An honest question here - 8X10 & 2X15 paired

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BozosBarber, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. BozosBarber


    Dec 18, 2012
    I have seen several threads here that decry the use of different speaker cabs - and I still can't make sense of them.

    Let's take two cabs from the same manufacturer-

    The Mesa Powerhouse 8X10 and the Mesa Powerhouse 2X15
    both 8ohm

    Why is it not a good idea to run these simultaneously?

    Or any other combination of cabinets with the same ohm rating?

    This might seem elementary to some but I can't seem to make out the reasons for not doing it

    And snarky BS - this is an honest attempt at trying to understand a configuration issue
  2. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Not getting an even EQ setting through two different cabs, (410 & 115 ) was the only reason I never really liked mixing driver size. It never sounded right to me. One cab was brighter and one was darker. Sounded muddy. I suppose if you had two amps you could EQ each cab the way you wanted. Two identical cabs seem to reinforce the each other without sounding muddy IMO. Those two cab you mention are completely different beasts with their own tone.
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    awful big cabs to be 8Ω each.

    anyhow, do some more reading in those threads you mentioned; it's not that those two cabs will sound horrible, catch on fire and make the baby jesus cry if you mix them together, it's just that usually matched cabs sound better, as in more even with stronger bass and no "holes" in the spectrum.
  4. Hi.

    To make it a bit easier, You can take two polar opposite approaches and choose from them when reading those replies/threads.

    #1 Scientific.
    #2 Flying by the seat of Your pants.

    Once You decide which approach you want to follow, it'll make more sense.
    At least it did for me back in the day.

    Won't bother to google the published power ratings or individual speaker impedances of those said cabs, but it's pretty safe to assume that the 15" would recieve at least double the wattage that the 10" recieve. = BAD for the 15". Especially if on bottom.

    Stacking 'em vertically 810 on the bottom and 215 on top, would be the scientific approach.

    Wouldn't necessarily sound too bad either.
    The voicing of those cabs in mind, they probably could be treated as an (short) array for on the "meaningful" BG frequencies.

    Not to mention it'd look bad-4$$ :).

    Placing 'em on opposite sides of the stage would be the worst case scenario for the "Flying by the seat of Your pants approach".
    Leading to all sorts of weird frequency behaviour.

    When speaking about SS amps, the cab's nominal impedance has little or nothing to do with the real reasons why it isn't the best of ideas to run 'em together.

    The frequency response polar patterns of the cabs and the power distribution between the individual speakers matter more.

    Hardly elementary IMHO since the reasons for not doing it are scientific, and apply to the real world situations differently.
    And since the reasons for doing it are derived outside of sience ;).

    You'll sure get that as well ;).
    Not from me though.

  5. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    First look at power distribution. If your amp sends for example 400W to these 2 cabs, it will be divided evenly between them as they're both 8 ohms. So, 200W to the 8x10 and 200W to the 2x15. That means that each driver in the 8x10 is getting 25W and each driver in the 2x15 is getting 100W.

    The result is that you'll reach the limits of the 2x15 while the 8x10 is still coasting.
  6. I completely understand the physical science as to why not to pair them. But, I do. I use a Fender PRO 8x10 and a Mesa Powerhouse 2x15" side by side. It sounds great, I love it and when I don't need to use both cabs I can select which one or the other I feel would be the most beneficial for that particular show.


    (The Fender is loaded with 8Ω celestions yielding the Fender name to make a 4Ω cab, the Mesa Powerhouse is currently loaded with 8Ω Delta 15LFA's for a 4Ω load. I use a Mesa M-2000 and a slave Behringer power amp...Although, I just plugged both cabs parallel into the head for a 2Ω load and it sounds better than ever. I am currently looking for better speakers for the powerhouse)
  7. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    If they sound great, then that's great. Terrific. But bet it might sound greater if you ran 2 matching 810s or 215s.

    And regarding new 15s for your PH. Putting in better drivers will almost surely improve the sound. But cabs (good ones anyway) are designed around drivers. Putting in any speakers without running speaker/speaker cab software is just guessing. You want to make pretty sure that the cab dimensions at least come close to allowing your upgraded drivers to perform around their best.
  8. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Man you guys think to much, put down the slide rule. I used to run my SVTs with both a 8x10 and a 2x15 both cabs were Ampeg. The combination was thunderous. Give it a shot I bet youll like it.
  9. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    Again, great. Sure it was thunderous. But still think it's likely you would've liked a 2x810 rig or 2x215 even more.
  10. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    I run an ampeg 6x10 and 2x15 sometimes and I really dig it. It's kinda like smoking, I know it might be bad for me, but I like it while I'm doing it and it looks really cool.
  11. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    My rig from back in the mid 2000s I have since ditched the SVT set up. for Hiwatts. Yes the Marshalls are part of my rig. 100_2562. Here are various incarnations of my rig. SladeHiwattJimLeabass003. F86Buffalowaterfrontgig011. myrig6-22-12002.
  12. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    I think that all depends on where you're standing in relation to those cabs.

    I've heard plenty of mixed-size driver combinations that do indeed sound wonderful, and arguably unsurpassable.

    ...but walk three feet to the left, and meh, not so much.

