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TOPIC: Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass

Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass 2 years 4 months ago #23614

  • Mr Fork
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So I've been trying to come up with a good solution for being able to hear bass and sub frequencies and I do have some stack speakers that provide some good low end bass.......but I have kids. Typically while they are awake I can't hear anything outside my headphones and at night I can't use my stack speakers because they are too loud and the bass frequencies transfer too much across the walls in my house. Was trying to figure out a good way to deal with it without having to throw a ton of money at soundproofing and bass trapping. So I came across this.

thesubpac.com/

There are some big names backing this product. I was going through a warp academy webinar on mixing and the guest mix engineer they brought in mentioned this thing and says it's all but replaced his studio subs. I thought that was kind of strange as this thing is strictly tactile (meaning you can't hear it you can only feel it). I can understand for really low subtones but what about when the bass gets into the audible range. Anyway after talking to their team they gave me a 30 day or so money back guarantee and they said "you're just going to have to try it....trust us...it works". So I preordered the new Subpac S2. It came in the mail last night and I'm NOT going to be sending it back.

Now I know this thing isn't going to be for everyone but I think that it's an amazingly viable option in mixing, mastering, and production (as well as just listening to music or even movies or games). So for those who don't know what this is it's basically this little pack that looks like one of those back massage pads you can buy for an office chair. What it does though is it sends accurately tuned vibrations through your back and you end up feeling the bass like you would in a club with decent subs or in a car with decent subs. It's like strapping a subwoofer to your back. Now I'm not going to say it feels EXACTLY like standing in a room with huge subs but the feeling is similar. This thing has a bit of a learning curve. The first couple minutes it just felt like the pac was vibrating in time to the music but as you adjust the intensity, the position of the pac on your back, and get used to the feeling of the bass I realized that I was able to "hear" and "feel" all low bass crossing over where my headphones drop off. And very accurately I might add. I spent a couple hours just listening to tracks that I know and then I went to listen to my own tracks and immediately noticed some big gaps in how my productions have been going especially in the bass.

The best news about this to me is that I can crank my volume on this thing and it emits very little noise. So lo and behold I now have an option for working with sub bass that will not wake up my wife and kids and is amazingly accurate.

A couple other things I noted as being very helpful about this. It's movable. You can take it with you on trips or even take it outside with you, find some nature, and write some bass heavy music lol. It has a 6+ hour rechargeable lithium ion battery pack. Also no need to treat the room for bass. The bass is being directly inputted into your back so you don't have to worry about acoustics changing up the sound and misrepresenting the audio. And one final thing.....it's sending bass into your back with vibrations.....play some bass heavy music and you have instant massage chair lol.

Anyway long story short (even though this is a long post) I think this thing is awesome. If you have the opportunity to try one out I highly recommend it. I am looking forward to seeing how this will affect my mixes and sound design. If you guys have any questions about it I'll answer what I can.
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Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass 2 years 4 months ago #23615

  • Bl4cksun
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Did you get the seat or wearable option?
Do you have to learn how to mix with it, as I guess a lot of those frequencies you cant hear only feel? I noticed you played a lot of commercial stuff you knew first before playing your own mixes through it. Have you tried a mix down on one of your tracks with this and phones and how did it compare to what you had originally done?
How does a mix made with phone/subpac translate to an iphone with ear buds?
So many questions, I can definitely see the benefit if your tunes are to be played in a club, but unsure how useful it would be for mixing a track for most mobile/ear phone listeners.
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Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass 2 years 4 months ago #23616

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Bl4cksun wrote:
Did you get the seat or wearable option?
Do you have to learn how to mix with it, as I guess a lot of those frequencies you cant hear only feel? I noticed you played a lot of commercial stuff you knew first before playing your own mixes through it. Have you tried a mix down on one of your tracks with this and phones and how did it compare to what you had originally done?
How does a mix made with phone/subpac translate to an iphone with ear buds?
So many questions, I can definitely see the benefit if your tunes are to be played in a club, but unsure how useful it would be for mixing a track for most mobile/ear phone listeners.


Okay so I'll just take it from question one.

