Why do so many people have problems with bass?


I mean such obsession with bass. Does not your systems play bass?  Is it the quality of the bass?

Maybe my system does a really good job and I don't perceive any problems, or maybe I don't know I have a problem.

What is so challenging for systems to produce quality bass?

Is it that they don't hear enough thud?? What hertz range we talking about? It's a pretty wide range.

jumia

Fascinating responses.

When I was shopping for speakers recently it was very clear the driver sizes for bass are getting smaller. The reason I was given is that most people like the smaller speakers, smaller more narrow speakers that they contend look nicer and wanted by consumers.. No matter how much I wanted to spend on speakers it was challenging to find larger driver size unless I really stretch higher.  My older speakers have 8 inch drivers which r a nice size for bass. To get these in a current speaker is extremely expensive because they don’t design speakers that way anymore.

It’s no wonder people aren’t happy with the sound. Personally I think all the challenging lower frequency areas touted as being a challenge to deal with is a lot of bs. Filling a room with lower frequency base should not be a big deal.

Physics and Driver size go together. You need wider main speakers with a decent sized bass driver or two along with a decent amplifier and problem solved, you have bass. You are a genius.

Current speaker designs with smaller driver sizes, and all the marketing and confusion are leading Music listeners Down a path filled with modern age deficient speakers and deception to sell more stuff.

@jumia, volume = area * throw. Driver designers have gotten good at making longer throw woofers with low distortion. There are advantages to smaller drivers and a narrower cabinet. You can achieve better dispersion especially in a multi-way where the mid-driver and bass drivers may be the same size. It is easier to brace the cabinet properly. Multiple small drivers can take the place of a single large driver. It makes it easier to integrate bass and mid-driver due to move similar emission patterns. I think there is also the expectation you will add a sub for deep bass (most systems are dual purpose music/HT). Economies of scale by reducing the number of driver sizes probably helps for cost, and improves automation which is good for quality.

 

Indeed, the most fascinating subject! Great posts above.

My experience with the approaches is that I can second the observation that we need driver diameter and baffle width to achieve effortless and full midbass. Skinny fronts and smaller, very high excursion woofers (practically woofy tweeters) can deliver the quantity but cannot deliver the quality, the dynamic range, nor the harmonic integrity. Just think of the audiophile proverb as delivered to a flaming rose bush from the mouth of Harry Pearson the high end audio God : "if you can see the cone moving it's not high fidelity anymore". The facts of physics do not change, his observation is as valid today as it was 30 years ago.

For woofers, it's not the ability to move a foot, or two gallons of air - it's the ability to couple the energy to the air that counts. That was and still is the prime requisite for high quality bass response.

People do not realize that out of the several inches of cone excursion only a fraction of the pushed air is going to participate in the formation of sound waves of the desired frequency - those obscenely flapping small pistons operate with 99% energy loss, or worse!

I do concur with the posts above, most audiophiles never experienced high quality bass. When it happens, you feel as if you are lifted in the air, your room and your skin feels energized, you feel the scale... similar experiences as experiencing a live concert. And it needs not be earsplitting volume to feel that way. Can dial volume down, and the feeling stays.

As far as bass response goes, most people experience it down to 40Hz-ish regions. When the system delivers down to 30Hz, that brings a giant transformation in experiencing it. (Weight,,energy, exhilaration.)

Another very big leap when it can reach 25Hz with authority. That's a profound transformation, grounding the instruments in reality. The image becomes much more solid, real. Yes - even a flute, and the singers!

Next jump is when you get to 20Hz. Now you feel the space is opening up, and the music fills the entire room. Not just the bass - the violins, etc, the sound becomes palpable.

And another jump when you can get down to below 20Hz. I'm at this stage now, system good to go to 13Hz, and has content down to 11.0Hz. -- and that at 102dB/Wm. Here, the ability to provide subsonics is the elusive nectar. You also need room to house the frequencies - by room can support a 13Hz wave, so happy marriage there. This gives the experience to feel as if you are at the concert hall for real. Concert halls have sub 20Hz waves due to the hall size, and our ears and bodies pick that up as the cue for the enormous space. These waves are felt by the body primarily, not the ear! The frequencies below 20Hz affect the endocrine system, so music with electronic programmed subsonic content does act like a transcendental experience, as it directly alters your hormonal balance, changing how you feel in your body and how you experience reality. I found this effect far more addictive than any chemical addiction (alcohol and substances), so it's a blessing in disguise that most people do not have access to this frequency range.

Also, our bodies are not built to sustain regular exposure to subsonics... while normal music does not put you in such danger, but programmed electronic music (that has high infrasound content) certainly does.

To stay on the safe side: have your system go down to 18Hz. That will give you the most amazing transformative experience already, without fear of bursting the spleen... ;

 

How do you add authority or anything when there is nothing to add because the music does not contain those frequencies? Some music does, but far from all.

2- 6.5" woofers have the same diameter as a single 9". From a physics standpoint, because the wavelengths are so large, they will do the same thing. 3 - 7" woofers has the same surface area as a single 12" woofer. Spacing is close enough for bass frequencies (they will be), then they will behave the same.

Too aid bass output at the frequencies we seem to be discussing, i.e. 100hz and under, the baffle would need to be enormous, but at those frequencies the bass is effectively omni-directional anyway so talking about baffle step has no place in the discussion.

Our ears pick up 20Hz as the cue for the hall space? Is that your own theory, or does someone who understand hearing tell you that? Close your eyes and I will play a 20Hz tone. You will not know if you are in a concert hall or small room.  RT60 as a function of frequency does not favour bass in large venues. In a properly designed venue, it will be controlled within practicality across frequencies.