ampeg 8x10 slant vs. straight back?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sean b 1970, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. sean b 1970

    sean b 1970

    Dec 25, 2013
    I recently purchased a vintage early 70s svt and am now in the hunt for a cabinet.I have only ever played through a slant back cab but Im seeing a fair number of straight back cabs available for reasonable dough(under $500.00). so my questions are :

    is the straight back that much better than the slants? ( do any of the vintage slants have the same drivers as the straight; alnico's?)

    Is the low price due to portability issues compared to the slant back or are there guys who prefer the slants for a sonic reason?

    Has anyone ever tried to add wheels /handles to a straight back to ease the pain of moving it a little?( thought that crossed my mind)
    Lastly and a little off topic: is it worth paying the extra cash to get 2 4x10s for the options or will the tone suffer?

    Thanks as always for the input in advance,
  2. will33


    May 22, 2006
    The old flatbacks were rated 240 watts. The old CTS drivers they were loaded with weren't much different from playing through lots of guitar speakers. They don't have as much lowend as the later slantbacks and a little "sweeter" tone in the mids and highs. That is why some of us like them the best.

    The slantbacks are no slouch though, sound quite good, and sound deeper and take more power.

    The old rigs came with 2 cabs because cranking up the amp had the potential to blow the single 240 watt flatback cab.
  3. JGbassman


    May 31, 2011
    I have and regularly use a 78 slant back cab with my newer svt cl head. Ive used the newer 810 cabs with the horn at some shows and I really prefer the sound of my older cab. There seems to be more of a growl with my older cab than the newer ones. Ive not used the straight back cabs so I can't compare it to those, but I just wanted to say I have noticed a big difference in the older slant back cabs compared to the newer ones.
  4. I have a '71 Blueline SVT head and also have a matching flatback 810, as well as a modern ampeg 810 available.

    The modern cab is convenient as far as power handling, portability, and even mixing amps with the multiple speaker inputs. The low end is easier to push with lower watt amps. To me, moder 8x10's sound louder if you only have between 100w - 150w or so. For instance, my Traynor YBA-3 could get away with using the modern 8x10 no problem, but it struggles to keep up with my flatback 810.

    Now for the flatback, it definitely has a sweeter tone. Smoother on the low end and much more nicer and prominent upper mids. Like I just mentioned, it doesn't speak volume as easy as a modern 810, but it certainly outperforms one in tone. It can still get loud, but in my opinion it really requires a good amount of clean headroom power to push it into full live band gigs (no PA support). The SVT is definitely enough power to push it. At around 9 o'clock it's already pushing the speakers into enough volume to play and keep up with a standard band. The downside is that past 10 o'clock on the svt, the speakers start to bottom out. So if you play in a LOUD band, or you play with pedals that boost your volume, or you really want to fill up a room nicely and smoothly, or even if you just want to drive your SVT head into some good crunch, you won't be able to do it with a single flatback 810. Sadly.

    The reason flatbacks are easy to pick up for cheap is because not many people now days are playing lower watt amps. It's hard to sell such a LARGE cab that will only handle, at most, a 200w head. If someone want's a cab that large, they usually want something to go with their loud amp. Of course, that's not everyone, but that seems to be the case. I've been trying to sell mine at $500 with original CTS speakers for the last few months without a single bite. Well, the one bite I had I was asked if it can handle 300 watts pushed hard and I said it wouldn't and recommended a modern 810.

    The old flatbacks sound superb, it just sucks that they are SO big while only being able to handle so little in today's "standards" of bass watts/power.

    Of course, YMMV. Hope that helps a bit.
    Seth Miller likes this.
  5. Yeah , what he said. I have never A-B'd the flatback to a slantback. Most in here say the old flatbacks sound a bit better but as stated above , an SVT can blow a single flatback if you are pushing it pretty hard. The slantbacks are rated for 800 watts which is significantly higher than the flatbacks and is the reason I prefer the slantbacks 'cause I can really crank 'em if I want to.(Not to say an SVT can't blow speakers in a slantback , just that there's more room for error.) All that being said , I really have never had to push mine really hard. If you prefer the extra wiggle room , you might want to hold out for a slantback. I have picked up 2 of them , both at $500 each. Tolex was a bit chewed up on them but the grillcloths on both were perfect and they both were in perfect working condition. Good luck.
  6. sean b 1970

