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Old 21st June 2008, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default How Much Bass Is Enough???

My wife and I have just come in from a concert at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, once more blown away by the MSO.
How many and what size of drivers do you think I need to realistically reproduce the sound of this particular concert//
Music from Space operas like 2001/Star Wars/ etc:
Orchestra had 6 double bass and two sets of tympani ( thats 8 kettle drums ) as well as the big bass drum, some how I don't think one (1) 12inch woofer per side is going to do it.
On the way home in the train SWMBO turned to me and said " 'we need new speakers" ' where do I start??
Mid-range isn't my problem as I will use Vifa P11's ( I have 4 of these and I think they are reasonable in power handling SPL and sound quality ) my query relates more to bass and midbass.
Bearing in mind that here in Australia we don't have an extensive range of drivers to choose from and the budget is limited to around $1200-
I am thinking of using Tempests for the bottom octave and there goes most of the budget, this new set will probably be tri-amped and power isn't an issue.
Do I continue with the "Eathers" using the B-139's in a sealed box as planned and add a good sub woofer or four or start new plans for something really big??
Regards
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Old 21st June 2008, 06:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: How Much Bass Is Enough???

Quote:
Originally posted by Moondog55
How many and what size of drivers do you think I need to realistically reproduce the sound of this particular concert
I think you're jumping steps in asking this question. What is more to the heart of the matter is the RMS and peak SPL at the concert and its dependence on frequency. That can be determined (bring an RTA with) and if you know it you can determine what equipment you will need to reproduce it.

There is not going to be an answer in the form of a number and size of drivers, as the output of the system can vary widely depending on the design of the driver, the enclosure, the power used, and the placement within the room. For example, suppose you have four 12s and a fixed amount of power; if you put them in sealed boxes and locate them at the four midpoints of the walls of the room, and compare that with them ported and located in the four corners, you'd be looking at on the order of 15 dB difference in output.

If I had to give you a number, I would guess you need to be able to hit peaks of somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 dB from 30 Hz to 100 Hz to do what you want.
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Old 21st June 2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Re: How Much Bass Is Enough???

Quote:
Originally posted by Rybaudio
If I had to give you a number, I would guess you need to be able to hit peaks of somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 dB from 30 Hz to 100 Hz to do what you want.
That can easily be done with one ported 18" per side (certain ones), such as the Ciare 18.00 SW. I doubt it'd be very low distortion though.

On the other hand, I believe there's more to it than simply reproducing certain SPL's. It won't sound the same, especially if you're in a small room. Try a massive room, at least the size of a large gymnaisium.. except imagine the whole thing extensively treated and planned for acoustics.. then imagine lots of horn loaded woofers, or something like that. At that point, you're probably getting close.
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Old 21st June 2008, 10:12 PM   #4
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Well, you'll need ~90 dB average (loud) to get the soft passages above the noise floor with +30 dB transients since that's all any symphony CD has TTBOMK, so a pair of these (or equivalent) with the 1200 W recommended power will barely suffice, but they will be both bass and treble shy, so a similar output IB system to fill in the bottom end and efficiency matching super tweeter system to add as much of the top end 'air' as the CD allows will get you into the hall's entrance, but it will take mass quantities of room correction to get that 'you are there' spaciousness of a large venue.

With only a $1200 budget though, spending it on control room spec treatment will probably get you closer to the sense of 'you are there' than the sheer dynamics of it will, though admittedly the latter can be very thrilling.

GM
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Old 21st June 2008, 11:01 PM   #5
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G'day Moondog55

I guess you've just discovered why some of us have systems rated at 100dB/W/M and have kilowatts of drive on tap. It's certainly not for playing Metallica at live levels And no, the Vifa's won't cut it unless you can build a floor to ceiling line array with them. A more suitable midbass per side would be something like a pair of B&C 8NDL51. Team that up with a nice compression driver (B&C, 18 Sound or BMS) and an 8 by 15" IB for bass and you'll pretty much have the speakers covered for not too many $$$.

