monitoring bass/sub-bass

hi all I currently listen to everything with my sennheiser hd650 headphones but this is really terrible for the lower end. I guess my best option is to get a subwoofer? is it possible to use subwoofer + headphones? treating my room is not possible. any suggsetions? what’s a good sub?


How low are we talking about here - what type of music are you producing?

My first thought is to try some closed back headphones, such as the Sennheiser HD25 which are being used by many professionals now (taken over from the Beyer DT100!).

For speakers, I suggest looking at a pair of KRK Rokit powered monitors, and a KRK10s sub.

low low, the parts that you can feel :stuck_out_tongue: so I think headphones are impossible. j/w why do you suggest those headphones? is there something special about closed back? (I thought open was supposed to be better)

Well, because you said the HD650s are “terrible” and they’re not exactly dirt cheap or shoddy when it comes to freq range spec, I thought the type of bass one gets from closed back phones may suit you better.

The HD25s are used by lots of DJs for example, and DJs like bass!

Also, the type of in-ear 'phones that fit right into the ear canal and seal themselves with expanding gloop or by using custom moulding tend to give a very deep bass.

If you want to feel it though, any type of headphones are out. You need to move air, and quickly (if you want a smack in the chest). A monitor quality sub that goes “low low” will cost a packet.

For example, the REL Studio III “reference class” sub is over £5000. They do make cheaper ones…

Hi, Folks!

Another issue with a sub-woofer is that producing adequate bass you can feel, may also disturb neighbors, kids, pets, etc. in your immediate living quarters! Bass you “feel” usually starts around 180Hz and the deeper you go, the more likely you are to rattle your surroundings (most buildings aren’t built to contain such vibrations, and simply become more transparent to them, the deeper you go).

I’m very partial to the HSU Research sub’s. They’re very well designed and won’t get you into thousands of pounds, euros or dollars (unless you really do want to “rattle” your neighbors! :open_mouth: ). The other issue is generally transport. In order to generally produce deep acoustic bass, a LOT of air has to physically be moved. This means pretty hefty devices to do it efficiently. Stuff in the 60 to 150 pound (27 to 70 kg) weight range is pretty typical.

However, there is another option: a bass shaker! :sunglasses:

These are much smaller devices physically mounted to your chair or couch that operate in roughly the same frequency range, but don’t generate much acoustic energy. They simply vibrate your seat at the appropriate frequencies and levels. There are a number of these gadgets about from folks like Aura, Clark Synthesis, and ButtKicker. Combined with good “cans” (headphones) or sealed earphones, they provide a good “rollover” to “feeling the bass”, when you don’t have the option to use an acoustic sub-woofer. They do need a separate amplifier, but some come with even small D-Class amps that can certainly provide adequate power to “shake your booty”! Do a search for “bass shakers” on Google, and you’ll get about 184,000 hits!

The major issue with shakers is achieving the correct balance between the shaker and the headphones/earphones so that when played back on a full range acoustic system, the balance is pretty much the same between the two listening “systems”. In my experience, this is usually something the user develops through a lot of listening; especially to live performances, so you know what kind of balance to expect. (I have a set of Aura shakers mounted in my car!).

:bulb: On top of providing bass “shaking”, they also can provide a nice back massage on steady state tones too! :smiley:

B.T.W. I’m also very partial to Etyomics ER-4 “earphones”, as they provide the most balanced and accurate sound comparable to what’s actually coming through to your ears in a live environment. These have become my on-site listening devices for recording classical music, and they really do provide a reference listening environment between your ears! They’re also so small, that many folks don’t realize you’re wearing them until they try to talk with you, and you can’t hear a word they’re saying! These earphones truly isolate you from your surroundings so you can really focus on what you’re listening to.

Hope this helps you out! Let us know what you decide!

well in the end I decided to live without it for now… seems costly for a very poor solution so I’d rather purchase other stuff

thanks for the input guys… some day!

BTW do the pros even mix with subs? or just 2.0? how do they do those “booms” without subs? I know film scorers etc. do stuff in surround and probably have subs but I was under the impression pro music producers only had 2 monitors

Depends what you mean by pros…


Some studios have huge monitors mounted into the walls, that cost a packet - but then so does the studio.

The general idea is to listen to your tune on as many different system types as possible. Car, iPod with supplied headphones, small stereo, big stereo etc. and aim to get a mix that suits all.

Hello again, Folks!

It also depends on what final audience your aiming your finished product at. Most “Pop” music is listened to across a number of “platforms” from iPods to boomboxes to cars to PC’s to monster stereo systems (for those that can afford them!). In this case, GroovinDJ is quite correct: the mix need to sound good on a number of various types of playback gear!

