How Killing the Bass in Your Room Makes it Better
If you are serious about home theater, you are serious about bass. You want it. You need it. Bass is what transforms a normal room into a home theater. Yes, yes, the big picture too. But mostly the bass. But as you’ve gone down the road of taming room reflections, addressing your room acoustics, and adding acoustic panels to your room, you’ve slowly had your bass die. You’ve killed the bass in your room in your quest to make it better! What is happening and how can you make it stop? Let’s discuss.
What is Happening to Your Bass?
We’ve talked about how the goal is to get your speakers in general and your subwoofers specifically to give a more uniform response. While the goal for a great speaker is a flat speaker response, the road to get there is uniformity. This allows your room correction to tame any room interactions by adjusting the output of your speakers.
The problem is that you’ve never heard the bass this way before. You are used to your bass booming at some frequencies and cutting out at others. You’ve lived with it for so long, it is like a toxic relationship. You don’t know how bad it is until you get out and can get some distance. You may think your efforts have killed the bass in your room, but that’s not the case. It’s simply tamed it so that it is more even and now playing at the same volume as the higher frequencies.
Enter Human Hearing
Here is where things get sticky. We’ve talked about how humans can’t hear bass as well as they can hear higher notes. With your bass now more proportional to the other frequencies, you may find it harder to hear if you aren’t at reference level. Sure, curves of equal loudness can help, but maybe not enough. You have gotten so acclimated to bass being louder, you miss it. You want it back! But if you want accurate bass, you can’t have it. Your room has killed your bass and now you have to just live with what you’ve done.
You’ve probably skipped over it, but we said the uneven bass in your room had two components – parts that were too loud, and parts that were too soft. Those too soft parts? Those are the important bits. This is the bass you’ve NEVER heard before in your room. By creating a more uniform response, and using your room correction to even out your response, you haven’t killed your bass. You’ve revived bass you never knew existed!
Now, you may still be thinking that you’re not happy with your bass. That you wish it would be a little punchier, more “kick you in the chest,” like it was before. Well, you can have that! With your room correction (especially if you have an AV Receiver with Dirac or the Audyssey Editor App), you can set a house curve. That house curve can be whatever you want! You can bring back whatever bass you want.
Why go through all this trouble of killing the bass in your room just to bring it back with a house EQ curve? The answer can best be understood through a metaphor. Chefs, when they cook, tend to prefer stocks, butter, and ingredients without (or with minimal) added salt. Why? Is it because they don’t want salt in their dishes? Of course not! They just want to be able to control the salt themselves.
Evening out the bass response in your room just to EQ it to tastes is the same. By treating your room, you’ve made sure you have control over all the bass in your room. Before, when your room was untreated, some bass was overly loud and some was nonexistent. Now that you can control the bass, you can adjust it to exactly what you want.
Control is the key. Those that control the bass, control their home theater!