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?


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…. ;-)

I think if you are looking for tactile bass you need a system that can produce frequencies below 60 hertz without excessive distortion. Depending on your room that can be a challenge. As some others have mentioned the room can introduce it own distortions. I have a subwoofer in my system with 2 x12 speakers and all it does is add that tactile sense to music. If I turn it up very loud it quickly gets annoying. It does really add that kick in the chest when set like loud compared to the rest of the system. Allot of packaged stereos in the 90s used to a have a bass boost setting or the like but I think they just raise the frequencies between 60 and 120 hertz. The fundamental frequencies of the kick drum. I found this web page which matches what I thought when I was doing amateur sound and recording.


The hardest part of any system is getting the bass both loud and smooth.

Not sure if you mean you want sound effects level bass, or you want punchy music club type of bass. The former is around 16 Hz to 30 Hz. The latter between 40 and 80 Hz.