September 11, 2015/in Blog /by Bergantino Audio
Before any engineer worth his or her weight puts pen to paper to start any design, he or she needs to ask themselves one very simple question: “Why?” In fact, that’s exactly the first question a venture capitalist would ask a would-be entrepreneur looking for investment money… “Why X?”
For years I’ve been asked by dealers to produce a Bass Amplifier. My response was always “the industry doesn’t need another ‘Me Too’ product with another off-the-shelf power module with another voiced preamp”. The multitude of preamp voicings reminds me of my old hi-fi days when department stores had shelves lined with speaker cabinets. The most successful manufacturers of those ‘lo-fi’ speakers knew that they had at most 5-10 seconds to impress a potential customer before they moved on to the next speaker system. So what did they do? They voiced their speakers to have the boomiest bass and most sizzly treble. Why? Because they knew, given a very short audition time, this approach would put their speaker’s sound out in front of their competitors. What the unaware customer did not know was once they got these speakers home, what they initially thought was the most exciting speaker in the store would soon turn out to be the most un-enjoyable and fatiguing speaker to listen to at home! Anyone who has listened to a very well designed and engineered hi-fi system knows that a balanced, low distortion system, always wins out in the end for a long term and enjoyable, musical listening experience.
As I’ve watched and observed many bass amplifier designs evolve over the years, I can’t help but wonder if any of these manufacturers truly understand the relationship between the amp and speaker system they are attempting to power. This explains why most of them are just using their existing or slightly modified preamps, some from as far back as the ‘60s and ‘70s, and just adding a lightweight, class D power module to it. Kind of reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity (“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”). So how can the same tone controls, with fixed frequencies and q’s, EQ different speakers with different frequency responses, to sound balanced, if the electrical response of the EQ is constant, but each speaker’s acoustic response is different? The simple answer is they can’t! It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole! How many times have you read on the news groups and blogs that this amp works great with that speaker but no so much with this one and vice versa? That’s because one amp’s EQ points may better match one speaker’s response than another’s, but it’s still not very close, just “better”. To think of all the time these manufacturers spend trying to voice their preamps, choosing EQ filter type, q’s, and frequencies that either offer the best compromise between all their different speaker models, or worse, basing their EQ choices on specific players with specific basses and speakers!
But wait a minute… I thought these were tone controls, not speaker EQs. Exactly! And herein lies the problem. Most players don’t even realize they’re actually using their tone controls to try and EQ their speakers long before they are even EQ’ing their tone. And unfortunately, we believe most manufacturers don’t understand this either. Tone controls, with their typically wide q’s, or broad shelving filters, are no more useful to EQ’ing a speaker than are mudguards on a tortoise! You may be thinking right about now of all the time and money you’ve spent over the years, chasing your tail, searching for that tone in your head, not even realizing that you were trying to solve this very problem. And unfortunately, not even knowing there wasn’t a solution to this problem…until now!
So “Why B|AMP?” Very simple. As an engineering company we’ve identified a real world problem, and are offering a real world solution to it. That’s what the Profile concept and system is all about. We’re EQ’ing the response of your speaker for you, with very precise filters, unique to each model, based on actual, real world acoustical measurements. So now you can focus on EQ’ing your tone, and not your speaker. And the only way to implement this concept is with a 21st century amplifier architecture, utilizing the latest in DSP technology along with an embedded system to control the process. No other bass amplifier on the market has the power and control over the entire system’s response and user experience than the B|AMP. And we believe that few, if any, other bass amplifier manufacturer understands the very nature of this problem like we do nor possesses the technology to solve it.