Trying to understand exactly what makes a sub sound "tight".

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Justin Ward, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    I'm trying to understand exactly what makes a sub "tight" vs "boomy".

    1) Driver size: I've heard some people say that smaller drivers are tighter and faster. But I've also heard some people debunk that statement, saying its more of a function of motor quality. Which is true?

    2) Ported vs sealed. I've heard many people say that sealed subs are better than ported for music because the group delay is higher in a ported sub. But when I look at group delays for my Tempest (using LspCAD) the group delays are very similar to a sealed sub within the typical music bass range (>35Hz). Is ported only a disadvantage for music if the tuning is close to the range of music bass (like car subs tuned way up high, like 40Hz)?

    3) Enclosure size. For some reason I was under the impression that a smaller box exhibited better damping on the driver because in a larger box the sub is more sensitive. But it seems like the low q subs have large boxes, while the small ones tend to be boomy. Whats wrong with my reasoning?

    I know this is a lot of questions for one thread, but I'm really trying to get a grasp on what makes a sub sound good.
     
  2. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I'd say smaller drivers may play "faster" just because they have less mass and can generally play higher frequencies in that sense. But that doesn't mean that the smaller drivers will have tight sound. I think it'd have to take in other factors.

    I have nothing against ported subs, and I don't think there are many ppl on this forum that will say sealed sounds are way better than ported. If you port it enough, and tune it to the right frequency your ported sub can sound just like a sealed (only ported can go deeper).

    I'd say smaller boxes don't exhibit better dampening. You have to think of the physics and how sound will dampen easier in a larger area than a small one. A smaller box will create more resistance against the driver because there is less air to compress and move around.

    Lets also not confuse "tight" sounding with being the ideal sub. Too tight sounding can get to the point of being dry and lifeless. I prefer bass with body and presence that isn't overly tight. This isn't saying that I want my sub to be boomy... I just wouldn't search for the tightest sounding sub.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Don’t forget equalizing. IMO nothing “tightens” up a sub as much as equalizing – that “bomminess” more oft than not is a hot peak or two than needs to be tamed.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Mike Keith

    Mike Keith Second Unit

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    Frequency.

    The lower the frequency the longer the decay, so subs that go really low are often described as Slow. The tight sound comes from quick decay and less group delay, but Group delay to a degree is almost inaudible in music. Car systems generally sound tight because that are designed for a higher Fb, i have never heard a 20Hz tone sound tight no mater what is reproducing it.
     
  5. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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  6. Mike Keith

    Mike Keith Second Unit

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    I love the sound of Dipole subs, by far the best bass I've ever heard, but I've never heard one get down to 20Hz.
     

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