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Old 2nd November 2015, 05:26 PM   #1
creyc is offline creyc  United States
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Default Home sub: trying to replicate that sharp 'kick' feel, common in great PA systems

I've been building and experimenting with home and car audio speakers for more than a decade, and I've had the great fortune to experience a wide range of audio installations, from chest-thumping competition SPL monsters, to the surreal esoterics of Wilson Alexandrias, Alexias and most of the great B&W offerings.

Yet more than anything I find myself inexplicably drawn to the sound and feel of a large (e.g. ~6-8 element line array), well tuned PA system. The sound wave is huge, and engaging. The bass, not extrordinarily low, but sharp, agressive and hits your chest with a dynamic that's rather difficult to describe.

Suffice it to say I've been unsuccessful in replaciating this experience at the smaller home audio scale. I've tried a few commercial products like the SVS PB-2000 subwoofer as well as various DIY approaches both sealed and ported and while I've always been able to achieve impressive raw SPL output and gut-wrenching lows, I'm left disappointed by the lack of "punch" feeling. In fact the most sucess I've had was using two 18" drivers in a large 14 cuft. bass-reflex enclosure on 6 kW, which seemed a brutish solution and overkill by every other metric.

Lately I've been wondering if I'm not approaching the problem from the wrong perspective, clearly the pro audio guys already have this figured out for large venues, is this something that can be scaled to an 18' x 25' home environement, or am I chasing a unicorn? Particularly, designs like tapped horns and Decware's Wicked One are interesting to me, but my past has taught me to be quite skeptical.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 06:32 PM   #2
wg_ski is offline wg_ski  United States
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An 18x25 room is too small. There is too much reflected sound, which makes too much bass (mud) by the time the initial wavefront is of sufficient amplitude. Room gain is your enemy if you're after impact. The only thing that will do it is a PA system in the room, which will be too loud and have too much bass. I gave up. I now have a well balanced reasonable SPL home system (the cabs are still very big), but when I feel the music calling again it means it's time to book a gig.

BTW, if you ever get to experience a PA that really does hit the lows it's a new experience altogether. "Not only were the vocals loud enough to feel in your chest, but ohhh, the bass. Not just a loud boom, but the gusty, lingerling low end that you feel inside your head more than anything else. Now nothing else was sufficient, and nothing else mattered."
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Old 2nd November 2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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Creyc ,
You may want to look into any number of the modernized Karlson variants like the Karlsonator , the XKi , Metro-T15 , or my outlandish acoustical contraption called the Karlflex ....
These are compact wideband series-tuned 6th order cabinets that seem to have a talent for reproducing lively and realistic dynamics. Drums tend to have a lot of impact with these sorts of cabinets.

Last edited by Matthew Morgan J; 2nd November 2015 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 06:49 PM   #4
freddi is offline freddi  United States
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Karlson cabinets can be pretty good for "hit" - a big vent reflex might do it

RCA-Fan's "hitbox"
http://gallery.audioasylum.com/cgi/g...f=HIT-HRN2.gif

here's an enlarged thumbnail of a deleted image of RCA-Fan's hitbox outdoors with a JBL2226 15" woofer - looks kicky
Imageshack is awful - I had a paid account and they ditched huge numbers of graphs, etc.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by freddi; 2nd November 2015 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 07:36 PM   #5
BHTX is offline BHTX  United States
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What about this?.. Tuba HT
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Old 2nd November 2015, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creyc View Post
IThe bass, not extrordinarily low, but sharp, agressive and hits your chest with a dynamic that's rather difficult to describe.

Lately I've been wondering if I'm not approaching the problem from the wrong perspective, clearly the pro audio guys already have this figured out for large venues, is this something that can be scaled to an 18' x 25' home environement, or am I chasing a unicorn? Particularly, designs like tapped horns and Decware's Wicked One are interesting to me, but my past has taught me to be quite skeptical.
Creyc,

As wg_ski mentioned, an 18' x 25' room is small enough that LF reflections can be problematic, but what many don't seem to quite "snap" to is chest thumping and punch extend upwards of 200 Hz, so the transition between the subs and mains must have a smooth phase response to preserve the chest thumping "kick" transient.

A smooth phase response in the acoustical crossover region will generally require the top cabinets to be delayed, but if the tops are bass reflex, their phase inversion may be in the middle of the crossover region, and affect "punch".

As an example, I consulted with a client who was using DSL SH-50 cabinets for his mains and a pair of DSL412 subs in a bedroom about half the volume of your room. Even after switching from cabinets with deeper response than the DSL412 (4x 21LW1400, DTS10), he still could not be satisfied until finally taking my advice to plug the port holes in the SH-50s. The reduced LF in the sealed SH-50 required a higher crossover, but now the phase response could be smooth throughout the acoustical crossover region, and he finally achieved the punch factor that had been eluding him for years, and could "feel" the punch at a much lower SPL level than he had been hitting previously.

You can check the phase response of your system using a number of different dual FFT programs, REW is good and is free.

Art
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Old 2nd November 2015, 08:07 PM   #7
TBTL is offline TBTL  Germany
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First make the in-room response flat using multiple subwoofers and parametric EQ. This removes a large part of the muddiness / boom. Then add a few dB's of boost at around 120Hz. The exact frequency at which you need to apply boost depends on your taste.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 08:25 PM   #8
badman is offline badman  United States
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Some of it has to do with level, too- loud is your friend. Higher efficiency/output speakers with a solid amp behind them tend to do a lot better for subjective impact- partially because they can do levels more like live shows. Little speakers have their place but impact is not their strong suit.

100-200hz is where kick lives.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 09:58 PM   #9
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As Art said a very important component is making sure that your sub and midbass are integrated properly.

If the crossover isn't done well, you end up smearing the lower thump and upper slap of a kick and lose the sharpness of the transients.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 10:07 PM   #10
mitchba is offline mitchba  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltersys View Post
Creyc,
...
A smooth phase response in the acoustical crossover region will generally require the top cabinets to be delayed, but if the tops are bass reflex, their phase inversion may be in the middle of the crossover region, and affect "punch".

You can check the phase response of your system using a number of different dual FFT programs, REW is good and is free.

Art
Agree with Art. A smooth phase response/time alignment will produce the "punch" you are looking for. REW can measure phase and step response as you will want to look at both.

Interactive Frequency Chart - Independent Recording Network
Hover over the kick graphic to get a sense of the frequency range. Punch is at 50 to 100 Hz, fullness 100 to 250 Hz, and attack (or beater sound) 3 to 5 kHz.

Note to get the full transient impact means a smooth phase response / time alignment throughout the frequency range. Hearing the tweeter first with the attack or "beater" then followed by the woofer "punch" will not produce the effect you are looking for, hence the need for delaying the tops to be in sync with the woofer. Then it does not sound like click then boom, if you get my meaning :-)

Once time aligned with a smooth phase response, use REW's "waterfall" display to display how the bass frequencies decay in your room. If there are resonant room nodes and/or too much bottom end "overhang" will have a tendency to mask the transients as well. Using some EQ or high pass filter can assist. In my case, I used DSP for digital XO's, time alignment and room correction. Hope that helps.
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