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QuinnInSydney

Why We Love MORE BASSSS!

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I came across this article and study today: Here's Why People Love Deep Bass Sounds In Music. I normally don't cite Huffington Post as a reliable source of information, but theirs is a much more readable summary of this original study from McMaster Institute

 

TL;DR rhythm in music is typically carried by bass instruments, and we love it, because it's easier for our brains to process and follow low-pitched tones.

 

I'm comparing two pairs of speakers at home (to choose which ones get stay long term), and I'll post about it in these forums soon. The first thing I kept on noticing was the difference in how each handled low-mids and bass. This isn't to say that's the only thing I noticed, it just occurred to me that bass was the first thing I noted when I switched from one pair to the other. My wondering why led me to googling which led me to the articles above - and I thought others may find the insight interesting.

 

Apologies if this has all been talked about before in these forums, or is general knowledge. I'm still a bit of a newbie here :)

 

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Deep bass might be 'impressive' but overblown or non rhythmic is just bloody torture, in the real meaning of the word.

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8 minutes ago, eman said:

Deep bass might be 'impressive' but overblown or non rhythmic is just bloody torture, in the real meaning of the word.

I agree.

 

I have noticed as I upgraded speakers that initially the bass seemed less, but in actual fact it was better defined. When listening to well recorded music you would actually hear differences in drums etc.

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Waaay back in the day I remember auditioning Krix Lyrix and Krix Superbrix.  The Lyrix went lower, but the timing of the Superbrix and the perceived "speed" of the low end was miles better...  No contest.  Less bass but faster and tighter low end wins for me.

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1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

 

 

 

".....TL;DR rhythm in music is typically carried by bass instruments, and we love it, because it's easier for our brains to process and follow low-pitched tones..."

 

That's an interesting observation.

In my case, I find I am more mentally / aurally stimulated by higher frequency notes, i.e. the crystal clear sound of a harpsichord or the 'bright' notes of brass instruments.

So, when choosing a pair of speakers, my first concern is, how good are the twitters!  ..and, having said that, bass is also important and only when the material on the recording call for it.

I guess, we're all different!

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, eman said:

Deep bass might be 'impressive' but overblown or non rhythmic is just bloody torture, in the real meaning of the word.

Red Square, I completely agree. I am huge proponent of GOOD bass over MORE bass. Accurate, well-paced, nuanced bass always wins over 'boom' for me.

 

Forgive my cheeky title to this thread - I'm fascinated there seems to be a physiological reason why most people (including myself) seem to have a more instantaneous, primal reaction to bass before they start to pay attention to all other frequencies in the spectrum.

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28 minutes ago, Whites said:

I have noticed as I upgraded speakers that initially the bass seemed less, but in actual fact it was better defined. When listening to well recorded music you would actually hear differences in drums etc.

That's my takeaway from the study. It seems that our brains are wired to pick up differences in bass tones (eg drums) more easily than differences in other, higher frequencies.

 

I most definitely am not proposing other tones are less important. It just seems we have to work harder to appreciate them... which might actually mean they're MORE important. Because those of us listening to the higher-pitched frequencies are paying more attention and there to appreciate the quality :)

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48 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

Red Square, I completely agree. I am huge proponent of GOOD bass over MORE bass. Accurate, well-paced, nuanced bass always wins over 'boom' for me.

 

Forgive my cheeky title to this thread - I'm fascinated there seems to be a physiological reason why most people (including myself) seem to have a more instantaneous, primal reaction to bass before they start to pay attention to all other frequencies in the spectrum.

Ofcourse more good bass is even better 🙂

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12 minutes ago, joz said:

Ofcourse more good bass is even better 🙂

yes, the morer of the tighter basses, the betterer.

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I couldn't resist...  Aussie DJ /Procucer Sgt Slick...

 

"White people turn up the treble, black people turn up the bass."

 

 

I hope I don't get into trouble with the vocal sample quote.

 

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Tonally layered bass over more any day of the week, but if we can have that and a bit more I'm OK with that even if my neighbours wouldn't be.

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Posted (edited)

I prefer deep, detailed, nuanced and full bass.... My little Pass Amp Camp Amp comes to mind. On the other hand I can't stand powerful punchy sounding bass. Don't know why but it gives me a headache despite sounding wonderful. I can't explain it.

Edited by MattyW

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There's a not insubstantial market for massive sloppy deep over the top bass

 

Been to a festival lately? (covid aside....) 

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29 minutes ago, MattyW said:

I prefer deep, detailed, nuanced and full bass.... My little Pass Amp Camp Amp comes to mind. On the other hand I can't stand powerful punchy sounding bass. Don't know why but it gives me a headache despite sounding wonderful. I can't explain it.

Really deep bass can actually be vibrating your brain inside your skull causing inflammation.

It is physically harmful.

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12 minutes ago, wasabijim said:

There's a not insubstantial market for massive sloppy deep over the top bass

 

Been to a festival lately? (covid aside....) 

Agreed the big doof has a market. That's all they have (& drugs).

Woman who's been to a few cos her son does the fest doof was amazed at my system. Bass was by 12" drivers in factory old 3 way cabs at a modest lounge room level. It was the clarity that impressed.

 

No, I don't want to go ...... hyperaccusis.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, eman said:

Really deep bass can actually be vibrating your brain inside your skull causing inflammation.

It is physically harmful.

