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Below 60 ???

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Kurt Foster, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    From watching the threads it is obvious that many are obsessed with frequencies below 60Hz. Why all this interest in deep bass? Most consumer playback systems will do 60Hz. At best with only a rare few that have extension to 40 Hz. Let alone 30. I know it sounds good but to really be able to hear it correctly your room dimensions need to be correct / large. For the application of a home studio, nearfields that go to 60 Hz. are more than adequate, if not the best solution, due to room restrictions. Let's hear your opinions on this ….. Fats
    Tannoys, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK.
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  2. I believe the fundamental of an open low B string on a 5-string bass is around 32hz. As a bass player, I can only say there is NEVER enough bass in the mix.
  3. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    I don't know for sure, but that cone motion seems to have an effect, even though you can't hear it, it is moving air and damping. The resonance of the cabinet may not permit the wave to form well, but it's trying like hell to!
    Too much will rob power, and distort or warp the cone. I would miss guinea's 32hz, but I hope to get a little of the bottom, and harmonic.

    Just playin with your opinion,
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    If you strive to recreate the live event, it is crucial to have full bandwidth avaliable and to be able to monitor it accurately.

    I will upload an excerpt from a live show that was at 117dB at the mixing desk and let you decide for yourself.

    Look in Internet audio, my forum, I will post it soon. It is live and it is how the concert sounded and if you want to actually get this quality of sound, the bottom 2.5 octaves cannot be left out or filtered.

    The pedal is a "d flat" at 34hZ and it came through clean.

    To Fats:

    All of it depends on the source material. Synths can go below 30hZ and their is an entire avenue of low freqency bottom being recorded, and it has to mastered properly for all systems.

    Since my system is ruler flat to below 20hZ I do pay attention to the lowest 2.5 octaves (that is a lot of notes actually from 60 to 18hZ) and I make sure if it is in the programme, I do not leave them out. At least My system is accurate down there so if I do pass a 23 hZ note, it is within the realm of recording arts and will not destroy the boom box or the 120K$ stereo.

    I do feel that below 60 is not happening with a lot of music but logic dictates, low E on my 4 string bass is 42hZ and I have classical that gets below 20hZ and even the kick drum on Stairway to heaven has heavy 24hZ subharmonics in it that was allowed to happen and should be there.

    Never should we consider an absolute, it is relative to the artform.
  5. cjenrick

    cjenrick Active Member

    I think the style of the music nowdays might have something to do with it. We didn,t have those window rattling hip hoppers driving around 20 years ago. The worst thing we had to deal with as far as low end was Hammond B3 foot pedals or the Moog.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    guineapigmusic ,
    What kind of studio monitors are you using that go down to 32Hz? And what are the dimension of your control room?
    In the studio one isn't often called upon to recreate an event. Usually one would be creating rather than "re creating".

    The point I'm trying to make is;
    1) If your room isn't the large enough you can not reproduce deep bass accurately in the first place.
    2) It seems that a playback system with limited bandwidth that the room can handle would be far more accurate in that given room and thereby a better choice.

    It seems to me that most of the people who are posting and reading here are doing the same thing I am, making demos of their own songs for promotion reasons. This is all tying back into the near field argument / discussion that has been ongoing for the past several months. A lot of complaints about some nearfields is that they don't respond to much below 60 Hz. But I think that's fine if that's all your room can handle. If you have a huge control room with high ceilings then you need a big set of mains, but if your mixing in a spare bedroom the nearfields are a much better tool to use. Fats
    Tannoys, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK.
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  7. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    anyone heard the latest Peter Gabriel record?
    .....Really Sub heavy!!!
    It really stands out.At first i thought "aw...too much" but now i understand its placing in the big picture.
    The 70's and 80's had a top end fascination.
    I think we're heading into sub/'feel the floor move' era which'll involve careful bottom end space and texture because of things like 5.1 and dedicated mono sub amps.
    ....and of course to get that you need good sub monitoring
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Good sub monitoring won't do a bit of good in a room that is too small to accurately reproduce the deep bass. All it will do is create chaos. Perhaps that is one reason manufactures have all put out systems that only go this low. They know they can reasonably predict how it will respond, no matter what room they are placed in. IMO there has to be a cut off point as to what kind of speakers are useable in a given space. If you're in an 8' X 10' bedroom with a 7' 7" ceilings, dual 15" mains are out of the question. No one would do that. Because they know it's way too much speaker for the space. It may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, If you want to monitor deep bass the first thing you should do is get a large room with high ceilings. Then you can turn your attention to a system that will go below 60Hz.
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  9. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Ok, I got a rebuttal and Fats knows I am his friend but I have to say these things, not a correction to Fats but some points to ponder.

    Fats, you are correct..but to a point, you do not have to have the full wave signature for the brain to hear the lowest frequencies and convert them to meaningful notes.

    My room is only 11 feet deep and I can produce true 20hZ in here. No problem, no fake boomyness just no problem.

