About subwoofers and the “taste” of music!
When dealing with audio solutions for commercial or HORECA environments there are some commonplaces that need to be debunked. Let’s try to do that.
Subwoofers make music LOUD – are not needed for classical/ jazz
The volume (or more precisely the sound pressure level) of music is measured in Decibels (which we decide using the volume control), frequencies on the other hand are measured Hertz (and are an intrinsic characteristic of instruments): these are two independent aspects of sound.
The human ear can perceive sounds ranging from 20 Hz to 20000 Hz ( yes, we are real amateurs if you think cats can hear up to 40,000Hz!).
Frequencies from 20 to 60/80 Hz are more physically perceived than actually heard
A speaker usually reproduces frequencies above 100Hz cleanly and optimally.
This leaves a range of 80 Hz “uncovered.” And this is the bass range, that of percussion, piano, bass and double bass: instruments that give “flavor & spice” to music.
It is useless to turn up the volume, in fact you risk doing worse!
(You know when speakers vibrate and disturb??) It`s because we`re asking them to do something they`re not designed to do.
To reproduce this frequency range there are special speakers: subwoofers, designed to reproduce frequencies from about 30 to 150 Hz.
Think of subwoofers as salt in the kitchen: the best delicacy with too little salt will be tasteless, lacking fullness.
Or like one of oour partner brilliantly said
You may be familiar with the situation in department stores, where music is played via the existing evacuation system for simplicity and cost reasons. These are designed exclusively for speech intelligibility and therefore totally unsuitable to create a pleasant atmosphere.
Here is an infographic on frequencies reproduced by common instruments:
Another objection often made to the inclusion of subwoofers in audio designs is, “the music will be low volume, as background and ambience.”
Ok this is exactly why there is a need for subwoofers!
1. The lower the volume the more complete and clean the sound reproduction must be, otherwise you’ll end up with indistinct and unclear sound!
2. if we talk about background – emotional music and do not adequately reproduce the lowest frequencies, those that are physically “felt,” those that emote, what atmosphere are we talking about?
Sensory marketing and many researches teach us that the right music makes the difference in the success of commercial environments, hotels, cafes, bars.
But if it is poorly reproduced, it is like serving the best dish… and not salting and seasoning it properly…
Last but not least: not all subwoofers are big, ugly boxes.
Here you can see that you can have flawless 360°music reproduction on all frequencies (even the emotional low ones) with subwoofers that do not cause eye soreness and blend perfectly into the design.