A full sound ... created by wattage or # of speakers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mlbarlow, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. mlbarlow


    Apr 26, 2005
    Plattsburgh, NY
    Excuse the newb question, but I really would like to know if a lot of power though a single speaker can make a big sound, or, if one needs several speakers (perhaps of different sizes) to create a big, full sound.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    A speaker is only capable of producing a certain amount of sound, no matter how much power you push to it. Once you've reached its limit, any more power will simply produce more heat (or a broken speaker).

    But that CAN be a "big sound."

    All other things being equal, more cone area = more volume.
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I'd go with a stack of speakers (with plenty of power) for a "wall of sound." The room can make a difference though.
  4. MeYHymN

    MeYHymN Habitual User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Charleston, WV
    Now take for example 3 10" speaks vs 2 15" speaks. I've never seen 3 10's in a bass cab, but this is all hypothetically speaking. Theoretically they'll have the same sound volume level due to the same cone surface area. However the type of sound will be completely different. You'll hear the 10's better, but feel the 15's more. The 10's (typically) have a faster transient response so they'll reproduce higher frequencies more clearly, but won't have the cone excursion that the 15's have so you won't get the low frequencies reproduced as accurately. A single 10 will give you a nice full sound, but not much of it. Think of when you listen to a bass line through headphones. It's reproduced accurately, just not loudly.
    To sum it all up. Yes, for loud, full sound you need multiple speakers. Whether it be a 4-10, 2-10 and a 15, or an 8-10. Hope this isn't all too much to feed on. It mostly depends on personal taste. Some are quite happy playing through a single 15 or 18. I was happy playing through a single 15 for quite some time, but it had too much fat and flab for me.
  5. Supertanker

    Supertanker Watch the dog! He is trained to bite!

    Jun 23, 2005
    Begantino makes the IP 310 and Epifani makes the UL310...


  6. mlbarlow


    Apr 26, 2005
    Plattsburgh, NY
    great input ...

    what about a 212? that's sort of what I'm feeling ...
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It's more like how much pressure (SPL) the cabinet can produce for a given wattage. High efficiency designs (horn loaded) can can create a lot of pressure for low watts but just aren't available off the shelf.

    Otherwise adding more cones creates more pressure. But it can add some weird combing sometimes. Like it sounding louder in one standing position and quieter in another.

    Stereo manufacturers do things like if you see 3 of the same drivers in a tower, there's still a crossover and only one is producing the mid-range. Unless it's a line array - with a bunch of smaller drivers and sub-woofer attached.

    Designers like Bill FM and Bgavin earn their money that's for sure!

    A 212 is good, but I'd probably want to add a midrange 6 to 8" and crossover to it. It adds to what you hear.
  8. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I ALWAYS love the sound of multiple speakers instead of one.

    one speaker can sound good if its a quality speaker and fairly well juiced.
  9. MeYHymN

    MeYHymN Habitual User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Charleston, WV
    IMHO. 12's aren't my style at all. It seems they aren't as clean sounding as 10's or as low sounding as 15's. But it's just like pizza. There's 1000 ways to make one and my favorite probably isn't your favorite.
    Thanks SuperTanker, that's something I didn't know.
  10. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Go play an EA cxl-112. There isn't a 10" loaded cab out there with the same level of clarity as that cab, period. It also belts out more true lows than any 115 I've ever played/heard, and I've played quite a few.

    Blanket statements about how 10's sound one way and 15's sound another do not hold true. They did once upon a time, but speaker/cab design has developed to the point that speaker size is the least important factor in the tone of a cab. Old rules of thumb die hard...

    Back on topic, # of speakers is the easiest/most effective way to increase volume and create a wall of sound. However, sufficient wattage is necessary to drive them adequately. More wattage will always help, even with a single speaker cab, but I've yet to hear what I would consider a wall of sound from a single speaker cab.
  11. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Since when did 3 x 10^2 equal 2 x 15^2 ?

  12. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Actually it would be..

    3*(10/2)^2 vs 2*(15/2)^2

    Assuming of course that you had already factored out pi from both. The size of the speakers are given in diameter and not radius. That also assumes perfect circles, which isn't true, they are actually truncated conical sections.

    Sorry my inner math nerd just kicked in. At any rate, you are right, the 215 has WAY more surface area than a 310.
  13. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    It's not possible for a single driver element to work effectively over the full bandwidth of the electric bass. A minimum of three, of different sizes, are required for best results. You can get by with two, but three are better.
  14. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I disagree. surface area = pie x r squared
    for 3x10 = 3 x (3.14 x 25) = 236 square inches
    for 2x15 = 2 x (3.14 x 56) = 353 square inches
    not really that close, a 4x10 would be 314 square inches, still short of a 2x15
  15. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    It's all moot anyway, Vd (volume displacement) is what determines output, not Sd (cone area).
  16. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    I get a full sound running two DB728's into two 4x12's and a 6x10... very full. :) I would like to adda 2x15 to keep the 6x10 company though. I think that would about do it.

  17. its bit of both to get a big sound. the more/bigger speakers you have, the more air moves - greater volume and generally a bigger sound. but keep in mind you need to power behind it to accomplish this.
    this is just a very VERY brief summary, there really is more to it but i couldnt be ****ed posting long posts.
  18. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    "full sound" is almost in a basket with tone .... each may hear differently, some may call a tube sound full, others call it dirty ... a very 'full' sound when playing alone, may very easily get lost in a band mix or sound 'boomy' to some ... as mentioned, the speaker/cab designs are becoming so efficient these days that it is almost amazing what these little dynamos can produce ... I never used to step on stage in the early 70's with less than an 18" Vega (usually two), and now I am tickled by two well designed 110's ... perhaps a little different answer to the OP would be that adding speakers/cabs to bring an amp down to its lowest operating capability (2 or 4 ohm) vs. just increasing more power output into the existing cab/speaker, or running a lower impedance speaker ... USUALLY results louder and 'fuller' sound .... ie ... 500 watts into two 8 ohm 112 cabs (4 ohm load) will USUALLY sound much 'better' (louder/fuller) than 500 watts into one 4 ohm 112 cab (again 4 ohm load) ... keep in mind though, you need to have enough power behind whatever speakers you are pushing to keep a 'clean' signal ... you cant be delivering 25 watts into each speaker (being facetious) ... with the amp volume on the edge of clipping all night ... good luck ... 212's can sound huge ... so can 410's ... then again so can 112 or 210's ... lost of variables, and tastes change ... personally I have come to like a 112/110 or 112/110/110 combination ... this week :)
  19. hasadari


    Jun 23, 2005
    Generally wattage does not affect sound. Generally wattage provides a basis to gain volume while still keeping total harmonic distortion (distortion caused by the amplification of the low wattage signal from your bass) to a minimum.

    IMHO and IMHE, a full sound is created by (i) your bass (e.g., its electronics, EQ, Q, etc.), (ii) the placement of your fingers or pick in relation to the pick-ups (bridge side, less full; neck side more full), and (iii) speakers rated to handle the frequencies which you tend to want to accentuate (including speaker size, wattage appropriate drivers, and cabinet design).
  20. Tualatin


    Feb 7, 2005
    Step 1: Buy as much crap as you can.
    Step 2: Then go in debt buying more.
    Step 3: Turn up as loud as you can, and blow up some stuff in the learning process.
    Step 4: Repeat step 2.

    Full Sound.