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I’ve found that adding in the sub frequencies (especially below 150hz) really can add a lot more fullness to practically any song.
Used correctly, you can create an audiophiles dream soundscape.
Of course, some songs respond better than others. Sometimes, it just adds the fullness I described above, but sometimes, it adds something entirely new to the music you’ve heard 100 times before.
This is my top list of songs that I feel change dramatically when you add a great subwoofer for music into the mix.
- 8 Best Sub Songs to Get Your Bass On (The Sound Junky’s Picks)
- 7 Songs That Sound Better With a Subwoofer (The Real Musicians Picks)
By the way, “great” = the $40 bazooka budget subwoofer I bought on Craigslist. It really doesn’t cost much to get a sub into your mix, as long as you don’t let some doofus down at Futureshop up-sell you a “car subwoofer kit” and a $100 installation. You buy a sub, a box, an amp, and a few wires, that’s it.
If you have a separate volume control for your woofer, feel free to compare “with sub” and “without sub” to see the types of differences I’m referring to in each song.
7 Songs That Sound Better With a Subwoofer (The Real Musicians Picks)
“Kiara” – Bonobo
I actually recommend first listening to the Intro track of this album (Black Sands), as it flows seamlessly into Kiara.
This song stands out so much with the added bass because of the exciting and uplifting way Bonobo works with the side-chaining on it.
Although side-chaining is nothing new, and possibly a strained art, the way he works it in the song is not only not unnecessary, but adds a wonderful, energetic vibe into your day.
I cannot listen to the first 20 seconds of this song without feeling great. Well, at least when I have those low frequencies to let me experience the emotion.
“Pyramids” – Frank Ocean
There’s no sub frequencies at the beginning, but as soon as the first major pop-riff comes in, you’ve got quite a bit of goodness to deal with, especially considering that all of those kick drum reverse sounds create such a wicked effect.
Reverse kicks always make your subs boom!
There are 4 parts to this song:
- Pop and Verse Fun! – 7.5/10 Subwoofer Intensity
- Transition Point – 5.2/10 Sub Intensity
- Bridge Verse -7/10 Sub Intensity
- Outro – 8/10 Sub Intensity
The outro especially has a ton of power to the low end, which makes me feel sometimes like I have head asplode.
Of course what good is anything without some metal…
The Entire “Cloak Of Love” Album – Genghis Tron
It would seem out of place to put a metal album on this list, considering it’s generally hip-hop and electronic music that seems to play most on those poop-inducing low frequencies. Don’t worry! It’s an electronic metal band, so it all works out.
Seriously though, throwing a sub in the mix of any Genghis Tron (the 12 minute “cloak of love” takes priority) song brings you to a whole new level of intensity.
We just went from a pun on a famous Viking (before sub), to summoning an actual Viking from the past (with sub).
So it would be an understatement to say that it’s a little bit more intense. I won’t be a total rock-oriented doofus by saying it will “melt your face off”, but that doesn’t mean I’ll vouch for your eardrums. Or your sanity.
“Like You Mean It” – Matthewdavid
The entire “Outmind” album is quite the experience sub or not (although the lows make a huge difference as far as how much encapsulating ability the album has), but I already did a “whole album” kind of deal, so I figured that would be bad taste to do it twice in the same list.
Oh, did I mention that Flying Lotus is on this album?
“Like You Mean It” has a whole new brand of subs. The song is compressed like nothing else, and has a crunch that completely pulls you in, like, with your mind.
To put it simply, I would not recommend driving on a dark highway while listening to this song, or album, as it has a very special ability to put you into a semi-unconscious trance. It’s like being hypnotized, but without the harsh political thrash guitar (see System of a Down).
It’s like a dream really. A really stretched out, incomprehensible, malleable dream.
“Bilar” – Ratatat
You have to listen to a full minute of this song before you know why I chose it for the list. Listen wisely, and loudly.
“Trickstep” – Amon Tobin
I had a tough time choosing between “Trickstep”, and “The Lighthouse” (from the Chaos Theory Soundtrack) for the #2 slot. Although “The Lighthouse” was a better overall song, I felt that “Trickstep” really fit with the overall theme of the list better.
I mean, gosh, I have to really put some thought into this stuff. It’s not like this is just a low-quality Top 10 list; this baby is a Top 7! We’ve got class here!
This song has whips and whams and booms, and zips and jams and zooms.
Nah, not really, it’s a whole lot of bass that’s meant for the club. I’m sure what I said before would be believable considering how creative Amon Tobin is, but this song is a rave song, through and through.
This is what they should have played in “The Matrix Reloaded”, in really any dance scene (that underground one, or the one in that club with the Frenchie). It would have been awesome time.
“Limit To Your Love” – James Blake
I saw this one in concert, and it’s something to behold.
Without a subwoofer, I feel I could, with authority, say that this song would only contain half of the content that it originally had.
If you’ve heard it, you know which part I’m talking about. The part where he plays the lowest effective sub notes in the most dissonant manner you’ve ever heard.
When this song is playing, I feel like this:
It’s really intense. James Blake has done a perfect job of mixing unsettling dissonant uncertainty with pop r&b vocals. He’s a master, and this song shows his mastery.
Yes, I realize that it’s a cover of Feist. Except it’s exceptionally better than the original Feist version. Exceptionally.
Don’t believe me? Try a comparison for yourself. First the Feist version:
Now the James Blake version:
I should note that during the verse (where the sub comes in), you can literally hear nothing except the piano+vocals if you don’t have a subwoofer. I’m telling you, the sub makes all the difference here.
All the difference.
8 Best Sub Songs to Get Your Bass On (The Sound Junky’s Picks)
Whether you want to test out your new home theater subwoofer or are just in the mood for a bit of pounding bass, these songs will do the trick!
“Monday Massacre” – Mr Oizo
“Above and Beyond” – Bassnectar
“M.A.D” – Hadouken!
“Act Like You Know” – Fat Larry’s Band
“Age of Consent” – New Order
“Hysteria” – Muse
“Papercut” – Linkin Park
“Angel” – Massive Attack