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Topic: difference between tight punchy and boomy bass? (Read 22080 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • kalzone
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
i don't  if i'm using the correct terms to describe the sound of bass but if someone knows what i mean  than perhaps you could explain to me what range of  frequencies the two types of bass cover.  i would imagine that the boomy bass is governed by a narrow range of very low frequencies.  Is that right or even close? 
anyway, could someone help me with that frequency each type has?  thanks a bunch.

difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #1
There are two different things at work here.  First is frequency.  Boomy bass tends to be lower in frequency.  Second is speaker response.  I've had a few too many beers to get into it right now, but I'm sure someone can explain.
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  • Axon
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #2
Well, metrics like that always sort of depend on the listener, and also on what you're listening to. People use those words when subjectively describing components, and they don't make a whole lot of sense unless you can compare them to something else in a relatively subjective fashion.

If I were to actually try and quantify boominess, punchiness, and tightness, it would go something like this:

- The bass sounds can actually be delayed from the rest of the music by a number of factors, the most important being group delay (an equalization effect), but also resulting from speaker driver and box design. If you minimize this delay, then the bass should feel more in "sync" with the rest of the music. This is punchiness.
- The bass can resonate, again for all sorts of reasons. Perhaps there's a filter that's too steep or too peaking, or it's a factor of a sub design. In any case, if you can minimize the resonance to where the SPL matches the current signal as much as possible, I guess you're getting a "tighter" response, while increasing the resonance makes for a "boomier" sound. It's also possible to make a "boomy" sound through equalization simply by boosting the bass levels by an inordinate amount. These are more suggestions to look at than hard and fast rules.

difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #3
An important aspect has not yet been mentioned: The clipression status of the bass. From my experience, on many modern recordings the bass tends to be very annoying because of huge areas of consecutive clipped samples-this effect is then audible as boominess, not as distortion. Bass is difficult to distort.
The effect is intentional; it is to compensate the lack of punchiness caused by reduction of the peak-to-average difference/dynamics compression. Despite that, many older recordings have lovely punchy bass because of huge peak-to-average difference.

edit: I'm not really sure if I interpret the meanings of "punchy" and "boomy" correctly here...
  • Last Edit: 23 November, 2004, 11:10:57 AM by precisionist
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  • Axon
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #4
I'd say clipping falls into the same general scope as equalization that overly boosts the upper bass regions, so therefore I'd call it boomy. Maybe we should just define boominess as "what a boom box puts out."

  • kalzone
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #5
alright, i better provide some more detail because i'm not getting the type of responses that i'm looking for. 
the three terms that i've heard/read which describe bass is tight, punchy, and boomy.
i cannot stand the last.  i prefer a tight and punchy bass and i'm trying to tweak my setup to achieve that. 
here's what i have:  Foobar2000 -> EMU 1212M -> Meta42 amp ->  Grado SR-325 headphones
I'm using the FX  of the emu card to try to tweak the sound so i was asking for the frequency range of those bass properties. 

anyhow, i see now that there is more to bass than mere frequency but without replacing any gear how could I alter the sound to achieve that  i'm seeking? 
the Emu's fx engine is very flexible so if someone could throw me a few tips/advice i'm sre i could adjust the settings of the fx to tweak the sound. 

thank you very much in advance.


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  • Last Edit: 23 November, 2004, 01:08:15 PM by kalzone

  • wimms
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #6
Quote
the three terms that i've heard/read which describe bass is tight, punchy, and boomy.
i cannot stand the last.  i prefer a tight and punchy bass and i'm trying to tweak my setup to achieve that. 
here's what i have:  Foobar2000 -> EMU 1212M -> Meta42 amp ->  Grado SR-325 headphones
I'm using the FX  of the emu card to try to tweak the sound so i was asking for the frequency range of those bass properties.
Given your setup you shouldn't have boomy bass unless something is broken, including the record.
Boomy bass for you might be issue with meta amp power, or Grados. Boomy is resonating. You can't easily fix that.
If its in the record, then its around 40Hz afaik, and compression.
It really really did sound different. Not in a placebo way.