    The ceiling has cypress that has 1/4 inch gaps open to the attic. The house is 11 inches from the ground (soil) and the floor is open the same way. The house littlerally is an air motion transformer on low freqeuncies. All those frequencys are real and not imagined. 17hZ can be fully realized and it is not doubled. A direct mic (at 5 feet away from the speakers) to wave confirms this with a beautiful wave showing. You count the cycles and yes, 17 of them per 30 frames. Right there on my monitor AND it is only 2dB down from 21hZ. I am flat (-0.5dB) at 19hZ.

    Next rebuttal.

    Headphones. I have a set that can readily hit a true solid 30 hZ. No big room needed there.

    Next, CD (digital audio) made it possable to experiment with ultra low freqency (as did with analog tape) due to the fact you did not have to compensate for the vinyl factor.

    Anyone that really wants to vacation in South Florida and wants to come by the facility and hear for themselves is quite welcomed. Just let me have advanced notice for an appointment. I use no outboard eq from the 2-bus to the amplifier either. The amplifier is rated full power below 1hZ. It can actually throw 152 volts of pure DC from its output if you connect a "d" cell to one of the inputs. You better do this test with a dummy load and fire extinguisher as the dummy load will get white hot in about 3 seconds. Don't test your amp for DC output please..I did and it survived but the dummy loads cooked.

    Most of the Euro electronica and lounge music that I master has a lot of contrnt from 24 to 55hZ as in the actual bass line. It is the
    Q of the fundamental. Pure old rock and roll may differ but their is a lot to be said about working the bottom 2.5 octaves toward your advantage.

    Also, yes, we are in the business of "re-creating" in mastering. You take was was recorded and mixed and "re-create" to coincide with the consumer gear and their is a huge percentage that now has reproduction equipment amongst music and media buyers that need attention there. Home theater is a big one. Most folks going out and buying new systems are buying sats and subs due to the WAF. (Wife acceptance factor) Most subs are tuned to the mid 20hZ range.

    All live concerts in mastering are re-creations as well.

    All top mastering engineers systems will hit the 25hZ range with outstanding authority and if they don't, then the mastering engineer is probably doing lousy work.

    Remember, mastering is a separate but necessary realum.

    Yes, re-creation is the theme.

    Ok Fats, I just wanted to say this and truly it is becoming very important in mastering. Crucial actually.
  10. byacey

    byacey Active Member

    In my opinion, and this is just an opinion,
    Just because 85% of consumer systems don't extend below 60Hz doesn't mean we should roll our eyes (ears?) back and pretend nothing down there matters. The fact is as audio slowly progresses and more systems become capable of reproducing bottom properly - and I don't mean boom boxes on wheels, the bottom will become much more relevant. If your recordings are of any merit to survive twenty years from now listeners may well say " Hey, thats pretty good, but the bottom is kind of wonky. I guess he didn't have accurate monitors!!"
    Fuel to the fire of thought-
  11. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Excellent point. what they will say 25 years down the road is what matters to me. I am a 14hZ to 70KHZ man myself.

    And I play the bass from one end to the other, including taking the "E" machine head and tuning it to 32.7hZ at times "C" and transposing.
  12. GentleG

    GentleG Guest


    I love to make electronic music
    I only had the money (once) to buy a 500 USD/Euro 5.1 set (consumer JBL set).
    It's not good or great, but it's all I've got.
    The 5.1 goes down to 30 Hz, not accurate, but it does go down to 30 Hz.
    So yes, I feel sub 60 Hz is important (also because I enjoy plucking on my bass).

    Something else to think about is the way this is reproduced in clubs (1000 visitors max) in Europe, or to be more precise: the Netherlands.
    People want a lot of 'bass', so the dj's turns it up...
    What they end up with is not pretty (but people are accustomed to it)
    There's no audio engineer at a club, it's just the dj. And if the visitors want 'bass', he'll crank it up (on his Numark 'mixer').
    (large dancehalls do have audio engineers (sort of), you just wont enjoy the music, that's all;-) )

    I guess I just want to say 2 things:
    1. maybe there should be mixes / masters especially for Dutch (European) club-djs
    (bass heavy, so they are used to turn it down at home ... )
    2. gaining a little insight in audio does not increase my pleasure while being in a club ;-)

  13. GentleG

    GentleG Guest


    3 inform djs on what happens to bass if you crank it through the limiters the club has....

    BOOM BOOM BOOM boom boom boom
    skweeeeeek (next day waking up)
  14. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I put in (installed) an entire club (large 2001) disco installation I designed in 1977.

    The 2001 clubs were a francise and I installed a large club system (I designed 25 years ago) that was so bloody good that I use to go to the club to hear how the mixes actually sounded.

    I folded (16) 26hZ enclosures into the corners and flew 24 12" 3 way 4311 JBL's on the dance floor, crossed over at 50hZ meanwhile using 12 phase linear 400's on the JBL's and 8 Phase linears 700B's on the bottom bins. We had no acoustic feedback from the 1200 Technics turntables since I mounted them on a pipe filled with concrete all the way into the bedrock under the slab. I had a 4inch piece of felt under the tables too.

