Instructables

More BASS for your PC Speakers!

Picture of More BASS for your PC Speakers!
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Looking around for more thumping bass? You came to the right place. Don't worry, you're not alone - not everyone are using bassy PC speakers/headphones. Here's how you can add more bass without destroying the rest of the sound: keep the bass and reduce the rest equally. (See Picture 3)

/**Article updated on 19 Jan 2013*/

Checklist:

1.) foobar2000
Here is the portable version of v1.1.15 with some added stuff. No installation required, but may need admin privilege.

2.) Subwoofer physical inspection
Eliminate any physical barrier that stops the subwoofer from working harder. The Altec Lansing ADA885 was designed to have its heatsink protruding the reflex port. This heatsink blocks some air coming out of the subwoofer and therefore gives this annoying sound when cranked. I replaced the heatsink with compatible one which just cost 3 bucks on ebay and problem solved!

Other subwoofer like Edifier R501 and Cambridge Soundworks 550 came with protective filter or grill that prevent foreign object to enter the subwoofer chamber. I simply pull of the protective net or break the port grill so it doesn't block anything coming out of the port.

3.) Find your subwoofer sweet spot
Play around with your subwoofer location to check if the sub sounds better when it is facing the wall or placed nearer to the corner of the room. Every rooms have different sound characteristic, therefore there is no universal trick here.

Tilting the subwoofer may also help, especially if the subwoofer is downfiring ones. The Megaworks 550 has a downfiring sub and it causes the desk above it to rattle each time the bass hits. So I tilted the subwoofer -90 degrees and attach some rubber feet. Result? 'muddy' bass is less than before, and desk rattling is significantly minimized. (See Picture 9-10)

4.) DO NOT MAX the bass knob
Upon investigation, most bass knob only act as either attenuation knob or fixed equalizer knob. Maxing this knob doesn't help you get more optimal bass. Find out which position gives you the smoothest bass. And then foobar2000 will take it from there.

5.) Test your subwoofer frequencies response
Listen from 100Hz to 30Hz without changing your volume level. Then take note which frequencies you wanted more or less. If your subwoofer is smaller than 6.5" you can stop at 40Hz instead.

 
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Step 1: Add some bass!

Picture of Add some bass!
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Boost the bass!
Now that you've known your subwoofer performance, it's time to alter the bass using SH-1 Equalizer.

Enable SH-1
- in foobar2000 press CTRL+P
- At the left column select Playback > DSP Manager
- Enable SH-1
- Click OK

Configure SH-1
- Go to View > DSP > SH-1
- Turn it on (left top corner lit)
- Reduce the input gain on top left bottom (see Picture 2)
- Boost the bass on 30hz and 40hz (see Picture 2)
- Play your favorite bassy music

Check for distortion
- in foobar2000, press CTRL+P
- At the left column select Playback > DSP Manager
- Enable Voxengo SPAN and make sure it is most below position
- Hit OK
- in foobar2000 go to View > DSP > Voxengo SPAN
- On top left corner select 2 (for 2 channels)
- Click Edit on top right corner, and adjust some sliders according to Picture 1
- Carefully read the clipping value and ensure it's always 0 even when the bass hits hard


Note that the input gain will need to be reduced each time bass is added. if you just add around 6dB of bass you most likely only need to reduce the input gain to 50%. But if you add something like 12dB you might need to reduce the input gain more to prevent clipping.


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Caution: I am not responsible for your subwoofer / headphone / ear damage if you set too much bass or allow too much clipping. You have been warned!

If you're using small speakers, you may want to use 63Hz or 100Hz point instead.

The 150Hz, 250Hz and 400Hz points are useful for adding some midbass that will be decreased as you add more low bass. Speakers with small satellites will benefit from some increment in those points. In my test using Logitech Z623, just a mere 2.0dB increment in those points give me better midbass coming out of the tiny satellites. Not as good as the Z Cinema, but certainly much better than original.

Step 2: Fine-tune subwoofer

Picture of Fine-tune subwoofer

If you are not satisfied with the result from SH-1 Equalizer, you are welcome to try Electri-Q to fine-tune the subwoofer a little further. In this instructable I used an example of boomy Logitech subwoofer that needs some fine-tuning. It produces some excessive bass notes around 100hz in my room and I used Electri-Q to compensate it.

