Everyone knows how important sound is to Lorin Ashton’s Bassnectar project. Ashton will also be the first to admit that there are hundreds of people behind what makes his moniker successful. After all, the king of sound is routinely known for blowing out the speakers at multiple festivals a year (all of whom won’t let the BN team bring in their own equipment). Even at his specially curated events, many locals living in the general radius of a BN show have complained of “bass being so loud [they] thought it was an earthquake” (LOL).
The sound at a BN set is such an all-encompassing, immersive experience that you can feel it come up through your feet, moving into your body, until eventually, and this never fails either, you will come to see sound. But have you ever wondered how the BN team engineers the sound specifically? Well, thanks to Dave Rat, a sound engineer for the BN team, we are given the keys to unlock the 360-degree acoustic genius that is the subwoofer setup for Bassnectar’s NYE 360 event. And, to think, we won’t even be touching on the visual experience!
First, it was important for the sound design to achieve the following: The sub woofer must be powerful and immersive to a very low frequency; simultaneously, however, the subs must not reproduce excessive low frequencies in the center of the room where Lorin is located, which has been an issue in previous years. In past 360 shows, the low frequency volume levels in the center were so loud that vision was blurred and the control equipment needed to be strapped down to prevent it from rattling and falling. Not to mention, there were issues with hard drive malfunctions.
Therefore, a single ring of 8 clusters of 5 subs (40 total) are used, which are all able to get 103 db together at 300 feet away.
Then, an inner ring of subs that were added also facing outward. The inner sub uses a diameter 14 feet smaller and is 8 clusters of 3 subs (24 total). Here’s what the cluster arrangement looks like visually:
This is what the sub arrangement looked like in real life:
And up close:
All in all, this is really inspiring stuff for the future sound designers of the world! Be sure read the full blog entry here. And see you on the spaceship!