How much bass is enough?

How much bass is enough?
I want much more than flat
7% (30 votes)
I like a little more than flat
38% (162 votes)
I like it flat
45% (191 votes)
I prefer a little less bass than flat
7% (29 votes)
I hate bass
1% (3 votes)
No fish in my house
3% (12 votes)
Total votes: 427

Reader T. Bloom asks: "Do you tend towards bass frequency-response accuracy, or would you prefer either a little more or a little less bass than measures flat in your listening room?" In other words, how much bass is enough?

Bluey's picture

just enough is never too much.

Ashim Zaman's picture

It all depends on the musc genre you like to listen to, the kind of speakers you have, and the size of your listening room. I once put on inertia creeps by massive attack and my 805 signatures started making strange noises. As to how I know that this strange noise was not part of the recording is because of a 10" "reference" subwoofer in my car (deep, tight and tuneful). However, with all other types of music, my speakers sound gorgeous and do go low enough for my taste. Besides a larger pair of speakers would not be appropriate in my listening room (excessive boominess).

Jens Friman's picture

Ultra flat frequency response sounds "lifeless."

Dimitris Gogas's picture

Does anyone really hate bass? However I do hate too much of it. On most contemporary recordings, usually a little less than flat is ideal.

kirill zolotov's picture

This is almoust impossible without digital EQ such as TACT.

Michael Lankton's picture

Depends on the music, I guess, but it seems to me that more often than not the bass is pretty hot at performances of amplified music. Also, flat often sounds, well, flat.

Erik Vermeulen's picture

No bass = no music.

Oliver's picture

Flat down to at least 30Hz.

DD18's picture

How do we know how flat bass sounds like ?

macksman's picture

Speed and tonal accuracy are the most important characteristics to me. I need to hear Berry Oakley's clean jams, Dean Peer's virtuoso compositions, Danger Mouse's well blended, dark production on Modern Guilt and the powerful organs of St. Eustache and Tonhalle. Bloat is the enemy of musical bass and extension should only be had within the limits of speed and purity. This concept informed my choices of the Audio Research VS115 coupled with the Wilson-Benesch Act Ones. They deliver very precisely.

anonymous's picture

Recording is art! Listening only partially, cut it somewhere or modify, you are creating your own art at home. Hi-fi is about accuracy and I vote for accuracy in the case of bass, too. My limitation/distortion is only my hi-fi system and acoustics—and in the bass section, too.

richardp's picture

I hear so much more at live music than ever at home in the bass, so I like more.

Nick A's picture

From what perspective? I can think of at least two: auditory and SPL. People are generally less sensitive to bass frequencies than to mid-range freq. at similar SPL, and I doubt most people without a legitimate subwoofer have anything close to "flat" (SPL by freq.) bass. Speaking as a person that has owned many subwoofers, I alter my music listening depending on the capabilities of my system and am happy for the time being with only Paradigm Studio 100s as mains.

Tonko Papic's picture

The music is only one. Flat. As natural as possible. In home theater, that is another thing.

Michael Krupka's picture

If you have a full-range speaker, flat is beautiful.'s picture

Flat as . To this end, I've got a Behringer DSP1124P connected to my sub to smooth-out the in-room response.

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.  View, CA's picture

I want what sounds good to me for the particular piece of music I am listening to. This may or may not be in agreement with what is recorded, though.

Dismord's picture

The term "high-fidelity" once had a clear meaning. Now that the term "audio" has more or less replaced it, a multitude of distortions can be marketed as high-end audio and bugger reality (fidelity).

mike eschman's picture

Articulation in the bass is the number one criterion. i'd rather have it rolled-off than have the attacks blurred.

Nik from Chicago's picture

I have always preferred a little kick as opposed to a more real balance. Of course, watching a movie I always want to hear my money rattling the windows a little.

Javier Huerta.'s picture

Flat sounds pretty cold.

matt89's picture

I actually like it variable. I love when its just below 0dB for most music, but every once and a while I get the urge to put on the basement jaxx or massive attack and turn up the gain and have some fun.

Chris Kenney's picture

A little more—just a little more.

Dimi's picture

I used to like it more than flat 10 years ago when I was a teenager.

Ferrethead Farnarkle's picture

But in real rooms? I don't want it to be obvious or lumpy. When it's right with the room, deeper is better.

gd's picture

For most systems, there is always a trade-off, bass heavy systems tend to mask detail in the mid-range. A product of the radio/record industry is that most people don't realize how bass-heavy Baroque music was, similarly many people miss the bass underpinnings of many 19th century symphonic works. We need better bass, not more.

Marsanz's picture

I like bass that I can feel at low listening levels, true, deep, and taut.

Yiannis Zampelis's picture

Fan of BBC-like (Harbeth, Spendor) sound—flat monitor real!

Carter's picture

Sufficient bass rounds out the sound and makes if feel more live, but sometimes you are not the only person in the house and you have to turn the sub off if you want to keep listening in peace.

neonzu's picture

Faithful reproduction of the artist's intent would be the ultimate goal of sound engineer/studio, audio manufacturer, and listener, I would have thought.