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15" sub add any frequnecy to a 4 string?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by RobOtto, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. RobOtto


    Aug 15, 2002
    Denton, TX
    Reading some recent posts I've begun to doubt my current setup. I have a 2X10 and 1X15 currently. I only play 4-string basses and don't see myself changing in the forseeable future.

    Does the 15" add anything to my sound or would I be better off with a 4X10. I am refering specifically to frequencies and the like. Does a 4-string bass hit on any frequencies that a 15" can provide and a 10" can not?
  2. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I am by no means a "frequency expert", however I think it's gonna have a lot to do with how your cabinet is set up with regards to speaker response. Some manufacturers have cabinets with 10s that claim they can cover a low B while others can't. Normally, a 15" speaker is considered better at handling the low frequencies. This I gathered from both experience and so many posts on the same subject.

    but wait...in few minutes an expert will post something more scientific and explain it better...:p
  3. It depends.

    Many 15" drivers, such as the JBL E-series, have almost nothing for true bottom end. These drivers are characterized by high SPL ratings. Typically, the lower the SPL rating of the driver, the more likely it will accurately produce a low fundamental.

    You have to decided whether you even want to hear the low fundamental or not. Many players are perfectly happy with hearing the 2nd harmonic (82 Hz) of a 41 Hz low E. They could not care less about producing the true low E fundamental and many consider this to be "mud".

    Other players (me, for one) want to hear exactly what the bass produces. No more, no less. I want everything flat (produced accurately) from 41 to 8,000 Hz.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I too think the design of the cabinet is more important than the size of the speaker(s) when it comes to producing fundamentals. But as bgavin said, many of us are more concerned with good tone and good blend than we are about perfect reproduction.

    P.S. I don't mean to imply that tone+blend and perfect reproduction are mutually exclusive; it's just that it can be difficult/expensive to score the hat trick, and if the one criteria isn't important, why bother with it?
  5. RobOtto


    Aug 15, 2002
    Denton, TX
    Specifically then, my 15" is a Hartke 115XL and my 2X10 is a Genz Benz BX. Both are good sized solid built cabs with lots of port holes and weigh a ton. I am considering moving to an Avatar 4X10 for ease of transport and cutting the total weight of my gear for gigging and the like. I also might keep the 2X10 and add the Avatar 4X10 to keep me from having to get a 4ohm cab from Avatar.
  6. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Not an expert...
    I to agree that the cabinet design has the last word. I love 15's and found out they are of course not all created equal. What I happen to like in a 15 is particularly an EV loaded into a Mesa Cab. The Diesels are great and the Road Readys are supposed to be way better than those although I don't own a RR and have not a/b. Boogie claims there design is closer to a "full range" type design. There is no horn in these babies and you don't need one. Sounds great with a Mesa 400+. I acutally have two of the 15 cabs and one 2x10 which I'm selling one 15 and the 2x10 BTW, because my 400+ sound better to me with just the stand alone 15.
  7. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas

    Hey, I've got the Avatar 4x10...great cab for the money and it's been my main rig now for six months, but I'm adding a 15" cab just because I'm not totally satisfied with the bottom end. I play a five string and I want that low B loud and clear. It can handle the low B "ok", but not nearly as solid as I would like it to.

    just my opinion...
  8. the 15 besides maybe having a lower freq. response will also sound different to the 210 in higher registers...it will probably be warmer and smoother than the 10's, but not as punchy...it depends on what sound you like...i think a 210 with a 15 will probably cut through better than a 410??
  9. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Well I just looked on the Avatar website and didn't see any hard specs about the 4x10's frequency response so it's hard to say if you'll be losing low fundamental or not. What's up with not posting those specs anyway??!

    Does anyone have specs for the Avatar 4x10?

    brad cook
  10. I used a Trace Elliot head and a Trace Elliot 4 x 10 cab for about 6 years as it was and it sounded good! I added a Trace Elliot 1 x 15 to it, and in addition to getting the use of the full power of the amp, I found that it filled out my sound in a pleasing way.

