A Short History of the TubeTrap
ASC celebrates its 100th Newsletter by taking us back to where it all began…the TubeTrap.
Read along as ASC founder, president and TubeTrap inventor, Art Noxon, PE shares his journey of bringing the TubeTrap to the audio world.
What would come to be the iconic bass trap was invented about 25 years ago in 1983 by me, a young acoustic engineer/physicist/speaker builder named Art Noxon. It turns out that I had also unknowingly invented in my basement an improved version of the “functional bass trap” which was something developed in the RCA labs in the 1940’s and revealed to the public in 1950 by the chief engineer Harry Olsen in his classic technical book, Acoustical Engineering.
Found in this book are untold numbers of RCA audio/acoustic lab secrets. Still, it took another 30 years and a patent search before I discovered the functional bass trap and the great book where it was disclosed. Frankly, I was relieved to discover my work fell right in line with and was a natural extension of earlier work in this same area. Even the same peak efficiency of 140% reported by Harry Olsen for his functional bass trap is a standard measurement of the TubeTrap product line.
The first hand made commercial TubeTrap was discovered by Rob Sample, a HiFi rep who passed through town every month or two. The TubeTrap had been gathering dust in two corners of a dealer demo room, behind a set of Magnipans, helping to reduce the strength of the back wave that would otherwise bounce out of the corner and right back towards where it came from, the huge Maggi diaphragm, where it pushed the diaphragm around, distorting the sound.
This TubeTrap was even covered in Maggi white fabric, purchased from the Maggi factory. The store staff pulled the trap out and put it back in while Rob listened.
The next day I got a call from Jon Dahlquist in New York, accent and all. I didn’t know who he was yet but he certainly asked wonderfully technical questions, it was such a relief to talk to another engineer about this device. Jon built the Dahlquist loud speaker and Rob Sample, his NW rep, had called him about what he had witnessed. After a little visiting Jon ordered a set of TubeTraps, I built and sent them. Never thought about money, I was happy that someone wanted to check them out.
A week later he called back and loved what they did for the bass but wanted less treble absorption. I couldn’t believe anyone could hear that well. Still, I asked what the crossover frequency should be and he paused, as if he was a chef, imaging how much seasoning to put in, and then told me.
I made the acoustic crossover to his spec and slipped it into the front of each trap as soon as they arrived and shipped them back the next day. He loved it and invited me to help him set up his demo room at the summer CES in Chicago where he was unveiling for the first time a time-aligned loudspeaker, the DQ-20. I didn’t know what CES was but I agreed to go. And within hours of setting up the demo room there, I was signed by Noel Lee and became the next new product exclusively distributed by Monster Cable.
Art standing proudly with his breakthrough invention
Continue reading Art’s article and have a great weekend!