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jay michael

Thoughts on an appropriate midbass/kick cabinet to compliment Othorns

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Hey everyone.  Josh, thank you for all of your contributions to the diy audio community.  Its been a pretty amazing adventure reading up on modern audio tech over the last view weeks researching a replacement for my RCF 4 pro sound system.  We host a festival in Canada 10 years running. Music styles range from live music, house, techno, most modern bass music sounds as well as psytrance.  My Rcf system is getting long in the tooth so its shifting duties to our second stage so we are looking to construct a new main stage system. 

Ive been involved in throwing psytrance shows pushing 20 years now so one my first priorities for the build is to have ample midbass power to nail that faster bassline and kick sound.  This usually involves using a cabinet capable of tight and precise bass reproduction in the 60 to 180hz or so range.  Options I am looking at are the es18bph, Martin 215mk3, or maybe the mkb-230.   Cabinets such as this are lacking the ability to reach deep enough to cover much of the bass music material we also book at our shows so after long consideration we have decided to build a sub section consisting of Othorns.   I've seen quite a few examples of crews doing similar things, othorns under es18's seems to the most common that I have come across. Regardless of my poor music taste (psytrance) I take quality of sound seriously and am hoping to create the most musical combination possible.

Can anyone comment on a mid cabinet that would best compliment the othorn subs?  Any thoughts or comments welcome, even alternative suggestions if you think there may be a better way to achieve my goals of building a system both able to handle the fast paced mid punch of psy, yet sound great with everything else from bass music to live.  I have taken a close look at the skhorn and while it does look amazing would complicate our transportation situation as well as load in's to some of the indoor venues we use.  Dance floors from 100 to 300 people, thinking 4 othorns under 4 mid cabinets. Mid/highs likely to be 4 RCF 4pro4001's until funds are available to upgrade after this season. Processed with dbx driverack.  

Many thanks to anyone willing to share their thoughts

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Mmm psytrance!  It's been a long while since I've been to a party, but I listen to my fair share here and there.

That trademark fast bassline requires good broadband performance to properly nail.  A lot of bass sound/definition comes from the 200-500 Hz range, which also helps tighten the punch sensations.  Even though the output requirement is not nearly as high above 180 Hz, you want good accuracy for the whole bass range if possible.  At the same time, lots of psytrance goes to 30 Hz and below, so 30 Hz capability won't be wasted.

How much SPL do you want?  A lot of psytrance recordings are extremely bright, compressed and harsh to listen to at high level.  I'd probably be happy with 115 dB RMS short-term (at the audience) in the sub region for that content.  For stuff that's more dynamic including anything that's being tracked or performed live, I could see wanting 120 dB or more.  At that point, it's really a matter of what you can afford and how tolerant your neighbors are.  FWIW, these numbers are based on my preferences in my home but are probably a decent ballpark to aim for.  Again this is for sub and requirements for higher frequencies are lower.

I think the best choice for mid-bass augmentation depends substantially on the tops and on the overall system design.  I would be very concerned about being able to integrate the different units while getting the best possible coverage.  Using separate mid bass units gives you more headroom there but at the cost of another crossover at a higher frequency where interference can create new coverage problems.

Have you considered using a dedicated center channel speaker?  I don't know how well it would work, but for psy-trance I like the idea of extracting L+R and sending it to a dedicated center channel.  If possible, I'd vertically stack the subs right next to the mid-bass units and put the center speaker a short distance in front of the stacks.  After extraction, the L and R would mostly be surround/ambience, which is the other critical component of the psytrance sound.  I'd consider adding enough delay to the L and R channels to ensure sounds always arrive from the center first no matter where you are on the floor.  If you got it right, you would have superb top-to-bottom accuracy for L+R over a fairly wide coverage area.

I realize this suggestion may be completely impractical, but most alternatives involve some kind of compromise.  I do think your plan to go with 4 Othorns is reasonable for hitting the lower (115 dB) target.  If more dynamics are desired, you might want more than the 4 Othorns.  It's a shame the Skhorn doesn't work because its top end is a lot nicer.  I think that would allow you to either forgo the mid-bass capability or mate with something that goes higher than 200 Hz.

Anyway, your project sounds like a lot of fun.  I have a kind of fantasy of building a couple SKhorn's specifically for psytrance in the Denver area, even though I'm not currently involved in live sound.  Most of my interest has been in home audio, which comes with a very different set of challenges.

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I prefer to use big beefy mains that can reach the subs well and truly cover the mid bass. Mains with dual 12's or 15's for example . Barring that I like to have a sub that can go up high enough to take the midbass on it's own. Mostly for the reasons that SME posted...Extra crossover, extra amps = more chance for mistakes and more difficult system integration top to bottom. Delay and timing issues etc... I get it though it's easy to turn up the channel for the amp driving the kick bins versus EQing it in.  

There's nothing wrong with a 4 or 5 way system. I've heard them sound good. Just takes a bit more work. Where it always gets me is in cost/weight/size. The extra kick bins often end up quite big and heavy. What if that extra cost/weight/size/power was put into the subs and mains?

