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.

Opinions and experiences

I am not a fan of passive radiators in full-range speaker cabinets. In every instance, I was underwhelmed with the sound of their bass and blamed the common denominator, the passive radiator.

A passive radiator is a woofer without a motor. Just picture your favorite woofer cone and that’s how a passive radiator typically looks. Were you to take it out of the box you’d note its lack of magnet and its light weight. Radiators act as tuned ports, lowering the speaker’s bass frequency cutoff to below what just its active woofer can produce.

My opinion of passive radiators has been negative for years.

Our opinions are formed by our experiences. If every beet we eat makes our stomach turn just a little then we declare our dislike of beets. Likewise, if every passive radiator we hear is muddy and ill defined we reject anything resembling it.

That is until we taste a beet we like or hear a radiator done right.

Our speaker genius, Chris Brunhaver, has opened my eyes and ears to the delights of a properly designed passive radiator. And what’s fascinating to me is that it doesn’t even look like a woofer. In Chris’ design a piece of heavy material, like wood, is the cone and it’s held in place with a carefully engineered surround material. Together, they form a tuned circuit that is sonically invisible in the same way a proper subwoofer extends the apparent bass of the main speaker without pointing to itself.

Little woofers can have big, tight, low frequencies with a properly designed radiator.

The point of this post is more about how experiences form opinions and less about radiators.

When we have the opportunity to extend our knowledge and venture out into the unknown, we often return with new opinions that are to our benefit.

I just love being wrong.

 

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…