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Discussion: Speaker cabinets, driver sizes, tone, weight considerations

Discussion in 'Bass Amps & Cabinets' started by DiMarco, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Hey everyone,

    I have been playing bass for about 25 years but am still constantly searching for the holy grail of bass cabinets.

    So far I have tried 1x18", 2x15", 1x15", 4x10", 2x12", 2x10" and combinations of those. 1x15" + 4x10" is what I have used for a long long time, 2x15" for a year or two.

    Currently I play through an Eden 2x12" and just discarded the 2x10" because it is flapping out constantly when I hit the low B.

    Of course I want a tight response from my speakers but I also want a bit of colouration/emphasis on the lower mids to get that big ballsy sound. This made me currently end up at 2x12" + HF.

    But... the 2x12 is pretty much a large cube and has to be lifted into the car rather then tilted like I used to with the 2x15. When storing my stuff at home it is placed at the attic. So I am looking for better portability without losing tone. Carrying near 40kg up and down the stairs isn't a big problem but I know nowadays 2x12 cabs weigh only half of this.

    Should I get a lightweight 2x12 like a Barefaced or Vanderkley cab? Should I consider other speaker sizes? My experience with 10" is they lack proper mids which makes me have to crank up the volume too much to be able to hear myself. What about those Phil Jones cabs with arrays of 5" speakers? And how about stacking two of those new Warwick 4x8 cabs? Would I be happy with that?

    So what I want to know is this: Which cabs do you lug around and why? What are the downsides to your stack? What would you look for as an upgrade to your current stack? Please be elaborate.
     
  2. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Sorry, I can´t really take part on this discussion. I have no idea about this all. Important is only the amp for my tastes. The cabinet just has to fit. The Ashdown drophead sounds awesome with it´s 15" built in speaker. I want nothing else. Adding a 4x10 transforms it to a monster. Only midrange is a bit weak, I have to work on this. Let´s say I always was looking for 4x10 together with 1x15. First a Marshall with 4x10 and Warwick 1x15, then the Ampeg SVT CL, also with 4x10 and 1x15, now the Drophead with CL speakers.
     
  3. Henrythe8

    Henrythe8 Dolphin Hoarder

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    So far, I played through
    --> 2x15" SUNN combo
    --> 2x10 SWR Combo
    --> Ampeg head with Hartke 4x10 + SUNN 2x15"
    --> Combo SUNN 2x15" + SWR 8x8
    --> SWR Redhead 2x1à + SWR 8x8

    I played mainly small to medium venues (bars, small concert rooms) and sometitimes in Outdoors.
    I don't play that much of a 5 string.

    I personnaly like tight lows, scooped mediums and sweet highs.

    I am very happy with my 2x10 + 8x8 of today, very precise, and not boomy on the bars and rooms. IMO an excellent choice, might be a bit better if the Redhead was a 2x12", but hey, who am I to discuss SWR's best combo :)
    Sufficiently powerful (around 320W @2Ohms), but SOOOOOOo heavy.
    The great thing is that the RedHead can be used as a DI for larger venues.

    The 2x15" gave a nice bass sound, but ended up too boomy in live conditions.

    To answer your question, you have too many variables to take into account, between your bass tonality and sound, the way it is processed through your amp and how it's going to be carried by your speakers in all the very diverse venues you'll play. Hence very difficult.

    So in order to choose wisely, I'd rely on some immutable laws of physics and mechanics, which I'm not familiar with, but as I understood it :
    --> You need to move air
    --> You have a surface on the speaker to move it
    --> the larger the speaker, the greater the surface, but not very quick in response
    --> The smaller the speaker, the quicker the response, but low surface.
    --> best response from speaker is depending on the frequency vs size of the speaker.

    So, surface-wise here are what you have

    1x15" = 1158cm² 2x15" = 2316cm²
    2x10" = 1029cm² 4x10" = 2058cm² 6x10" = 3088cm² 8x10" = 4117
    2x12" = 1482cm² 4x12" = 2964cm²
    8x8" just for fun : 2635cm²


    Here you go, you have the "power" to move air for each cab. Make your own ratio with size/portability and frequency.

    IMO, Your best bet would be on a 4x8 + 2x12, you'll have about the same surface for each, leaving a balanced output between the frequencies, and you can rely on the 2x12 for smallish venues, add the 4x8 only when needed (although they're supposed to be light)...


    Hope this helps.
     
  4. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Awesome post Henry, thanks!
     
  5. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I took the plunge and ordered myself a Barefaced Big Twin 2 cabinet.
    Has anyone here got experience with Barefaced? Have been hearing lots of nice things about them.

    Weighs 21kg. Does 133 decibels max spl across the frequency range. Faitalpro HF horn, frequency filter sending more highs to the woofers when you turn the tweeter volume down (this I like a lot!), custom 12" woofers with insane max excursion. According to the manufacturer awesome dispersion so fit for gigs where there's no FOH system and finally its impulse response makes it sound very detailed as the LF and HF units are phase coherent.

    I think I will like this but only time will tell. ETA is week 1 or week 2 of 2016.
    Can test it for a month, get a refund if I do not like it.
    View attachment 24100
     
  6. Marilred

    Marilred

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    Excellent choice DiMarco!

    I am using a Barefaced Big Baby 2, 3rd Generation, with a Warwick LWA1000 amp!
    You don't hear the amp or the cab, you just hear your bass as clear as day.

