Tag Archives: bass

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

The great mystery

I write and speak a great deal about subwoofers because I believe they are the missing element in almost every audio system I encounter. And that’s always been a mystery to me.

My guess is that a good 90% of systems haven’t the advantages of greater presence, air, low extension, and life a subwoofer brings and it probably has to do with the way it’s always been presented—as an optional add on.

Imagine if tweeters were optional add ons. “Have a hankerin’ for some of them high notes? Just add yer’self one of these here tweeters and make like a bird.”

Perhaps the reasons are simpler than what I am making fun of. From the very beginnings of stereo, speakers were “full range” single-box entities. They had all they were going to have and add ons, as subwoofers have always been seen as, were about as necessary as super tweeters.

It is fascinating to me to be known as a “bass freak” because I don’t want a system that isn’t full range.

For now, I’ll just add this great mystery to the stock of others that I accumulate.

Now, perhaps someone will explain to me why frozen bread toasts up so much nicer than fresh…

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Lightning fast

At the risk of beating this poor horse to death, I thought I’d cover one more servo woofer item.


We don’t normally associate woofers with speed. Slow and ponderous, woofers struggle to get out of their own way. But it’s not their fault. They have a heavy load to move around, the mass of their cones.

When a bass transient occurs, the speed of the woofer can make all the difference in the world.

Imagine a big bass drum and a musician’s furious whack of the mallet. That whack occurs quickly and the transient response might resemble the instantaneous abruptness of a square wave. The quickest bits of the mallet’s whack are reproduced by the midrange or midbass driver and the rest by the woofer. If the speed of one does not match the other a discontinuity occurs and we say the drum doesn’t have the snap it should.

It’s easy to see why. Woofers generally cannot reproduce square waves on their own. The quick start and stop of transients aren’t reflected in the woofer because of its great mass fighting the forces of inertia.

Enter the servo woofer with its accelerometer-based motional feedback system that compares the woofer’s movement (or lack of it) to the demands of the input signal. The mallet’s whack demands a near instant start and stop yet the driver cannot respond because it takes time to get moving. In even the best woofer systems this is a problem because they have no means of circumventing physics.

Sir Isaac Newton will not be denied!

Yet, the application of a motional feedback system means we can augment the laws of physics by applying a disproportional amount of power to compensate for inertia’s demands.

Which is why a proper servo bass system is the only woofer technology I know of that can keep pace with the demands of music.

And, since the sole purpose of our new speaker line is to honor the music, an accelerometer-based servo woofer system is a prerequisite for a full range setup.

It’s lightning fast.