Subs: Lower Tuning Frequency = More Distortion?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EricHM, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. EricHM

    EricHM Agent

    Dec 25, 2000
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    Hello, I was recently told by an employee of a company that makes subs that it is a bad idea to tune a sub too low, because as the tuning frequency gets lower, distortion increases in the upper octaves. Now I was aware that you trade output in the upper octaves for extension when you decrease the tuning frequency, but I was not aware that doing this also increases distortion. Does anyone know if this claim has any truth to it? For example, would an SVS CS 25-31 Be cleaner on an 80hz note than say an SVS 16-49?
    Please help......
  2. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

    Aug 19, 2000
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    Omaha, NE
    Real Name:
    CJ Paul
    It depends, look at it this way. You are correct in saying that you will get more output SPL-wise with a 25-31 than with a 16-46 in the higher frequencies. So by that same token, you will hit distortion sooner with the 16-46. On the other hand, all of the SVS are very low distortion, and most people have found that they can hear no distortion when pushing their SVS, right up until the point that it buttoms. So, provided that you dont think you will bottom either sub, I would think you would be ok with any SVS. Hopefully Tom V. will stop by here and give his take on this.
    As for this employee that you know, all speaker building involves trade offs. Size vs SPL & extension vs cost, etc. If you start off with an encloser design, driver and amp that already involve comprimise to SPL in extension to save on cost and size, then attempting to squeeze moore out of it will magnify any prolems. SVS certainly doesnt worry about size, and considering they do their research and put their money into the important pieces like being able to use a great driver, by designing non-conventional enclosures that are probably cheaper than conventional enclosures.
    By the way, I have the 16-46, and have never bottomed it out nor sensed any type of "distortion"
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    [Edited last by Charles J P on October 16, 2001 at 07:34 AM]

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