6 Loudspeaker cabinets

6.4 Frequency response

The frequency response of a cabinet is the range where it supplies an almost even loudness. The roll-off points are those frequencies where the loudness drops considerably. However, "considerably" is a relative term. Most reputable cabinet manufacturers will specify their limits at -3 dB, a clearly noticable drop in volume, which also equals half the acoustical output power (but not half apparent volume 4.2 Sound pressure. Others may use -6, -8 or even -10 dB. This rather specifies the "usable range" of a cabinet: the range at which it produces significant output. Neither way is good or bad, it's just ways to measure. Just like amplifier output power 5.2 Output power. As an end user, however, you will have to constantly pay attention to how specifications are obtained, because different measuring methods lead to incompatible specifications between brands. Obviously, a more lenient method of measurement (like the -10 dB mentioned earlier) leads to better looking specifications over a more conservative one.

It is close to impossible to design a cabinet that meets the requirements of a performing bass guitar player regarding size and output volume as well as reproduce the entire frequency range a bass guitar puts out. This is especially true for bass guitars that are equipped with a low B string, let alone even lower tuned strings. As was explained before 4.1 Sound perception, our brains counteract part of this. Reproducing the very lowest frequencies is not as important as it might seem.

© Joris van den Heuvel 2001-2009