Tag Archives: subwoofer

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.

Judging bass

When you look at the self-amplified subwoofer system of the mighty IRSV you might think it’s not a great speaker to judge bass performance of the main power amp.

You would be wrong. Few systems I have owned have been so revealing of bass performance than the IRSV.

Bass performance begins well before the lowest notes of the system. The slam, impact, and transient quickness we hear are the result of the system’s performance starting at about 150Hz. There, if the phase angle varies, or the signal hesitates, our perceptual hearing tells us there’s something wrong in the lowest bass regions. Which is why we can tell differences in power amplifiers on full range systems augmented with powered subwoofers.

If you doubt that fact, listen to the subwoofers without the main speakers. All you’ll hear are dull and sloppy thuds.

It is the amplifier driving the main speakers that provide the snap of a stand-up bass, or the kick of a drum. And the lowest notes? Those too. If the amp doesn’t produce unfettered subterranean bass you’ll hear that weakness in the same way.

You don’t need to watch the race to predict the winner between a tortoise and hare.

It’s obvious by the time they get to the starting line.

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.

I use two subs here, each with two 12″ drivers and my main speakers have a 15″ woofer, so this subwoofer blog by Paul is one I totally agree with. As long as they are of good quality and can be matched properly, subs are a good thing. The more of them, the merrier.

Why are subwoofers attacked?

With all the ranting and raving I do about the importance of subwoofers you’d think we were in the business of selling them. But, we’re not. My passion for certain subjects knows few bounds.

I understand people’s hesitations with them: the added clutter of multiple boxes, PITA to set up, expensive, unnecessary. What I do not understand is when good people who love music and want the same things I do, attack them as if they were the plague.

A good friend of mine who shall remain nameless suggested it might be a male ego thing: fear of inadequacy, but that seems far-fetched.

No, I think it stems from misinformation about why we would add a subwoofer to an otherwise full range system. If not to extend the range of musical notes, then what?

Realism. Our brains are wired to notice subtle cues rarely paid attention to like footfalls on a wooden floor, the rumble of traffic, the subway train under Carnegie Hall, pulsing of an air conditioning system, the thumping and bumping of physical objects in a room—things you may have no conscious interest in hearing or may even wish to ignore as distracting clutter, but important none the less.

My goal with building high-performance audio systems is to bring a sense of realism into our homes, a challenge engineers have been struggling with for years. Remember Smell-O-vision? Perhaps that’s taking things a bit in the direction of the absurd, but for me, one of the easiest and best means of adding that touch of realism to your home music system is the addition of a pair of subwoofers.