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What Is the Lowest Frequency One Needs to Be Able to Reproduce?

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 
In your opinion, based upon your own personal listening experiences, what is the lowest frequency a sound reproduction system needs to be able to reproduce in order to make a worthwhile (again, in your opinion) audible (as opposed to only feeling it) difference when playing music or movies/videos on readily available commercial CDs or DVDs or BluRays?

I'm not asking what is the lowest frequency that is barely audible or what is the lowest frequency that one can feel but not hear, but what the frequency is such that below it, any sounds you've heard were inaudible or else so minimal that spending any money to reproduce them would be a waste.
post #2 of 87
the answers will likely come in roughly a bell type curve centered around about 15-16hz or so.

don't expect many responses below 12hz or above 20hz.
post #3 of 87
For me and my situation below 15 is not worth pursuing because of the cost/benefit ratio, but that's not to say I don't think lower than that wouldn't be worthwhile.
post #4 of 87
I fully agree with LTD02. I tuned my cabs to ~15hz. This gives me usable output down to 14hz. Below that is filled in by transducers. The cost space-wise was huge. I could have went with smaller enclosures and tuned slightly higher, but I wanted the extension.
post #5 of 87
My system is flat to 10hz and it did not take much money or effort. And I believe it would be flat lower in frequency if my signal chain was flatter. I can't say I couldn't live without 10hz, but I'm also happy I have it. And I do plan to get the signal chain flatter to reach a few single digits.
post #6 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

My system is flat to 10hz and it did not take much money or effort. And I believe it would be flat lower in frequency if my signal chain was flatter. I can't say I couldn't live without 10hz, but I'm also happy I have it. And I do plan to get the signal chain flatter to reach a few single digits.


Yes, but what does it take to get there?

What are the dimensions of your subwoofer box and how many boxes do you use?

What size are the drivers and how many per box and in total?

How much amplifier power is required?
post #7 of 87
I am getting deja vu with this thread. Haven't we already had this arguement, er discussion about this topic? tongue.gifbiggrin.gif

I say 10-15 Hz is plenty low enough for me. Your mileage may vary.
post #8 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Palmer_Cass View Post

Yes, but what does it take to get there?

What are the dimensions of your subwoofer box and how many boxes do you use?

What size are the drivers and how many per box and in total?

How much amplifier power is required?

Well, part of what you're asking is what my SPL capacity is, which is not reference. Not that far though.

I have 6x12" subs in 3 sealed enclosures. Quite small. 18x18x20 iirc. Dual opposed of course. I have about 500watts to share amongst them. I have a minidsp that applies a very light amount of eq, and a mild LT. Mostly an 8db cut at 55hz. The rest is pretty flat.

My SPL is nearly enough for me. I need a lot more power before I can use up the excursion on my subs. Which I plan to add in the near future. But like I originally said, I have 10hz at the LP for very easy work. Hardly any floor space and about $1000 invested. It goes quite loud to me. Just need a little more for those crazy scenes the use up my amp when I'm alone and really giving 'er.
post #9 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioresearch View Post

In your opinion, based upon your own personal listening experiences, what is the lowest frequency a sound reproduction system needs to be able to reproduce in order to make a worthwhile (again, in your opinion) audible (as opposed to only feeling it) difference when playing music or movies/videos on readily available commercial CDs or DVDs or BluRays?

I'm not asking what is the lowest frequency that is barely audible or what is the lowest frequency that one can feel but not hear, but what the frequency is such that below it, any sounds you've heard were inaudible or else so minimal that spending any money to reproduce them would be a waste.

OP, what is your goal? Because your whole wording boggles me. This is your second post in 3+ years. This thread title is another horrible subject title since it is antagonizing. Putting the word need in there forces people to choose a side and defend it. Honestly we need nothing. None of us "need" a HT. None of us "need" a massive array of 18" ported subwoofers with 10's of kW behind it. Put on damn headphones and call it a day. But this is the DIY speaker area. We don't all DIY because we are in the "value is critical camp". If all people who did DIY were "value critical", there would be no classic car meets. So why this question in this subforum? The fact is your question has already been measured by science many times. With a handle like "audio-research", I further don't understand. Do you think that the people in this forum have better ears than the rest of the world? What is your game?



Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Palmer_Cass View Post

Yes, but what does it take to get there?

What are the dimensions of your subwoofer box and how many boxes do you use?

What size are the drivers and how many per box and in total?

How much amplifier power is required?

One size does not fit all. It massively depends on the room and your distance from source. I could hit hit single digits easy with an 8" woofer and a few watts if I put myself inside a 55 gallon drum. smile.gif The Hobbit HT of the month is a prime example of only needing only one box to more than do enough because of the room size.
post #10 of 87
I believe your system should reproduce every HZ on the disc. I'm not a ULF freak, but every octave has its little perks as to what it does. I just love the feel of reproduced sound below 15hz. I also really like the body resonating 35hz. Then the midbass that ties in the mains. Every octave has its part and if its on the disc, it should be in your room.

