Damping factor can equate to less bass ? - diyAudio
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Old 3rd January 2012, 12:17 AM   #1
JdAo is offline JdAo  Portugal
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Default Damping factor can equate to less bass ?

I was reading upon the definition of damping factor and it occurred to me that it might actually give the sensation of less bass to the listener because an amp with a high damping factor is more in control and able to stop the speaker cones from vibrating before one with a lower. This would explain to me why in my experience (not to big to be honest) one with a lower damping factor can actually seem to have more bass when settings of bass/loudness are on 10.

What's your experience and opinion ? Am I making any sense or I must find another explanation ?
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Old 3rd January 2012, 12:27 AM   #2
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So you add a fuse in series with your speaker and when you tally up all the series resistances it's hard to get the damping over 10 in the real world. Try series resistors to knock down the damping and hear if it really makes the difference for you. You will lose efficiency and that series resistor may get seriously hot if you crank it up but it will demonstrate your idea and for very little money.

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Old 3rd January 2012, 12:35 AM   #3
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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You can understand damping factor if you have a loose bass speaker lying around. If you tap the speaker you will hear a certain sound and the cone will move easily. Now short the terminals on the back together and tap it again. It won't move so easily and sound much harder.

A traditional solid state amp behaves like a short. A valve amp behaves like a 4 or 8 ohm resistor in terms of damping. In other words, valve amps don't have a high damping factor.

So, in effect solid state amps have very high damping factor, valves are a bit woolly. So a bass reflex works best with solid state, a horn works nicely with valves.

What I discovered from this, is that with a transistor amplifier, you should hard solder every bit of the loudspeaker path as is practical. Because with a loose speaker wire connecting the two terminals, you get hissing noises when you press a bass unit. That's distortion! That's bad!
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Old 3rd January 2012, 01:00 AM   #4
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No, with a low damping factor gets louder bass. But the bass is uncontrolled and messy. The resonance frequency is damped worse because the speakers by the resistance can not be shorted.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 01:04 AM   #5
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Not really, it doesn't keep flopping in the breeze, it tends to sound weak and ill defined. By all means, play with it. Try a one or two ohm 5 W resistor.

A real DF of 10? Not likely if you have a passive crossover. You would be lucky to get a loop resistance of under half an ohm. That is of course not the full story.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 01:13 AM   #6
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Come on, the inductance in the woofer path will have way less than 0.5 ohms... Maybe 0.05 ohms?
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Old 3rd January 2012, 02:07 AM   #7
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Go check out they typical coils you need. You will find them in the .2 to .5 range each. Add the cables, fuses, amp wiring, connectors and so on. Surprise!

Jantzen at parts-express

I am not saying an amp with a decent DF is not worthwhile. I might suggest amps with a published figure of 5000 may be a bit optimistic.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 02:25 AM   #8
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For bass usually are used inductors with a magnetic core. Those are in the 0.05-0.1 ohm range.

But yes, the series resistance is a reason why 8 ohm enclosures sound better than 4 ohm ones... Even if not as loud for a given amplifier.
And why #12-14AWG wire connecting sounds better than the usual #16-18AWG.

Last edited by SoNic_real_one; 3rd January 2012 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 01:09 PM   #9
djk is offline djk
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I have a McIntosh MC2120 with a DF of 14, it sounded a bit 'warm' in the bass.

I added a pair of 47F bypass caps to the main filter caps, tacked in a few 0.1F films here and there, and guess what? The amplifier now has brick-outhouse, solid slamming bass.

"For bass usually are used inductors with a magnetic core. "

Most speaker manufacturers use inductors with a DCR in the 0R2~0R5 range, for cost reasons. It also may be deliberately raising the Qes of the woofers in certain designs.

DF is largely a red herring.

The back EMF generated by the loudspeaker is in series with the DRC of the voice-coil, woofer inductor, connector, cabling, etc. Typical values of this total series DCR are around 6Ω. Explain to me why there should be a huge difference between a DF of 400 and 14? My modified MC2120 sounds tighter and slams harder than an amplifier with a DF of 400, so it can't be the DF.

It is a good idea to keep the DF above about 20, it starts changing the Qes too much, and this can affect cabinet tuning.

"A valve amp behaves like a 4 or 8 ohm resistor in terms of damping."

Not likely.

"Internal impedance less than 10% of rated impedance."

That line is from McIntosh in all their tube amp data sheets, so that means there is less than 0R4 in series with the 4Ω output tap (not 4Ω~8Ω).

McIntosh Amplifiers Part 1
Candidates for the Darwin Award should not read this author.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 01:27 PM   #10
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Does anyone have solid proof that damping factor is relevant? From what I've read, it means nothing.
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