    Of course, in any room there will be places where any speaker array sounds like poo, matched drivers or not. But the primary argument for matched drivers seems to be that they result in a predictable polar response with less self-inflicted destructive interference.
  13. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I have tried matched cabs, I like mixed cabs, you may not. I have been playing a looooong time I know what I like.
  14. I've run mixed cabs in the studio with good results, that being said I'm not going to argue with the benefits of matching cabs. I've run a rig with mixed cabs live before, and while the sound was satisfcatory, it really didn't carry well throughout the room. When I was in my prog. band, in order to keep up with the guitarists, I'd usually borrow somebody else's 410 and run it on top of my 410 - they would never match, but the sound was always useable. They usually gave me the same BS about blowing my head by underpowering the cabs, that's another myth I'd like to see debunked entirely.

    So, would mixing and matching cabs cause the whole rig to blow up immediately? not on your life, unless you have a 2,000 watt head and always run it at it's maximum capacity. Would it absolutely ruin your tone? Probably not either, dispersion might be sub-optimal, but in ideal settings, I think a 210+115 setup sounds good, I just wish you luck with getting that sound all the way around the room. Some people are going to prefer mixed cabs, that's alright for them, and some are going to prefer matched cabs - that's also alright. Just don't get lost in the details and enjoy playing bass.
  15. It's more an issue of understanding that you can face issues when mixing and matching. It's always a case of doing what you find to work for you.

    Back to the title, try it, I didn't find my 810 and 215 to play well together, or sound all that good together though they are voiced quite differently.
  16. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    There are a few different domains where problems can manifest. For some of them there are ways to get around or mitigate them.

    1. Power distribution
    Different cabs will have different drivers, different sensitivities, etc. If run together on a single amp channel, the distribution can be less than equal (from the perspective of individual drivers) and less than ideal. You can hit the limits of one cab while another is just getting warmed up. The danger is blowing the weaker cab. A way around this is to have multiple amp channels available... allowing you to control the distribution. Another way is to choose cabs that happen to match fairly closely in capacity & output, despite not being matches. (Harder, but possible.)

    2. Power output
    Even if the power distribution is addressed, the volume output may still differ greatly. Not a danger, but not exactly efficient.

    3. Clashing frequency response
    That being shorthand for how the sound from each distributes into a room, and much higher potential for cancellation and reinforcement of various frequencies, in varying locations in a room. This happens anyway in any room, but matching cabs minimize it, nonmatching can make it much worse.

    Using a crossover to separate the cabs frequency coverage can help with that. But using crossovers with full range cabs is also less than efficient.

    As for slide rules, those are for evaluating things one hasn't (or can't easily) tried. And for looking into potential for improvements.

    If you already have it (or have used the exact combination in question), and it sounds good, that's fine. Especially if you've checked how it does around rooms and are satisfied with the performance. One may very well find the clashes in a system pleasing... a baked-in EQ or effect of sorts.

    But if looking to put together such a system, it's best to know all of this beforehand (and consider all of the potential drawbacks and mitigation methods), the importance of thorough in-person testing, and to weigh all of the above vs a matching rig... before making any commitments.

    If for whatever reason that still leads you to a mixed stack, then all good. Rock N Roll. Just keep in mind that when giving advice, the person seeking advice should be just as well informed, so they can make a sound decision for themselves as well.
  17. The 810 is likely to be both much louder and have much better real world power handling. In cases where you are trying to get maximum volume(and I would think that's the case runnign BOTH an 810 and 215) that puts your 215 at risk before your 810 breaks a sweat. That is Besides the fact that there are scientific issues with running those two cabs.
  18. jungleheat

    jungleheat Banned

    Jun 19, 2011
    The scientific method would be to try a variety of different setups and make note of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

    The biggest issue with an 8x10/2x15 setup is that (as in this situation with 2 8 ohm cabs), the power distribution to the individual drivers is not really optimized. Typically a 15 might take 50-100% more power than a 10. In this setup, the 15s are getting hit pretty hard with 250w (at full power), while the 10s are getting about 60, leaving the 15s at about 400% of the what the 10s are getting. If you use a separate amp for each cab, you can tailor this appropriately, or you can use cabs with proportional impedences and let that do all the balancing work automatically.

    In the end, if it sounds good, it is good, and just as 2 different cabs could cancel each other out or reinforce each in negative ways, they could also do it in positive ways. In fact, in my experience, you usually get a MORE pleasing overall sound from 2 or more types of speakers, because they each tend to "fill in the holes" of the others.
  19. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    I'd be a little more precise with that.

    In your experience, you get a more pleasing overall sound from 2 or more of types of the speakers you've tried together, because they filled in what you felt were holes in the response of the others you paired them with, in a way that you found pleasing. While creating new holes and peaks in places that you happened to find complimentary.

    Someone else trying the same combination may or may not agree.

    I'll add that I used to play a mixed stack, and I did like the results, particularly on stage. That nearfield sound didn't always translate to the room, though it did once in a while.

    I enjoy the cab that replaced it much more, and will likely not mix in the same manner again. (I may mix with cabs specifically engineered to be mixable, that have almost identical response and power handling regardless of woofer diameter. But that is yet another wrinkle in this issue.)
  20. OP, sound waves do not behave as light. If you take two flashlights, say an LED and a Halogen, they combine to give you more light with no surprises.

    The same cannot be said for even two identical bass sources as their positioning and size count in how their sound comes together at different places in the room.

    If you take it as a sure thing that everyone wants to sound the same good to as much of the audience as possible the fur starts to fly.

    Guys who took door #2 know why not to do it with two uber cabs. I take your enquiry to mean the arguments against haven't made sense to you. Can you elaborate?