Adventures In Audio

How much bass can a Bluetooth speaker produce?

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This small Bluetooth speaker produces an amazing amount of bass for its size. But how low can it go subjectively? A listening test reveals all.

Automated transcript

Hello, what I have here is the JBL flip for Bluetooth speaker which I did feature in a video quite recently about why you should monitor your mix on a speaker like this when you feel your mix is nearly complete listen to it on a variety of systems including Bluetooth speakers like this one and just make sure it sounds good wherever it's played back one of the things I was interested in there was how much bass this little gadget can produce it's got a subwoofer here and it's got a subwoofer here as well so that's where the bass is going to come out from and it's such a tiny little gadget you think well there's hardly going to be any bass at all bass has two dimensions one is the sheer volume of the bass like when it's really rocking the room and the other is the frequency of the bass how low in frequency does the bass go so what I found from this gadget is that it does produce an amazing volume of bass for its size it's very impressive considering how tiny it is but I'm also interested in the frequency how low can it go

So I did a video recently I called it a bass how high can you go which which sounds a bit odd really but the idea was that I would play a bass guitar sequence and repeat it including the low E which is about 42 Hertz so that's about as low as music in general goes and put that through a high-pass filter with a steep slope of 24 decibels per octave and then gradually raise the cutoff frequency of that filter and so my youtube viewers could listen to it on their own speakers of their own headphones and work out for themselves when they started to notice the high-pass filter cutting in so it's it's actually removing some of the bass that they can hear so a sufficiently low point your speakers can't reproduce that bass anyway so you don't hear any difference but as the cutoff frequency rises gradually it'll come into your into the frequency range of your speakers and you will hear the difference so I'll just show you that video now and you can listen to it yourself and just ask yourself two things one is when you first think that you can hear the difference so you can just about hear it and the second is when you are certain that you can hear the difference

Okay so here it is now what I'm going to do is take it away and I'm going to put in a standard EQ it's going to be the Pro Tools standard EQ but once again you can use any EQ any decent EQ and plug-in probably the one that came with your digital audio workstation I'm going to take away the bands that I'm not going to use and I'm going to put in the band that I'm going to use so it's only this band here which as you can see is a high-pass filter just don't turn my own monitor and level up a bit okay and a high-pass filter it passes the high frequencies and it cuts the low frequencies I'm going to use the steepest slope that we have in this filter which is 24 decibels per octave so that's going to make the most difference and what I think I'll do is I'll go to the automation and I'll

automatically and that's the cutoff frequency so once again in your own digital audio workstation you will have the controls to do with this let me just get rid of this little window pane here it's just distracting me so there we go I can play it through again and here is they look at the waveform I'm going to look at the high-pass frequency so at the moment we've got this set of the lowest it can be what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this up to I think about I've got to think about people who listen on their laptop speakers as well so I'm going to take it up to 300 about 300 Hertz just have to be precise there we go with just over 300 Hertz so what I want you to listen to is when do you first notice any loss of low frequency bear in mind that the low frequency or the bass guitar the bottom II which I did include in that is about is about 42 Hertz so at that point you definitely should start to hear a difference so keep your eye on the frequency readout here and that will give you an idea of where we are in this so let's have a go and see what it sounds like okay so what I'm going to do now is play the same video through my phone to the speaker and I'm going to listen to it and describe what I hear you're not going to hear the effect because I'm just recording it through a microphone so it wouldn't be a realistic test to say that you could hear the effects but I'm going to listen to it and I'm going to give you as good a description as I can of how I perceive the bass to be so the first time I'll play it through I'm not going to comment and then the second time I'll give you a bit more description

So let me just get my iPhone going here and here we go come on YouTube you out here and that will give you an idea of where we are in this so let's have a go and see what it sounds like okay you should have heard something if you didn't hear okay you can you could be quite enough yes I certainly heard that there was a point where I could kind of feel that there was a difference and then there was another point where I'm absolutely certain there's a difference the weird thing is there's quite a distance between those two points so at the point where I was kind of like yeah I think I can hear it was early ish and then it was a long time after that up to the point where I'm saying I absolutely know that I can hear the difference so I'm going to play that again and I'll give you a bit of commentary as we go along so I'm gonna have to try and hold the phone if we're into the camera and give you the commentary at the same time so a bit of multitasking there what could possibly go wrong here we go come on YouTube it start to hear a difference so keep your eye on the frequency readout here and that will give you an idea of where we are in this so let's have a go and see if it sounds like

I'm just feeling it now I'm feeling a bit of lightness in the base oh yeah yeah it's definitely it's just it's absolutely as clear as night and day at that point yeah the base is really gone the base is gone okay you should have heard some shadow any different you've had your day yeah but you're past it now you're an old-timer so there we have it and just from my description because this is impossible to really test properly that's through the medium of video what I can say is that the amount of base come in them from this speaker is really impressive both in terms of the volume of the base and actually the frequency it goes down to as well so I'm not going to say replace your studio monitors with a Bluetooth speaker I am going to say that a Bluetooth speaker and this is not an expensive one can be surprisingly pleasant to listen to so that's it for today I'm a low-cost director of audio master class having some fun with a Bluetooth speaker thank you for listening

that's for synchronization of the audio and video if you were wondering see you later

Thursday March 10, 2022

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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