BASSBOSS Questions
Have u ever tested the AB-36-B or TS-42 from Cerwin Vega?  I have the ab36b's and I want to go to the 42's.  But with all that I am reading about your powered subs... it makes me think.   I'm a diehard CV fan for many many years.  I DJ lots of electronic music that has low frequency bass for house parties, outdoor events and weddings.  What's your take on it?   I would really like to have your opinion on this. thanks!
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BASSBOSS Team
Hi There,

When I first started out, back in the late 80's and early '90s, I used to sell people Cerwin Vega when they were on a strict budget. The boxes were loud but they always required a lot of tweaking in order to make them sound better. No matter what I did, I could not make them sound good. Yes, they could be made loud but never really enjoyable. No matter what you did to them, they never gave you a sense of warmth and pleasure. They were always struggling or sounding somehow uncomfortable. People running Cerwin Vegas always seems to want to add those BBE sonic maximizer's or some other kind of Band-Aid fixer EQ. If you run something like that, or have ever been wishing for something you didn't get out of the Cerwin Vegas, you know what I'm talking about.  Back then I didn't know exactly what the problem was, but now I do, and here's what my take is.

We have not done our latest direct comparison testing of the Cerwin-Vega AB-36-B or the TS-42 but we have tested other Cerwin-Vega boxes of the same style using different test equipment so we do have some data on which to base a comparison. I would LOVE to see the results of our new tests because, based on those earlier tests, I get the impression that the TS-42 specifications are somewhat misleading. The first thing I noticed on the TS42 was that the specification said: (-3dB) 35 Hz - 215 Hz.  The standard specification is (+-3dB) The fact that they left the + off throws up a red flag for me, making me think that the response of the box isn't +-3dB, aka "flat" but rather that they have picked a point at 35Hz and looked above that frequency to where the response drops to the same level without regard for how high it goes in-between those two. Testing would verify if this were the case.

The second thing I noticed was the claim of 108dB sensitivity combined with a claim of a maximum SPL of 144dB. FIrst I would expect that the peak sensitivity of this box would be in the 150 Hz range and that the peak SPL would also be in that range. If so, and you don't use the box crossed over above 160 Hz, you would never see the benefit if this SPL number. Second, the 144dB peak SPL number is theoretical, calculated based upon claimed sensitivity, not measured. This is indicated by the absence of any thermal losses which would cause the measured number to be slightly lower than the theoretical number.

What these observations tend to indicate is that the specifications have been cherry-picked to highlight the big numbers but that there is no information that ties them all together. Sensitivity is quoted at 108dB. That's high. Peak SPL is 144dB. That's high. Frequency response is quoted to 35 Hz. That's nice and low. These are all potentially good things... But the frequency response also goes all the way up to 215 Hz... So where does it do 108dB? 40Hz? 140Hz?  Big difference and no way of telling. And will you REALLY get 144dB in the field? Here are the conditions required for you to get 144dB: 1) It has to be at the frequency that the box is most sensitive. 2) The amplifier must be capable of 4000W into 8 ohms. 3) The voice coil must remain cold. Working backwards, it's impossible for the voice coil to remain cold once you apply any power. If you applied 4000W to the driver it would get very hot and fail in a very short period of time. It's very unlikely that you will want any subwoofer operating at the frequency where this one offers maximum sensitivity so the whole premise of it providing 144dB is moot.

As a general rule, boxes of this type have peaky response that increases in sensitivity as frequency rises. They have specifications that indicate they are loud, and they can be, but not necessarily where you want a _subwoofer_ to be loud. If a box has a response that rises by 12dB per octave above its intended operating range, the effect of a low-pass filter with a 24dB/octave slope becomes only 12dB per octave and the subwoofer will then interact with the tops a lot more than you might want. This situation is less than ideal because it can either make the system sound boomy, especially if the subwoofer overlap happens to be in phase with the tops, or it can make the system lose impact if the two are out-of-phase. While the relative phase of any random sub and top combination could produce the same result, using the types of subs that offer maximum output sensitivity above their actual operating range tends to make the problem worse.

BASSBOSS builds subwoofers that do the work that subwoofers are supposed to do. You specifically mention low frequency bass and I am very confident that our boxes deliver the best low-frequency bass performance on the market. Whether you compare dollars to deep-down decibels or size to subwoofer sound pressure level, BASSBOSS provides outstanding performance, quality and reliability, which all together adds up to superior value. We know they will cost more than anything from Cerwin-Vega but what our products provide is completely different on so many levels. The frequency content of music and the expectations of audiences has changed. The sophistication level of processing and control has changed. Cerwin-Vega builds good products for a budget and you can buy more of their boxes than ours for the same money. BASSBOSS loudspeakers include amplification and processing and, because the power and processing are integrated with the loudspeaker to create a matched and balanced system, there is also excellent warranty coverage. The cabinet is covered for 6 years, the electronics for 3 years and the drivers are covered against any failure, including blown voice coils, for 2 years.

When you go into a hardware store to buy a drill bit, what you really want is a hole in something. If you want a bigger hole, you buy a bigger bit, even if it's twice the price. You don't buy two smaller bits because A) you can only drill one hole at a time and B) two smaller holes isn't the same thing as one big hole.  If you go into a music store to buy a subwoofer, and what you really want is low bass, what's the better solution? If you want more and deeper bass, would you buy a better sub that goes loud AND low rather than 2 subs that go louder but not lower for the same money? You'd have at least double the boxes to move and no more deep bass. We believe that delivering massive output at low frequencies in the real world is more important than creating spec sheets with big numbers that can't be realized where you want and need them. Essentially I'd estimate that you could buy two of the TS-42s with an amp for the price of one powered VS21. The VS21 is much smaller and much lighter than one of those beasts, let alone two, and it might even deliver as much deep bass as two of the TS-42s. We'll do the testing to find out if we can borrow or rent one somewhere...


David Lee
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