 30hz is great for home theater. Room shaking explosions and crashes. However, for music, the focus is a bit higher above 30hz in the 40 to 80 range. If you want the tactile feel of a kick drum the range could be even higher. To hear the 'skin' of a kick drum gains can be had all the way up in the 200hz range.

Music has very little 20hz information. Only the lowest registers. This deep, barely audible level has little to do with tight punchy bass.

On the other hand... 40 or 50 or 60 hz can punch you in the chest with music. Very tactile. So don't fall into the trap thinking lowest frequencies are the only way to get  tactile bass. Unless your goal is to feel the deep rumble of an earthquake.



gdaddy1 is correct. Virtually all the bass is in the lower midrange. Your room has a lot to do with it too.Standing waves and room modes will interfere with hearing clean bass.

Define your references….electric bass or standup heart n soul - the HARMONIC s…. are North of 100 hz and NOT below the mid 40’s…. 

If you have an RTA play a nice double bass solo….. 80 hz….. is just the beginning of UP……..

as you might guess, i think drivers above 12” suck…. cue  the efficiency / distortion crowd who don’t play bass…. ;-)