Most of the "subs" in the pro arena either have really bad issues above 100Hz or if they are good up to 150Hz or so have no bottom end. You end up with 2 way bass systems. The Skhorn can be run up to about 150-160Hz. It's one of the more brutal bass cabs I've ever heard, including the 80-160Hz octave.  It is expensive and heavy though. I need to get my single driver version done.

I don't know a lot about any of the options you listed. You never see good response measurements or even good simulations of these designs. You see a lot of people recommending and using them that say they are good but how often would people admit what they are using may not be that good? Not saying they are or aren't. I just don't know. I've not heard them except for the Martin 215. It was loud and efficient. A loud 100-300Hz bin is relatively easy.

I'm probably not helping you much but I just don't know much about those proposed kick bins.

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Thanks a ton for sharing some thoughts guys.

SME.  Spl is not a big priority for me.  I prefer thick warm sound that I can feel but at a level that people can stand in front of it all day without fatigue.  Thank you for your interesting idea with the center channel, its something I am going to ponder carefully.  I have always preferred a center sub array between left and right channels as it seems to be the most reliable way to get a good physical feel to the music at the moderate spl levels I prefer.  If I do end up going with a 2 way bass system I will first experiment with subs and midbass cabinets in the middle with my tops left and right to see how that plays out.  I totally understand the added complexity as far as timing/phase goes but I think its a challenge I am up for.   The delayed left right signals is something I had not thought about before, but it will be something I will experiment with... thanks for the idea.

Josh. I wouldn't argue at all that larger top cabinets would be far and away the easier way to go about this.  It would without doubt save me pack space, money and headaches.   I currently run 6 - 3-way cabinets with 15" LF 6" mid and 1" cd over my 8 18" subs.  They create an acceptable amount of kick definition for most purposes.... I guess im just in the hunt for something special.   While I'm sure there is a combination out there that can pull it off, I have yet to hear a sub/top combination really pull off psytrance well.  The few times I have been in audio heaven as far as that midbass power and precision is concerned has been on turbo and funktion1 systems.  Those systems just seem to be able to deliver that physical experience in a special way for that particular type of music. With that said I'm not a huge fan of the sound top to bottom, I find f1's in particular butcher vocals and the whole mid high range sounds perhaps a bit nasal?  We did hire a nice turbo system for a burningman stage many years ago that I figured was just sublime.

I would really love to hear the skhorn, it does sound like a magical beast.  Its hard for me to comprehend a sub being able to pull off those kind of lows while still being able to keep kicks and upper bass tight and dynamic. I have never been impressed with double 18 bins, especially for psytrance. They just sound too loose and uncontrolled, sometimes great for drawn out slower basslines but for anything fast they just have never impressed me.  It sounds like the skhorn isn't anything like that, I hope to hear it someday.  You really should cook up a single version of it, I for one would be all over it.  I had a tough enough time even considering the othorn as a tolerable size.  If I gathered this correctly, the 21SW152 is supposed to be a good fit?  Perhaps if and when you release a single I can swap mine out of the othorns and give it a go :)

Thanks for your thoughts on the midbass cab, I know its a bit of a weird way to go about a problem but for my application it just seems to be the best approach.   Ill keep digging and researching the flh designs, they seem to be a step up from some of the bph options out there.  Believe it or not, us psy heads are pretty fussy about good sound.

Cheers

 

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21SW152 is good for both cabs and quite a few others. That driver is a good long term investment.

Can't say I really know much about Psytrance honestly but I assume it is electronically generated...Got a link to some representative music? I don't generally find that type of stuff very "fast" or "sharp" but it's not my usual genre either. Have you ever thrown it into a spectrum analyzer to see where the frequencies you find lacking are?

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For sure, a couple random youtube finds here.    Checked my local classifies last night and a guy has 6 original martin 115 midbass horns for sale about an hour from my place.   Meeting him Saturday to give them a listen.  Not sure if they are what I'm looking for but could be interesting

This is some deeper aussie type stuff.  Something like this can be really hard for a system to pull off well. There is a ton of sub content but the punch of that chugging bass and kick goes quite high up the spectrum as well.  Beyond the kick and sub the melodic content sits pretty far back in the signal. To get it all sounding clear and powerful yet still be able to hear the melodies and atmospheres in pretty challenging.  When done well,  its a bass workout just as satisfying as any bass driven music genre.

Middle of the road stuff.   Done properly the kick isn't the most impactful sound, its the quick repeating bass notes, perhaps 3 or 4 between each kick drum.  The bass line should be the most prominent weight felt from the system

some faster stuff.  Note the bass notes are still fast but a bit more funky and varied.  If a system can really make those notes clean powerful and defined, its really a treat. 

 

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20 hours ago, jay michael said:

SME.  Spl is not a big priority for me.  I prefer thick warm sound that I can feel but at a level that people can stand in front of it all day without fatigue.