    sean b 1970

    Dec 25, 2013
    Thanks again for all the input! I just found a great deal on a early 90s slant back...Any opinions? Good year?
  7. I'm not sure of the year, but at certain times ampeg 810s had darker sounding speakers. Make sure you play before you buy. I own a new (2011-2012) 810e, and its a great cab. Handles tons of power with no issues and always sounds good.
  8. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    I have not gotten to try out a flatback myself. But, there are a lot of guys on here (as you can see above) that regard the flatback tone as the Holy Grail of bass cabinet tone - at least for cabs with 10s in them. Unfortunately, as has been noted, they don't handle much power. And, they are hard to find with all original speakers. (chillerthanmost, if I were still near you, I would totally take your flatback. I looked for one forever when I was living out there)

    For people who want the flatback tone, the consensus seems to be that the Bergantino NV610 and the Ampeg Heritage 810 are the cabinets that come closest. The Berg will take 750W and the Heritage 810 will take 800. (Weird. I thought mine said 1600W, but the Ampeg site specs say 800.)

    I have both and I was expecting them to sound VERY similar, based on all the posts on here. But, they really do sound noticeably different. You can hear how they sound here (even, played through an early 70s SVT):

    The Heritage 810, reportedly, has drivers that were specially designed for it, specifically to recreate the original flatback sound. So, if you are going to choose a cab based on reviews and Marketing information, it sounds like you probably want a Heritage 810. It has all the power handling you could ever want, and, supposedly, The Tone. And, I have to add, it is EFFING LOUD.

    As an aside, the 810 specs say 100dB/W sensitivity and the Berg 610 specs say 103dB/W. So, in theory, I'd expect the Berg to be louder, for any given volume setting on an amp. But, when I compare mine, using the same amp and without changing the volume, the 810 is clearly louder.
  9. Early 90's is supposedly a good year. The so called "darker cabs" I believe were around 2000 to about 2006. Both of mine are dark cabs and I have absolutely no complaints with either of them.
    I've heard a couple folks in here say they sounded muffled. Couldn't prove it by me , I think they sound just fine. At any rate , yeah , a good deal on an early 90's cab is a good thing.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sharkbait is correct. They are muffled, but they can be EQ'd to sound brighter.

    I like most 810 cabs Ampeg has made except for the dark period cabs, but the two very best are the flatbacks with the CTS's and the Heritage 810e.
  11. sean b 1970

    sean b 1970

    Dec 25, 2013
    Seems as though the good deal on the early 90s cab has flaked...So far my take is flat back=good but I'm concerned about head room with their low wattage rating. So among the slant backs the concensus is avoid 2000-2007 or so...Is there a year when these cabs were not made from birch plywood. ..and just to avoid any debate on the subject, I have read the other threads regarding this Issue and just am not clear when the transition to alternative materials occurred.
  12. I wouldn't avoid the so called dark cabs. I have two of them and although I have never A-B'd them with the non- dark ones , I have no problem getting mine to sound bright. As to the materials question..... The 2000 to 2006 cabs were made of OSB chipboard. Pretty good quality OSB as I recall. There are 4 grades of OSB and I think the Ampeg cabs were made from the second to the best grade. The 2000 to 2006 cabs also used a different speaker and the consenses seems to be that these are what creates the so called dark sound. As far as I know , cabs before 2000 and after 2006 are all supposed to be plywood. I have seen a couple posts in here stating otherwise , but that is the best information I have. The OSB is supposedly not quite as strong as the plywood and I believe it is a bit heavier. All I know is I lost my grip on my OSB cab and it went down a flight of stairs. Cab was fine but the two bottom stairs were pretty much demolished. One complaint about the OSB cabs is that the wheels have been pushed up into the cabs. I have seen a couple posts mentioning this , but I don't know if it was documented or not. I do know that with sufficient abuse , the wheels of any type of cab can be punched through the bottom of the cab. I also know that the OSB is a bit more susceptible to moisture and water damage than the plywood is . My gigging cab stays in the back of my PU truck and has been there for a couple years with no noticeable damage or fraying of the chipboard. I have however read a few horror stories about the OSB cabs falling apart. I am giving only MY experience with these cabs so your mileage might vary. Whew. I have blithered again. If it's a good deal , I recomend any Ampeg 8 10 slantback cab. They all sound better than anything else IMO.
  13. sean b 1970

    sean b 1970

    Dec 25, 2013
    Just a quick update if anyone's still following!
    After much fruitless searching for a used 8x10 that fit my personal parameters, I finally gave up and ordered a heritage 8x10. ..Should be in by Thursday or Friday. ..very excited to hear the 70's svt through, what I've read, is a sweet sounding cab!
  14. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    You won't regret it Sean. The Heritage is the best sounding 810 that I've ever played through.
  15. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    Maybe I'm late to the party here, but back 10 or so years ago Psycho Bass Guy and I went through all of this and tried to come up with some conclusions...

