Bass cab vs. Full-range cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MarkMcCombs, Sep 7, 2001.

  1. Okay, this is something that has been bothering me since I discovered that bass cabs are designed differently than PA cabs, or at least since I realized they are not flat sounding and full range.

    Why are they not full range, un-colored, and flat?

    It seems to me that if you are using your bass cab in conjunction with a PA, that you are not getting the same sound out of each. I would prefer if my rig on stage sounded as much like what is going thru the PA, wouldn't we all?

    This really bugged me when, last night at band practice, I didn't bring my amp, I just used my Sansamp BDDI through the PA, which was bi-amped and had an 18" sub hooked up. My sound was AWESOME!!! Way better than through my rig. So now I want my rig, whatever that may be in the future, to sound like this.

    Specifically, I noticed a lot more prescence and punch, I guess because of the increase hi-midrange and treble I was getting. Man, it was awesome.

    Do I need to look into Acme cabs?

    Your answers, comments.....?
    DuluthDank likes this.
  2. MikeyD

    MikeyD Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    You can certainly have this. How much power does the PA have? What line voltage/current is it using? What speakers is it using? How big are they? How much do they weigh? If you are willing pay for and haul all that around, you can certainly achieve the sound you want.

    In my mind, bass amps are part of the "bass guitar" as an instrument. They work together as a "system" to create a sound. But the reason why bass amps are often not "hi-fi" is because of power/size-weight/efficiency tradeoffs. You can get hi-fi sound, but it's usually at the expense of efficiency or size. Most of us don't want to haul 800 lbs. of equipment around all the time. Others don't want to pay $6000 for their bass amps.

    If you want hi-fi sound in a small rig, and if you need to be heard over a loud band, you will need a monstrous power amp (thousands of watts).

    - Mike
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    A lot of good cabs are pretty hifi, and PA cabs are often not as flat and hifi as you might think, in order to deliver as much spl as possible.
    They're just tweaked a lot with the mixer, compressors, eq, exciters, etc.

    Check out some good cabs with dynamic tweeters.
  4. I'm not saying my rig has to be as powerful as our PA, I just want it to have about the same response. It just doesn't make sense for my rig on stage to sound different than my sound coming thru the PA, does it?

    Do you think a good compromise would be for my rig to have a tweeter?

  5. do you have some suggestions, brands? I know of Acme, and I think Ea, Bergatino, Euphonic, but I've never played through any of these. Anything in the Ampeg price range? I like 4x10 cabs best.

    OH YEAH, I forgot to mention, a new bass rig (for me) is in the church budget for next year, so they're looking for suggestions. Yippee! The old BXR200 has got to GO!
  6. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    As players we use different combinations of things to color our sound to the way we want it, this ia why alot of people mic their cabs, just to get the sound that is coming out of their setup. If you dont mic and you use a di or somthing else your cab is just a monitor, nothing more nothing less. This is something that has bothered me also, you can spend alot of money on a rig that is nothing more than an expensive monitor system. Most bass sounds I really like are mic'd so I pay alot of attention to the gear and the actual mic that players are using. The acme cabs are very different than what we are used to hearing as bassists and to me they would take some getting used to but if you love that full range p.a. sound that would be the way to go but just as MickeyD said you better bring the power or the roadies cuz you cant have it all, if you dont have roadies then grab a 1500-2000 watt power amp because you dont get small ,low loud, and effeicient in the same package. Like a dragster, light and fast but 7 gallons to the quarter mile quite sux if your looking for economy.
  7. ThunderStik

    ThunderStik Guest

    Jun 25, 2001
    Claremore OK.
    Check out the new eden xst it goes pretty low and high. $1000-1200 bux though.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Mind you, I'm not saying Ampeg is bad, it's just that they cater more to the rock clientele. And combos have a harder time doing hifi sound than full stacks.

    You might find sth in all the modern brands, Eden, SWR, Epiphany, Bag End, etc.

    I like Glockenklang and Tech Soundsystems, but they're German and hard to get/expensive in the US.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You have to be careful looking at specs and such.

    Here's some cabinets:

    42hz - 18khz, 300W RMS, 161/2" H x 19 1/2" W x 15" D, 100 db SPL @1W 1M, 41 lbs

    60-18khz, 150W RMS, 23.75" x 17.25" x 13.5", 99.5 db SPL @1W 1M, 46.5 lbs.

    53-16khz, 500W RMS, 33.25 x 21 x 22.75", 98 db SPL @1W 1M, 85 lbs.

    See if you can pick which are bass cabs and which are for PA. Also which one looks best on paper to you?

    BTW, I own two of the three above.
  10. I haven't a clue (?)....

    the range of freq (55-16khz) doesn't mean much, unless it's +/- 3 dB or something. I think bass cabs have certain frequencies all jacked up, don't they?

    I'm more confused now than ever.....all I want is a flat-sounding cab/rig to monitor my sound on stage that sounds similar in response the the PA. Geez, maybe I'll just get a general purpose wedge monitor, but I realize bass response will be low.

