TubeTrap: the Original Corner Loaded Bass Absorber
ASC has been been pioneering, building and improving bass traps since 1984. In the early days, our flagship was the TubeTrap. Even today, the TubeTrap serves as a primary tool in the development of top audio rooms.
The TubeTrap bass trap diffuser is the original portable acoustic device. Invented in the fires of a concrete poured basement with uncontrollable bass reverberation, these devices tamed the muddy booming sound like nothing seen before them. Before TubeTraps, room acoustics were built in to professional downtown studios, or consisted of blankets, pillows, carpets…and ugly egg crates. Let’s look at what makes the TubeTrap different, and special.
What Exactly is a TubeTrap bass trap diffuser?
This early TubeTrap locked together in a stack using wooden pegs.
A TubeTrap is a simple yet complex passive physical device that converts large wavelength sound energy to heat through friction. In other words, it is a compact bass trap. The mechanism by which it operates involves “lumped parameter” modeling, for which the lengths of the waves being affected are large compared to the object. The outer membrane was selected for its specific flow resistivity properties, while the dimensions of the internal air cavity were selected to optimize the capacitive energy storage rate properties. Each of these parameters were optimized to maximize sound energy conversion across the most critical bandwidth. Shortly after this work was done, an acoustic choke was added atop one half of the exterior surface to provide polycylindrical diffusion in the upper frequencies, starting about an octave above middle C.
Thus was born the modern LRC-circuit modeled archetypal bass trap that essentially gave birth to the room acoustics industry: the TubeTrap bass trap diffuser.
What Makes the TubeTrap Special Among Commercial Bass Traps?
First, let’s briefly look at the wave behavior in a normally sized room being used for powerful audio playback. This will provide the background needed to understand the benefits of TubeTrap bass trap diffusers.
Bass range room gain comes from the horizontal and vertical components of the spherical bass wave front emanating from the speaker and their multiple reflections off the floor, ceiling and side walls in the front of the listening room. Each musical event produces some sort of sustain that often lasts 1/8th second or more. During that time, the sonic wave front travels 140 feet, which is across the room 9 or 10 times and vertically over 15 times. This causes a rapid increase in stored energy and sound level in the front of the room which slowly expands out into the rest of the room, engulfing the listener in a wave of nonsensical sound that is a replica(s) of what the loudspeaker just played. This unwanted sound energy blurs the rapidly changing sound level (and musicality) contained in the source material. To maximize enjoyment of your music or accuracy of your mixing, this blurring must be controlled. Enter scene: bass traps.
Just as there are many types of sounds, there are many types of bass traps. They differ primarily in the speed of their sound absorbing action. This matters a great deal because each single sonic event begins with an attack transient, a rapid growth in sound level. This is the single most important sound we hear when identifying the source of the sound. Clean attack transients provide broad dynamics with punch and impeccable rhythm. Bloated (or truncated) attack transients rob music of its life, creating a flat sound that lacks emotional engagement. TubeTraps are fast bass traps that begin converting acoustic energy during the very first impulse of sound that reaches them, ensuring maximum resolution of your attack transients.