    I think 10s and 15s compliment each other nicely - they're just a pain to lug around!:)
  11. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    The ways different manufacturers measure specs like that differ so much that they really aren't very useful, and even when they're "accurate" they're not going to tell you how a cab sounds. Don't rely on specs.
  12. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    I ditto bgavin and as another subwoofer user I FEEL it's worth that one extra cabinet regardless of wheather I'm playing four or five string. But your question is wheather a 15" is doing something to your sound. Well...you tell me. You unplug the 15" and you lose what?

    Many here assume that a full range 15" or 18" automaticly goes lower in frequency. While a few might go a little lower generaly the 2/4-10" does a better job. You might notice when looking at a manufacturers specs that their 2/4-10"s usually go a little lower than the 15"s and 18"s and usually handle more power.

    15"s offer a different tone and or timbre not necessarily a lower frequency response. Sounds like you've got 4-tentinitus another form of GAS.
  13. i don't think that 15 is a sub anyway, its jsut a full range 15 inch bass speaker, so it will jsut make your sound more full and smooth..i think
  14. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    I think that besides spl, freq. response,porting, etc.
    you should add a 15 for color. 4x10 stand-alone or 2x10 w/ 15 seem to be your choices.
    IMO specs aside, a 15' cab will give dimension to the sonic output that 10's don't carry. It certainly will also be dependent on the amp, bass, fingers, & brain too!
    I added a Diesel EVM 1x15 to my Boogie Buster 2x10
    Wedge- YEAH! I amuse myself by A/B'ing, & for sure together they produce the best tone.
    The advantage of a 4x10 stand-alone may be just 1 cab to haul, the advantage of a 2x10 + 15 may be that the rig is "modular".
    There are cabs made w/ 10's + 15, but too cumbersome for me!
  15. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Whether your talking about 4x10, 2x10, 1x15 or ANY type of speaker cabinet, it depends entirely on the combination of the cabinet and driver(s). For instance, a SWR Goliath III's frequency response is -3db at 40hz. What that means is the low end begins to roll off pretty steeply below an open "e" (~41hz). So it's an good cabinet for a 4 string bass, but it's gonna be pretty weak on the open "b" of a 5 string. To understand frequency response in db's, a 3db difference is what is considered a noticable change, while a 10 db increase is considered twice as loud.

    That said, all 4x10's are not created equal. Let's compare.........Avatar doesn't list the specs on their 4x10, but they do give the dimensions and the type of driver they use, so I ran the parameters through some cabinet design software I have. Their 4x10's low end response is -3db at 70hz - bass roll off begins nearly a full octave higher than the SWR. While this is a decent cabinet for the price, it's just not in the same league as the SWR. Drivers that go low and are efficient enough to be used in sound reinforcement are not cheap, and since low efficiency speakers really aren't an option in a bass rig, the compromise comes in the low end response. As far as the cabinet itself, for the purpose of analyzing frequency response, the only relevant aspects are the cubic volume and port dimensions, which are similar for these cabinets.

    Sure, you want the cabinet to be solid and durable, but as far as frequency response in concerned, as long as the sides don't flex what really matters is size. We're talking basic vented bass cabinets, not folded horns or transmission lines.

    So for your 4 string, the SWR really wouldn't benefit much from a proper 1x15, where the Avatar definitely would.

    So it depends on whether or not your existing cabinet is producing adequately down to 40hz, AND it depends on if the 1x15 cabinet you add will produce adequately down to 40hz; many do not. If you learn a little about Thiele-Small alignments you will find that MANY bass speaker designs are severely lacking. The main thing you will discover is that nearly all bass cabinets have been made smaller than they should be in the interest of portability, but at the cost of low end response. Really good bass response requires big cabinets.

    Put it this way........I'm play a custom 36" scale 5 string. Low "b" is 31hz. If I want a subwoofer that has absolutely flat response, +/-0db, down to 31hz, and can produce 125db, I will need a cabinet with a top-notch, pro quality 18" driver (JBL 2242, Eminence Kilomax 18) in a vented cabinet, properly tuned, that is about 18 cubic feet. And I'll need at least 1000 watts also. For comparison, the aforementioned Goliath III is about 5.3 cubic feet.

    Unless you use some fairly exotic (and expensive) electronics, you cannot get really low bass in a small package at the volume required for live sound.

    Don't be fooled by the subwoofers you hear in car audio. They get a HUGE boost in response from being inside a car. If you put them on a stage next to a drum kit, you wouldn't even be able to hear 'em. Compared to real sound reinforcement speakers, they are very inefficient.

