David Lee Blog

January 5, 2015

David Lee Blog

January 5, 2015

Designer David Lee

BASSBOSS VS21 Powered Subwoofer Prototype
Designer, President, Founder, Truth seeker, audio-tweaker, bass-head.

“Humans interact with the acoustic environment in many complex ways. The human hearing system not only consists of the ear but also encompasses conduction and mediation via bones, flesh, and body cavities. Acoustic energy has the ability to profoundly influence an individual’s brain waves, respiratory cycles, nervous system, muscle function, heart rate and glandular function.”

– Alex Davies “Bioeffects of Sound”

History

My father was an architect and an audiophile. I grew up listening to the speakers that he built and riding in the cars that he rebuilt. He was meticulous to a point just short of perfectionism and he impressed upon me the need for precision. He also instilled in me his love of music, but much to his chagrin, I didn’t develop a love for the same kind of music he loved. While we didn’t share the same taste in music, we did share a taste for quality and he let me play his stereo, correction, quadraphonic sound system, at great length and at great volume!

At the age of 17 I got my first job working in the audio industry. I walked into a high-end stereo store and started talking to a salesman. A little while into the conversation he said I knew more about the subject than he did and I should be working there.

They hired me and put me to work within a week. I began, as many do at that age, working in car stereo. Thankfully I worked for a high-end retailer. The place I worked had won car stereo competition championships and interestingly had used Pro audio drivers to achieve victory in the SPL competitions. Early on I was versed in the advantages of efficiency over power handling. During the down time at the shop we had opportunities to play with all manner of audio gear including a number of large horns. Back in the mid-80s horns were still popular because high-powered amplifiers were not nearly as available as they are now.

It was during that time, 1986, that I got my first opportunity to work on a nightclub installation. Unlike in the home hi-fi world where I spent most of my time, in the club world louder was better. Unfortunately, too often louder took precedence over better.

I learned about club systems while working in the field of home hi-fi and home theater. This influenced my taste. I was exposed to the highest end audiophile systems on the market during the day and assaulted by loud but remarkably unrefined professional loudspeakers by night. I was deeply disappointed by the audio I experienced at live concerts, as well. It was always my goal to experience the audiophile grade sound quality at the nightclub and concert sound level. From the very first I was excited and frustrated by the products that were available for nightclub and concert use. I could hear the difference but I couldn’t replicate the sound quality of the audiophile equipment using the Pro audio components.

While that sounds obvious at this point, in hindsight, it didn’t stop me from trying. And since I couldn’t buy products that would deliver the kind of performance I was looking for I reverted to what my dad always did and built them for myself. It didn’t happen overnight of course. It took many years of research in university libraries and lots of experimental box builds in those early years. There was no internet and no software to make designing boxes and horns easy.

I learned to do the math the slow way and I built many experiments. I learned what worked and what didn’t, in more ways than one. I’ve been involved in the installation of sound systems in over 150 nightclubs. I have even owned nightclubs, so I know the challenges from both sides of the contract. I have tuned systems that included practically every brand of loudspeaker on the market. I have provided sound to meet the most extreme demands in the most extreme environments. I have been there myself, boots on the ground style, and I know what works and what doesn’t.

My Philosophy

First and foremost, I love bass. However, there are other important reasons why BASSBOSS loudspeakers deliver exceptional results. If a system can deliver massive energy in the lowest octaves, it takes a great deal of stress off the devices responsible for reproducing the detail and nuance of the midrange, making it possible for the speakers reproducing those sounds to do so more effortlessly and consequently more clearly.

Further, powerful low frequencies deliver energy to the audience because they transform the experience of listening to an experience of feeling. Music can move you in a number of ways, but when the music actually, physically moves you, it transcends the experience of listening to music and the experience becomes one of complete immersion.

Better still, that energy is transmitted in a range where the ears are least sensitive, meaning that the experience can be made very intense and involving without being piercingly or painfully loud.

A BASSBOSS system is designed to involve you, immerse you and envelop you in the musical experience. It should reach out and grab your immediate attention, then draw you in and immerse you in waves of bass. Beyond the bass, it will show you the finest details of the music with great resolution and accuracy and take you to the highest highs on an emotional journey with the composer.

The other philosophical outlook of BASSBOSS is that our products must be strong. Consequently it is my goal to make our products the most reliable, sturdy and consistent on the market. It cannot just survive daily use; it must endure repeated abuse. We always push everything to the limit. When I find the limit, rather than pulling back and settling, I look to move the limit. We look to make it better.

In addition to implementing standards and systems to minimize failures, a great deal of thought, time and effort is spent considering ways to maximize survivability under every conceivable adverse circumstance. While I do design the systems to survive the most unforgiving environments, I recognize that nothing is totally indestructible. It is necessary to consider the potential failure modes and design the systems to be as easy, fast and inexpensive to repair as possible.

When I set out to build a loudspeaker system I do so with the deliberate intent for it to be a better value than any other. For the most part that means better construction, better components, more thoughtful, more practical design and a philosophy that puts the customer’s and the audience’s experience ahead of profit motive. There are always options for cheaper components and cheaper labor but long-term, cheaper isn’t better for our customers nor for our reputation.

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