I got the seated option. I didn't really see myself wearing this around although I'd have to say it does make listening to music more enjoyable.
Learn to mix with it? This is just like any tool in your arsenal. If you get a new pair of headphones or new studio monitors you need to learn them. Same with this. It IS a sub. If you were to get a normal sub it would take some time to adjust to it. This is no different. Reference tracks help bridge the gap in how something should sound as an end result so listening to reference tracks that have been professionally mixed and mastered before listening to my own gave me an idea of what I should be hearing/feeling.

Have I tried a mixdown? Not yet. I just got it yesterday. Still listening to reference tracks and comparing to my own tracks. Figuring out the intensity setting that's going to work for me.

How does a mix made with it translate? The subpac in essence is a subwoofer but it doesn't require a properly treated studio setup to get the clarity you need to make the appropriate mixing/mastering decisions. The only frequencies it will help you understand better are deeper bass related which can't be produced by the ear buds. However, hearing/feeling the whole spectrum I BELIEVE will result in a tighter sound with more controlled bass. I hope that makes sense...ultimately though if the one thing you want to make sure translates is apple earbuds then honestly I'd just keep a pair of those around and do reference checks on them.

The end result of this to me is to have a setup where I can translate to any system. Will it sound good on big speakers.....yep.....will it sound good on small speakers.....yep but you will miss that deep bass. And you can't understand what's happening in that deep bass without speakers that can present the sound accordingly. I'm running 5 inch with a ported bass which gives me great mids and highs but not exceptional lows. I had no idea what was happening with the low end of my mix.

As far as could you PERSONALLY use this? That's really going to be dependent on what you are going for with your music. If you have a way to cleanly hear your bass then I'd say you don't need it. However, you have mentioned to me before that you have trouble hearing on either end of the frequency spectrum which to me means that even if you had a sub you wouldn't be able to accurately judge the bass in your mix. This bypasses that as you aren't using your ears. Of all the people this might help that I know, you might be the first I'd recommend it for.

Listening to your "Just a dream" mix on soundcloud I noticed that your sub tone on what I'm thinking is a secondary kick is scooping in after the initial transient punch of your primary kick. Which means that instead of getting a solid punch of sub bass on the offbeats the volume is sliding in which decreases the subs effectiveness and punch in the track. Usually I would say that's done with a sidechain compression but I'm not sure why you'd SC a kick. So maybe it's just a solid sub tone you added for extra low content. Again I could be reading this wrong as I am still getting used to it. There's other stuff I noticed as well but all I'm trying to say is that I can hear/feel pieces of your track I couldn't before and it's very illuminating.

Hope all that helps. Sorry about the gigantic post.
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Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass 2 years 4 months ago #23617

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sorry if my questioning came across as aggressive it was posted having just got back from a hawk wind concert with lots of alcohol abuse. Thanks for taking the time to test it out on one of my tracks, will check out what I was doing in the bottom end as I can't remember.
Obviously most of us that make dance style music are hoping at some point it will get played in a club, or live or something, so this equipment does sound really useful.
Noticed they have quite a good offer on at the moment too, including free postage/duty paid to the uk.
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Tactile bass system. Hearing/Feeling sub bass 2 years 4 months ago #23621

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No worries man. I didn't think you were hostile or aggressive.

Incidentally I noticed the same thing with your sub kick on "Something's Wrong" as well. I'm thinking you were trying to push the sub kick out of the way of your initial impact kick but maybe didn't get the release time tight enough. Or maybe that was your intended result. Not sure. Listening on earbuds I can't hear it at all.

Also started doing some sound design last night and I'd have to say it's definitely helpful understanding what wave types produce better bass results.

As far as the offer goes I did see that they resolved some of the shipping issues they were having and I can tell you their customer service is amazingly fast at getting back to you with any questions. The more I use this thing the more I like it and I'm definitely hearing pieces of my mix that I simply didn't have great access to before. So on my side definitely worth it. Anyway, if you end up getting one you'll have to let me know what you think. Also they do have a 30 day return if you try it and don't like it. Biggest issue I have with it is that now music sounds kinda empty without it lol.
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