OTH, many (not all) professional studios with high budgets, do have very sophisticated monitor spaces complimented with expensive speakers. (I’ve got a friend who has a 5 channel system with all 5 speakers being: Beolab 5’s at $8,000 each! But they sound very, very nice!). Mixdowns depend on many factors, and 2 channel or 5.1 channel or 10.2 channels are all suited for specific end products. Again, it comes back to the market your producing for.

For instance, since I’m usually mastering for classical music playback, I tend to post-produce in 2 channels (although I have 5.1 channel surround capability); as this is the way my clients tend to listen to classical music. At least, to date, nobody has requested a surround mix, although I typically record in such a way that my microphone placements can be expanded to a 5.1 channel surround if desired, in future.

The major issue with bass and studios is that the room is every bit as important as the speakers in it. If you don’t have the right space, the best speakers in the world (whatever THAT is?!?! :laughing: ) won’t ever sound very good in the space! I guess the best advice for you is to tune your ears to what types of sound you like to hear, and when the time comes for mastering, know what you want to achieve in a specific playback space with specific components. It may not sound perfect, but then you can bring it around to other spaces and check it out to see how it compares with what you thought you’d mastered. It’s a cut 'n try approach, but with a bit of work, it will have good payoffs in being able to master your recordings in a limited environment, that sound great in an “unlimited” or at least better envirnment!

Hope this helps!

Or you could fit this>

Including faster than light sub spdif transmitter (SUB ATOMIC PARTICLE Accelerators on SPD-IF data) and other smatterings of pseudoscience :mrgreen:

ltno, I’d suggest you have a look at some of the studio installation videos on YouTube, made by Sound On Sound magazine. They’ll give you some info and ideas.

Search YouTube for ‘SOS dream studio’

There’s one they did for Midge Ure’s home studio.

Hello again, Folks!

The late F.Alton Everest also published some paperback books on studio designs. Although not perfect, they have a number of worthwhile ideas and “how to’s” for either constructing a home studio, or adapting a space at nominal expense, into an audio recording studio.

Another recommendation for potential newbies is Bob Katz’s great paperback, “Mastering Audio”, available through his Digital Domain website, and also a number of other outlets, including Amazon, and maybe even your local library to have a looksee before you spend about $40 USD on it! His website, , is also chocked full of interesting and useful info.

Finally, if you’re really serious and have a few hundred dollars US lying around you don’t know what to do with, get a set of Dave Moulton’s “Golden Ears” training CD’s at . For musicians breaking into audio production, this is an excellent set of ear training CD’s that teach you how to listen for, recognize, and apply audio effects such as EQ, Compression, Expansion, Reverb, Distortion, and a lot more! It’s not inexpensive, but will train folks on how to hear issues, and what to do to provide proper effects to achieve what you want, and WOW your clients at your skils to correct and implement effects and fixes!

I’m a formally trained Electrical Engineer, and I don’t have affiliations with any of the above folks, publishers, or vendors, but have found that these references are invaluable to musicians to help them understand the technicalities of audio production and mastering. Go for the less expensive stuff first, and if you want to “sink your teeth in further”, then buy the more expensive stuff. You will find these educational references invaluable (and you clients will find you really know what you’re talking about, too, in the results you produce!).

Hope this helps!

Forgive me but I didn’t read all the other replies. This might be duplicate info…

Using a sub can be great in the right environment but without the proper acoustic treatment and design, it’s going to cause more problems than you can imagine. Even with acoustic treatment in place, it can be difficult to find the best placement for the sub in the room. Moving it by as little as 6" can change the effects of standing waves and peaks/nulls.

I’m sorry to say but your best bet is to produce the tracks as well as you can with those amazing headphones and then take your project to a real studio for a few hours to finish off the mix. It’s worth it to develop a good relationship with your local studios and your music will sound much better with their experience and sonic investment behind the mix.

Hello again, Folks!

SoundsLikeJoe is correct is some respects. Sub-Woofers, or any speaker that goes much below 500Hz is subject to room interactions (and oftimes neighbor annoyance!). However, with a bit of technical know-how, a reasonably flat microphone, and a spectrum analyzer tool (like the one in Wavelab), speaker placements can be worked out to “average” most of the peaks and dips that many rooms create with loudspeaker placements. Such “cut 'n try” measurement efforts will also point up some room peculiarities you never thought about.

Truth of the matter is that rooms are just as important as the gear you put in them, and often have a much larger impact on how things sound than all the EQ and sound treatments around! The best most folks can achieve is a compromise between the vagaries of a room’s acoustics, and integration of the gear into them. It’s an “uneasy truce”, but can yield good results with patience and a lot of speaker movement during the process!

Again, I believe one or perhaps a couple of F. Alton Everest’s paperbacks on audio goes into explanation and calculations on how to at least deal with some of a room’s acoustic “gremlins”. Also, listening to your productions in various environs helps you hone-in on what’s needed to overcome your room’s interactions, and achieve better sounding masters for a multitude of environments.

Hope this helps!