The History of ASC Bass Traps: a TubeTrap is Born (Original from 1985)
TubeTraps are the original corner-loaded bass trap, taking inspiration from Harry Olson, the prolific RCA engineer who nearly invented modern acoustics. A young engineer/physicist named Arthur Noxon took Olson’s “functional sound absorber” to the next level by increasing the size and modifying the frequency response to allow adjustable treble levels in the room. The TubeTrap was thus born, and 40+ years later continues to be built by hand in ASC’s factory in Eugene, Oregon.
Our original TubeTrap bass trap, back in 1985, was 9″ diameter and 3′ long. Our current standard TubeTrap product line includes 9”, 11”, 13”, 16” 20” and 24” diameter models. They all utilize the same patented RC-circuit bass trapping technology and treble range diffuser panel as our original model. The larger diameter units provide more sound absorbing power because of their larger surface area and a lower roll off frequency because of their increased internal volume. As of 2018, new production TubeTraps all contain Isothermal interior air volumes unless otherwise specified.
Specialized TubeTrap Bass Traps
In addition to the wide variety of standard TubeTraps available we provide an even wider variety of customized TubeTraps
In addition to the wide variety of standard TubeTraps available, we provide an even wider variety of modified TubeTraps. Some modifications are superficial, belonging only to the appearance of the TubeTrap. Other modifications are internal, in which case they are fit with some sort of performance enhancing feature.
It is not unusual for a room corner to be acute or obtuse. QuarterRound TubeTraps can be altered to accommodate such situations. Fractional TubeTrap (HalfRound and QuarterRound) end caps can also be installed at various angles so the units can be butted together to follow an irregular wall shape. TubeTrap technology can be used to create “black acoustics” of nearly any shape, to be hidden behind stretch fabric, furnishings, or any other out-of-sight location which is also a high sound pressure zone.
We often add absorption enhancing elements inside what appears to be an ordinary TubeTrap. The most common upgrade along this line is the SuperTrap, where the operational volume of the TubeTrap is increased by 33%. This modification extends the roll off frequency of the TubeTrap ½ octave lower, and is available in all diameter models of TubeTraps.
We also make Helmholtz Traps. These units are specifically tuned for powerful absorption at a particular frequency, without affecting the broadband performance of the TubeTrap. Helmholtz Traps act like SuperTraps in the lowest register, but at the resonant frequency the backpressure buildup inside the TubeTrap goes to zero due to the sound canceling effects of the Helmholtz resonator inside the TubeTrap. These options are available in most standard diameter and length TubeTraps.
Customized TubeTraps include modifications to standard traps and specialty bass traps. Examples of modifications might include a hole running through a TubeTrap so a stiff power cord can be lugged and unplugged into a power socket without having to move the TubeTrap setup. Another modification might to notch out part of the side of a TubeTrap so that it fits close up to and around some obstruction. It is not unusual to modify a TubeTrap so that it holds a TV monitor or some other piece of artwork.
We also make true custom bass traps, usually for acoustic designers or architects with particular needs. All our bass traps still utilize our patented RC circuit bass trap principles, but not all include our treble range diffuser. We collaborate with the designer to design and manufacture a short run of special products which meet the specifications of the job.
One example of our custom bass traps is the VentTrap. These are basically acoustic friction elements located in one room, with a duct connecting their back side to an acoustic volume that is some number of feet away, even perhaps in a basement. Most of our stand-alone bass traps have the acoustic resistor wrapped around the acoustic capacitor forming an integral self contained bass trap package; VentTraps are shipped without the capacitive volume, which the customer or builder provides. This is similar to what we see in electronics, where an electronic resistor is connected to a capacitor with a wire, except in this case, the acoustic resistor is connected to the acoustic capacitor with a pipe of air.
The potential variety of custom bass traps is limitless, held back only by the imagination of the acoustic designer, architect, or customer. Every once in a while, we build a custom bass trap that ends up having a wider application than the one it was developed for. If people like it, this new bass traps joins our standard product line.
Sonic Benefits of TubeTraps
The TubeTrap bass trap is designed to absorb sound energy when in the presence of bass range sound pressure. The higher the pressure, the more energy is absorbed. Bass pressure is 4 to 8 times stronger in the corners of the room than away from the corners. TubeTraps are usually stacked floor-to-ceiling in columns in all four corners of the typical audio room. Each corner acts like a giant megaphone in reverse, compressing incoming sound waves into the narrow volume at the root of each corner of the room. This corner compression of bass waves creates the perfect location for a pressure zone bass trap: the TubeTrap.