How does bass shake your room?

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In summary, low frequencies from a sub-woofer can cause resonances in the room and in the human body, leading to a feeling of shaking or flexing. This is because objects in the room, such as windows and walls, can have resonant frequencies that match the bass frequencies, causing them to vibrate and amplify the sound. Additionally, the low frequencies can also cause resonances in the human body, creating the sensation of the room shaking. However, all of these sensations are ultimately forms of vibration, with the differences being subjective linguistic distinctions.
  • #1
chengbin
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I have a question. How does a bass shake a room? I went to my friend's house, who has a high end set up, and his subwoofer is ridiculous. The room felt like it is coming apart at high volumes. Other things I've felt is wall flexing and general room shaking. How does a little movement from a woofer does this to a room?
 
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  • #2
I imagine that a number of things in the room have resonant frequencies that are close to the low frequencies put out by the sub-woofer.
For example, glass in the windows probably has a resonant frequency close to those of the bass in the music.
 
  • #3
I understand resonance as making something vibrate. But what I'm feeling is genuine shake. The walls feels like it is FLEXING.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
  • #4
chengbin said:
I understand resonance as making something vibrate. But what I'm feeling is genuine shake. The walls feels like it is FLEXING.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

What is the difference between flexing/shaking and vibrating in your view? In mine they are the same. Think about a drum head, and how it moves when struck .. there are cool high-speed videos of these vibrations available on youtube.
 
  • #5
I define:

Flexing as ripples moving toward you (think of water hitting you on a beach)

Shaking as up and down movement, like a huge hand under the room moving up and down.

Vibrate as a very little shake, like what you get in a club.
 
  • #6
chengbin said:
I define:

Flexing as ripples moving toward you (think of water hitting you on a beach)

Shaking as up and down movement, like a huge hand under the room moving up and down.

Vibrate as a very little shake, like what you get in a club.

Those are qualitative linguistic distinctions; physically they are all vibrations. Students in physics learn about 2-D harmonic modes of a vibrating drum head (which is equivalent to your "flexing" description) in their first or second year .. .there are analogous definitions for surface vibrations of 3-D objects as well.

The shaking you describe is also a vibration, since it describes motion of the system around a common center of mass, with no net translation.

In any case, each of these modes has a characteristic harmonic frequency that can certainly become resonant with the driving frequency from the bass sub-woofer. So I think such resonances are really is what is happening. That allows a lot of energy to be stored in these vibrational modes in a short amount of time.
 
  • #7
I would add that the low frequencies put out by the sub-woofers can also cause resonances in your body and its cavities - such as your chest. This can cause you to feel as though the room is moving when it may be that it's you! For example, your eyeballs/sockets can resonate causing you to imagine the room is moving.
 
  • #8
Stonebridge said:
I would add that the low frequencies put out by the sub-woofers can also cause resonances in your body and its cavities - such as your chest. This can cause you to feel as though the room is moving when it may be that it's you! For example, your eyeballs/sockets can resonate causing you to imagine the room is moving.

Dang, you beat me to it! I was going to suggest something similar, as I have actually experienced that. I didn't know about the eyeballs though.
Of course, there IS room vibration as well.
 
  • #9
Stonebridge said:
I would add that the low frequencies put out by the sub-woofers can also cause resonances in your body and its cavities - such as your chest. This can cause you to feel as though the room is moving when it may be that it's you! For example, your eyeballs/sockets can resonate causing you to imagine the room is moving.

That's an interesting point. You're probably right.
 

1. How does bass shake your room?

Bass shakes your room by causing the air molecules in the room to vibrate at a low frequency, creating sound waves that travel through the air and hit objects in the room, including the walls, floor, and furniture. These objects then vibrate, causing the sensation of bass shaking in your room.

2. What causes the sensation of bass shaking in a room?

The sensation of bass shaking in a room is caused by the low frequency sound waves produced by bass. These sound waves travel through the air and cause objects in the room to vibrate, resulting in the shaking sensation.

3. Why does bass seem to shake some rooms more than others?

The amount of bass shaking experienced in a room is influenced by various factors such as the size and shape of the room, the materials used in the construction of the room, and the positioning of the speakers and subwoofers. Rooms with hard surfaces and corners tend to have more pronounced bass shaking than rooms with soft surfaces and rounded corners.

4. Can bass shaking in a room be harmful?

In most cases, the bass shaking experienced in a room is not harmful. However, if the bass levels are extremely high and prolonged, it can cause discomfort and even damage to the ears. It is important to listen to music at a safe volume and take breaks to prevent any potential harm from bass shaking.

5. Is there a way to reduce or eliminate bass shaking in a room?

There are a few ways to reduce bass shaking in a room, such as using acoustic treatments, positioning speakers and subwoofers away from walls and corners, and adjusting the bass levels on your audio system. However, some degree of bass shaking is inevitable and is part of the listening experience when listening to bass-heavy music.

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