    Big bonus for me = the Barefaced cabs are very light - makes life so much easier lugging gear up stairs!
     
  7. warwickhunt

    warwickhunt

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    I'll watch this with interest. :)

    I've owned (cough) a lot of cabs in my search for a cab(s) that give me the monitoring tone I want + for pub/small club gigs where backline may need to be FOH sound and I've tried several of the BF models but didn't go for BF. I have however learned from experience that driver diameter is no indicator of treble/mid/bass response, nor does a small, light cab exist that thumps out notes... a compromise (or compromises) may need to be made.

    Speaker/Amp tone however, is a fascinating subject which always divides opinion.
     
  8. Sippi

    Sippi

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    DiMarco, I know we discussed in the past the Markbass 122. I just so found a local one come up for sale that I am going to pull the trigger on. I am currently playing through a TC Electronics BC212 which is nice but I have heard great things about the Markbass Little Mark III paired with the Markbass 2x12.
     
  9. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Still waiting for cab to arrive. Production delays due to CNC machine firmware upgrades introducing new posibilities but probably also new problems. Computers suck.
     
  10. Augie

    Augie The Desert Bass-ape

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    I am VERY interested in this thread...been hankering over a @x12 to replace my old massive carvin quad for a while, but have had zero opportunity to try one out. The markbass and bareface are two that I have considered, but I don't have the balls to pull the trigger on a 2KAUD cab sight unseen.
     
  11. KimGT99

    KimGT99

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    I have already found my holy grail. It's sth as common as can be: Ampeg 8x10. Heavy and bulky as f!?k, but I love the sound.
    But what's my holy grail doesn't necessarely fit into band context. So the fridge normally stays home. Since we mostly have good to strong pa support, I trust in my HB DI out and one HB LC as a monitor if really needed.
    But I admit that every now and then I watch for those W superlight 8" cabs.
     
  12. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I've had the cab for a day now and tweaked my amp, the horn level control on the back of the cab, and my fxboard until I found the sweet spot. Of course I am very much impressed but also aware that after one day of owning it I will be biased because it is still fresh and I haven't tested it in a less then ideal environment (my attic home studio has all kinds of acoustic treatment).

    View attachment 24909

    View attachment 24910

    As you can see I still use the Mesa Bass Prodigy, an all tube amp which besides warm and responsive also sounds very powerful and punchy. It has active bass and treb dials, a passive mid dial and a five way pre-shape selector which is neutral in the middle position, scooped when dialed to the left and middy when dialed to the right.

    With previous cabs, I always used the most scooped pre-shape (position 1 on the amp) and still dialed in a fair bit of low end to get serious bottom end and punch from the amp. With the Barefaced I now leave the lows near neutral and use the pre-shape in the mildly scooped setting (position 2) or even neutral (position 3).

    Dialing in treble on my basses or the amplifier actually increases the higher mids rather then treble, which sounds very aggressive and hurts the ears at higher spl. By increasing the treble on the back of the cabinet however I get a more natural sheen which sounds very pleasant indeed. I have never heard the treble coming out of my basses sound this lovely tbh so that is really awesome. Barefaced are utilizing a Faitalpro HF horn which by design doesn't sound harsh and this really makes the cab stand out in the higher frequencies - Lovely!

    While fiddling about with settings and testing stuff with several pedals on my board engaged and disengaged it occured to me that this cab reveals much more then my previous cabs did. While doing so I found out that my Darkglass Super Symmetry compressor adds some warmth and makes the bass output sound a bit more mellow as in it rolls off some of the highs. This was lovely with the old cabs as those highs came out pretty harsh compared to my new cab.

    I have now replaced the Super Symmetry with my older Aguilar TLC comp which is more neutral and adds punch to the signal instead of making it sound more mellow and warm (which I do not need as my amp sounds warm enough by itself already). This cab does an excellent job in translating that signal and really really packs a LOT of punch with the TLC engaged.

    Dragging the 2x12" cabinet which weighs 21kg up the stairs to my attic was really easy - the two handles on the sides of the cab allow you to pick it up and drag it up stairs really comfortably. The cab also has casters and a handle on top so you can roll it around with one hand while carrying your amp in the other. Awesome!

    So far so good, I am absolutely loving this cab.
     
  13. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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  14. Dom

    Dom

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    Nice DiMarco,
    I guess i found my holy grail in the Hellborg Hi Cab (2x12" / 24kg)
    I also dig my Marshall VBC412 which is a 4x12" cabinet but its super heavy and pretty large... The tone is very focused nice mid growl and really good bass response but a bit dull in the high (btw its enough for most cases, just not so neutral)
    I also build a 1x15" (Eminence Speaker) plus 4x8" (Jensen Speakers) stack which sounds really amazing... amazing clean, really good overall response but even larger than the marshall cabinet.
    Since a few month I got the Warwick Hellborg High Cab which is also awesome clean, a little loss in the bass frequency (really just a little bit) but hey that why an amp got a EQ section, just push the bass... and its very small and "light weight" . Thats my favorite cab for Gigs right now.
    I'm a little afraid of tweeters, didn't like them since I learned to play bass, thats why i decided to build a 4x8" cab that suits the 1x15" for more top end, and the hellborg Hi Cab got those nice coaxial speakers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2016
  15. Augie

    Augie The Desert Bass-ape

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    That barefaced sounds like my holy grail! except I had a look at their website and it would cost 2500AUD!
    that's some serious cash for a cab!
     
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