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Building a 4x10 cabinet. Hopefully.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stevious G, May 8, 2010.

  1. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Hello, all.

    First of all, let me apologize, as I know that this is a topic that's often revisited.
    That said, I've been reading and studying and generally consuming as much info as I could over the last week, and in conclusion, I realize I'm truly over my head. I honestly enjoy learning about the theory behind cab building; I just know my own strengths and weaknesses.

    Also, I'm on a Mac, and I haven't been able to find any highly suggested software that I could use to plan this thing out.

    So here's what I'm looking for; either the plans, or even just some rough specs, for a lightweight, 4x10 cabinet, that won't explode, catch fire, or drastically neuter any of the ranges I generally play in.

    I hope to, despite other's better judgement, build it out of either spruce, or South American mahogany, depending on pricing. I'm a furniture builder by trade, so from a construction point of view, I'm very well positioned. Also, as a furniture maker, I just can't bring myself to use synthetics or plys unless absolutely necessary.
    So, once I get my design ducks in a row, building a top quality cabinet itself should be well within my sphere of capabilities.

    Also, I should mention, I'm not a strict audiophile, who expects a total flat performance right across the entire audible spectrum. I do play five and six string basses, but I also play a lot in the higher registers; think plinky, twangy, poppy, silly, annoying, heavily effected Primusy stuff, and you'll have a good idea of how I play. But really, I'm building this cabinet for lightweight portability, and for fun; I'm not trying to compete with Accugroove, specifically.
    Volume just needs to be loud enough to play over drums and a couple of half stacks in a practice environment. I'm more than happy to DI to a PA or mic in a live situation.

    Now, being a bit feisty, I've already ordered the cones.

    So, I guess, what I'm really hoping for, is for someone to point me to a set of plans, or even just to throw out some numbers, like "28"x28"x16" with four 7 inch long, 4.5 inch diameter PVC pipes mounted into the baffle, stuffed with acoustic batten."
    I mean, I just made those numbers up; I'm not specifically tied to a ported cab. I'd be fine building a sealed cab. But yeah, something like that would absolutely, positively make my week.

    So, once again, I'm honestly sorry to bring up such an over-done subject. I just need to try to find a starting point that doesn't involve Thiele/Small parameters, or formulas regarding Total Q.
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Unfortunately, there is none. If you're not comfortable with formulas use a tested design, such as those shown on the Eminence website for their drivers. And forget about solid wood, it has many disadvantages and no advantages. Look at the fEarful thread to see how a cab should be built, and what it should be built from.
  3. cracker75


    Mar 12, 2010
    Ignore BFM at your peril.

    I'm an amateur furniture maker myself. Thought it would be cool to build a solid-wood cab, and was too lazy to get informed about TS parameters.

    All I got for my trouble was a beautiful box I'm hoping to recycle into some kind of "modernist" coffee table, because there's no way to salvage it sonically.
  4. chiplexic


    Apr 21, 2004
    Listen to BFM.

    I built a cab for a one way 12" ported using a Eminence DeltaLite 2512-II. I used software from WinISD. You should download it. Once you are use to it, it is addicting/fun to play around on. I just made my 4th port adjustment and finally have a porting that makes my amps eq super responsive. Until now the low-mid hump this cab had overshadowd every other frequency too much. WinISD told me this from the get go but I'm stubborn and now I believe. A +3dB hump is way too much. Thankfully I used adjustable port tubes and knew the cab size was ok for the driver due to WinISD.

    Point is T-S knowledge and simple software is going to make every piece of wood you cut that much more worth while. You can think your cab size is time tested and going to be fine. But then you put a driver in their and...well that's where the trouble starts. Drivers can be worlds different from one another. Way too much of a crap shoot for the money they cost.
  5. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    I wrote a big long reply to this, but I forgot to copy it before hitting send. I'm sure we've all had that happen before.
    So, in an abridged version;

    Thanks to everyone who replied.

    Chiplexic; I'm on a Mac, with no PC access, so WinISD, and any other similar software I've run across is a no-go.

    Cracker; I'll take that under consideration. I don't want to build a useless cab. That said, I also avoid synthetics at all costs, particularly MDF. It absolutely destroys your blades, and is toxic as all hell. Also, I had plans for exposed joinery and clear finishes, but, like I said, I don't want to build a useless cab.