    The system was dialed in to provide 25hZ to 15K +/-2.5dB in ANY position in the club (24 places I measured and averaged) but mainly the dance floor which was 85 feet by 34 feet and lighted. It was the same floor used in "Saturday night fever" and that was the 2001 "oddesy" in NYC then. They used (4) A7 Altecs at the corners of the floor there with 2 DC300 Crowns (I know, I was there in 76)

    I wanted to do better a year later and did.

    The 2001 I did sounded so damn good that I would go home to my Klipschorns with a McIntosh and borrow the 12" Disco single and see how close I was and I just could not seem to get the "air" that that system provided with the hundreds of drivers and the thousands of watts, but the home system was very close.

    I actually measured a solid 115dB in the club at -11 on the VU meters and for a mixer, we used a vintage Altec with special RIAA EQ's and cartridges were Stanton 681EEE running a gram and a quarter and never skipping. They would back-que as well.

    Gosh, those were damn fun days when the systems were that good. 1700 people in there and 400 on the dance floor and it as loud and clear and you could talk over it if not on the floor.

    Great times.

    I wish I had the money to do that again, I would pack the house 7/52
  15. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Bill, … I would say that your situation qualifies as unique. Are you really going to try to say that in a room like I described that having a lot of sub bass is a good idea? I am sure that there is such a thing as "too much speaker" for a room. The room your in is one big bass trap. But in small rooms with low ceilings that are relatively "tight", bass nodes and cancellations are going to happen. Sure you can hear a lot of low but it's not accurate. And your going to play hell and spend a ton of dough getting it (the room) fixed to where what you're hearing is accurate. I'm not saying that it is not important to have an idea of what is going on in the low end below 60 but if your hearing inaccurate sub bass it's really no different than not hearing it at all in terms of mixing. Perhaps you will enjoy yourself more but it is of no real value as information you can use to make a decision.
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  16. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I guess I do not have anything to say anymore, I simply know, what my experience in acoustics, electronic measurements, system design, studio design and room evaluation, including testing labs for loudspeaker companies and listening in advese conditions.

    As you probably know by now, I resigned my post as moderator but I hope my limited (since it is only me that realizes some things) knowledge 25 to 30 years from now may bear some sort of 0.000001% merit.

    I find I work so far outside the box to render myself uselessly insane to all but the lab technicians in the white trench coats.

    For this, please consider my input a form of entertainment not to be considered for the studio arts.
  17. b3bub

    b3bub Guest

    Thank you all for the insights. Your generosity is appreciated. I would love to hear that big woody bass in my music room, and I will slowly, ever so slowly work towards that wide bandwidth.
    To Bill, I am working with the yammy's and the room as suggested. You mentioned headphones in another thread, but I haven't been able to find it. I couldn't manage Stax, but perhaps something else that might give me a taste of what you are describing. I currently have mid range sein's for tracking, and those folding sony's for our remote efforts(the non folding ones get put down for a moment, then evolution decrees that they grow legs. Sorta cancels out the bar tab benefit)
    Our apt here has a similar ceiling (sort of) as you describe, regrettably our neighbours live on the other side, and express some reluctance to resonate at low 'E'! They say the cat does the harmonics.
    Thanks again. Great vibe
    ps listening to Cooder's 'Meeting by the River'. Lovely sense of space and presence. Any thing similar come to mind?
  18. jajjguy

    jajjguy Guest

    Consumer systems are more and more based on a sub with satellites, or some variation for boomboxes. The bass really does go down farther and thump harder than the boombox i had as a teen. Does it reproduce the low frequencies correctly? Hell no, but it really doesn't reproduce any frequencies correctly. Most systems don't. That's what mastering if for, right? to make sure things sound at least okay on lots of different systems that can't really play them. So the fact that many listeners have subwoofers means they can listen to mangled low-bass just like they listen to mangled mids and highs, which means we have to care about those frequencies. Am I missing something?

    Not that I like any of this. I'd rather have a decent stereo pair than most any 3-way system i've heard, and i'd rather have a crappy stereo pair than a crappy 3-way. But if that's the way it's going...
  19. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    I know this will be frowned upon by some, but in my world, I cut records (vinyl) with a LPF at 12 Hz. This is mostly all types of Dance & Electronic and lots of Hip Hop too. For Club play. For CD's, I think it's a judgement call, but if I can hear stuff down there, I do minimal roll off so as to maintain the "feel" of the performance. I have a good stereo at home which measures to 32 Hz +/- 1.5 dB and would be insulted if the mastering engineer filtered out lows at 60 Hz.
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I am not speaking about filtering. I am saying you can't stuff 10 pounds of stuff in a five pound bag. Full bass extension is fine if you are in a room that is large enough to handle it. You can't put twin diesel inboard motors in a 10' aluminum fishing boat. Fats

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