Well,  my Oldchen K3 tube amp seems to have the aforementioned powerful,  punchy deep bass.... It's just too much for me. It does sound ultra realistic however I now prefer something easier to listen to..... Midrange is where the magic is for me..... Doesn't help that my speakers in that system have a mid bass emphasis I guess. That's likely the reason it's too much for me with the K3.

Edited by MattyW

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2 hours ago, eman said:

Really deep bass can actually be vibrating your brain inside your skull causing inflammation.

It is physically harmful.

And if you go deep enough, you can hit the mythical 'brown note' 😮

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20 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

TL;DR rhythm in music is typically carried by bass instruments, and we love it, because it's easier for our brains to process and follow low-pitched tones.

Yes.

 

Most people don't understand the consequence of this curve.  (aka Fletcher Munson Curve)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lindos1.svg

 

..... and lots of people say things which gives the opposite impression from what is true.

 

What the chart says is... that as the frequency gets lower.   It takes less of an actual difference in level to produce more of a perceived difference in level.

 

This means that "bass sounds more dynamic" (for a given change in SPL) .... and that the flatness of the speaker response (absence of peaks and dips) is more important as the frequency gets lower.

 

20 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

Apologies if this has all been talked about before in these forums, or is general knowledge. I'm still a bit of a newbie here :)

Its something people often overlook.

 

Often it leads to a "mistake" where they compare different speakers in a room.... and they decide one is "better" than the other.   The real difference was a small difference in level at a broad-ish frequency range << 300Hz.     One speaker sounded "warmer"... or better "tone" ... or "less hifi" or whatever.     They attribute it to simply one "speaker being better than the other"......  what it was really is the placement or design of the speaker..... and the difference woud disappear with some EQ to make the difference in levels/tilt of the different frequency ranges more similar between the speakers.

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20 minutes ago, davewantsmoore said:

Yes.

 

Most people don't understand the consequence of this curve.  (aka Fletcher Munson Curve)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lindos1.svg

 

..... and lots of people say things which gives the opposite impression from what is true.

 

What the chart says is... that as the frequency gets lower.   It takes less of an actual difference in level to produce more of a perceived difference in level.

As a side note, this is one reason elderly with natural hearing loss due to age, can be more sensitive in their homes to noise such as traffic going by etc. 

 

Since their remaining hearing is low frequency heavy, any change in noise level (car passby) is sensed as a much greater change in loudness than the general population. 

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Well this explains, why I keep putting on the movie Sicario and just listen to its sound track over and over again.

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I thought this thread was started by Davie504.

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Yes...........it just goes to confirm my belief that the bass freaks are knuckle draggers.

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Posted (edited)
On 24/07/2020 at 1:33 PM, QuinnInSydney said:

TL;DR rhythm in music is typically carried by bass instruments

what is TL;DR?

 

1 hour ago, LogicprObe said:

Yes...........it just goes to confirm my belief that the bass freaks are knuckle draggers.

I was never much of a bass nut until I:

  1. got my room's bass under control
  2. added stereo Acoustic Elegance TD18 mid bass speakers to my setup

The clean/tight/dry bass got me addicted to good bass.

 

The TD18's didn't even go that low...some friends mentioned my setup was lacking in the bottom octave when listening to the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra play "Fanfare for the Common Man", and then I listened to @jkn's setup (which literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on some really low stuff).

 

I added a tapped horn DIY sub after that...which adds subtle "weight" to the music. With a few bands of EQ my room response is reasonably flat rolling off below 20Hz.

 

As a self professed bass nut, I find myself turning the bass down on friends' systems (after I request permission), especially car setups, when the bass is too boomy/muddy.

The same goes for lots of electronic music, where the composer is adding deep bass just because they can...they just wind that knob down...

 

I've come to realise I'm a "mid bass" nut, not a "deep bass" nut - clean tight mid bass is to die for - eg the kick drum in Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", various percussion in Tracy Chapman's "Subcity", the drum outro in Angus and Julia Stone's "Yellowbrick Road" - my sub is only tickling the sound on these tracks, and all of the attack/bass slam is coming from the TD18s.

 

That said I also love the realism and chasm reaching bass of Danley's fireworks and train shunting recordings - the sub adds a lot to these recordings - similarly for movies like the depth charge scenes in U571, or the lightning strikes in War of the Worlds.

 

Clean/accurate bass with good decay (ie dry) is pretty special - and very addictive - but it makes boomy/ringing bass un-listenable.

 

cheers

Mike

Edited by almikel
clarification

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Good bass is different to lots/too much bass.

If the bass is crap...............turning it up just makes it louder crap.

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1 hour ago, LogicprObe said:

Good bass is different to lots/too much bass.

great bass is similar to listening to good recordings - if you're in the mood you just want to turn the volume up.

I sneak the bass up on the remote all the time - but only on well recorded tracks, and only where it doesn't overpower the track...

It's very dependant on the mix of the master...I'm happy to tweak EQ on the remote lots...bass up/down/flat, treble up/down/flat - all to taste on a song by song basis if I'm flipping between albums...usually the EQ stays the same across an album, but sometimes you can't help tweaking the bass up a bit on some tracks.

 

Prior to having a room with tight/dry/bass, I never mucked with the bass control. 

Assuming a good recording - I now dial up/down bass as I feel like it.

 

Bad bass just gets turned down, as does overly compressed music - it's not enjoyable up loud.

 

Mike

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