WTS, the lower my system was able to reproduce, the lower i found the volume was needed to enjoy the soundtrack. Once i installed AudysseyDynamicEQ i never went much above 80- 85db. I found a well balanced fullrange system allowed me to really enjoy the whole soundtrack.
post #11 of 87
Thread Starter 
There's nothing at all antagonistic about my post and nobody has to defend anything because I specifically asked only for opinions and opinions are not subject to being defended and need not proof, that is why they are opinions. Opinions can differ and I respect any opinion given to me since they can't be wrong.

I know there are many publications that list what they believe to be the lowest frequency heard by humans, but they do not all agree with each other and that is why I am asking people to answer based on their own personal listening experiences.

It is my hope that there will be a consensus of opinions based upon actual listening experience and that such a consensus will end up matching my own opinion once I can form it by listening to a system that goes down very low and plays very loud.

As for my goal in asking my question, it is to try to determine if I should add lower frequency output to my existing system.

I wish I had access to a system that will reproduce loudly with low distortion down to 15Hz and to SPL measurement equipment that can accurately measure in that range, but I do not and so I am reduced to asking my questions here.

If anyone is in or near the Boston area and has such a system and such equipment, please contact me so I can listen.
post #12 of 87
ONE MILLION HZ



No, jk.

I pretty much agree with everything Kgveteran said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgveteran View Post

I believe your system should reproduce every HZ on the disc. I'm not a ULF freak, but every octave has its little perks as to what it does. I just love the feel of reproduced sound below 15hz. I also really like the body resonating 35hz. Then the midbass that ties in the mains. Every octave has its part and if its on the disc, it should be in your room.

WTS, the lower my system was able to reproduce, the lower i found the volume was needed to enjoy the soundtrack. Once i installed AudysseyDynamicEQ i never went much above 80- 85db. I found a well balanced fullrange system allowed me to really enjoy the whole soundtrack.
post #13 of 87
Not Boston, but should you find yourself desiring a bass pummeling on long island, drop me a pm.
post #14 of 87
Need?
>25hz. Nearly all the music I listen to has >30hz content. Very few songs have anything <30hz that I listen to. In movies, there is a ton of content between 25-40hz, that rumble. So you really need to get to 25hz.

Should?
>15hz. All the worthwhile content is >15hz in movies and music. (pretty much the lowest organ note is 16hz)

Luxury?
<15hz.

Need: A form of transportation
Should: A reliable and economical form of transportation.
Luxury: Enough said.
post #15 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

Need?
>25hz. Nearly all the music I listen to has >30hz content. Very few songs have anything <30hz that I listen to. In movies, there is a ton of content between 25-40hz, that rumble. So you really need to get to 25hz.

Should?
>15hz. All the worthwhile content is >15hz in movies and music. (pretty much the lowest organ note is 16hz)

Luxury?
<15hz.

Need: A form of transportation
Should: A reliable and economical form of transportation.
Luxury: Enough said.

Hell yeah. +1
post #16 of 87
I watch a lot of movies. I find 96-98% of bass is 22hz and above. (I'd say 90% is 25hz and above)To get good 22hz bass you need solid bass down to 17-20hz. Recently had my annual hearing test and my range that i could hear was 21hz to 14k. For a person who is 42 years old that is very good.

The ultimate answer to this and any how much question for home theater is " Whatever the person wants " biggrin.gif
post #17 of 87
I've built my theater on the basis of trying to reproduce the entire track as accurately as possible. That's kind of like saying, how well should a display be calibrated? I want to see accurate flesh tones, and I want to feel 5hz content. But that's me. smile.gif
post #18 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chalugadp View Post

I watch a lot of movies. I find 96-98% of bass is 22hz and above. (I'd say 90% is 25hz and above)To get good 22hz bass you need solid bass down to 17-20hz. Recently had my annual hearing test and my range that i could hear was 21hz to 14k. For a person who is 42 years old that is very good.

The ultimate answer to this and any how much question for home theater is " Whatever the person wants " biggrin.gif


I agree. Although I'm tuned a little lower (could just be room gain) I'm very happy at around 17hz tune thinking my tune comes in at around 15-16 after correction when measured. I had a ID 22hz tuned rig in my room in a transition and it was fine. No not optimal, but fine.
post #19 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bass addict View Post

I've built my theater on the basis of trying to reproduce the entire track as accurately as possible. That's kind of like saying, how well should a display be calibrated? I want to see accurate flesh tones, and I want to feel 5hz content. But that's me. smile.gif

Can you give me an example of a recent movie in the last year that has several scenes in it with below 15hz content. I want to check it out and listen. thanks smile.gif
post #20 of 87
I want everything on disc, I don't know why, I just do. Since I have a room for it I figured why not try.
post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by chalugadp View Post

Can you give me an example of a recent movie in the last year that has several scenes in it with below 15hz content. I want to check it out and listen. thanks smile.gif

OHF for starters.
post #22 of 87
"There's nothing at all antagonistic about my post and nobody has to defend anything because I specifically asked only for opinions and opinions are not subject to being defended and need not proof, that is why they are opinions. Opinions can differ and I respect any opinion given to me since they can't be wrong."

well said!
post #23 of 87
5hz is where it stops being useful in my system, that could just be my system though... I don't have rotary woofer tongue.gif
(and I'm not sure if that's harmonics or whatnot.)