    I was on the ACME website today and I think their stuff sounds very interesting. But then again, I hear a ton of power is needed for these things as they're not very efficient. I dunno.....
  11. MikeyD

    MikeyD Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    It's The Big Tradeoff. You have to prioritize: decide what's most important to you, then next, and so on. You have to consider the sound you're after, how much power you have to drive it (or are willing to buy), how loud your rig must be on stage, and the size/weight you are willing to deal with. And, of course, your budget. Only you can decide - you cannot have an extremely efficient, hi-fi, small/light cabinet. Physics won't allow this in our state of (dynamic loudspeaker) technology. This will constrain what you'll be able to do relative to achieving hi-fi (low frequency) response.
    - Mike
  12. Matthias


    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    I had the same experience like Mark about 2 years ago, and here's what I found out meanwhile:

    I did like the PA sound better at first, because the bass sounded more hifi, like on a recording (when it's recorded directly without micing a cab of cause..) - that was in the rehearsal room.

    But I soon found out that this is not a good 'monitor sound' when you have to turn down as low as possible on stage but still want to hear what you're playing - it simply lacks that low mids which are overemphasized by most bass rigs.

    Now I send my DI signal to the board and trust the soundguy that he does what's best for the audience and I do what's best for me...
    (and if the soundguy does a bad job, things get even worse when you want to mic your bass cab anyway, I guess...)

    If there is no PA (or one too weak for bass) that's maybe a different story. But even in this case you have to listen how the bass sounds in the mix - no absolute need for a super-hifi sound either (IMHO, but I'm a rocker ;))

    Michael Uhler likes this.
  13. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Mark-I'm in a similar situation these days. I just got a 10-string Chapman Stick and I'm looking for a more hi-fi, P.A.-like sound. I don't think I want to ditch my Boogie/Ampeg/SWR equipment altogether; I'm just looking for a full-range add-on.

    I've been checking out some of the new breed of powered PA speakers like the JBL Eon2 and the Mackie SR450. I haven't yet played through them myself but I have heard a bass player get a great sound using a pair of older JBL Eons as a stage amp setup, and I've heard raves about the Eon2's from other Stick players. They're 400 watts, internally biamped, and they weigh about 50 pounds and cost about $650 each. They have 1/4 and XLR inputs, a very simple 3-input mixer, a 2-band EQ, and a line out.

    I've seen them at GC and in the Musician's friend catalogs, and Yamaha also makes a very similar powered speaker for about the same cost. Check 'em out-one of those and your Sansamp might be all you need!
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I made the same revelation as you many years ago and often get frustrated saying that I want my amp/cab setup to sound "flat" and like when I'm playing though a mixing desk or very good pa system.

    To my ears the Euphonic Audio cabs are the best in this respect - they are true "Hi-Fi" cabs and get the flattest sound I've heard from trying cabs. This is not supriseing as they use combinations of several small(er) speakers to get the sound rather than one type of largeer driver.

    The VL210 is equivalent to most 4 X10s and sounds great, but my favourite is the VL 208, but this may not be loud enough for most situations - 2 208s or 210s would be loud enough for most purposes.

    They are more expensive than most but they are more than worth it for me. They are definitely "full-range" and I have played CDs through mine and they sound as good or better than most expensive Hi-Fi speakers.
  15. thomas

    thomas Guest

    Jul 26, 2000
    Barnesville, GA USA
    I feel like a Carvin salesman today.
    The Carvin bass heads are the same circuitry as their power amps only with a pre-amp added. And the 2x10 cab I have from them is also sold as a stage monitor.
    From this I'm assuming that as least not all bass and PA gear are completely different.
  16. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    The design intent behind bass guitar cabinets and a fullrange PA cabinet is completely different. Your bass cabinets are never tuned for a flat response they are tuned for maximum SPL at a frequency anywhere from 40-160hz. This is the only thing that gives a dedicated bass monitor a CHANCE of withstanding the excursion and power handling necessary to produce noticeable volume above the PA subs and line arrays! A fullrange cabinet is not tuned low and loud enough to produce a satisfying rumble for most rock, punk, metal, etc. heavy music of any kind of out of the question.

    I do regret that dedicated bass cabinets with built in panel amps are not more common and affordable on the market but as modeling gear gets better and better I think we're gonna see them start to shine in coming years, if anyone brings any to market...

    Edit: Whoops, necro'd the thread. Guess things aren't improving as fast as I hoped.
  17. I think they both have their place. Just depends on the situation. Full range stuff is great when you’re not getting adequate PA support. But it can also cause problems when you have good pa support. Best situation is to have both and use whatever is appropriate imo.
  18. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan My Name is Ruin Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, Texas
    I'm not certain but you may have set the all time Resurrection record here on TB! You brought back a thread that's nearly 20 years old!!

    I've been here a long time and I can honestly say I've never seen anything that can top it. Well played!
    BeauZooka and monsterthompson like this.