Although the term “car culture” could easily be applied to almost any era from the 1940’s to the present the fact is that only since the mid 80’s has the car culture also been bass culture! The mid 80’s was when car audio crossed a major threshold in its ability to reproduce low frequencies - just in time to broadcast the drum machine and 808 bass sound of early hip hop.....You gotta admit, whether you love it or hate it, there is nothing quite like the sound of an 808 kick drum booming through a slamming car audio system! In most cases it becomes completely addicting......and if you give it some thought you realize that pop music has been getting more and more bass heavy ever since the early days of Miami bass and the first wave of boom, proof positive that whether your selling music or electronics, bass sells!! This synergy between youth, technology and music shows no sign of slowing down, bass culture is party culture, and the do it yourself aspect of the 30 billion dollar car audio aftermarket gives every neighborhood “mekanik” the ability to win friends and influence people by tricking out or “pimping“ his ride.....
The BASS MEKANIK was created to target this phenomenon and the music quickly became the sonic ammunition of choice for car audio fans everywhere. BASS MEKANIK CDs became fixtures in the installation bays of car audio installers & retailers nationwide, including Best Buy, Circuit City, and Tweeter etc. This is due to the fact that every BASS MEKANIK CD features a handy test section designed to help consumers perform some simple testing of their audio systems setup and SPL potential.
The BASS MEKANIK supports all the national organizations that govern car audio competition and has personally compiled and assembled officially sanctioned competition CDs for IASCA, USAC, DB Drag Racing and MECA.
In 2003 the BASS MEKANIK produced the first bass music DVD with the release of “FASTER HARDER LOUDER” which features not only visuals but multiple format mixes in true 5.1 surround. As a result of this constant commitment to car audio the BASS MEKANIK's fan base is ever growing and evolving, with fans ranging from early teens to thirty plus.
BASS - WHAT IS IT?
Bass is the most elemental and powerful component of the audio spectrum and the only part that can you can actually feel as well as hear. In fact, if you could pump it low and loud enough you could literally bring down buildings, although not even the US Army has managed to attain the necessary sound pressure level (SPL) needed to accomplish this yet!
In order to properly understand bass let’s review a few facts about sound in general...
Sound is a waveform, with low frequencies having a long wave length and with high frequencies having a short wave length. The human ear can only hear a limited part of the sound spectrum; 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (1 Hz = 1 cycle per second). Above that range is ultrasound and below it is infrasound.
Infrasound is also known as:
ELF - extremely low frequency
VLF - very low frequency
ULF - ultra low frequency
At high volume different frequencies can affect and be felt in almost any part of the body. Even with industrial ear protectors sound waves are able to enter the head via the nose and mouth which are, in turn, linked to the ears by the structure of the skull. Sounds that are lower than 20 Hz – infrasound – are inaudible but can, on occasion, be felt resonating within the body itself.
There are many infrasound sources in the natural world created by thunder, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, shifting tectonic plates and even winds. The ability of animals, such as bats and dogs, to hear ultrasound is well documented, but numerous animal species can also hear – and utilize – infrasound. Elephants have a hearing range that is believed to start from 0.1 Hz, enabling them to hear the distant rumble of thunderstorms far earlier than humans can and to communicate over long distances. Other animals may even employ infrasound as a weapon: Recent research suggests that tigers are able to deliver a physically stunning 18 Hz roar immediately before attacking. Similarly, sperm whales seem to use pulses of infrasound to stun the large squid that form the basis of their diet.
Humans can also be affected by infrasound vibrations in ways that are different from the informational aspect of simply listening. Researchers believe it is the vibrations of low frequency acoustic waves, felt particularly in the stomach, which may cause a person to feel uplifted or create unease depending on the environment in which they are experienced. Church organ builders have exploited this phenomenon for hundreds of years by using infrasonic organ pipes to create a sense of awe in a congregation.
Here are some other interesting facts about low frequencies:
The human brain generates various low frequency waves;
Theta waves below 8 Hz,
Alpha waves between 8-12 Hz,
Beta waves above 12 Hz.
7.83 Hz is the resonant frequency of planet earth.
The US Navy uses ELF waves to communicate with submarines. The lower and louder the frequency the deeper the wave can penetrate through seawater.
A 30 Hz sine wave is 12 yards from peak to peak. Following this line of thought consider that an ELF wave of 3 Hz would be longer than a football field.
The bass has many aspects, hard, soft, slow, fast, high, low, short or long - and a million different combinations of these factors. Right from the start my idea was to provide something for everyone, that's why every bass mekanik CD is a little different and features many kinds of bass. Think about it for a second, when you go to the gym for a workout you work many different muscle groups, likewise when you finish playing a Bass Mekanik CD your woofers should be basking in the sweaty afterglow of a great workout that features highlights of all the low frequency ranges!
As a comparison there is much more varied low frequency information on a Bass Mekanik CD than on a typical rock or hip hop CD, also a wider dynamic range. This is because rock and hip hop CDs tend to be heavily compressed since they are mixed with radio airplay in mind and radio has a relatively narrow dynamic range. It’s true that hip hop CDs do have a good amount of bass but it’s usually concentrated in the 50-60 cycle range and the heavy mix compression can often make them sound a little stressed when you really crank them up.
Aside from the variety of the bass lines there is another factor that always characterizes a Bass Mekanik CD; the bass parts are always pitched correctly for the key of the song. Not only is it musically correct but when all the elements of a song are pitched properly it sounds “cleaner” and more “musical”, which also yields much better definition when you crank it up loud.
When I first started attending car audio shows and contests I was struck by how broad the appeal was; Bass fans come from all parts of the economic, social and racial spectrum. That's one of the great things about car audio; it brings people together in a constructive way through a shared passion for music and technology. That's also how I came up with the name “Bass Mekanik” it’s really a salute to the neighborhood tweakers and car audio nuts all over the world. They are all “bass mechanics”!