    Re: the cabinets - the slantbacks are obviously much easier to move around. There was some speculation that the small amount of extra cabinet volume you get from the straightbacks in the top and bottom two sets of speakers makes them better though.

    Re: the speakers - I'm not sure on this but I think there were three different types of speakers used throughout the years. The late 60's/early 70's CTS AlNiCo's, the early 70's to late 70's eminence square mags, and the modern round magnet 100W eminences. Though the "dark" cabs you guys talk about probably had something different going on and I'm assuming the new "heritage" cabs have different speakers as well, so that brings the total up to at least five.

    Re: the power handling - Some say the 240 watt designation of the CTS loaded cabs was marketing BS to force you to buy two cabs when you bought the head. I don't know, but what I do know is that I've run my '73 SVT on "tilt" into a Weber-reconed CTS loaded late 70's cab (I prefer the mobility) for about the last 8 years with no problems. When I had them reconed, Ted (RIP) told me to hold them to 40-50W a piece, max, so that makes it at least a 320W cab. As for them being just like guitar speakers, have you ever played an SVT through a CTS loaded cab with the grill off and watched? If they were basically guitar speakers that amount of cone excursion would fry them almost immediately!

    I have no idea what the 70's eminence squaremags are rated for, but I've got a late 70's cab loaded with (again, Weber reconed) squaremag drivers. Been running that one for about 15 years, no problems.

    I definitely prefer the tone of the CTS's to anything else I've tried. The squaremags are a little darker and the newer (and by newer I mean early 80's on up with the round magnets) ones I've tried even darker yet.

    I haven't been on here nearly as much as I was 8-10 years ago, so maybe some things have changed. If I'm way off the mark here I'm all ears...

    edit: I've also got a straightback cab loaded with round magnet eminences. Not sure what year they're from. It just hangs out in the basement and doesn't really get used.
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You made an excellent choice, Sean! Out of all the cabs made since the flatbacks, the Heritage 810e is the only one that truly compares. Rickenbackerman's experiences are about dead-on to mine, although I have had a pretty high opinion of the 810's made since the flatbacks. Not quite as good, but still excellent. But none of them made me smile like the CTS cab until the Heritage. Your head will sound awesome through it.
  17. Rickenbackerman


    Apr 17, 2001
    Laurel MD
    You guys have me curious about the heritage cabs now... As if I don't have enough crap!
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yeah, you're really hurting for 810 cabs ;)
  19. Congrats Sean! I'm sure you'll love the Heritage.
    I just saw this thread and thought I'd add my $.02.
    I have a old SVT and flat back CTS cab that I've used for the past 25 years, so I am very acustomed to it. I've also used a variety of back line supplied SVT rigs, typically an SVT CL and always some slant back 810. Aside from the tonal differences between the flats and slants, and the difference between an old SVT and CL, the biggest dif is sensitivity of the various speakers. In the majority of gig situations (maybe 60%) I've found the flat back to be ideal, but sometimes it just wasn't enough. No doubt in my mind, two cabs would be perfect but a single slant back would be more practical and the trade off in the difference in tone is marginal. Speaking to the sensitivity of the speakers, I've found that the breakup of the flat back is close to that of (2) SVT 210 AV's, which is considerably quicker than a slant back. Still, if I come across another flat back locally at a good price, I would love to double up.
  20. sean b 1970

    sean b 1970

    Dec 25, 2013
    Wow! Thanks everyone...All the more excited hearing you guys prai, se the heritage!
    So just for added fodder, considering that my personal tastes lean towards clean headroom versus any serious break up ( not against a little tube break up) and considering the relatively low volume that my current band rehearses at, would you guys recommend picking up an old straight back ( seeing a couple in my area for under $500) for posterity sake?