Question

Sub Advice

  • 18 November 2020
  • 3 replies
  • 105 views

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Thinking of getting a Gen 3 Sub for Beam and have some questions before purchase please:

 

I enjoy clean, accurate, punchy bass. Don't like boomy bass, shaking the walls and rattling chest. I also want to not make a lot of noise. If I keep the bass very very low or even at minus EQ would this be a waste of money?

 

Will the added weight and impact of sub allow me to enjoy lower volumes more? Or on the contrary I would need to crank volume heigher when sub is added?

 

I know Sub can be placed nearly anywhere, but what about on top a small plastic table? What about under it (legs on all four sides of sub). What about difference between placing sub in the ordinary fashion and putting it flat on floor?

 

Thanks everyone.


3 replies

SUB can put significant, very clean low frequency energy into the room. If you set it aggressively, you may find loose objects inside the walls that you were not aware of. I found some windows that rattle and needed some cardboard shims to subdue the rattles.

That said, you don’t need to set SUB so aggressively. A big advantage of adding SUB is that the midrange is cleaner -- regardless of the bass level that you are pushing into the room. You can search for my posts on “intermodulation” for a theoretical discussion. In simple terms, stripping the bass and sending it to SUB presents a simpler task to BEAM and this results in clearer midrange.

Another dimension is the human factor. At lower listening levels humans have more difficulty perceiving extreme bass and highs. In the evolutionary jungle, quiet rustles in the nearby bushes were more important than distant thunder. As a result, at low levels you’ll need to boost the bass somewhat. This is the purpose of the “Loudness” function in audio equipment. You can search for “equal loudness contours” for theoretical discussions. In your case you should enable the Loudness compensation.

Placement rules for SUB are relaxed and Trueplay is very helpful. If I blindfold you then ask you to point to the subwoofer location, you’ll have difficulty finding SUB, however, if SUB is behind your position, you’ll be more aware of its location. My recommendation would be to place SUB under that plastic table.  Otherwise you may risk exciting resonances in the table.

 

Badge +1

SUB can put significant, very clean low frequency energy into the room. If you set it aggressively, you may find loose objects inside the walls that you were not aware of. I found some windows that rattle and needed some cardboard shims to subdue the rattles.

That said, you don’t need to set SUB so aggressively. A big advantage of adding SUB is that the midrange is cleaner -- regardless of the bass level that you are pushing into the room. You can search for my posts on “intermodulation” for a theoretical discussion. In simple terms, stripping the bass and sending it to SUB presents a simpler task to BEAM and this results in clearer midrange.

Another dimension is the human factor. At lower listening levels humans have more difficulty perceiving extreme bass and highs. In the evolutionary jungle, quiet rustles in the nearby bushes were more important than distant thunder. As a result, at low levels you’ll need to boost the bass somewhat. This is the purpose of the “Loudness” function in audio equipment. You can search for “equal loudness contours” for theoretical discussions. In your case you should enable the Loudness compensation.

Placement rules for SUB are relaxed and Trueplay is very helpful. If I blindfold you then ask you to point to the subwoofer location, you’ll have difficulty finding SUB, however, if SUB is behind your position, you’ll be more aware of its location. My recommendation would be to place SUB under that plastic table.  Otherwise you may risk exciting resonances in the table.

 

Thank you buzz. I've been reading up some of your replies and you have great insight.

First of all, I am of course aware of the improvement in other frequencies when SUB takes over the low ones and that indeed is one of my main goals with this but I am asking more about the lower frequencies. If I am lowering the SUB dramatically as to not cause a lot of noise would I still experience deep rich bass? My expectations are pretty low as I am not a pure audiophile but I love clean bass. I don't love explosions and shaking in my room. Except for the SQ of Beam will this be worthwhile? How does the SUB perform when set to or close to the bare minimum EQ?

Thanks!

It depends what “deep rich bass” means to you. If this is a visceral experience, you need energy to do this and low frequency energy is difficult to contain. Modern walls and floors are nearly transparent to bass. Plus, you’ll have a certain amount of bass conducted by the floor. You can minimize (notice that I did not say “eliminate”) conduction by inserting a compliant pad between SUB and the floor.

Goodness of sound is very personal. Bottom line: only you know what sounds best -- to you.

It’s interesting that you classify yourself as “not a pure audiophile”. In my experience almost everyone gets this backward. When working with someone who classifies themselves as an “audiophile”, their discriminations are often not very enlightened. (think of the numerous wine tasting events where the box wine in a fancy glass wins) A person describing themselves as a “lead ear” often makes very fine discriminations. And for a fortunate few, it really doesn’t matter. An audiophile may have a better vocabulary, but this is not necessarily correlated with ability to discriminate. For example, when I want to, I have perfect pitch, but I don’t care. If someone adjusts the speed of their turntable, I will usually notice, but I will not cross the room to deal with it. On the other hand, little miscellaneous noises (‘buzz’ -- get it) drive me crazy and I’ll need to simply shut something down. Self declared audiophiles tend not to notice these things. As you would expect, I had to deal with those little window rattles that I mentioned previously.

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