Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

The place to sound off on all things related to audio, from sound cards to speakers.

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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:33 pm

So, based on B0 tuning, the low string of a 5-string bass is about 31Hz. Not many speaker systems can get there without huge diaphragms and idiotic levels of amplifier power.

IRS V, WAMM v7, Apogee Scintillas, but with amps that need to double as arc welders (don't laugh, Audio Magazine used a Mark Levinson ML-3 amp as an arc-welder in the mid-'80s and got away with it), maybe some of the big Thiels or Sonus Faber rigs.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:43 am

morphine wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:
morphine wrote:That, and 5-string basses (even lower frequencies) are a common sight nowadays, and not just in metal.

I always thought that 5-strings went higher than standard to chase the John Entwistle harmonics and runs and the Geddy Lee Rickenbacker clanks?

You're thinking of 6-stringers. 5-string basses have a extra lower string, while 6-string basses have that, plus an extra one on the higher end.

All your info are belong to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_guitar_tuning
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:16 am

Sub-30 Hz is doable, in a very cumbersome enclosure, or a slightly less cumbersome one. If you don't care about <30 Hz, you can get away with something fairly compact. There are other options, like this compact 18" or this insane horn.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:31 am

UltimateImperative wrote:There are other options, like this compact 18" or this insane horn.

OMFG! If I only had $ to burn, can you imagine having 1 or 2 of those $4,000 JTR Orbit Shifter LF's at a wedding! With proper amperage!

OH MAN! Let the good times roll indeed! Image
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:36 am

If you really wanna do a subwoofer right, you need something like this. :lol:
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:23 am

just brew it! wrote:If you really wanna do a subwoofer right, you need something like this. :lol:

I knew even before I hovered over your link that it was the basement-as-subwoofer guy. That's pure dedication and financial lunacy.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:19 am

I agree about having good quality source material. When I got my first pair of good headphones around 10 years ago, suddenly the 96-160kbps mp3s that were on the internet didn't sound very good anymore. :) 320kbps mp3s are indistinguishable from FLAC for me though, so I don't go too far out of my way to find FLAC (Amazon offers mp3s but not FLAC for example)

FWIW, I really like my M-AUDIO Bx5As but those are a lot less than $400. For $400 I'm sure you could get something that sounds even better. If you have a Guitar Center in the area you can probably get them to let you test them. Even testing in a store isn't a perfect solution though, because the room acoustics play such a big role. A big store floor couldn't be more different than an office or studio, which is where most people will use them.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:16 am

Captain Ned wrote:So, based on B0 tuning, the low string of a 5-string bass is about 31Hz. Not many speaker systems can get there without huge diaphragms and idiotic levels of amplifier power.

If you're talking about the "whole" tone, then no. But harmonics are your friend, and they're the reason why bass still "works" even with modest speakers.

No argument on your choice of amps, though. To fully reproduce such things takes serious power. Hell, if you just want to play that damn bass, you better have serious firepower.

And sorry about the tangent... got me talking music gear :)
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:28 am

travbrad wrote:I agree about having good quality source material. When I got my first pair of good headphones around 10 years ago, suddenly the 96-160kbps mp3s that were on the internet didn't sound very good anymore. :)

Encoders have improved a lot in the past 10 years too. 10 years ago, most 128kbps MP3s had glaring artifacts even when played on cheap headphones/speakers.

travbrad wrote:320kbps mp3s are indistinguishable from FLAC for me though, so I don't go too far out of my way to find FLAC (Amazon offers mp3s but not FLAC for example)

Sadly, the selection of material available in FLAC format is not nearly as diverse as what's available in MP3 format.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:38 am

morphine wrote:Hell, if you just want to play that damn bass, you better have serious firepower.

That is one beautiful bass amp there! Extra large close-up photo for those who want to see the beast!

But yeah, again, anything of superb quality and power runs in the $3-4 thousand dollar range. Insane.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:33 pm

Captain Ned wrote:So, based on B0 tuning, the low string of a 5-string bass is about 31Hz. Not many speaker systems can get there without huge diaphragms and idiotic levels of amplifier power.

A fair number of 10", 200W powered subs can get down to around 30Hz at reasonable cost, although that will be right at the hairy edge of the -3dB point. But better than nothing.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:39 pm

Errr...if we're still talking about music - the main use for the upgrade in the OP - most mixing engineers use high-pass filters to roll off everything below 40Hz or so anyhow. Most of it is just muddy noise. That's true for bass and kick drums, even (and the roll off starts much higher with other instruments). You might want that kind of low-end for a home theater system to shake the house during a movie, but you're really not missing out on much detail if your subs start rolling off at 60Hz (which works out to be a tri-tone or a perfect fourth, I forget exactly, higher than 40Hz).

And sure, we're talking about a gradual roll of like -6db per octave, so there's still some of that super-low-end frequency in there, but I find it distracting. There may be uses for it in electronic music, I suppose, but I don't listen to enough to know.
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Re: Thoughts on this $400 music audio upgrade?

Postposted on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:29 pm

InfiniteBiscuits wrote:The recommendation for the HT Omega Striker is a bit confusing, if I am going for a 2.1 or 2.0 system, why choose a 7.1 card over a 5.1 if I just have to adaptor it down? ( I ask this because I do not know)


If you are referring to my recommendation, then I suggested the striker as a possible sound card option for sub $100 so you can meet your budget if spending $300-$350 on powered studio monitors (such as the krk Rokit 6s if you can find them on sale). However, if you were willing to spend twice that on a sound card, I would recommend the HT Omega Claro Halo or the Asus Xonar Essence ST. The HT Omega Claro Halo is the best sounding consumer sound card I've come across for analog stereo playback (haven't heard the Asus). Both have dedicated RCA outs which are perfect for connecting to studio monitors (though the ones on the HT Omega are a bit better quality in terms of durability anyway). Both include an on board headphone amp chip so you can easily drive more demanding headphones if you've got any.

The HT Omega also has socketed op amps (the chips that amplify the analog signal produced by the DAC). This way, you can spend a few $$ on aftermarket op amps and tailor the sound a bit to your preference. Some companies, like National Semiconductor will actually send you sample op amps for a small shipping charge (~$10). But there is nothing wrong with the op amps that come stock.
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