That's good!  If you said you wanted it loud, I would have suggested higher SPL numbers.  If it's very clean, then subwoofer bass is not really loud at all until the SPL gets crazy high.  That 115 dB SPL is probably nowhere near as loud as you think it is, especially when you are outdoors.

With that said, I did assume you might sometimes want to push the volume higher than usual for a short duration, maybe not for psytrance but for the climax of a live show or for genres with some macro-dynamic swings.  The 115 dB SPL figure is for moderately compressed content (e.g., mostly analog) played at an average A-weighted level of around 85 dBA, which *is* on the loud side.  A more reasonable level for up to a few hours is in the high 70s dBA.  That's about where most music is mixed and mastered.  For an all-day / all-night affair, you might want to aim for the low 70s dBA, which is healthier for the ears over the long-term and is easier to converse over, if that's important.  Note that even 85 dBA is still pretty reasonable as far as live music events go (unfortunately, in my opinion).

Even if you plan to stay in the low 70s dBA all the time, you may want the extra sub capability.  First, your system will be spending most of its time > 10 dB below its capacity, which will help it sound its best.  Second, it's nice to have more dynamics for live performances and live tracking where bass and kick can be mixed hotter than it would be on a record.  This can give more impact without increasing loudness or compromising intelligibility of the rest of the mix.

20 hours ago, jay michael said:

Thank you for your interesting idea with the center channel, its something I am going to ponder carefully.  I have always preferred a center sub array between left and right channels as it seems to be the most reliable way to get a good physical feel to the music at the moderate spl levels I prefer.  If I do end up going with a 2 way bass system I will first experiment with subs and midbass cabinets in the middle with my tops left and right to see how that plays out.  I totally understand the added complexity as far as timing/phase goes but I think its a challenge I am up for.   The delayed left right signals is something I had not thought about before, but it will be something I will experiment with... thanks for the idea.

You're welcome!  To be clear, my suggestion to delay the left and right channels only applies if you have a dedicated center channel.  Otherwise, the left and right channels should be delayed relative to the sub so that the crossover response is accurate over as much of your listening area as possible.

I'm also inclined to agree with @Ricci that it's better to cover that range with tops, if possible.  I think sound quality and capability of the tops should be a key consideration when you upgrade them, and you would be amazed at how much even upper mids and treble affect how the "bass" sounds when it starts and stops.  (Bass can start and stop 10X per second with psytrance.  :D Unfortunately though, I don't know pro equipment well enough to give any specific brand or product recommendations.  I can at least make educated guesses about what particular designs are capable of and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  I designed, built, and optimized my own home audio speakers and would do not hesitate to the same for PAs if I needed some.  I know I personally can probably get better sound quality that way.

If you do opt to build dedicated mid-bass cabs, keep in mind that the type of cab may not be as important as where they are located.  By moving 80-160 Hz to dedicated mid bass bins at the center, you are consolidating reproduction of that bass to a single source, which is beneficial in and of itself.  You'll still have spatial variation and interference problems around the crossover at 160 Hz and above though.  Furthermore by consolidating 80-160 Hz from both L and R and sending it to mid-bass bins at the center, you actually lose any out-of-phase content in that range.  This may reduce warmth from stereo reverbration in those frequencies, especially outdoors where there is very little natural reverb.   Another nice thing about the dedicated center channel for L+R is that the out-of-phase content still gets sent to L and R so you don't lose that warmth.

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SME,  Totally feeling you on the spl discussion and agree with everything you said.  I find keeping the system well within its limits and no where near its maximum is key to getting the best sound out of it.  With lots of reserve in the tank one can tweak those key frequencies to maximize warmth and impact without negatively effecting the overall sound experience.  I would say I tend to run my tops a little softer than my subs to try and maximize the weight of the sound keeping the overall system within a reasonable overall volume.  I never keep a consistent volume throughout the night either, Always ride a wave between a little lighter and a little hotter to give ears a break so people feel they can stay longer without fatigue.

 

Sorry, I missed your point a bit with the center channel then.  I dont know if there is a practical way to pull this off I would need different processing to create a separate center channel.  One of my best mates wrote an album all in 5.1 some years ago and we did set up the pa in a 5.1 configuration perhaps 3 or 4 times to get the most out of his amazing effort.   It worked surprisingly well on the dancefloor... other than everyone cramming themselves into the center to hear it best :)

I am visiting a fellow on the weekend with a stack of 6 martin audio 115 front loaded horn bass bins who is going to set them up for me in his shop.  They are supposed to have a stable usable range from 50 to 250 hz.  I don't know if its the right move for me but he seems willing to give me some time to play with them.  Hopefully I can gain a feel for if a mid cabinet might work for me.  On the larger top cabinet idea I wont rule it out completely, I guess I just haven't come across the right ones yet.... Which doesn't say much as we don't have access to a ton of varied gear to experience here.  A local company did manufacture a dual 15 or 18 inch reflex top with quality drivers and ample power.   Spent a bunch of time in front of those over quite a few festivals but again they didn't impress.... but they were reflex so I always find them loose and not well controlled..  Company was www.pksound.ca they make pretty decent stuff but have since moved primarily into line array stuff. 