It strikes me that you've just started a very interesting journey!

Have fun...

William Cowan
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Old 21st June 2008, 11:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for that guy's, I sort of knew all that, and I knew the budget was unrealistic but my wife thinks we need to spend the money on unimportant things like rent and food and while I could persuade her to spend a little more ( maybe $2100- ) that would be the limit.
Trying to reproduce concert levels at home isn't going to be obtainable given my listening room restraints and limited budget; BUT I'd like to get as close as I can.
It's not often that ones wife gives you permission to start a new project before you've finished the current one.
As to the environment, I do need to build a couple of bass traps, and an absorbing panel for the ceiling; but the rest of the room treatment is OK
Regards Ted
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Old 22nd June 2008, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moondog55
Thanks for that guy's..........but the rest of the room treatment is OK
You're welcome!

Hmm, I doubt it unless you have either a very large, open room with modes beginning in the single digits or a high percentage of your walls behind the listening position are covered in Schroeder diffusers or similar to make the room 'disappear' into a virtual large space.

You're right though, you sure don't want to pass up your S.O.'s momentary lapse of reason.

GM
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Old 22nd June 2008, 01:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moondog55

It's not often that ones wife gives you permission to start a new project before you've finished the current one.
As you "mature" it happens about as often as other connubial events.
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Old 22nd June 2008, 01:21 AM   #9
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I don't think any of the proposed options make any sense. IB (sealed) for subs is a horrible way to utilize money. Multiple smaller midranges (dual 8s) has little advantage over one larger one and costs more. Using high-technology pro sound subwoofers at $400/ea is very inefficient money wise. The more frequency divisions (e.g. using supertweeters) the more drivers you need and the more you need to invest in crossovers and/or amps.

The best route is to keep things as simple as possible, use basic drivers, and design carefully. For example, the following speaker arrangement may get you where you want to go:

(2) Eminence PSD2002 (on 15" mouth waveguides, 1 kHz up)
(2) Eminence Beta 15s (ported, tuned to 30 Hz, 1 kHz-down)
(3) cheap car/home 12" or 15" subs (ported, tuned to 30 Hz, 80 Hz-down)

With, say, 100x2 on the horns, 200x2 on the midbasses, and a few hundred to each sub you should be able to get close. You see, in this setup you are doing things efficiently; the configuration is minimal but without weak points, the enclosures are the maximally efficient way to use the drivers, you're using all of the capability of each driver (horns play to 1k, 15s play up to where they narrow and down low to use excursion), and the drivers are all a very good value. At low frequencies you have 5 sources so you can distribute them over the room and get a smooth and spatially robust response.

I can get that driver set for about $400 (w/o any inside connections), but I understand the prices (and company of best value) may be different where you're at. For processing and amps you can use a Behringer DCX2496, two A500s, and an EP2500. Here you can find that (or equivalent products) used for $700-800. The key is to efficiently use your money- to use as simple of a design as possible and choose drivers that are of high value.
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Old 22nd June 2008, 02:20 AM   #10
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Hi GM, when I said that the room treatment is OK I should have said that; given we rent any permanent treatment isn't appropriate and what i have done so far to treat reflection in mid and high frequencies is all Ican do at this time.
The room is a VERY lossy L-shape 36 M^ and only 3.3M high, with old style plaster over stud wall construction, and until we win the lottery or build our own place we live with what we have.

If I have permission to start a new project, I also have to use as many of the drivers I already have, I was given 4 Vifa P-13's for my birthday and SWMBO wants me to use them.
If it's going to be difficult if not impossible to get 120dB at peaks without compression then I think we would settle for some extra depth in the bass.
This project is seperate to the home theatre and only for music and we have eclectic taste but extension to 25Hz would be the target, even if we don't get the SPL.
However we would like to be able to hear the music over the top of the unmuffled Harley's that use the street here.
Rybaudio I hear what you are saying but WAF is low on that ( I showed some pix and she said "NO"B
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