215....118.....is one better than the other?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MJ5150, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. 1x18

    1 vote(s)
  2. 2x15

    25 vote(s)
  1. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I have been to several music stores in the past week trying to figure out how to redo my rig. A suggestion was made to me that conflicts with what I have heard before. It came from a bass player, so I gave it some thought. Here it is:

    He told me that a single 18" will produce a better low end than any 215, or single 15 around. I use Peavey Black Widows in my cab, and he told me a single 18 would still be better. According to him, an 18 can pick up frequencies way lower than a 15. He felt that matching a 118 with a good quality 210 will give me just about the best sound that can be had from a bass. I realize it is purely his opinion, since there is not "one" perfect bass rig.

    What do you all think? 118 better than 215? WHat would you choose?
  2. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I would go with the 2x15. 18's are much less versatile and you relly need to biamp it to get a good overall sound. All I have is a 2x15, and that is all that I need. I have plenty of high end for my tastes and I have never had any problems shaking things off the walls. With the 18 you need tons of power for it to sound good, also you would need a crossover since they usually sound terrible over about 100 Hz or so.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Hmmmm.....thank you for that Zon. I see I am not the only one running a 215. For a while I felt like I was.

    Interesting point about the power, and crossover. I guess I could not power that 18 with my HA3500 then. I was always happy with the lows in my 215 until this guy told me that a 215 cannot produce the low frequencies that a low B puts out. He said I was only hearing part of them.

    Anyone else care to share?
  4. I own a hartke 3500... It's way underpowered for any 18" speaker especially if you're using the 18 alone. 18's tend to 'suck power' like crazy. That's all they do, with good rumble, but much of it aint heard well in my opinion, especially if you're use of it is to be an onstage monitor. I love my 3500, but it barely cuts through with my avatar cb15. I need a 410 to be properly heard without clipping like hell... But the 3500 410/115 setup is killer.... Id prefer a 215 over an 18 anyday...
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    If you are referring to the Hartke 215BXL bas cab, he is wrong.

    That producces solid low end all the way to 30hz which is just a bit more than what you need for the low B.

    I know from trying it out that it does have that solid low end and its not just published specs. Killer cab without a doubt.

  6. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    If it weren't for weight and size problems, I'd definitely get a 215, for the sheer power and rumble!

    (Imagines an old Mesa Boogie EV 215 w/Bass 400+, drools on keyboard)

    :D :bassist:
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I think a 15" will give you more useful lows than an 18". 18's are slower moving than 15's, so you will not have as defined as an attack with the bigger speaker. The 15's will be punchier, and I don't think it matters much that they can can't produce ultra low frequencies as well. You can't really hear much below 40 hZ anyway, and then, why would it be necessary to they audience? Get something that kicks them in the chest, like the 2x15. And then get a few roadies to help you carry it.
  8. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    basstriaxis said....."Get something that kicks them in the chest, like the 2x15. And then get a few roadies to help you carry it."

    Yeah dude!! I like that idea. The 215 I use now definitely does that. The only thing that sucks about it is the weight. My son is getting old enough to help me carry it tho. :)

    BTW, it is not the Hartke 215BXL. This is a Yamaha made cab, I put in Black Widows myself.

    I do not think I need a 410 cab to go with the 215. I am gonna hunt down a good 210. But I guess I will need an amp with a crossover so my 210 cab doesn't crap out from the lows. The Firebass seems like a good one to me.
  9. 2x15. The 18's require much more power to push those few extra frequencies they put out. The 15 are faster and provide more attack than the 18's do too. The 18's are really for stadium or arena use. The sound wave made by the 18 when slapping a low b has a height of 12 feet and a length of 24 feet. That needs a lot of room to develop into actuall sound instead of noise. You can put a 4 10 with a 2 15 easily. The really low frequencies pushed out by the 18 aren't even neccessary, some you can't even hear. And the 2 15's easily make up for those 5-10 frequencies they don't put out with the wall of sound they produce. A 410 and 215 biamp would be more even than a 210 and 215. It really depends on how much hi and low tone you want in your setup.
  10. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    1. You can't judge speakers based on their size alone. There are fast, articulate 18's (SWR Big Ben, Accugroove, Bag End, etc....) and there are crappy 15's to be had as well. Bottom line is that a quality 18" speaker will go lower than a quality 15" speaker. That's why folks like JBL and ElectroVoice make 15's and 18's. Different tools for different jobs. Especially if you play a 5 string, a good 18 is a wonderful thing.

    2. The hearing range of the average person is 20Hz to 20KHz.

    I'd say the biggest consideration is whether you play a 4 or a 5 string. There's lotsa cabs that go down to 40Hz and very few that do 30Hz.

    SWR says that a Big Ben can be used standalone, but I've never heard one used by itself, so I can't say. I've never heard an 18 that could be used by itself unless you're really into reggae or dub. It wouldn't be a very flexible rig.

    If you're going to bi-amp with a single 18, I can pretty much guarantee that the 18 will be the limiting factor in your maximum volume. A better balance is 2 18's and a 2x10. But that's a lot of gear to tote.

