Originally Posted by gcaltanetti
I think I'm trapped on the mindset that some subwoofers sound "tight", others "loose". From what I understood so far, those qualities are directly dependent on the in-room frequency response, and not the modeled design itself. (as long as the design has no inherent problems)
"Tight, Loose", such subjective terminology is valid, however your suspicions are partially correct; the FR must be free from significant resonances that result in peaky response. But equally as important is the time domain, as you must damp the energy from ringing. A smooth FR response combined with a well damped time domain behavior, allows for the bass detail and impactful transients to convey the experience of what the artist intended.
From 300Hz or so and below, the room is the overwhelming dominant factor in the reproduction. Coincidentally, below that point is where approx. 90 percent of the energy in a recorded piece exists. Again, owned by the room... it creates massive energy peaks in magnitude, and can easily obscure the subsequent transient detail because of the smearing elicited by the poorly damped energy that doesn’t dissipate quickly enough.
You want tightness and bass detail? Damp the lingering energy.
Yes, there exists theoretical differences between various subwoofer alignments and approaches. But in a well executed/best practices sub of any type or alignment, the room absolutely owns the sound we experience.
Careful placement and experimentation in placement.
Parametric EQ'ing of resultant peaks (address FR dips via relative phase/distance/placement, not EQ)
LF damping w/bass traps, etc.(for high resolution bass in small rooms, such treatment is vital and almost always hugely impactful, ... I'm talking jaw dropping, "why the hell did I wait so long", stuff)
Best of luck