Reduce midbass using Electri-Q (posihfopit edition)
- in foobar2000 CTRL+P
- At the left column select Playback > DSP Manager
- Enable Electri-Q (posihfopit edition)
- Make sure Electri-Q is below SH-1
- Click OK
- Go to View > DSP > SH-1
- Click anywhere to initialize
- Click on the leftmost point and drag it to around 100hz
- Lower down the point, and use mouse scroll to adjust curve (see Picture 2)
- Move the point around until you're satisfied.

Step 3: For 5.1 Speakers


If you have a 5.1 speakers for your PC, you can add bass directly into the LFE channel using ChannelMixer in foobar2000. In addition, you can upmix sound to the rear and center channel. The upmix is very customizable compared to: "Realtek Speaker Fill", "Creative CMSS-3D", Dolby ProLogic II", or "DTS Neo". If you have these software installed, don't worry because it will be bypassed if you use ChannelMixer.

Enable and configure ChannelMixer:
- in foobar2000 click CTRL+P
- At the left column select Playback > DSP Manager
- Enable Channel Mixer and make sure it is below SH-1 and Voxengo SPAN (if u used them)
- Hit OK
- in foobar2000 go to View > DSP > ChannelMixer

General Tab
- Set channels to 6 for 5.1 speakers.
- Leave stereoimagewidth to 1.00 (default)

Upmix Tab
- Mode: Off / Copy / Surround
- Now you can customize how the rear and center speakers
- Slider "rear in front" and "front in rear" is identical to the stereoimagewidth. Default value is 1.00

Subwoofer Tab
- Tick subwoofer to add LFE channel to your subwoofer.
- Choose whether to send bass to subwoofer or all channels

- Optional: Enable Bass Redirection
- Select Mode: Leave Satellites / Leave Sub / Full Redirection
- Try each one and check which one sounds best on your system (because different 5.1 have different crossover system)

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Note that in ChannelMixer, when you set subwoofer volume beyond 1.00 in either page, you can introduce distortion.

Step 4: For MP3/CD Players


I enjoyed using the EQ. I started thinking that I need this bass increment in my car stock CD player, or basic MP3 such as iPod Shuffle which doesnt come with any EQ. Guess what? I can give my car head-unit, iPod, MP3 players, and phone more bass with foobar2000. How?

CD Player: Burn "customized" CD.
- Create a quick new playlist on the left by double-click the empty space.
- Drag desired tracks to that "New Playlist".
- Select all the tracks, right click > Convert > Write Audio CD .
- Tick DSP Processing,
- Enable EQ or SH-1
- Configure it according to the settings you found in previous step
- Click Back and click Write CD

MP3 Player / iPod / etc: Create "customized" MP3.
- Create a quick new playlist on the left by double-click the empty space.
- Drag desired tracks to that "New Playlist".
- Select all the tracks, right click > Convert > [..]
- Click Processing
- Enable EQ or SH-1
- Configure it according to the settings you found in previous step
- Click Back
- Make sure the output format and destination are correct.
- Click Convert

Tips #1: You can use the sync folder as destination target. I don't use Zune but I set it as the destination folder. When I connect my phone I will automatically get the songs with more bass.

Tips #2: You will get lower volume in the CD / MP3 that you've just made. Set EQ wisely, and remember to click auto-level for EQ and reduce input gain for SH-1 to prevent distortion.

Step 5: FAQs and Credit

Thanks to foobar2000 I finally got the kind of bass I wanted, anywhere: PC Speakers, cellphones, MP3 players, and even the stock CD player in the car. All can be done easily with foobar2000 and its components. I've never complained there is not enough bass when playing music thru foobar2000.

If you have any question or comments regarding this instructable, feel free to write a comment below. Please rate if you like this instructable!

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foobar2000 tips and tricks :

I am new. How do I add my songs?
Go to: File > Add Folder > and point it to your songs' folder > and click OK / Select Folder
Or simply drag your desired folder from explorer window into foobar2000 window.

I want to add artwork to the library page.
Right click the column and check artwork

Control Volume:
Go to right bottom corner, you will see values indicated in dB. Click to adjust volume.
or right click on upper area and add volume toolbar.

When I drag some tracks to the new playlist, I want to switch to it / not.
File > Preferences > Column UI > Playlist Switcher> Drag & Drop > Activate target playlist

Start foobar2000 always maximized
Create a shortcut and go to its properties. In target box, add [ /show] at the end. Example:
...foobar2000.exe" /show

More tips: right click -> options
In many positions (such as playlist tab, visualizations window, toolbar), there are many 'hidden' options which can be accessed by just right clicking it.

