Rumbling a Subwoofer with a Cartoon

Titan A.E. titleDo you like showing off your subwoofer? There are a number of DVDs that do the job fairly well, but my favourite is the otherwise forgettable Titan A.E.Fox animated movie. In particular, the first six minutes or so before the main title comes up.

But will your subwoofer deliver all the bass on this DVD as spaceships are taking off, the Earth explodes, and the Moon is impacted by a huge chunk of it? I’d say that the chances are 99:1 that it won’t.

The audio spectrum shows one representative three second snippet. Note the peak output is at 34 hertz, but even at 10 hertz the level is only around 9dB down from that peak, and well above just Titan A.E. audio spectrumabout everything above 100 hertz. This will test out a subwoofer. (Note, this is from the PAL DVD. For the US version these frequencies will be four per cent lower — ie. a 32.6 hertz peak.)

But most subwoofers, despite the name, will not produce much significant output below 30 hertz. The so-called subwoofers with a lot of inexpensive surround systems will rarely go much below 40 hertz. Strong output at 20 hertz? Expect to spend well over $AUS2,000. Fifteen hertz? Double that amount of money!Whise Profunder 616

I use a Paradigm Servo 15 (~$AUS4,000) (see this review and this one and this one). This is very strong down to around 16 hertz, and it produces not just audible rumbling, but on this section of the movie seems to make the air of the room pulsate with energy. Quite an experience!

But what I’d really like to do is to is repeat the experience with a Whise Profunder 319A sub. Or even better, a Whise Profunder 616 passive sub, with suitable amplification. Fortunately the concrete is around 600mm thick under that corner of the room (the 616, sans-amplification, weighs 230kg)!

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