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ASC Origins: The TubeTrap

Published On: September 24, 2021Tags: , , , ,

The patented TubeTrap, where did it all begin? For decades hifi rooms and recording studios have been using TubeTraps to enrich their audio sound. Today we remember the real history of TubeTraps. Enjoy the following snippet of an article written by Art Noxon, PE Acoustical, that tells some of the history of the TubeTrap development.

It Begins…

What would come to be the iconic bass trap was invented 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 Olson in his classic technical book, Acoustical Engineering.

*Art talking TubeTrap back in the day*

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 Olson for his functional bass trap is a standard measurement of the TubeTrap product line.

The Harry Olson Functional Absorber and TubeTrap Bass Trap first handmade 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 Magnepans, 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.TubeTrap Bass trap with treble range diffuser

*The star of the show. Patented and made in the USA – The Classic TubeTrap shown above in orange*

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.

The original article in its entirety can be read here.

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