Now That's a Subwoofer!

Eminent Technology’s Bruce Thigpen has always taken an interesting slant on how to design audio products—his air-bearing tonearm was one of the best-sounding back in the day and his push-pull planar magnetic speakers are thought by some to be unbeatable. But at THE Show, held next door to the official CEDIA venue, the Convention Center, in the Denver Athletic Club, Bruce was showing off his infrasonic subwoofer. Yes, that’s a fan, which rotates at a constant 800rpm. The wrinkle is that the audio signal is used to vary the pitch of the fan blades. Feathered with no signal, when driven with audio the twisting blades produce a massive acoustic wave with very little power input. The bandwidth is limited by the fan speed to below 30Hz or so—you have to rotate it faster to reproduce higher frequencies but then its self noise increases rapidly— but it will reproduce frequencies as low as 1Hz with a very high spl.

Its effective radiating area increases as the frequency goes down, which is just what you need with a subwoofer. Downside is that it needs to be installed in a separate room, with the wall between acting as an infinite baffle. But then, it really did produce awesome levels of low-distortion infrasonics, literally shaking the walls and the room‘s ceiling!

COMMENTS's picture

Is this a offshoot of a sub audio war machine? It has been documented that certain ultralow frequencies will interact with the body and cause sickness.Who needs anything more than a normal sub-woofer ? Kind reguards alan.

RAHUL's picture

I want to know that how i make a infrasonic woofer in home. pls tell me about them and how its works in home and what is the good or bad effect in human body

Phrygian's picture

The studies concerning infrasound related health risks are subjective. There have been far more studies conducted on RF exposure over the years, yet the debate over the health effects continues. The truth is, most people are completely unaware of the the infrasonic sounds which they are routinely exposed to. For example, try driving down the highway, at highway speed, with your window open.

Overkill's picture

Large amounts of sub frequencies can leave you shaking and feeling like you have been in a football pile up or a car accident. You can be permanently blinded by having your retinas detached as well. I was enjoying an organ solo with a long 16 Hz undertone and I literally lost control of my bowels after several minutes. Sorry to spoil your audiophile fantasy.'s picture

i would love to have one of these in my dance club, now i am just looking for an amp with 0-20 Hz to power it.