1.7hz is where my subwoofers stop moving (for now... LOL biggrin.gif)

That said, realistically though, for most people 15hz is more than good-enough, and something I could live with.

I get sad when a movie doesn't have any bass below 30hz.
Not sure about the bluray version but Pacific Rim was disappointing given the size scale of the bots, at least when streamed to my house in DD 5.1 it was. (How low does that movie go anyway?)
post #24 of 87
Get Gravity on Bluray. By far the best ultra deep bass movie soundtrack I've ever heard in my set up. Actually made my two sealed 18's distort a couple times and had to turn the bass down.
post #25 of 87
I saw gravity in the theaters and I don't think I'll like it a home where I don't have a humongous 3D screen. Are the scenes you referring to the satellite crash scene?

Although I abhor how they adapted the book to the screen, Ender's Game is my current favorite eargasm.


As for frequency, I think nailing 25-35hz is most important. This is where the cheap subs try and fail to hit hard. That freq slamming in your chest is amazing. Below 20hz is fun, but more of an accessory to me. imo of course :-D
post #26 of 87
I don't think how low is the question or at least not all the question. I'm not sure there is much advantage to having 10 Hz if the 20 Hz, 30 Hz... etc becomes audible. To me it only works if it's with very low distortion and if you look at the human hearing frequency response you realize distortion has to be pretty low to be inaudible at those frequencies. You wouldn't expect to hear the 10 Hz at all but at any significant level the 30 Hz 3rd harmonic is pretty obvious. Higher harmonics even more so. After experiencing Brian Elliot's panel system (using conventional 10" drivers to drive a suspended panel) with 2nd and 3rd harmonics 50 and 60 dB down with a 16 Hz fundamental at 90 dB, I realize just how important it is to keep distortion down at ultra low frequency. So I think a more complete question would be how low can you go with no audible harmonic or other noise.

My dipole subs in my theater do pretty well down to 13 Hz but the opposed mounting, while canceling mechanical vibration, causes wind noise. Also, while the distortion is low relative to most any commercially available sub-woofer system, it's still way too high. I am planning to build an infinite baffle version of Brian's dipole panel system on a much larger scale in an effort to get single digit Hz with inaudible harmonics and noise. I have the drivers, the panels, the mechanism to couple the cone to the panel and act as a mechanical low pass filter, so if I ever get out of New York and back to Texas I'll start building it.

So I would be interested in seeing other responses including not just how low you can get significant output but also how low the noise and distortion components are. I wish everyone could go experience Brian's system, it's pretty freaky feeling all that low frequency energy and hearing absolutely nothing! No noise, no rumble from 2nd, 3rd... harmonics, just dead quite and then hearing your own voice being modulated at 16 Hz when you talk.

mk
post #27 of 87
I think the question has been answered very well by above posters already, this is also a topic that seems to pop up regularly.

A couple of observations from me:

- People tend to advise according to what they have, or have experienced - one that has a 30Hz capable system, would say "30Hz is plenty, no music has content below that", while others, with more capable systems has a different opinion. So, as time goes by, and more and more people can reproduce <<20Hz with low distortion and full dynamics, the consensus changes, and it is now generally accepted that well below 20Hz makes a difference.

- To make it worthwhile the output capacity needs to there - the lowest freqs need high spl to be experienced in a proper way.

- Lots of program material has significant content to well below 20Hz, goes for both movies and music. Remember that this is not only about continuous tones, actuallu more important for transients - a transient that is very short in time, has a very broad distribution in frequency, if it is not filtered it will extend all the way down.

- Faulty productions is by far the most significant limitation, due to incompetence amongst production engineers and limited sound reproduction equipment in studios. Following discussions on mastering/production forums I read comments like "Do I need subs when my plastic monitors with 5" woofers are flat to 30Hz", "I filter at 30Hz anyway", "For music you only need 45Hz", "I filter out the low to get more headroom so I can get it LOUD", an so it goes.
post #28 of 87
I can understand the intellectual objection to distortion harmonics, but the only thing happening at 10 Hz will be a likely synthetic effect; would the harmonics really be objectionable?

I don't mind not talking to have my voice modulate, and it might even add some meat to the sound.
post #29 of 87
Here is what happens when I close my theater doors.



If they actually record the sound and not filter it we would have lows on disc.

Here is my in room spec lab of WOTW plane crash scene(chapter 9), First linear pcm and then bitstream from my Ps3.



post #30 of 87
just in case folks want to play around with it, i found a "rumble" file and then ran it with high pass filters at 5hz, 10hz, 15hz, 20hz, and 25hz.

rumble, one extreme, no filter


rumble, the other extreme, 25hz filter (48db/oct)


set 1: no filter, 5hz and 10hz high pass 48db/oct
rumble1-3.zip 2464k .zip file

set 2: 15hz, 20hz, and 25hz high pass 48db/oct
rumble4-6.zip 2668k .zip file
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