Bigger bass cabs, what's the big deal?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by yonoid_man_man, Apr 14, 2014.


  1. yonoid_man_man

    yonoid_man_man

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    I really want to build a 4x15 (or comparable) cab, and am quite intrigued by Mark Percy's design. However, I'm a little confused by the naysayers. From what I read on his website and based on my own acoustic knowledge, it would seen to be a pretty good design, but that also doesn't seem to be the case according to the pros.

    billfitzmaurice, fEARFUL, and a few others, I read some other posts of yours in a thread about someone building an 8x15 cab and others about the larger cabs, and while many of them definitely seem quite ridiculous, I'm just interested in getting some info on why pairing bigger speakers together seems to continually be considered as a design flaw in most of these threads.

    I like the smaller 10" cabs just fine, I currently own a few, they have a nice, punchy, crisp sound. But something they all seen to seriously lack is bass presence, and especially in a rehearsal or performance situation without having to crank the bass on your amp and overwork your drivers. I used to own an 18" extension as well, and felt that it really added a lot to the overall presence of the sound, but it also made my sound difficult to tailor, and added another cab to load in/out and take up more space as well as more backbreaking trips to the truck.

    I kind of thought that doing a "best of both worlds" build with slightly bigger speakers with a deeper and presumably more present tone would slightly increase the weight of one cab, but vastly reduce the amount of cabs that I need to haul around, which is why I'd like pro expertise on this subject.

    Another of my little issues is that I play subcontra bass and want a cab that can seriously stand up against a sub C# (somewhere around 17Hz, I believe) at higher volumes without breaking the bank.
  2. groooooove

    groooooove

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    i don't think the larger cabs you describe are considered to have design flaws- just that none of us want to carry (or can get into our vehicles) something that huge.

    i'd love to test drive a 4x15, but even 4x12 is impractical- they sound monstrous, but for me the sound i need comes perfectly out of one or two 12" speakers. i've never had a complaint about a lack of presence.

    the more experienced i get, the more i think any speaker size is perfectly fine for bass- it just needs to be a high quality one. i've played low end 15" cabs- they have nothing good coming from highs mids or lows. i've played high end 6" speakers that sound fantastic for bass.

    if you're looking to do low C# stuff, maybe just a pair of 18" cabs would do fine- that's what i'd look into. but i encourage your experiments and hope to see video reviews with high quality audio so we can see what you've done.
  3. basscooker

    basscooker

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    17 Hz at higher volumes.... hope you're wearing a flame suit.
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Don't just TalkBass - PlayBass! Supporting Member

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    Welcome, you must be new around here. :cool:

    Have some... ;)

    Attached Files:

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  6. Cirk

    Cirk

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    Speaker size by itself is not really a relevant judge of frequency response. It depends more on the specific driver and how it responds to how the cabinet is tuned. Also, getting that low will require a stupid amount of power.
    That being said, you can build a huge cab if you don't mind schlepping it around. One crazy idea for getting that low and loud would be a tapped horn with a pair of 18" TC Sounds model 5400 drivers. They will get down to 15hz in the right cab. That cab would be huge, weigh a brick ton and the sound man will hate you.
  7. yonoid_man_man

    yonoid_man_man

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    I've been around awhile, just don't post all too often

    I don't own a flame suit, I do own earthquake underwear.
  8. will33

    will33

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    You're on the right track as far as more cones on a bigger baffle pumping more air = "bigger sound". As far as the rest....well, I already have a full time job. :)

    Not to be snarky or anything. I'm on a phone here and just plain don't have the time it would take to explain it.
  9. yonoid_man_man

    yonoid_man_man

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    That's the reason I'm interested in Percy's 4x15 or something comparable as a general purpose cab, and not just for the subcontra, but also for general bass use.
  10. will33

    will33

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    FWIW, humans don't hear 17hz.
  11. basscooker

    basscooker

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    Few if any people can hear that low. Likely the next octave up is the best bet for an audible signal. 34Hz is still pretty darn low. Most of the guys that know their stuff say that even the fundamental of low E (41Hz) isn't necessary to reproduce loudly to seem low. You also need ridiculous power to make low end get loud. Good luck and all that, but you may be going about it the wrong way. You may spend a ton of cash and get no better results than just using a cheap car sub. (not recommended, BTW).
  12. yonoid_man_man

    yonoid_man_man

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    FWIW, Humans may not hear 17Hz, but they do FEEL 17Hz. :p

    Also, as for any/all arguments about lower tunings vs. standard tunings and what humans hear/don't hear, let's all try not to get lost in the details. I'd prefer this thread to mostly focus on the cab design element, and instead try to answer the question of why larger speaker pairings doesn't seem to be particularly popular these days. In my experience, if you're moving enough air, you can effectively "fake" a 17Hz note anyway.
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

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    This. Besides, who wants to carry a few dozen extra kilowatts to produce something that you can't hear. :crying:

    Also side by side 15's will beam like a mofo pretty quickly unless you've got dedicated mids and cross over.
  14. kesslari

    kesslari Supporting Member

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    This. Hauling a 4x15 is a non-trivial exercise.

    With that said, if it floats your boat...
  15. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

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    Different strokes. I googled Mark Percy since I had no idea what you were talking about. He isn't concerned about comb filtering, prefers JBL K140s full range, and thinks the Eminence Kappalite 3015LF isn't very musical.

    I'm not a fEarfull advocate by any means, I frankly get sick and tired of hearing about them, but with a subwoofer like a 3015LF, you need a midrange for the cab to sound "musical", and with enough watts, which are cheap nowdays, you can achieve the same goal with two 3015LFs and the 18 sound mid driver.

    If you don't want to mess with crossovers and you lift weights or have roadies to do your lifting, then the 4x15 might be for you. It doesn't really conform to design principles that BFM and Greenboy use, but if it makes you happy, cool.
  16. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

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    Even if you don't want that route, the easier way for most people to skin this cat would be to have 2x15's and set them up side by side. If you're of the type that cares, toe them in a bit to help some of the cancellations and you've got something twice as portable as that huge 4x15.
  17. Alexander

    Alexander

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    A good 4x12 or 8x10 cab is about all I'd ever need
  18. yonoid_man_man

    yonoid_man_man

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    So do the old school Sunn and Kustom 4x15 cabs account for the comb filtering issue?
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

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    No, but then, there are plenty of other cabs that don't either. but comb filtering isn't the same thing as beaming either. Remember that side by side drivers act as a single speaker with the combined diameter, so if you have two side by side 15's, your speaker is acting like a 30" in respect to how the mids and above are being projected. So unless you're dead in front of that speaker, you're only getting lows. That's once of the reasons that 15's got a bad name for being rumble without anything above.
  20. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

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    If 17Hz isn't actually heard as sound, there's no such thing as a 17Hz "note". Human hearing can generally detect a pitch difference of 25 cents with no problems, but once things go subsonic, I rather doubt that many people would recognize the difference between feeling an "in tune" 17.32Hz C# rumble and a 25 cent flat rumble at ~17.10Hz, in the absence of higher harmonics.
  21. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen

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    Reading the rest of Mark Percy's site might tell you a lot about how insane he is. The ports on the cab are way small too.

    The big Greenboy cabs will do the things you want to hear/feel, but maybe not what you think you want to hear/feel.

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