Change foobar2000 colors and fonts
File > Preferences > Display > Column UI > Colors and Fonts

Fade in / out
File > Preference > Advanced > Playback > Fading

Configure playback buttons
Right click buttons > Options.

Resume playback when foobar2000 is launched
File > Preference > Playback > Resume playback after restarting foobar2000.

Buffer Length
File > Preference > Playback > Output

This is the length of the buffer of your songs. Shorter means lower latency, therefore it avoids playback-skipping when working with other heavy process. Just an example if you're gaming, sometimes it takes longer time to adjust your volume or pausing the songs. This is because of the high latency. I set mine at 500ms.

Full File Buffering
File > Preference > Advanced > Playback > Full File Buffering (in KB).

Load your currently playing music to your RAM instead of HDD. This also means lower HDD activity, and is useful if you're playing from external drives or network. My songs are between 3MB to 55MB so I set it at 60000KB there. foobar2000 memory usage will increase according to your songs file. Check at task manager to see the difference between each songs.

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Recommendation Links:

Third-party skins for foobar2000
Foo-Nation

Lyrics software recommendation
MiniLyrics

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Many thanks to:
- Peter Pawlowski (foobar2000)
- CrazyCoder (foo_amip_wrapper.dll)
- SkipyRich (foo_channel_mixer.dll & foo_dsp_span.dll)
- Yuobe (foo_ui_columns.dll)
- NEMO7538 (foo_quicksearch.dll)
- Yegor Petrov (foo_vst.dll)
- sweetboy@programmer? (SH-1 Equalizer)
- Voxengo (free SPAN analyzer)
- AIXcoustic (free Electri-Q posihfopit)
- FreeMusicSoftware

yho11 year ago
KLIPSCH.....one of the greatest speaker that i've ever heard..lol...
atejchman2 years ago
i cant figure out how to get to step 1
usbdevice (author)  atejchman2 years ago
hi, in foobar2000, navigate to "View" on top of the window, click it and select "Equalizer".

Once the equalizer is ticked (enabled), you can increase and 55hz bar to get more bass, but remember to click auto-level each time you increase it.

hope this helps, good luck!
power4 years ago
haha sweet
I was reading and I see papertube mod on Edifier MP300? :P
was happy to hear you still remember this mod :D
usbdevice (author)  power4 years ago
lol. of course i should. it's one great trick i found few years back. anyone using Edifier MP300 / MP300+ should use it.
karossii4 years ago
Why do you consider SRS Audio Sandbox and Dolby Prologic IIx to be "creepy"?
power karossii4 years ago
SRS makes the sound quality very fake.
trebles sounded like plastic bag lol
and sometimes there's too much trebles and you can't reduce it :(

that dolby thing...I dunno lol
usbdevice (author)  karossii4 years ago
The SRS, i found both the Sandbox and TruSurround that comes with my logitech z cinema are overrated. using couple of freeware such as foobar2000 above it makes things sounds better. the only SRS I used is the windows mobile version.

and for the DPLIIx, my laptop has it embedded. Doesn't sound good at all, perhaps they just reverse the matrix of front speakers for the rear channels. However, I turn them on so they upmix things from internet like youtube.
0_0 It has a spectrogram!? SO COOL!! I can see phasing!

Is there any way to wire this so that it displays the spectrogram of a real-time line in or microphone? Or do you know of any other freeware real-time spectrum analyzers? I don't have a good way to visually monitor things in high detail when I'm mastering in Reason (the vocoder trick works, but it's not a large display).
usbdevice (author)  DeusXMachina4 years ago
Regarding the spectrogram, i'm not really certain. However, you could check at the official forums at www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/

Compared to WMP, of course foobar2000's EQ sounds much better. I have not touch WMP for music playback since i use foobar2000. lol

thanks and enjoy...


Yeah, I just found a bunch of stuff. This website has lots of downloads and you can filter by freeware etc: http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/
Thank you!!!!! This is wonderful! Two things were really starting to piss me off about WMP:
1) Single-band compression causing ducking of my low-end when the high end peaked, giving that obnoxious "wobbly" sound. (I'm a big audiophile)
2) It seems like it's been taking longer and longer to start up.

I use VLC, primarily for FLAC and streaming, but I don't like it's UI and lack of library support. I am giving foobar a shot and it looks like it's going to be a good match :)