Originally Posted by Ivan Beaver
There are several factors that contribute to "tight bass". And NO, it is NOT a myth.
As has been said the room can be a HUGE factor. This includes how solid the walls are, room modes etc.
Freq response has very little to do with how "tight" the bass sounds. In order to have a "tight" sound it must respond quickly and then STOP responding-evenly across the band-including harmonics. Drivers that have a large excursion (front loaded) have to get a lot of mass moving and then attempt to stop it quickly. While horn loaded subs drivers don't move as far to produce the same output, it is much easier to "stop" them after the signal has been removed.
Damping factor is one issue that can help (amps with a high DF-AND large connecting cables)
The other is the actual loudspeaker/sub itself. It must have a smooth phase response and very little group delay. Those are numbers you are not going to get from most (especially home theatre) manufacturers. They are generally more easily gotten by a pro provider. Heck, it is hard enough to get an ACCURATE freq response with sensitivity from a HT manufacturer, much less other info that is much harder to understand the significance of.
There is no magic bullet. In order for YOU to get a good bass sound, it is a combination of the room, equipment (amps-sub-cables) and tuning. It will be different for different peoples rooms.
Damping factor has been debated for 50 years. I wonder at which frequencies the ear is most sensitive to damping factor? I would guess it is not in the range from 80Hz on down, (any more than the ear is as sensitive to other forms of distortion, like THD in the range from 80 Hz on down).
Maybe you don't agree with the 10% THD limit used for many years now by professional testers of subwoofers.
IMHO, damping factor really only comes into play in discussions of tube amps vs. solid state amps. A tube amp might only have a damping factor of 8, yes I said EIGHT. Most solid state amps have damping factors of over one hundred, (100), especially in the critical mid-range.
Bryston only says that the damping factor of its amps is over 500.
Of course there was the Crown Macro Reference with its damping factor of 20,000. IMHO, there is no audible difference between a damping factor of 500 and one of 20,000.
There have been studies done on damping factor. No one could hear any difference between a damping factor of 20,000 and 200.
I don't even want to talk about large cables, unless you are talking about commercial applications where long runs are a necessity.
For most listeners this is all academic. They buy a powered sub. Who knows what the damping factor of a BASH amp is? I would venture to say that the differences in cone weight and the stiffness of the surrround would easily outweigh any difference in damping factor in a powered sub. When someone asks what kind of subwoofer cable they should buy, the large majority on this Forum recommend something inexpensive, such as something from Monoprice.
I understand that once you commit to high end gear, including separate amps for subwoofers, that opens the door to spending lots of extra money on things like "high damping factor" amps and large and expensive connecting cables.
I would suggest that readers take a look at the following paper on damping factor:http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz...ingfactor.html
He suggests that damping factors under 20 are "pretty poor", while damping factors over 100 are "pretty darned good". Maybe there is a good reason why Bryston only specifies a damping factor of >500.
If anyone asks, I will tell them not to try to power a subwoofer with a tube amp.