    I've got 2 Cerwin-Vega 1x18 cabs (front-loaded, not the folded horns) AND I've got a 2x15 loaded with EVM 15B Pro-Lines. The 18's are nice when you've got the room, but each one is the size of the 2x15, and nearly the weight. Also, the 18's have to be biamped - these don't do anything above 150Hz or so, so there's some more cabs to carry. But they will truly rock your world. I usually use these for PA duty, but if I'm playing a large stage and the PA is being provided, I'll bring 'em out.

    The 2x15 is an excellent stage monitor. EXTREMELY loud, well-defined, and enough highs that you can live without additional cabs, but it is by no means a hi-fi sound. Not a lot of highs, not a lot of lows, but a very usable tone. It does a low b quite well, it just doesn't have the richness of the 18's - a lot less air, doesn't really make your pants flap. But I can take the 2x15 anywhere and it will get the job done. It just won't do it with quite the style of 2 18's and a 2x10 biamped.
  11. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Sound does not need "room to develop". That is a total myth derived from the performance of horn enclosures. For fairly complicated reasons involving a lot of physics, horn enclosures do not reach peak SPL until you are 6 or 8 feet away from them. But they are still entirely audible up close. NONE of this applies to typical front-loaded speakers.

    If sound needs "room to develop", how do you explain headphones? Good ones have flat response from 20Hz to 20Khz.....
  12. I like 215's much better after using a 410/118 stack for a while. I hav both my 215's for sale due to unforseen unemployment. Both are Ampeg 215Es anyone interested?
  13. Dude, it's just the size of the speaker. What does horns have to do with this? Headphone speakers are very small and only at like 1 watt of power, therefore that little space between your ear and heaphone it all you need. When standing near an 18, even at high levels, all you hear is your ears being blown out by this low blurr, you need to be further away to really hear it. That is evident with most speakers pushing 100 watts or more.
  14. Hey J. from Samsara, how much for one of those cabs and how old are they? Does your unemployement have relation to the unemployement rise over the country because of the reccession?
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA

    You guys are smart! I learn alot from you all.
    *********THANK YOU*******************

    I am just starting to understand amps, and ohms. So "bi-amping" is something I do not understand. If I had to guess, I would say it involves two amps. I think I better stay away from bi-amping.

    I play a fretless 5-string BTB in a rock cover band. I do not think I need a "hi-fi" sound for what we play. As a matter of fact, I only get compliments about my sound quality. I think I just want to redo my rig just for something to do. Kinda like GAS I suppose. I always thought it would be great to own a 810, or at least a 410.
  16. Biamping is when you use one bass head and 2 or more speaker cabinets ( maybe 2 low cabs and 2 high cabs when using more than 2). You really are using 2 amplifiers but in one head. Some heads like the Hartke bass heads have a crossover frequency that goes from like 0-500 hz or whatever it is. You just set the split between the two using the knob. The lower halph of those frequencies goes to the designated lower outputs and high's to the high outputs. Then you hook up the 15's to the low output side and the 10's to the high output side. Biamping alows for the different speaker cabs to opperate at their best performance depending on the speakers enclosed in the cabs.
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    The Hartke3500 that I use does not have any settings to adjust where the highs and lows go. I have contour adjustments next to the EQ, but no kind of crossover. It has two speaker outputs in the back to plug in two cabs, but the only identification on them is 8ohm. I do not think I am able to bi-amp with this head.

    But if someone where to hook up a 410, and a 115 to this head, how would the highs and lows be seperated then?
  18. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX

    Dude, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

    I mentioned horn enclosures because that is where the myth of sound needing "room to develop" started.

    Headphones are an example of being able to hear low frequencies at close proximity. Since you seem to think this has to do with low wattage, please explain the 300 watt subwoofer in my car that is never more than 3 feet from my ears yet is completely clear and audible..

    If you get your ear within 6 inches or so of a speaker you'll probably hear some of the flexing of the surround and maybe some noise from air moving in and out of the port. But you do not have to be a certain distance from a speaker to hear low frequencies. Regardless of the wattage. If you want to tell people about sound reproduction, it would be a good idea to actually know something about it.

    I've been studying sound reproduction, running PA's, and playing bass for a little over 20 years. My guess is that's longer than you've been alive.
  19. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX

    That's right, you can't bi-amp with that head.

    They wouldn't be separated. Both cabs would get the same signal. But the 4x10 will probably have quite a bit more high end due to the nature of the smaller speakers, and the 15 will have a bit more low end, generally speaking. There are some high end 4x10's that have pretty good lows, and a few that have excellent response all the way down to a low b.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    <<<bows respectfully to BruceWane>>>>>

    Again, I am impressed with the vast amount of wisdom around here. I am very thankful to you for taking the time to explain this to me.

    I think I am just going to buy a nice 4ohm 210 right now. I will not be able to play both cabs at once since the minumum load on the 3500 is 4ohm, but I can get a couple different tones that way. Plus, one will be much easier to move.

    That seems to be the cheapest/quickest solution for my GAS. I only have $900 to spend. I don't see myself getting a good 410 and a dual channel amp for that much.