Are Lightweight Plastic Cabinets Coming Soon ??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 57pbass, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    Lightweight Speaker cabinets are becoming more popular these days.
    I wonder if we will see plastic cabinets in the near future or other lightweight materials aside from wood without compromising sound..
    Plastic over styrofoam would really eliminate some weight..
    Fiberglass is another option..
    Carbon fiber another..
    I was watching a YouTube Barefaced video and Alex made a comment about the lightweight hi strength materials used in hi performance race cars and it got me thinking..
    Ethereal Thorn likes this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    There have been threads on fiberglass cab builds and other material like carbon fiber.
    alaskaleftybass and HolmeBass like this.
  3. jfn77


    Apr 23, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland
    Hope not. There's too much plastic and other non-organic stuff already that ends up as non-recyclabe waste. At least wood is renewable.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I have a few modern PA speakers that are plastic (Mackie and JBL).

    All of them are heavier than my AudioKinesis and GK cabinets.
    2112, LUCE, Chef and 3 others like this.
  5. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist
    The biggest hurdle I see with it is overcoming the ratio of hardness to brittle. Wood is rigid and hard, but synthetics with the same hardness and rigidity tend to be brittle; even more so at low temperatures. There is a specification for these materials called cold-crack, and one called flex maxim or similar. In order to overcome physical shock they need to flex, making a sweet spot very difficult to nail down. If it is too flexible it is susceptible to vibration. If it is too rigid it can crack or shatter. They tighten up or even shrink a bit at or below temperatures that lots of gear sees, and this makes them open to fatigue and stress fracture. Like posted above, so far the mass produced products aren't necessarily offering weight savings over wood. The day will come, but for the next decade or longer I don't see anything de-throning wood as king of cab material.
  6. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    God I hope not. Wood is much better for speaker cabs.
    SunnBass likes this.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    To be clear: Engineered wood products (i.e. plywood) is good for speaker cabs, and will continue to be until a new engineered solution is devised that outperforms it.
  8. kartiste


    May 5, 2008
    Well, there's aerogel.
  9. tgriley62


    Jan 25, 2011
    S.E. Mo
    What's the best wood for metal?:thumbsdown:
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  10. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Ash, because it sounds like something that was on fire.
  11. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Powered or unpowered?
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Plywood is layers of wood and glue, usually with plastic involved, then it covered in plastic stuff like duratex or tolex, with a slip on plastic cover.

    I'd like to see more lightweight aluminum cabinets.
    Something made from beer cans would be cooler.
  13. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    You just had to go there didn’t you?
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    indubitably. beer cans.
    Ethereal Thorn and mikewalker like this.
  15. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    A few of both. The amps in the powered cabs don’t add much weight...maybe 2 pounds if that. My bass cabs are shockingly light :)
  16. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Dense plastic is pretty heavy i think. Might be cool with 3d printers to print your cab someday though.
    JRA, PillO and Bob_Ross like this.
  17. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

  18. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I think we all know what kind of bass has to be played with that cab. :D
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Plastic COULD be used, but in order to make them practical, they would typically be a plastic composite, there would be embedded structural elements and to keep weight down the cost would go up considerably.

    Higher end speaker cabinets for PA are showing up as composites, some with structural foam cores and some with light weight wood cores. I'm thinking of the JBL Vertec, VRX, etc.
  20. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    i just had to ...
    BritFunk, BassmanPaul, ErnieD and 3 others like this.