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18" speakers anyone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 4strings4me, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. 4strings4me


    Apr 26, 2005
    Does anyone use 18" speaker cabs in combination with 10's or 8's for stage bass rigs. Every music store that I visit is overwhelmed with 4-10" cabinets, and single 1-15" cabs. The salespeople insist that an 18" speaker is too "muddy" for bass guitar. 20 years ago, I played through a pair of EV S118 cabs These were 3-way cabs with 1-18", 1-10", + piezo tweeter and the sound was deep, smooth, and just enough brightness to emphasise the "snap" on R&B tunes from the 80's. I now own SWR 2-10 cabs and SWR 1-15 cabs, but still long for that 18" smoothness on the low notes. Thanks from a bass player who has now been drafted back to a "working" band after 15 years in retirement.
  2. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    I don't use one. But Eden and SWR both make very fine ones.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    most 18" drivers sound a bit "sluggish" compared to the smaller drivers, but thay can be great. often they require a good deal of watts to sound good, but that seems to be more true of dedicated subwoofers than those designed to be a bit more "full range".

    a good 18 can provide a ton of bottom end that can't be duped by most smaller drivers. in any event, the individual speaker and cabinet design and subsequent "voicing" will affect the tone of the speaker. IME, the bag end S18B-D is a pretty darned articulate cabinet. The SWR "big ben" is altogether different. A great cab in its own right, but much more of an augmentative box, coming into its own underneath a 4x10.

    ultimately it's up to you. as dr ruth says, "if it feels good, do it".

    the only caveat i would give besides wattage is the fact that they can cause problems with boominess (just as excessive bass boost can) .this can be difficult for you to hear on stage, but 30 feet out in the club people may be hearing nothing but foghorn, so be careful.
  4. I've used 18's, 15's, 12's, 10's and even had success with a stack of Bose using 4's. Best sound I've had so far is an Eden 210XST that has more extended, defined lows than any 15 or 18 I've played.
    I think top quality smaller drivers in properly tuned boxes have replaced the big dinosaurs we used to use.
    The only negative is that the big ol' things didn't need quite as much power (but watts are a lot cheaper these days).
  5. is the EV in the EV cab TL something 08? it had a removable port cover that changed the freq. respose and extended it measuarably. I probably still have the graph. it was cool.
    Currently I can barely find room for much smaller gear. and I will be left wanting this peice of araul heaven.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Salesmen will slag anything their store isn't carrying because they don't make comission off of gear that's not on the floor.

    I run an 18" EV under a 15" Bag End and I love this combo.
  7. Most commercial cabs in 18" leave a whole lot to be desired.

    The driver match to the cabinet volume is terrible, and the drivers themselves are cheap. The JBL E155 18" is a terrific bass driver, as are the Eminence Magnums, Beymas and Seleniums. None are cheap. They all require a tweeter or mid-bass driver to reach to 7,500 Hz, as none of the 18" will get there by themselves.

    I own an E155 and Magnum 18LF.
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I've been using an SWR Big Ben with an Aguilar GS410 beside it on the floor. Sounds BIG.
  9. Alard


    Nov 18, 2004
    Shelby Twp., MI
    18's do indeed have a sound you can't replicate with smaller cones. As with all things bass, it is subjective. I have used a lot of 15's some 10's and a few 18's. Right now I have an EVM18BX in a Traynor cab that was converted from a 4x12.
    The box is tuned per EV specs.
    Has good tone all on it's own.
    Will have to try mixing it with my Avatars, 2x10 and 1x15.

    ps. my amp is tubed, 2 x 6550 FWIW
  10. 4strings4me


    Apr 26, 2005
    Ok, a variety of opinions (that is excellent!) Most of the 18" cabinets that I have seen are PA sub-cabs. They are trapezoidal in shape and quite a bit deeper than the typical 10", or 15" bass cabs. I realize this is for combining them in an array situation for a very large front PA stack. They also seem to require a lot of watts (1000w or more in some cases)!

    Does the deeper cabinet allow me to send my bass tone out to the room farther than the shallow cabinets I now use. Or are these just huge boxes designed to project kick-drum-only frequency to the back walls? Should I be looking at boxes that are basically square/cubes in dimension, and the front face just slightly larger than the diameter of the driver. I am given to believe the difference is volume of air movement. And I am equating that to sound level increases with more air moving.

    My current rig: (SWR 1-15", and SWR 2-10" working man). The cabs are 8 ohms, rated at 200W RMS each. I connect them in parallel to obtain 4 Ohms. My amp is an old Randall Bass head rated at 350W @4ohms. One person has suggested that I run more power to my cabinets before going to the 18's. He wants to sell me a Crown XL402 and Ashley pre-amp in a rack. He feels that my amp is the problem.

