Pardon my ignorance, but I'm new to all this. I'm beginning to purchase my home cinema system and want to make sure I understand everything and set it all up correctly.

Can someone please explain to me what is meant by "tight bass" and what its relevance is in choosing/setting-up a subwoofer? Is tighter bass always better? What happens if the bass is too tight, or not tight enough? I'm wondering what to look for when considering bass tightness.

What are "standing waves" and what relevance do they have with subwoofers/ Are standing waves a good or bad thing?




Prominent Member
Welcome :)

"Tight bass" is a subjective term. It is usually used to describe how accurate a bass note sounds from one sub to another. From personal experience, I can tell you that a REL Strata III is quite slow or sluggish at lower frequencies and my SVS PB12+ is much more accurate. The difference could be quantified as more clearly defined bass notes. Tighter, is it always better? I think so, but it depends. There are many other factors when comparing subs. They all have their own unique sonic signature and behaviours.

"Standing Waves" are the resonant frequencies of a particular room. Most rooms have a resonant frequency which is something to do with its length, width and height and the position of the device initiating that frequency. Typically, domestic rooms resonate between 30 and 60hz. Standing waves affect the volume of frequencies produced, not just by subs, but by all speakers. Typically, though, bass is the most noticable. You will tend to find certain frequencies louder than they should be and others will be quieter. This can result in an unpleasant listening experience.

Standing waves are generally not a good thing, but unavoidable in most domestic environments. With subs, they are relatively easy to address with electronic equalisers.

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