Could I ask, if you were to build a top with psytrance in mind, how would you approach it.  Reflex, band pass, horn?  I feel horn loaded in my experience gives a better feel of control and precision to sound but its also a more of a in your face sound so can get tiring if listened to for a long time.   Like I mentioned before, the few times I did experience great sounding psytrance was with horn loaded systems using 2 way bass, subs for 23-60 ish, mid bass 60 to 300 or so and mid/highs for the rest.    

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Also.. thanks heaps to both of you for engaging me on this discussion!  Josh, with those examples I posted to you feel the othorn has the speed and precision to offer good sub output for this style of music?  How would the skhorn fair?  Different? Better or worse?

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10 hours ago, jay michael said:

For sure, a couple random youtube finds here.

Thanks for the music selections!  I got seriously into the music around 2001 after Solipse Africa but kind of lost track of stuff after 2010 or so after it had splintered into so many directions.  Your selections remind me a lot more of the sound of that era, though obviously these tracks are very recent.  :)

Here are some comments about my impressions of the sound of these tracks on my system:

  • The Sentient track has a deep powerful sound, driven by a bassline with an unusually low fundamental frequency (39 Hz?).  The bass rhythm is articulated very well, but sounds more smooth than punchy, probably on purpose.  The kick has a strong treble bite, which I think emphasizes its bass contribution but gives it contrast.  For both kick and bass, the upper bass / low-mid content is there but doesn't seem strong or composed enough to really "hit".  For me, the melodic/atmospheric part of the sound is on even footing with the bass, although it sounds like it's a bit brighter than it needs to be.  I find excess brightness in a lot of tracks that are sub heavy.  I believe it's done to try to keep the sub sound from burying everything else.  I like this song but would probably like it more with more mid-range.
  • The African Jungle is my least favorite.  The balance seems slanted towards upper mids and highs for a more aggressive sound, and the treble sounds harsh and distorted in a way I can't blame on YouTube.  Both the kick and bassline are very prominent but neither seems that weighty.  The articulation of the bassline rhythm seems to be dominated by upper mid and low treble.  It's very tight sounding and has a strong tone, but I don't feel it at all.  I feel a bit of 100 Hz ish resonance from the kick, but it's sloppy.  To me the kick is more prominent than the bass, partly because I actually feel it, but also because it noticeably pumps the rest of the sound.  The pumping makes the kick seem bigger than everything else, and I presume that was done on purpose.  Apart from my complaints about the sound quality, the music is still fun --- just not as fun as the other two tracks.
  • The X-Noize & Sonic Species track was definitely my favorite and was also the most tactile and punchy for me.  It's a little bright and maybe bass shy, but that seemed to fit the uplifting "morning trance" mood of the song.  Otherwise, I thought the balance was very good and conveyed the complicated oscillating synth effects real well.   I was hearing and feeling them with clarity.  I would say this is a great test track with because of the spectral variety.   The trouble with testing audio performance using psytrance is that you often only get to hear what one note sounds like.  (:lol:) This track doesn't have that problem.  My only want is for maybe a bit more overall bass power.

Out of curiosity, I went and played some of my older stuff from like 2004 and earlier, and I noticed differences in tonal character compared to the tracks you posted above.  For one thing, my older stuff doesn't seem as bright or hyped sounding in the highs.  For another,  the bass seems better.  Even at fairly low levels, I can feel a warm, subtle "dun---da-da-dun---da-da-" in my core with a lot of them.  Have you noticed any significant tonal differences between older vs. newer tracks?  Perhaps the 100-500 Hz range is being suppressed in a lot of modern mixes in favor more more sub and treble.  If that's the case, it's unfortunate because it's a lot harder to undo that kind of shaping with EQ during playback.

Anyway that third track has a lot of effects similar to one which impressed me a lot when I first experienced it with really good bass.  The version of the song I have is part of a mix by DJ Analog Duck in a Quizinart, but all I can find online is the original track.  I think I liked the sound of the mixed version better, but anyway, near the beginning and the end there is a wonderful oscillating bass effect.  I think it's a pitch that's warbling very slowly (over several seconds) from like 120 Hz down to 40 Hz and back that's been amplitude modulated using a 10 Hz square wave.  It just sounds and feels amazing to me:

This got me curious, so I went and peaked at the spectrum with Audacity which revealed a high-pass filter up at around 45 Hz and content going down to 10 Hz.  Indeed, I'm now a bit curious as to what it sounds like with no filter and with reproduction all the way down to 10 Hz.  :)

If you really want to go nuts, trying building a pair of M.A.U.Ls which can go down to the low-teens outdoors.   😵  Or don't, being that subsonic content at a high enough level to matter is so rare in actual content.  Almost every mastered recording gets a subsonic filter somewhere, usually at 30 Hz or above.  I treasure the rare exceptions.  Here's a track (not psytrance, but "bass music") with a little subsonic surprise, right at the beginning:

The low bass note in the intro has a subharmonic  that touches 16 Hz, just barely.  (It's filtered below there.)  The funkybassline through the rest of the track grooves around throughout the low 20s Hz.  It's like the one track I have to prove that I can make "tight bass" at 20 Hz.  :)

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SME, Thanks for taking a peak and the tunes.  They were just a selection of randomly pulled tunes from a quick youtube search that at quick listen had a bit of variety similar to sounds we are into.  If I get a moment tonight Ill take a peak at my collection to post a few of my favorites.  Psytrance is a funny one, I used to eat and live everyday some 10 or more years ago.  Father and family life has shifted my musical interests quite a bit and its rare to never that we play psytrance in the house.... unless we are trying to burn off some of our daughters energy before bed with a living room stomp Haha!  As with a lot of electronic music a vast amount of it is pretty terrible, psytrance probably has one of the highest shit to quality ratio's out there.... but when its good, in the right set and setting (forest dancefloor in the rocky mountains) it is quite the experience.  

Reflecting on your comments, that first track is from a fella named Tim from Australia.   He runs a long running record label called zenon records that specializes in this particular sound.  People have coined that sound as almost its own genre called zenonesque progressive.  I agree with your assessment of the sound having less of a solid impact type force to more of a pulsing undulating type bass to which can be a challenge to get right on the dance floor as subs often sound quite boomy with that kind of signal so its hard for the mid highs to find a home.   Take away too much of the sub output and then the music doesn't feel weighty enough to give the desired effect the producer was going for.

 

The second track on another listen I would agree with you as well.  I think this is a good example of a lot of modern music today where its overly compressed and perhaps done so on purpose to have a very in your face kind of sound.  I hear this in a lot of music, not just electronic.   I get the sense that this youtube upload may be suffering from a poor quality upload as when listening to it in my headphones last night it didn't sound good at all. When I posted it yesterday my first listen was from my crappy office computer speakers which is even worse!

The last track on first listen took me back to the sound that I think was much more consistent with the popular sounds of psytrance of 10 years ago or so.  Less pushed with more of a relaxed dynamic with a clean kick and bass line.  You are definitely right to think that the sounds do evolve over time.  Productions styles, equipment used to make it,   and techniques change with new differing technologies in the studio.  10 plus years ago I would estimate the bulk of the music was created exclusively on hardware synthesizers where now most of it would be created using software based synths. I would suspect that is what you heard in the difference between the track I posted and from your stuff.  There is a small but emerging fad happening in the music now where people are going back to hardware synthesis and I hope that will bring back some of that folder feel again.  If I look back over my own collection I would say there are perhaps 3 or 4 very different "sounds" and production qualities that the music of each era had.  Each era of the sounds differ so much to a point where on a djing level it would be pretty challenging to make those different era's of tracks mix well with each other as sonically they are quite different. 

The tracks you posted.... the first one for sure was created with hardware synthesis, very typical style 10, maybe even 15 to 20 years ago.   Pushmipulyu is a favorite of mine! Released some really amazing psychedelic dub and downtempo tunes!

You previously mentioned using a spectral analyzer to see what is happening on tracks?  Can you recommend one to me?  Sounds like it could be a helpful tool.

 

Cheers 

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On a side note SME, maybe check out this bandcamp page.  A friend of ours runs this label out of the US but he's originally from Australia.  There are some albums free for download in your choice of download quality.  The  second album listed is a free download with a wide variety of tunes, I have only given it a background listen so far but there seemed to be a few gems in there.  More importantly though,  if you explore the page some of the albums are available as hi res downloads 44khz, 96khz 24 bit etc. Id be curious what your impressions of the sound quality are with these higher bit rate versions.

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On 1/24/2019 at 10:54 PM, jay michael said:

Sorry, I missed your point a bit with the center channel then.  I dont know if there is a practical way to pull this off I would need different processing to create a separate center channel.  One of my best mates wrote an album all in 5.1 some years ago and we did set up the pa in a 5.1 configuration perhaps 3 or 4 times to get the most out of his amazing effort.   It worked surprisingly well on the dancefloor... other than everyone cramming themselves into the center to hear it best :)

I did worry a bit that my suggestion would require processing you don't have.  I kind of feel like we all could use a bit more audio processing (of the good kind) in our lives.  :)  I am an engineer, and I designed my own custom processing because I couldn't buy what I wanted.

A 5.1 psytrance album?  That sounds like something I'd love to hear.  Can I buy it somewhere, on a DVD or as a download?

On 1/24/2019 at 10:54 PM, jay michael said:

Could I ask, if you were to build a top with psytrance in mind, how would you approach it.  Reflex, band pass, horn?  I feel horn loaded in my experience gives a better feel of control and precision to sound but its also a more of a in your face sound so can get tiring if listened to for a long time.   Like I mentioned before, the few times I did experience great sounding psytrance was with horn loaded systems using 2 way bass, subs for 23-60 ish, mid bass 60 to 300 or so and mid/highs for the rest.    

