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Anyone PREFER PA speakers to bass cabs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by OriginalCrash, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. So I know I've seen some discussion on here about using PA speakers as cabs (Anthony Jackson's Meyer CQ-1's, for example, and others), but maybe this will hit the subject from a different angle (or maybe not and the thread will fizzle out). Anyway, who here has found they prefer using PA speakers over bass cabs? And why? Flatter frequency response? Something about their design? Just the sound you get out of 'em, regardless of what charts and graphs say? I just ask because I'm currently cab-less and have been using a small variety of whatever's available when I play at church (anything from slaving out from my LMII to the power amp in of a Fender Rumble 100 to a Peavey 15" PA cab to an old EV 12" speaker... both PA speakers have horn-loaded tweeters). And while it's been a while since I've taken a trip down to Guitar Center or elsewhere to try out some cabs (and there are a lot I've yet to try... unfortunately most of those can't be easily found at GC or small, local music stores), so far I much prefer the sound I get out of the PA speakers compared to the Fender (running from the tuner out on the LMII actually bypasses the eq and filters of the amp, so I know I'm not really getting my sound out of it this way), an SWR 2x10 and 4x10, and a Crate 4x12 guitar cab. Anyway, I know it just boils down to me needing to try out a lot more cabs with my gear for me to make my decision, but I've just been pleasantly surprised lately (particularly with the old, smaller EV speaker) and got to wondering about those that are using PA speakers and why... So I guess just see where this goes...


    P.S. Just thought I'd add why I was so impressed with the EV speaker... While it definitely had some low end loss (particularly on the low E string), probably due to it's not being a standalone bass cab and overall small size (even for a 12" driver), I was still able to get "good enough for rock" lows out of my LMII with it. But what I liked so much was the flat out nasty, gnarly growl I got from it with the VLE at about 10:30, high mids at about 1:30, and a passive Squier VMJ with all controls wide open running into it.
  2. I don't like using them that much.. But when I do (2 times now), I've messed something up on them.. They just stopped working, I'm not sure why though
  3. Depends a lot on the style you play. With a more organic, acoustic sound/setting, PA (especially 3-ways) speakers really stand out. I was completely convinced in a blind A/B comparison with even a cheap PA speaker over a dedicated bass rig. There's lots of discussion here on that. Carvin's got some great boxes that sound good stock and beg to be modded.
  4. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I prefer PA-like cabs that are well-suited to bass guitar. That means a dedicated small-format midrange driver to improve midrange accuracy and off-axis performance, a long-excursion woofer in a box large enough to actually leverage that as bass extension even for low tunings, and sometimes a tweeter that's of better quality and fully integrated into the sound (ie no big gap in response between a woofer that can only go so high and then a tweeter that can cross over only so low).

    Some would also say it's got to have it all, be revealing to EQ changes in any range so that it can sound any way you want to, show effects off well instead of hiding some nuances while unduly exaggerating others. And it has to be able to do this LOUDLY too, since it's for playing at home, practice and jam with other electric musicians, and gigging.

    The SR world doesn't always put this into one box but instead separates it out into subwoofer and main. For the bassists this may not be as practical... But not too many top boxes alone have woofers that handle tons of bass since the designers know you need subwoofers for loud SR anyway. And frankly, a lot of cheaper PA boxes are shy of true bass response, have gaps betwen the woofer and horn, and often hype the high end. It's tough to find boxes that are extraordinary for this below the Meyer price range, that also have a practical form factor for backline use.
  5. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    A lot depends on the quality of the PA cab. While $800 is average for a bass cab, better quality PA cabs start at twice that, and even $3k isn't high end, $5k is more like it. Comparing a $5k PA cab to even a boutique bass cab is like comparing a Bentley to a Hyundai.

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