    Bill; thanks for pointing me to the info on the Eminence site. I didn't even realize that that was there. However, it's not quite what I was hoping for. I think, with some time and some googling, I can probably figure out what the heck all of that info means, but it's still not quite the straightforward "here's a blueprint for a 4x10 bass cab that works" that I was hoping for.

    It seems as though I've simply bit off more than I was expecting to chew.

    That said, I will persevere. It'll just take a lot more time, effort, research, and confusion. And/or I'll have to get my hands on a Windows box, which is not a thought I relish in the least, (just personal preference. Not trying to open up THAT debate.)

    Thanks again to everyone.
  6. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Oh, also, I did check out the fEarful designs. They seem like very well planned out cabinets, but they're not what I was hoping for. I really just wanted a good ole' fashioned 4x10, with no horns or tweeters, crossovers or high-pass filters. Just a box, with four speakers in it, that made an electric bass louder, and that wasn't too heavy at all.

    Perhaps for a second build, if/when I find that a 4x10 alone just doesn't cover the range well enough, I'll do a fEarful style cab. They really do seem like a good design.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Too bad. They're amazing cabs. I played 4x10's for years and now I wouldn't even consider it. :)
  8. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    There are some very able cabinet engineers/builders on this site and a good place to pick their brains is the fEarful threads and links (which you've already looked at).

    You say you want a good old fashioned 4 x 10 but that leads me to ask you why you want it. If it's because you like the asthetic of this design and you want to look the role in your particular band then go for it - and just be aware that the sound that comes out of it will be only as good as the limitations of the design, combined with your ability to execute the build.

    But if it's because you believe that the 4 x 10 is the best configuration for making great sound then you should probably rethink the idea.

    Answering this question about your honest priorities (traditional looks versus great sound) needs to be done first before you can proceed.
  9. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Hbarcat; you do make very valid points.

    Am I conscious of the aesthetic of the traditional cabinet design? Yes. But I don't feel that that's what attracts me to them, solely.

    To be honest, I feel as though my playing style would be better benefited by something like a 4x10. I could, very easily, be wrong of course. But although I do play five and six string basses primarily, I rarely use the low B, and rarely play below the fifth fret, except for open strings. I play more chords than single notes, I tap, and I use effects frequently.

    I feel like focusing larger speakers, such as 12" and 15"'s, with a little single or double, 6" for some degree of relief in the high end, would suit a more traditional bass setup perfectly. However, I feel like it would leave me potentially wanting in the frequencies that I'm most interested in.

    This is likely coloured by the fact that my first "real" amp was a 1x15 combo with a tweeter, and I had to max out the EQ, both on my amp and onboard my bass, just to sorta kinda get the high end I was looking for. And it sounded awful, with the treble maxed out like that.

    On the other side of the coin, I feel like doing something like a Phil Jones setup, with a massive array of 6 or 8 inch cones, wouldn't give me ANY bass to speak of.

    I just feel that a 4x10 would make sense for me. I USED to have one, but due to some not-knowing-what-I-was-doing amp/cabinet connection mistakes, I fried all four cones. For the little while I had it, though, I finally felt like I could hear what I wanted to hear. And it was just a crappy cheap Peavy cab.

    Also, I AM weary of the volume you can get from 2x12s versus 4X10s. I jam with some pretty noisy people.
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Oh boy, you don't know what you're missing. The 15/6 actually has a TON of mid (and what I'd consider tweeter area) tone. Its NOT what you think of when you think 'traditional' fifteen. Its very wide tonally and as close to 'flat' as you'll find in a cab. The 18-sound 6" isn't giving 'some degree' of relief for the 15 in the upper area, it actually has so much volume that it has to be padded back by 3db to not overpower the 15, which is a killer speaker too.
  11. muddycreek


    Feb 26, 2010
    Not to open up the debate, but I ran into the same problem- but I used Boot Camp to put a small partition on my Macbook Pro, spent $100 or so on Windows XP, and it's been pretty handy, for things like WinISD, Office for work stuff, etc.

    You could also search Eminence Basslite 410, I bet SOMEBODY has done it before with some success.

    As far as the wood, I hear you, I have some nice eucalyptus here I had been tempted to join and use for a cabinet. Bad idea. Brush up on your veneering!

  12. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    I am not a fan of the 4x10 format... but that's not what you were asking, was it?

    If you really want the look of solid wood, make an inner box out of plywood (3/8" or 1/2") and then encase it in the solid wood of your choice, keeping weight in mind.