Well first, I wouldn't really do anything different for psytrance vs. other genres.  My specific focus would be on sound quality over quantity, call it semi-pro if you like.  I'm thinking it'd do well for small churches, small cinemas, etc. in addition to stuff like you're doing.  To be honest, my idea is far from fleshed out, in part because there are a lot of mundane considerations to settle: size, form factor, HF driver height, etc..  Lacking real world live sound experience means I don't have a good grasp of best practices for that kind of stuff.  What I do have is strong theoretical knowledge and experience designing and building the system in my  living room along with a kind of working hypothesis about what happens in larger rooms and outdoors.

For mid and high frequencies, I am a big fan of the SEOS waveguide design, which provides highly consistent frequency response at multiple angles.  This is a beneficial property in small rooms because it makes the reflections more similar to the direct sound.  It seems logical that this property would also be excellent for covering a wide listening area like a dance floor.  The pattern is nominally 90 degrees (i.e., -6 dB @ +/- 45 degrees), but sound really doesn't change much at steeper angles, it just kind of gets quieter.  To my knowledge, the SEOS waveguide has not been used in a pro speaker design.  This is probably because the waveguide is physically large relative to their low frequency limit and output capability.  I don't think that would be a problem in this kind of application though.

My home speakers use the 15" wide SEOS, but for this purpose, I would probably go for the 24" wide.  Forum member @lukeamdman used the 24" for his speakers.  I'd probably use the same coaxial compression driver, the BMS 4594ND which contains two drivers in one package and extends up to and beyond 20 kHz.  I'd probably cross it a bit higher than he did, at like 600-650 Hz, but the details would depend on what I used for the lower part and what the measurements looked like after I got the equipment.  As for the lower part, I'm not sure what I'd do.  I'd probably look at horn options for the bottom, but I don't know enough about horn design to know whether it's practical to cover a wide low frequency range, like e.g. 80 to 800 Hz without it being too large.  I don't think a horn with folds would work.  I would have to research it.

One possibility that puts the HF driver at ear level (maybe much too low?) is to use a 2x2 array of 12" drivers, probably in sealed cabinets.  The array would be adjacent to the ground and would couple well with it.  The 4 x 12"s would have lots of headroom too.  A single 18" or 21" would probably save some money, but not many drivers that big play well up to the c rossover.  And furthermore, I think I'd want more headroom than a single 18" offers, which complicates the design in ways I don't like.  As for whether to do sealed or reflex, it would really depend on the  driver and what my low frequency needs were.  Sealed is smaller and simpler and more likely to work with Skhorns that go higher.  Reflex is larger but can play lower to mate with Othorns.  It's not that simple though.  I'd really need to look at different drivers, do simulations, etc.  to reach a decision.

Finally there is the processing.  At the least, some high-shelf EQ is needed to correct the downward tilt in the treble which naturally occurs, in addition to crossover filters.  The SEOS doesn't need as much boost to the top as some horns do though.  In my case, I have my own processing and I have been working on novel methods for speaker sound quality optimization.  I would use that to get the best possible sound out of the whole system.

I don't actually have all this processing capability yet.  My home system is the prototype, which I'm still working on perfecting before I move to testing on other systems and rooms.  Like I said this project is basically fantasy right now, but if it were to happen there's a chance of me getting to it in a couple years.

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On 1/25/2019 at 8:46 AM, jay michael said:

As with a lot of electronic music a vast amount of it is pretty terrible, psytrance probably has one of the highest shit to quality ratio's out there.... but when its good, in the right set and setting (forest dancefloor in the rocky mountains) it is quite the experience.

What you say about the quality variation with psytrance is so true.  It applies to the musical composition for sure, but it also seems to apply to the technical aspects of the sound, particularly with older stuff.  This has become especially apparent to me during my recent listening.

My favorite outdoor experiences were in California on Memorial Day weekends for a few years.  For a while, the event fell right at the end of my finals week and was the perfect way to finish out the school year.  After stomping through a legendary midnight-to-midnight set (with all one DJ) a good night's rest, and a generous morning breakfast, I always felt upbeat, physically rejuvenated, and clear minded for days or weeks afterwards.

On 1/25/2019 at 8:46 AM, jay michael said:

I agree with your assessment of the sound having less of a solid impact type force to more of a pulsing undulating type bass to which can be a challenge to get right on the dance floor as subs often sound quite boomy with that kind of signal so its hard for the mid highs to find a home.   Take away too much of the sub output and then the music doesn't feel weighty enough to give the desired effect the producer was going for.

I'm not surprised that music like that Aussie track is difficult to get right.  A whole lot of pro subs and systems roll off steeply at 40 Hz, and this may perceptually accentuate content around that frequency including contribution of some ringing overhang on transients.  That could definitely cause unwanted boom or sloppiness on a track with the bassline fundamental right at 40 Hz.  Having sub extension that goes well below that point is likely to help.

On 1/25/2019 at 8:46 AM, jay michael said:

The second track on another listen I would agree with you as well.  I think this is a good example of a lot of modern music today where its overly compressed and perhaps done so on purpose to have a very in your face kind of sound.  I hear this in a lot of music, not just electronic.   I get the sense that this youtube upload may be suffering from a poor quality upload as when listening to it in my headphones last night it didn't sound good at all. When I posted it yesterday my first listen was from my crappy office computer speakers which is even worse!