    And yes, I am building the sub cabinet I mentioned above. 30"wx44"hx26"d, Eminence Kilomax 18", 1000 watts RMS.
  16. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Interesting to note that the SWR 1x15 (Son of Bertha) has LESS low end response than the Goliath III. -3db at 45hz. So while this cab may add a certain quality to the sound of the GIII alone, it will not extend the low end response.
  17. Sorry, but this is pure crap.

    I can hurt people with my subs, either by crushing their eardrums or with falling objects dislodged from the bar. The chicks in the bar dig it because the pounding is more stimulating than what they get from their boyfriends... and it lasts 4 hours, too.


    I typically only use two 1x15 subs (Rockford RFR-2215) in most of my venues. Occasionally I have need for four (outdoors, gyms, etc). And yes, I need a lot of power to drive them. Mine are flat to 30 Hz, and -3dB around 26 Hz in 5.4 cubic feet net volume, SBB4 alignment at 20 Hz.

    All drivers positioned inside a vehicle get a fabulous bass increase from what is known as Cabin Gain. That is why using vented boxes in automotive applications doesn't work: too much bottom. The sealed box is ideal because its rolloff pattern is inversely proportional to cabin gain. Sealed subs are indeed flat down to 20 Hz inside a car.

    The JBL 2242 in SBB4 alignment is -3dB at 71 Hz, and in a optimal flat alignment about 54 Hz. Sorry, but JBL are built to be loud, not have extended low frequency. The JBL 2245 is a lot closer, but it is out of production.

    The Eminence Kilomax Pro 18 is -3dB at 28 Hz in an SBB4 alignment at 12.5 cubic feet.
  18. ingmar


    Oct 14, 2002
    Normandy, France
    My 2 cents worth: I replaced a stack of SWR Goliath Junior III 2x10" and Son of Bertha 1x15" with an EBS 410 (specced at 70Hz) and don't think I'll ever regret the SWR stack. THe 410 has plenty of apparent bottom but is overall more punchy and defined, no mud versus some for SWR and it can also growl with the right EQ.

    And oh yes, I play the EBS 410 mostly with flat EQ while I had to add plenty of bass and low mids with the SWR stack, using the same SWR Bass350 amp.
  19. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
  20. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    >>Sorry, but this is pure crap.<<

    Umm, well, no it's not.

    Your Rockford RFR 2215's efficiency is 89db, 1 watt/1 meter. For every 3db increase you have to double your wattage. So at 1000 watts, which is the RMS rating for this speaker, you'll theoretically get 119 db, although you generally lose around 3db to power compression in real life. So, if you've got the amp to handle it (2000 watts), your looking at about 116db sustained with 119db peaks. Using two cabinets, if they are positioned side by side to enable coupling to occur, will get you a 3db boost. That is ALL your going to get out of this speaker.

    IF this happens to be loud enough for your needs, that's great. But it ain't really all that loud.

    A 18" Kilomax has an efficiency of 97db. In an 18 cubic foot cabinet tuned to 25hz, it's flat to 30hz. At 1000 watts, it'll put out 124db, sustained, accounting for power compression. That's nearly twice as loud. You'd need at least 8 of your rockford cabinets to do that. Not to mention at least 8000 watts to drive 'em. So you can have flat response to 30hz and 124db two ways. 1 18 cubic foot box and 1000 watts, or 8 5.4 cubic foot boxes (43.2ft3 total) and 8000 watts. Take your pick.

    Bottom line, there is no such thing as a small subwoofer that will go really low, and is REALLY loud. There is always a trade off. If you want to go low and LOUD, you gotta get big.

    True, the JBL 2242 doesn't go that low, I was just giving examples of subs commonly used in sound reinforcement. Wasn't really thinking about the actual specs.

    Anyway, do you think the folks at Clair Bros, Showco, Rat Sound, etc. are clueless? Do you think they have large bass bins because they LIKE moving big heavy boxes that take up a lot of space on the truck? Heck no! They would LOVE to make a PA system with flat response to 25hz, would hit 130db outdoors, and fit in a Ford Focus. If you know how that can be done, you really ought to get on it, because you'd be a very rich person. Every touring sound company in the world would be beating a path to your door.

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