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In the Forum: Playback Listening
In the Thread: Perception of bass?
Post Subject: Ok, it is all good.Posted by Romy the Cat on: 2/9/2020
Good question, rowuk, particularly by the fact that you are looking a way not how to get it but to understand the ways to get there. Also, I am very glad that you are not taking about “slam music” but about, where good bass certainly shine but about chamber music where in my view good bass shine much more.

Before I would lay out my recommendations, I would like to name a few obvious factors.  None of the loudspeakers with woofers would do good bass unless you are incredibly lucky. Your main loudspeakers should very specific and very deliberate poison in your listening room with precision of centimeter or less and it is VERY unlikely that it would be the best position for bass. If might be but then it would be one of 10000s installations what it happens. Among all playbacks that I ever hears I remember only one when it happens and BTW completely accidently. So, when we are taking about better bass then we are taking about a dedicated pair of LF or ULF sections, separately powered and separately located in your room. How to powered and what the topology of the ULF section is very separate and complicated subject, let keep it out of the conversation for now. We presume that you have your good full range speaker and your good LF sections. You said that you have experimented with various subwoofers. Let presume that your failed were not by the quality of your specific implementation. So, basically you were trying to do it to pressurize your room with more LF output abut it did not look give you satisfaction of "tactile" sensation. Well, if you measure the bass responds in a concert whole in a reasonable seat then you would hardly het -3dB at 60Hz and well about 100Hz when a chamber music is being played in a concert whole.

Do an experiment.  Get any digital processor, switch your system in mono to connect your ONE dedicated LF section with 10ms delay crossed at 30Hz and another LF section with 50ms delay crossed at 20Hz.  You will not get your "tactile" sensation but you will get MUCH better bass it despite that most like if will be verlanized by your digital processor. So, what you effectively be dos is creating a longer reverberation time in your 20 square meters listening room. In your room you have RT60 (now long sound decades for 60dB) probably 0.2-03 seconds. In a reasonable concert hall you will get 2-5 seconds and some of them longer. This is very much changing how the perceive not only bass but the sound in entirety.

When you will be doing the experiments with LF delay try two tests. Play a good fast, loud and “aggressive” chamber music (I typically go for Third movement of Brahms Quintet for Piano in F minor). Crank your volume until you feel it become uncomfortable. Note the volume level.  Then connect your LF section with no delays. Do the same volume test. Your “uncomfort level” will go up for 1-2dB. Now introduce the delay. Your “uncomfort level” will go up for 10dB at least. Make the very same experiment with a good full range recording of a good harpsicord playing. Besides the “uncomfort level” experiment pays attention how ugly and abrasive harpsicord sounds at your only main speakers or with LF sections and how lash and magical it become with the delays. I typically for those experiments used a Colombia player Rafael Puyana. He was very well Recorded on Mercury and his play of Antonio Soler is stanning. The Soler died 300 years ago but it sounds very contemporary.

So, if you decide to yourself that what you were missing is longer decay in your room then let me know and I will pitch some directions to capitalize over this finding. If you feel that the chaise for longer decay did not bring you closer to what you are looking then let me know, preferably with more subjective adjectives what you do feel and we can go from there.

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