I noticed significant lossy data compression artifacts with all three samples.  I think there's a max quality that YouTube will provide, and it's still not that good.  The algorithms struggle more with content that's harmonically complex like stuff that's heavy on noise and distortion.  Psytrance seems to need higher bit-rates than many other genres to not cause artifacts.

I agree a lot of content is highly compressed and/or has a top heavy spectrum.  Both of these have been used in the mastering processing since at least the early '90s to make content sound louder.  Pumping is also often introduced on purpose to get a certain kind of sound.  Along those lines, I've read that aggressive compression has been used almost universally in psytrance to tightly integrate the kick and bass parts.  I don't know if it's true but don't doubt it.  I'm also OK with it because it's part of the sound I like.  What I don't like is when the rest of the sound pumps from kick or bass.  I find that real distracting unless it's like an isolated effect or something.

When you talk about software synths, do you include software simulations of analog hardware under that designation?  I know that in days bygone, the software simulations didn't do such a good job of imitating the real thing.  On the other hand, I've heard some pretty nice sound out of simulations in recent years, particularly in the form of standalone hardware devices that nevertheless use software to simulate the analog sound.  A good friend of mine has a collection of such devices and sends me music once in a while (experimental, mostly chip tune).   It's always completely raw with no EQ or other processing.  I've noticed that the bass instruments really slam nicely, which makes me think that the best bass is often that which is least altered from the source during the production process.

On 1/25/2019 at 8:46 AM, jay michael said:

You previously mentioned using a spectral analyzer to see what is happening on tracks?  Can you recommend one to me?  Sounds like it could be a helpful tool.

I am using Audacity.  It has a simple spectral analysis feature in which you select a snippet of audio and see basically an FFT of the snippet.  It's a bit ugly, but provides useful information about the spectral characteristics of the content.

On 1/25/2019 at 9:03 AM, jay michael said:

On a side note SME, maybe check out this bandcamp page.  A friend of ours runs this label out of the US but he's originally from Australia.  There are some albums free for download in your choice of download quality.  The  second album listed is a free download with a wide variety of tunes, I have only given it a background listen so far but there seemed to be a few gems in there.  More importantly though,  if you explore the page some of the albums are available as hi res downloads 44khz, 96khz 24 bit etc. Id be curious what your impressions of the sound quality are with these higher bit rate versions.

I don't think the link you meant to post came through.  Can you try again?

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There is something very special about dancing with everything you have for hours on end.   It happens much less these days for me but for the occasional times when it happens I concur there are uplifting feelings that hang around long after :)

Thank you for the mind portal you opened with your speaker design and implementation discussion you shared.  I copied and pasted it into a document so I can easily keep returning to it.  I have a decent home system now but I think when my event hosting days really wind down I do want to focus on something much more impressive for my home needs.  The SEOS tech wasn't on my radar at all, that was a couple hour rabbit hole for me and I don't think I even scratched the surface haha!

I am guessing the midnight to midnight set was from Goa Gill?  I got to experience him at Oregon Eclipse festival a few years back, was happy to check that off the to do list.

With the software synth thing I do believe it is entirely possible to get a fantastic sound without hardware.   In the hands of a skilled user there is little reason anymore that software cant rival hardware....  but I think it takes a masterful understanding of the software to achieve those results.  I took some production lessons from an artist called Bluetech many years ago and he was a huge software fan.  His productions were very high quality and really proved to me that it could be done.   With that said, as his career evolved he did move more into hardware synths so perhaps it comes down to the financial side of things as a new producer would very likely not be able to outfit a studio with expensive hardware right from the start.  

You can check his stuff out here.  Really lovely human with an amazing musical vision for ambient and downtempo type stuff.  https://bluetech.bandcamp.com/  Truth told I am a bigger fan of his earlier works, sines and singularities, prima materia and elementary particles even if they are getting a bit dated. 

My buddy is uploading his 5.1 album to drop box for you, because of the size of the files it will have to come in chunks so I will get those to you when they are ready.

And sorry I forgot the other link I mentioned https://merkabamusic1.bandcamp.com/

 

Back to my original dilemma,  I randomly found some vintage bass horns on a local for sales site.  He didn't want to sell them individually so I now have 6 martin audio b115 bass horns in my garage, the price was to cheap to say no.  They are in amazing shape with fresh drivers as of 3 years ago, loaded with the recommended jbl 140e units.    I was able to set them up in his shop and give them a good lsiten for about an hour.   Until I get them set up and processed with the rest of my gear it will be a bit of a unknown but my first impressions were very positive.  Very accurate and warm sound with an incredible amount felt impact.  I figured just a pair of them would outclass the felt impact of my 6 - 15" drivers of my top cabinets... they are crazy loud with very little amplification.    They effortlessly produced clean and powerful psytrance kicks and bass notes that my reflex boxes could only dream of doing.  So yeah, lots of testing and tuning ahead of me.  For the buy in price I paid (peanuts) it will be a cheap experiment to see if the two way bass thing could be what I am looking for.  If it doesn't pan out well I guess next season Ill be researching some heroic top cabs to go above my othorns.