  • analogy
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #7
As a bass player maybe I could clear this up. =D

Boomy and punchy tend to describe the "attack" of the bass. If you can't make out the attack, that's boomy, and tends to happen when the sound is entirely low frequencies. Punchy is having more attack to the sound, and requires higher frequency response. Believe it or not, having good midrange speakers can accentuate the percieved attack of the subwoofer.

difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #8
Since already the beginning of this thread, it seemed to me that you, kalzone, noticed how shittily recorded/mixed/mastered many records are. As I and analogy already said, dynamics compression and/or clipping squeeze out the attack of the bass/bass drums and cause the sound to be flat/boomy.
There isn't really a proper method to fix this problem in any way. You'd need to have the bass/bass drums as single tracks again and apply decompression (=expansion) and declipping on it. Even then, this procedures probably don't work well at all.
  • Last Edit: 24 November, 2004, 07:40:03 AM by precisionist
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #9
Quote
Boomy and punchy tend to describe the "attack" of the bass. If you can't make out the attack, that's boomy, and tends to happen when the sound is entirely low frequencies. Punchy is having more attack to the sound, and requires higher frequency response. Believe it or not, having good midrange speakers can accentuate the perceived attack of the subwoofer.
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Think this describes it quite well...

Boomy = Wooooooom

Punchy = Bam


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The unbeaten master of crappy linebreak layout...

  • MugFunky
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #10
good description, soulhunter.

i think a good example of bass i'd call "punchy" would be "down in the park" by Gary Numan.  awesome beat in that song - simple, but works well.  you'll know the punchiness when you listen to it on your setup.  in short, punch implies a quick thud.  stand in front of a bass drum and have someone kick it, and you'll get punch.

i can't think of a difinitive example of boomy, but the effect (for me) seems to be present in pretty much every car i've been in... people have tried to impress me with their car stereos, but they've uniformly sounded crap

boom says resonance to me - usually in the higher parts of the bass range - 100-200Hz is about it, but it could be as low as 50Hz.  it's a long, boring drone that makes you just want to turn the music off.  in music it's usually a combination of bad mastering and an unimaginative bass player.

a lot of systems make up for poor bass range by boosting the bass that it can do - that is, why have 20Hz when you can simply jack 100Hz up by 6dB?  that's what i call boomy.

hmm... i haven't done many experiments with restoring punch from craply mastered music, but boom is easy as hell to remove - just turn down the band that's too loud, and find this by trial and error (if you've got a parametric EQ, these are great for this.  they can be done in software, of course).

restoring bass attacks could be done with upward expansion in a band going from about 0 - 300Hz.  you'd need some hardcore gear to do that in hardware, but i think Waves L2 can do it, and it can be mocked up in CoolEdit/Audition (but can't be rigged for realtime, i don't think).  i've tried this before, but only in the upper band, to restore transients in some music.  the theory is the same.

there may be some VST plugins or something that would allow band-limited dynamics processing.

difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #11
Quote
hmm... i haven't done many experiments with restoring punch from craply mastered music, but boom is easy as hell to remove - just turn down the band that's too loud, and find this by trial and error (if you've got a parametric EQ, these are great for this. they can be done in software, of course).

Such 'vague' restoration has never satisfied me... I'd rather suggest to apply decent compression only upon the 0-~300Hz range and with long attack time, in order to mute the boominess after the unaltered (maybe) punchiness.
Quote
restoring bass attacks could be done with upward expansion in a band going from about 0 - 300Hz. you'd need some hardcore gear to do that in hardware, but i think Waves L2 can do it, and it can be mocked up in CoolEdit/Audition (but can't be rigged for realtime, i don't think). i've tried this before, but only in the upper band, to restore transients in some music. the theory is the same.

Cool Edit has preview (~real time processing) in its dynamics processing function.
For the thing I mentioned in some previous post (ugly bass-punchiness because of huge areas of clipped samples, but without actually dynamic bass):
When attempting clip restoration, the programs don't really know what to do with the flattops...they produce a large full-blown spike-no way to restore it.
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  • w00b3r
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difference between tight punchy and boomy bass?
Reply #12
ok, i think the best way to describe punchy bass would be to look at a song on the new resident evil soundtrack, or alot of them. the bass comes in short bursts, seemingly to be in synch with the drums, yu can feel them hitting the drums in other words.

boomy bass.. well that's easy. any of today's modern rap songs will have some sort of carrying bass, i call it a vibe =).. i think this is what he is trying to speak of but it's just my interpretation

edit: to be specific, the rob zombie song "Girl on Fire" on that soundtrack has what i would call punching bass.
  • Last Edit: 03 December, 2004, 04:07:12 PM by w00b3r