Bass energy vs the rest of the music and flat FR - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-10-2015, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Bass energy vs the rest of the music and flat FR

I got a miniDSP and a UMIK-1 to play with, and I'm baffled why a flat bass response, as in the bass is as loud as the rest of the frequency spectrum, sounds so weak? The subwoofer FR in my listening position is flat from 40-120Hz within 2dB (new sub is coming on Monday).

If I have a flat FR, when I listen to some songs with a lot of bass, and watching my SPL meter, the bass notes are about 5-7dB louder compared to the rest of the music. The song I'm playing for this example is DJ Snake's Turn Down For What because this song has a strong sustained 41Hz note throughout the body of the song instead of most songs where the bass beat hits once a second or so, which would mess up with the SPL reading if the meter is not quick enough to show the burst in SPL. The main music is playing at around 65dB.

However, if I put this song through Audacity and plot a frequency vs energy spectrum for the entire song, I see that the 41Hz note is around 30dB louder compared to the midrange.

Here's the spectrum for Turn Down For What



According to Audacity, most hip-hop/rap songs have bass 20-30dB higher than the mids and highs. On flat, the bass sounds really weak. If I bring up the sub volume so it is 20dB higher than the mids and highs, just like Audacity's spectrum, then it sounds a lot more normal, and a lot closer to "flat". But really, I want another 6-10dB more on top of that to really get that bass in music to sound exciting and powerful.

Does anyone know how much louder the bass beats are compared to the rest of the music? If I have a flat FR, shouldn't the bass on that song be around 30dB louder than the music?

Last edited by bcodemz; 05-10-2015 at 08:25 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-10-2015, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcodemz View Post
I'm baffled why a flat bass response, as in the bass is as loud as the rest of the frequency spectrum, sounds so weak?
A frequency response that decreases about 15 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz sounds better to most people than one that's flat:


http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/1...uation-of.html
http://www.madrona digital dot com/L...alization.html

According to audio guru Sean Olive:
"A flat in-room target response is clearly not the optimal target curve for room equalization. The preferred room corrections have a target response that has a smooth downward slope with increasing frequency. This tells us that listeners prefer a certain amount of natural room gain. Removing the room gain makes the reproduced music sound unnatural and too thin, according to these listeners. This also makes perfect sense since the recording was likely mixed in room where the room gain was also not removed; therefore, to remove it from the consumers' listening room would destroy the spectral balance of the music as intended by the artist."

I'm not familiar with miniDSP, but if it gives you the ability to dial in a smooth downward slope from 20 Hz - 20 kHz, try dialing in a house curve with a 15 dB drop. If miniDSP can't do that, just raise the gain on your sub about 8 dB and give your music another listen. Fine tune the low end gain to taste.

I've never tried plotting the energy spectrum of songs or movies, so I don't know what's typical. I don't know why that would matter however. If your system is EQ'ed with a response curve that you're happy with, then all your music should sound good.

Last edited by henrich3; 05-10-2015 at 11:32 AM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-10-2015, 04:11 PM
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It is weak because that's how human ears work.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-10-2015, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcodemz View Post
If I have a flat FR, shouldn't the bass on that song be around 30dB louder than the music?
That is correct. Assuming your sub is up to the task, 30db is a 1000x increase in wattage.

So if your sub does 90dbZ @ 1w @ 3ft, then it will do 110dbZ @ 1000watts @ 10ft; and the treble would be 80dbA (which would probably only take a 2-way bookshelf speaker <10 watts @ 10ft).

There are two ways to get loud bass: double the wattage or double the subs.
Two subs would only need 250watts each to get as loud as 1 sub at 1000watts; and the subs would be much happier.
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Last edited by BassThatHz; 05-10-2015 at 04:30 PM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-12-2015, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henrich3 View Post
According to audio guru Sean Olive:
"A flat in-room target response is clearly not the optimal target curve for room equalization. The preferred room corrections have a target response that has a smooth downward slope with increasing frequency. This tells us that listeners prefer a certain amount of natural room gain. Removing the room gain makes the reproduced music sound unnatural and too thin, according to these listeners. This also makes perfect sense since the recording was likely mixed in room where the room gain was also not removed; therefore, to remove it from the consumers' listening room would destroy the spectral balance of the music as intended by the artist."
Wait, if room gain wasn't removed during recording, wouldn't that create a double room gain if I didn't remove room gain from my system?
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-12-2015, 12:42 PM
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^ Mixing engineers adjust the bass so that it sounds right to their ears, room gain included. If you remove the normal room gain by EQ'ing for a flat response, then bass will sound weak in your room. That's how I interpret Olive's statement anyway...
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