Thanks again SME for the very enlightening conversation!

  

 

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18 hours ago, jay michael said:

There is something very special about dancing with everything you have for hours on end.   It happens much less these days for me but for the occasional times when it happens I concur there are uplifting feelings that hang around long after :)

Thank you for the mind portal you opened with your speaker design and implementation discussion you shared.  I copied and pasted it into a document so I can easily keep returning to it.  I have a decent home system now but I think when my event hosting days really wind down I do want to focus on something much more impressive for my home needs.  The SEOS tech wasn't on my radar at all, that was a couple hour rabbit hole for me and I don't think I even scratched the surface haha!

I am guessing the midnight to midnight set was from Goa Gill?  I got to experience him at Oregon Eclipse festival a few years back, was happy to check that off the to do list.

With the software synth thing I do believe it is entirely possible to get a fantastic sound without hardware.   In the hands of a skilled user there is little reason anymore that software cant rival hardware....  but I think it takes a masterful understanding of the software to achieve those results.  I took some production lessons from an artist called Bluetech many years ago and he was a huge software fan.  His productions were very high quality and really proved to me that it could be done.   With that said, as his career evolved he did move more into hardware synths so perhaps it comes down to the financial side of things as a new producer would very likely not be able to outfit a studio with expensive hardware right from the start.  

You can check his stuff out here.  Really lovely human with an amazing musical vision for ambient and downtempo type stuff.  https://bluetech.bandcamp.com/  Truth told I am a bigger fan of his earlier works, sines and singularities, prima materia and elementary particles even if they are getting a bit dated. 

My buddy is uploading his 5.1 album to drop box for you, because of the size of the files it will have to come in chunks so I will get those to you when they are ready.

And sorry I forgot the other link I mentioned https://merkabamusic1.bandcamp.com/

 

Back to my original dilemma,  I randomly found some vintage bass horns on a local for sales site.  He didn't want to sell them individually so I now have 6 martin audio b115 bass horns in my garage, the price was to cheap to say no.  They are in amazing shape with fresh drivers as of 3 years ago, loaded with the recommended jbl 140e units.    I was able to set them up in his shop and give them a good lsiten for about an hour.   Until I get them set up and processed with the rest of my gear it will be a bit of a unknown but my first impressions were very positive.  Very accurate and warm sound with an incredible amount felt impact.  I figured just a pair of them would outclass the felt impact of my 6 - 15" drivers of my top cabinets... they are crazy loud with very little amplification.    They effortlessly produced clean and powerful psytrance kicks and bass notes that my reflex boxes could only dream of doing.  So yeah, lots of testing and tuning ahead of me.  For the buy in price I paid (peanuts) it will be a cheap experiment to see if the two way bass thing could be what I am looking for.  If it doesn't pan out well I guess next season Ill be researching some heroic top cabs to go above my othorns.

Thanks again SME for the very enlightening conversation!

  

 

Am glad you got them, I would have if I was closer , And take a 🤳 when you do your first gig setup after the sound check 🧛🏿‍♂️

9EDD273D-630F-4106-9A0F-C29C0104EB2B.jpeg

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14 hours ago, jay michael said:

My buddy is uploading his 5.1 album to drop box for you, because of the size of the files it will have to come in chunks so I will get those to you when they are ready.

And sorry I forgot the other link I mentioned https://merkabamusic1.bandcamp.com/

Thanks for the links!  I sent you a private message so you can let me know when I can start downloading the files for the 5.1 album, unless you mean to post it publicly.

14 hours ago, jay michael said:

Back to my original dilemma,  I randomly found some vintage bass horns on a local for sales site.  He didn't want to sell them individually so I now have 6 martin audio b115 bass horns in my garage, the price was to cheap to say no.  They are in amazing shape with fresh drivers as of 3 years ago, loaded with the recommended jbl 140e units.    I was able to set them up in his shop and give them a good lsiten for about an hour.   Until I get them set up and processed with the rest of my gear it will be a bit of a unknown but my first impressions were very positive.  Very accurate and warm sound with an incredible amount felt impact.  I figured just a pair of them would outclass the felt impact of my 6 - 15" drivers of my top cabinets... they are crazy loud with very little amplification.    They effortlessly produced clean and powerful psytrance kicks and bass notes that my reflex boxes could only dream of doing.  So yeah, lots of testing and tuning ahead of me.  For the buy in price I paid (peanuts) it will be a cheap experiment to see if the two way bass thing could be what I am looking for.  If it doesn't pan out well I guess next season Ill be researching some heroic top cabs to go above my othorns.

Congrats on finding a good deal on used gear!  At least these looks like they can help bridge between your existing mains and any Othorns you choose to build.  Best of luck with those, and happy stomping!

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