Why is the subwoofer so essential to your rave?
Cute, little birds “tweet”. Big, tough dogs “woof”. And that’s what the high-end and low-end components on your standard stereo speaker set up are named after. The voices and high frequencies come from the little round domes on the top of the totem pole-like speaker, and they are called “tweeters”, while the bass and low frequencies are generated from the larger, concave cones below them. They are called “woofers”.
What is a “subwoofer” anyway?
The woofer is the german shepherd that carries the bass in its mouth like a stick. Therefore a” subwoofer” is like a bigger bullmastiff that can carry a concrete slab of bass in its mouth. A concrete chunk that we would have never been able to lift with a standard woofer.
We probably wouldn’t have known that range of bass was in the music at all. Sometimes entire octaves can get lost in a song when listening through standard speakers. Musicians, producers, and engineers may have worked very thoughtfully to create these intricate levels of low frequencies just to disappear through the speakers. Without the subwoofer, you simply don’t know what you’re missing.
The subwoofer is the quintessential team playing in any DJ’s arsenal, but it is useless by itself. Contrary to the urban myth, a subwoofer isn’t some divine machine that creates bass where there is none in the first place. It enhances the bass elements that are already there but hidden out of our hearing range. Subwoofers expose the booming thumps that are buried in the subterranean netherworld in the record. It is the 20-200Hz home of sub-bass that creates a richer, fuller sound.
The low-end frequencies provide the foundation for a song. This range gives weight to music - you hear high ends, but you feel bass. Bass can shake you and move you. That is power! And what better way to get anchored to music than to have a heavy bassline laying on you as the melody lifts you to the heavens. Any artist or DJ wouldn’t want to lose any of that power just because they don’t have a subwoofer.
The drumbeat and the BPM may primarily define Techno, but of course, Techno must have a deep bass element to it as well. When you boil it down, beneath all the synths and loops and kicks and samples and technology, Techno is dance music. The low frequencies are what make people move to the music on the dance floor. It gets your heart pumping and makes you want to keep partying. That trademark Techno rolling bass is almost like a drug. Subwoofers enhance the hidden bass buried in the abyss of low ends. They can produce an echo effect, creating an epic music experience on the dancefloor.
But do we need that much bass? This isn’t Miami; it’s Berlin. Aesthetics are different in the techno scene than in warmer, booty-shaking scenes. Don’t we have enough bass from the standard, low-range “woofer”? Why go “sub” and mount more woofers on your loudspeaker enclosure? Is this wider sound range necessary when it comes to Techno music?
Subwoofers add impact and depth to the music. They make the music more tangible. More real. Something you can touch and feel and experience instead of just listening to. When utilizing a subwoofer, it becomes more than just music - it is now an experience.
So if you want your rave to have that supernatural, otherworldly spiritual quality, then it is essential to incorporate the subwoofer. Because without it, you only have speakers.