Multimedia Art - Subwoofer Advice

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Hello!

My name is Chad. I am a multimedia artist. I am preparing to build a small room with a number of hidden in-wall subwoofers (amplifiers built-in) and speakers. The speakers and subwoofers will be used to evoke physical vibrations in each visitor during the multimedia experience.

I have tested this recently on a large 21in subwoofer and two average speakers at around 45hz and 85dB, 6ft away, to great success! I wish to go ahead and purchase some subwoofers and speakers for more long-term experimentation prior to crafting the installation.

It has been recommended that I look into HSU and SVS subwoofers, at least 10in or bigger. Because of my minimal experience with audio equipment, it was also recommended that I plea for advice from this wonderful community!

Thank you in advance!
Chad
 
What frequency range do you wish to use and at what SPL level? Is size a constraint? Should the subwoofers respond to some music / movie signal or to a tone generator set at a fixed frequency? Is harmonic distortion a problem? (without distortion the subwoofers are harder to localize)
 
The size of the room will be approximately 10' x 10' x 10'. The room will be "empty". The subwoofers w/ built-in amps (and speakers) are to be built into the walls. Full-body sensations are ideal, so i might start experimenting with 100-200 Hz, per the results of an Audioholic experiment. Headphones will be worn, and the goal is for the subwoofer sound to remain nearly silent after headphones are in and on (which is why we focused on lower frequencies (below 65 Hz) while the sensations remain strong. We played with dissonance between the speakers and subwoofers, and the desired effect of a heartbeat was nearly achieved. I am nervous about pumping up the volume too loud, as I plan for most ages to be free to enter the space, from kids to older adults.

Bass Shakers don't achieve the desired effect I am searching for, but thanks for the recommend, Michael!
 
Where to start?

Hi chadfornow,

Post #1: "...a large 21in subwoofer and two average speakers at around 45hz and 85dB, 6ft away, to great success! ..."

Post #4: "...the room will be approximately 10' x 10' x 10'...i might start experimenting with 100-200 Hz, per the results of an Audioholic experiment. Headphones will be worn, and the goal is for the subwoofer sound to remain nearly silent after headphones are in and on (which is why we focused on lower frequencies (below 65 Hz) while the sensations remain strong..."

From all this I take that you are not looking for only subwoofer frequencies, but for a means of distributing frequencies from about 45Hz to 200Hz @ low volume (85dB) throughout a room of 10'x10'x10'. This requires the use of multiple subwoofers to improve on the uniformity of the sound distribution in the room, see:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/subwoofers/134568-multiple-small-subs-geddes-approach.html
this thread has a lot of cross-references to the general subject, and there a nice practical thread on the subject by Pallas:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/subw...ultisub-setup-temporary-rental-apartment.html

You might consider adding a country to you member profile, which would make it easier for people to make relevant recommendations.

There is a very large number of speaker combinations that will achieve your goal, just to get you started I recommend using sealed subwoofers for your application, and a minimum number of three; e.g.: use the Eminence LAB12 in a 40L-60L V_net closed box, and use a number of subwoofers to smoothen the response in your room. This particular driver works well in a lot of different configurations, and you should have enough displacement to equalize the response at the low end to your liking. Use individual amplification, i.e.: plate amps, to provide you with phase and level control on each subwoofer.

Regards,
 
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The size of the room will be approximately 10' x 10' x 10'. The room will be "empty". The subwoofers w/ built-in amps (and speakers) are to be built into the walls. Full-body sensations are ideal, so i might start experimenting with 100-200 Hz, per the results of an Audioholic experiment. Headphones will be worn, and the goal is for the subwoofer sound to remain nearly silent after headphones are in and on (which is why we focused on lower frequencies (below 65 Hz) while the sensations remain strong.

woofer room..png
My two cents based on experience running live PA systems, and what I would try.
My crude drawing is looking down and describing the walls of the room.
As per your spec the room is 10' cubed, but with 10' high panels sealed into the room corners.
These panels with suitable grill cloth, serve as baffles and form enclosures in conjunction with the room walls.

Woofers (and mids/tweeters) could be mounted at any height desired.
In the bottom corners would put the woofers in '3 space' and achieve maximum efficiency.
Moving the woofers higher to around knee height would also be useful, and might be better.

You will also need eq, perhaps pretty drastic eq to restrict wild room modes.
Boosting down very low will cause trousers to flap.
Moving higher in bass frequencies will cause vibration in the body higher up.
100Hz through 200 Hz will excite sensations in the stomach/chest area.

Boosting 55-65 Hz will get the subjects right in the 'nads....it's pretty funny seeing how a crowd changes dance moves according to boosted frequencies, think pelvic thrust lol.

woofer room 2.png
Another approach would be to mount the woofers in the corners of the ceiling (if possible).

What is the construction of this pressure cell room.....you will need to be careful about allowing buzzes and rattles.
Silicone at panel joints, and between panels/joists are your friend.

I don't know the cost of this stuff, but I have read very good reports of it used in Recording Studio applications - greengluecompany.com/benefit/how-green-glue-works

This sounds like a fun experiment, and you might be surprised how little bass power you need to achieve your goal, but more power is better of course.

Keep us posted on what turns out.

Dan.
 
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Long, long ago, there used to be EAT (Experiments in Art and Technology) an organization that brought together artists and scientists. It was a fun thing for my pals at Bell Labs and for me, since I lived in the art world in what is now called Soho in New York.

The old Bell Labs ("West Street") was a bit south of Greenwich Village. "Murray Hill" (New Jersey) location was the successor "idea factory". Our department at Bell always had well-known technologically-inclined musicians around on some kind of dispensation. Often music was in the air - original location of "Bicycle built for two" made famous by Hal singing it later in "2002" while reverting to youth and then death. Fun for all.

With communications enhanced with the web and great places like DIYaudio around, not the same need to bring the two "cultures" together so much anymore.

Good luck.

Ben
 
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@Oliver --- I think you are right. iNUKE series seems like the way to go!

@Dan --- Thank you for sharing your boosting sensation knowledge! I will definitely buy some GreenGlue and test it out. If it works, it sounds like exactly the type of dampener I need!

@Ben --- The EAT organization sounds like an ideal collaborative environment. I would have loved to have been involved in such a community if it were around today! Do you think interdisciplinary online communication can equate to the interdisciplinary craft development accomplished at such places as EAT?
 
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The EAT organization sounds like an ideal collaborative environment. I would have loved to have been involved in such a community if it were around today! Do you think interdisciplinary online communication can equate to the interdisciplinary craft development accomplished at such places as EAT?

Right. It was thrilling. And just what the OP started here. Do you suppose DIYaudio could have a forum for such requests from artists?

On one project, I worked with an artist making a box that needed sound to go along with the motions of the cover, etc (theremin like). Granted my role was, um, straightforward, and I took care not to step on his artistic toes (too much), but great fun.

The 1960's are long gone! But that doesn't mean good people can't have the same creative collaboration today.

I've had no connection since that time so I can't offer any thoughts about access.

Ben
 
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