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Monday, March 31, 2008

Bass: How Low Can You Go?

posted by on March 31 at 9:54 AM

Posted in this comments thread by Wheely and confirmed by Chop Suey sound guy Alejandro:

Chop Suey’s owner has decided to downgrade the sound system by replacing their 18inch sub-woofers with 10inch subs

There goes the neighborhood…

Update: Roy from Chop Suey called to let us know that the new configuration will “sound exactly the same inside, you just won’t be able to hear it as far outside the building.” He wasn’t sure exactly what the new configuration would entail, however.

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not cool. i hope they can hold off on the sub swap until after the next broken disco...

Posted by cosby | March 31, 2008 10:16 AM

Hmmm... not sure I see the logic. Won't four 10-inch subs push the same amount of bass as two 18s?

Posted by Jeff | March 31, 2008 10:53 AM

18" get that deep bass. i love it.

Posted by infrequent | March 31, 2008 1:41 PM

Jeff is more or less right, which is why you see most modern "hifi" bass amps going for more, smaller cones.

Think of it this way: you've got a certain amount of surface area of speaker cone, that's going to move in and out a certain distance, to move a certain amount of air. It doesn't matter whether you drive that surface area with lots of small voice coils or one big one, except that using lots of small ones gives you better control and lower distortion.

The big cones (18", 15") do SOUND like they're "deeper", because they introduce more distortion (because the cones aren't perfectly rigid). The distortion takes energy out of the sub-audible range and puts it into the audible range instead. They're actually producing *less* low frequencies than the corresponding amount of small cones (assuming equal displacement, which is only true with modern drivers).

I've got no idea why they think that changing to smaller drivers would produce less noise outside the venue. If anything it should be the opposite, unless they're also changing the position of the speakers.

Yes, I'm a sound guy.

Posted by cafewalter | March 31, 2008 5:03 PM

supposedly, that Cthulu The Movie building that was across the street absorbed much of the sound from Chop Suey's loins. now it's gone. God, the irony of overdevelopment...

Posted by "Lee" | March 31, 2008 5:04 PM

i don't know, i guess with more smaller speakers you can arrange them to direct the sound. doesn't a vertical stack direct the sound more, causing less bounce off the walls and therefore less noise outdoors? i think that's what would be going on. still, the "distorted" larger speakers maybe lower-fi, but this isn't a hi-fi home sound system. in a club, i like that low end thud. but maybe i'll change my mind when the newer system sounds noticeably better.

Posted by infrequent | April 1, 2008 10:29 AM

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