last night I was schooled, again, in what real bass should be. I had tickets to a performance by what is probably the best-sounding orchestra in the world, the Vienna Philharmonic. and never mind the clothes people wear (or don't) to those kinds of concerts, this performance rocked people, it knocked everyone's socks off. the applause after their take on Mahler 6th Symphony was laced with shouting, yelping, hollering, hoots and cries and multiple calls, with most people standing, for more. eight double bass players (one with a five string), nine cellos, a contrabasson, a bass horn, a bass trombone, and no fewer than four percussionists helping themselves to tympani, drums, and rare large contraptions made for enormous, voluminous, driving, thrilling bass.
yes, of course there were astonishing colors in the mids and highs, as the orchestration (this is a work from 1906) moved about the stage and around the room, with the full spectrum of human hearing and sensing engaged - but what really astonished me was the quality of disciplined, honed, toned bass. nothing - not my large planars, not my large subwoofers, not my leather-padded tube-amped beyers, nothing can substitute for sharing the air of a room that is being agitated in this manner by a group of highly specialized experts. wow!