Is there any such thing as a long-throw sub?

Frequently asked questions and the answers to them.

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Is there any such thing as a long-throw sub?

#1 Post by MYork » Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:47 am

I've read comments like, "the sound of a tuba doesn't really make it's impact until x feet away." Why is that? Is it due to the soundwaves being so long? In direct radiator speakers, the sound is "right there," where the tubas seem to be "everywhere." Why is that? Thanks! MY

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#2 Post by Bill Fitzmaurice » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:39 am

It's not unusual for the low end of any sub or low frequency speaker to be hard to hear when standing close to it. Reflections off nearby walls and the ceiling create low frequency null zones. If you're standing in one of those null zones the bass will disappear. If the speaker is a direct radiator you will hear the midbass and midrange harmonics, and being one to four octaves above the original signal, where the ear is more sensitive, they seem loud. Folded horn subs suppress those harmonics, so in close they may not seem as loud as a direct radiator. When you move away from the null zone the true output of the cab will be heard. In the case of the folded horn the level will be on the order of 6 to 12dB louder than with the same amount of power into a direct radiator, so to the layman it would seem that the horn throws further. This effect also gave rise to the myth of wave propagation, that it takes a minimum distance from a source for the bass wave to be heard. But if that was true headphones wouldn't work, nor would car subwoofers.