The sound of Bass
This is something that many people often overlook.
Bass is not all about being loud and boomy like our reputations have led people
to believe. There is a great deal of musical information located down there
in the bottom few octaves.
When you are auditioning subwoofers, there are several
things to listen for that are critical to enjoying your subwoofer system.
- Low Frequency Extension: Sure, loud bass is fun,
but when things start to rumble, down below 30Hz, it's truly an awesome
physiological experience. When listening, pay attention to the low
frequency vibrations you feel in your back and bum. A true subwoofer
can be not only hear, but felt.
- Dynamics: A woofer that is capable of responding very
quickly to signal inputs will be able to more accurately reproduce your
music. Listen for a good sharp attack on kick drums. You should
be able to actually imagine the hammer hitting the skin of the drum.
- High frequency performance: This ties into the point
2. If the woofer can respond quickly, you are going to get good
dynamic mid-bass performance from the driver, and it will blend nicely with
the other speakers in your car. If the drivers high frequency
performance is muted, it will often sound boomy and muddled.
- Localization: Really good subwoofers tend to hide their
locations better than expensive units. If you are listening to a
woofer, and it sounds like the bass is coming from the trunk, you may want
looking. A good woofer will fill the car with sound, and if your front
stage is up to the task, it will sound like the bass is coming from the
soundstage itself (which is hopefully in front of you). There are a lot of
other factors that affect localization however. The most obvious is how well
damped the cars body panels are. Buzzing and rattling are surefire ways of
letting your brain know where a woofer is installed.
These are just a few tips and tricks I use when