    You might try these internal dimensions:

    23" tall by 22" wide by 15" deep (or whatever dimensions you choose that give you about 4.4 cubic feet gross internal volume). I'm assuming that roughly 10% of the internal volulme will be taken up by drivers, bracing, and ports.

    I suggest that you brace the areas in between the driver cut-outs. Ideally connect the front panel to the back panel with braces. I suggest you wire the drivers in series-parallel for an 8-ohm load.

    Two ports, 4" internal diameter by 4" long, installed on the rear panel. These will tune the box to about 45 Hz.

    The frequency response will have a 1.5 dB hump centered on 110 Hz, and -3 dB will be around 62 Hz.

    Unfortunately, the traditional 4x10 cluster beams badly and this one is no exception. All that nice high frequency extension of the CA2010 will be concentrated into a fairly narrow cone out in front of the speaker.
  13. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    thank you very, very much, Duke. That was what I was hoping to get out of this whole thing.
    To be honest, I'm sort of on the fence now about exactly what I should do, since the 4x10 just doesn't seem to be getting any kind of love from the construction community.
    That said, I DO already have the drivers on order.
    My original plans were to start with a 4x10, then add a 1x15 with a tweeter later on, but perhaps I'll build a fEarful style cabinet next, (which, really, is sorta the same kind of thing, but better,) and have two very capable, but different cabs, that I can choose between, or mix, depending on application.

    So once again, thanks to everyone for your very valid input regarding my situation, and to The Duke, for addressing the original question in specific. You guys are great.
  14. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    a full sized 2x10 twice, and stack them as needed. better modular setup, better HF off axis response, easier to carry.

    Just better.
  15. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    You're quite welcome, Stevious.

    I like Crockettnj's suggestion for several reasons, and here's one of them: If you can get those four 10's in a vertical stack, they'll give you considerably broader horizontal coverage of the high frequencies than in a traditional cluster. In general, the width of high frequency dispersion is inversely proportional to the width of the source - so going from a 20" wide source (two 10's side-by-side) to a 10" wide source is a worthwhile improvement, in my opinion anyway.

    If you go this route, use half the internal volume and one port for each 2x10, if you go that route, and configure them so they can be stacked with all the woofers in a vertical line.

    The CA2010 is among the nicest-sounding 10's I've heard when run fullrange, though it's not a contender for highest output levels. I've read of people using 'em with electric guitar, so one advantage of the cabs you're contemplating is possible dual-use.

    Not trying to talk you out of a fEarful by any means, but in case you decide to plow with the horses you've got. They're pretty good little horses.

  16. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Would it make sense to put a bevel in the baffle; allowing the speakers to cross-fire, like in Bill Fitzmaurice's XF guitar cabinets, to increase the horizontal coverage?
    The slightly-more complicated construction is not an issue for me.
    Also, if I were to do two stacked 2x10s, then again, would it make sense to have the speakers dangle at diff'rnt angles?
  17. I built a 4X 10 cab using the same Emminence speakers you plan to use. I am very happy with the sound and the weight. I used baltic birch plywood covered with black tolex. I think using solid wood is going to be tough.

    There are many programs to help with internal volume and porting info. One thing I think is overlooked is making sure the front panel is as absolutely rigid as possible. Mine is double braced with 1"X4" on edge.

    You want to make the cabinet as "dead" (non-resonant) as possible with internal bracing/stiffening.

    Reducing internal reflection is also critical. There are plenty of companies that sell damping.

    I have an ampeg 4X10 and a Hartke. This cabinets beats them both. Of course I'm biased.
  18. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Macspeakerz is one of the rare speaker cab calculating software packages that works on a Mac but it is a bit dated, and I am not sure it will run on the present or recent OSX. I still have it but haven't used it in years.
    You can however, run WinISD on parallels or some such assuming you are on an Intel based Mac.
  19. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    No, and no. The XFs are a compromise, specifically to address guitar'd players who care more about how a rig looks than how it sounds. They sound as good as it's possible for a cab with drivers placed horizontally to sound. But it's still not as good as the right way, which is with vertically arrayed drivers.
  20. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Well, Musician's Friend has jerked me around on my order, which included the 10" cones, so I guess I'm back to square one on this whole endeavor.
    Another look is in order, therefore, at the fEarful plans.

    I'm just not looking forward to wiring it up. I hate wiring stuff up. Loath it. I have no mind at all for electrical circuitry, barring, say, installing a light fixture or something. At least Eminence, and a few others, sell preassembled crossovers.

    Here's hoping I don't just end up knocking the damned thing over.

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