"Freshman volumeĒ is the sound level metric introduced to college students in their first year Ė itís the highest sound level possible at which there is nobody screaming at you to turn the music down. When Ben Anderson made his first attempt at freshman volume, he used an iPod, several guitar amps, and a regular stereo. Although loud, the sound fidelity was surprisingly low. Even worse, Ben's neighbors were overwhelming his sound with their stereos. What was wrong?
Big speakers work best with low notes, little speakers work best with high notes. Sending both highs and lows to all speakers sounds bad, seriously limits overall volume, and can cause speaker damage. Ben needed a way to separate lows from highs before amplifying his music. This was the beginning of the iBump: "Bump" as in "Bump some tunes", and you know where the "i" comes from.
Designed by Benís dad, Wendell, the iBump is an audiophile-quality active crossover (which separates the highs from the lows). It is inserted between the source (iPod) and the amplifiers. Routing the iBump subwoofer output to a bass amp enables clear, earthmoving low notes. The iBump left and right channels enable high, undistorted volumes because the smaller speakers aren't getting horsed around by the low notes.
Now, Ben uses an iBump with his iPod, stereo, and bass amp to make sure his neighbors understand the true concept of freshman volume. So can you.
See the DIY Music article in MAKE, Volume 08 featuring the iBump here!
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