    Here is the objective: We are a Top 40 cover band that plays in bars on the weekends. People (with the proper amount of alchohol to relax their muscles of course!) will dance to the beat of the kick drum, which they primarily feel from the 18" subs out front, I want them to feel my bass notes as well as hear them. My style of playing is to follow the kick-drum when possible and I am at a sonic dissadvantage with the kick drum blasting from the main subs which are 12 feet in front of my stage rig. My cab is miked and mixed to the front, but the tone is not the same when sharing the 18" PA cabinet with a kick-drum live. The EQ on the sub favors the lower drum and I get lost. :bassist:
  11. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I think you need a better sound engineer. If you have large PA support there is no reason you can't be more prominent in the mix. Perhaps the mic is the problem, most bassists use a DI box to send the board a full range signal that won't feed back like mics can. Also, depending on where the xover is set, only some of your tone is coming out of the PA subs, a large part of your frequency range is handled by the mains.
  12. In my experience, for a big stage, an 18 can add a really nice deep low end, esspecially if added to a cab with 10s. Dirk Lance used to use 4 410 cabs and 2 18s (huge eden rig!) but like the guys said above, the 18 on a small stage can send too much boom into the room, without you knowing it from onstage.

    Also, are you playing a 4 or 5 string bass, because the 5 will benefit more from an 18 than a 4 and if you are playing a 5, then your lower notes would typically be below even the kickdrum frequency, so if you're not getting that low punch through the Pa, then its probably your engineer (as stated above)...

    Ps. I personally prefer to use a DI to a mic, but if you are gonna mic the cab, send a DI line also. Some cabs don't have the frequency response to handle the real low fundamental frequencies, and therefore if you are just micing the cab, that might be where you are losing some of your low end...?
  13. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA


    Standard sound enineer mistake number 1. Kick drum sounds like godzillas foot landing an inch from your ear due to super low EQ and crossover points .... bass guitar? whats that? Oh you mean that guy that stands next to the drums?

    I'd try running direct out from your pre instead of micing, and work with the engineer to get your tone cooking through the FOH system. Trying to blast bass from stage is pretty tough depending on the venue. Ideally, your stage amp should be for your listening pleasure only, more or less.
  14. 4strings4me


    Apr 26, 2005
    I am going to add the DI to the FOH system, along with the miked 15" cabinet and fire the Sound Engineer. Actually, he is the keyboard player's best friend so he has a job for life. He is also a DRUMMER in another band on occasion. That may help to explain the predominant presence of drums in the mix. We will have a heart-to-heart discussion on the benefits of keeping the bass player in the band happy. Thanks for your Direct Input (no pun intended) on the value of using DI. As you may have guessed by my login name, I play a 4 string bass. Can anyone tell me what the frequency range is for each of the open strings (EADG)?
  15. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I beleive the E string is 42hz but I may get flamed any minute by someone mo' smarter on the subject. An 18" EVM 18B if you can still find one was a GREAT bass guitar driver as was the JBL K-151. Both required a 4-5 cubic foot enclosure though, but either speaker run full range will give a full fairly bright tone, especially with an 8" mid or tweeter. That EV series II was the brightest sounding 18 I ever heard. Good up to 2Khz at least.

    Go Chargers in 05.
  16. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    On the subject of 18" speakers... has anyone tried to use a PA 18" speaker with their regular bass speaker? I was at Guitar Center and saw a few folded horn 18" speaker enclosures for $500ish to $600ish. If I didn't say I was tempted, I'd be lying.
  17. 44me


    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    4strings4me - sounds like you're coming from the same place as me! With E as you lowest note (41Hz), I don't see why you'd want to lug an 18 around. Properly designed, an 18 doesn't have to sound muddy, as long as there are smaller drivers to pickup the higher frequencies. However, properly designed is going to mean a lot of cabinet volume, which really isn't necessary for a 4 string. It might be an advantage for a 5 string (low B is 31Hz), but there are alternatives. With power being so cheap and small, I'd go the Acme/big power amp route instead of an 18 if I played a 5.
  18. Low freqs=big long wave=lots of cone area to create Bass effectively.

    Doesn't matter if you use 1-18, 2-15, 4-10 20-6 in drivers to get lots of cone area.

    More smaller speakers will give you a better mid/high response and still have lots of cone area for lows, so you can get a full range 4-10 cab just adding a tweeter. To get full range with an 18, you need lots more help, either more drivers or another cab for mid-high freqs.

    I think the reason 18's are out of style is that they need so much extra help with mids and highs, and they're not necessary to get the lows out. Its simple Darwinism, survival of the fittest.

    I get tons of low B out of a 2-10 EA cab, and the old Ampeg 8x10 stack got tons of low end too. So one big mother of all drivers isn't required for good low end, just lots of cone area in a well tuned cab.

    Nothing "wrong" with an 18, you can get a great sound with the right setup. It works fine for subs, there are just easier/cheaper ways to get the lows without sacrificing the rest of the spectrum.

  19. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    The SWR 18 actually has a really nice mid response ... just no highs. Not that I'd run one as a standalone, but actually if you were more of a trad guy you might like it by itself, just round and deep.

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