1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Buying A Cab Sight Unheard?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thirtyhz, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. thirtyhz

    thirtyhz Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    While the itnerwebs is a boon to having a variety of products available, sometimes it can be a tough purchase decision when you can’t actually hear the product (and buy based on other factors). In this case speaker cabs. There are a lot of online samples but to me they are meaningless due to the whole chain it takes to get to my ears. Although I have found the Chicago Bass Club YouTube comparison videos interesting in that you can hear the relative sonic differences of the cabs since the playing field, (recording/process/playing chain), is the same for all.

    I have a specific question – for those that bought a cab online based on or influenced by sound samples – what has been your experience in perception vs. reality in terms of what it actually sounded like vs. your expectations based on sound samples?

    And with all due respect – I don’t need to be schooled in recording, processing, miking etc.. – or how to really test a cab, or how stupid the question is, etc. I get it. If you don’t have input based on direct personal experience specific to the question then please, step away from the thread. Otherwise, thanks ahead for sharing.
  2. I purchased with my eyes based on what I wanted (a 15" then a 2x10") from GK. Didn't check any sound samples just went with gut. I tried both out at the store when they arrived just to be sure they worked before I took possesion(sp). After more reading on TB, I should have tried out more rigs. I was going neo, however, so my choices at the time would have been limited.
  3. bassplace

    bassplace Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2009
    Annapolis, MD
    The only way for me to know if it's a fit is to use it awhile. So online is ok as it gives me a decent idea. If I don't like it I move on.
  4. Only mildly useful. If it looks like the instrument being used, the string set, pickups and amplifier are similar to what I have it is "more" useful. Playing technique and the room still weigh very heavy on the final outcome.
  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I very much enjoy the Bass Club Chicago demos. Along with Ed Friedland's videos, I think they're some of the best demos of bass gear on the web. I really enjoyed their demo of the new Fender tube stuff.

    IME, you can usually get a pretty good approximation of what a bass or even a head sounds like from a well-recorded video, but you probably won't really get the full effect of a cab. That's because you're just not going to be able to appreciate a cab's true low-end extension unless you're right there in the room with it.

    With that said, it has been my experience that once you reach a certain level of cabinet, you're really moving sideways between them all. That's not to deny individual differences between cabs of similar design, but I find those differences aren't going to be night and day (with a few exceptions, like the Aguilar GS series, which has a much more scooped voice than other similar cabinet lines). While I know I just said that recordings don't fully capture all aspects of a cab, I still think the Bass Club Chicago demo of 1x12 cabinets exemplifies that the tonal differences between high-end cab manufacturers aren't leaps and bounds different from one another.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I really wish I could demo a fEarful somehow. From what I've read, they sound super appealing to me, but buying/building one without first trying it is not going to happen for me.
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and get hands on to answer your questions. Research will only take you so far. I buy most things used so it's fairly easy for me to resell without a huge risk/loss. No video or recording will tell me exactly how it will pan out with my particular gear, settings, and playing style although I can usually get an idea though.
  8. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Actually, I have done this with a couple of Avatar cabs. No place to really try them out.
    But I knew that they were built with quality materials and components and had a solid reputation so I took the plunge and it has worked out just fine. I am happy with them.
  9. Check the fEARful user map. Most owners are happy to let you come over and experience their cabs?
  10. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I didn't even know such a thing existed. Can you perhaps point me in the direction of said map?

    Edit: found it, I think. Found a thread for it... 13 pages long :|
  11. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    Talkbass can be super helpful with getting straight to the gear that suits your needs. Obviously, not every comment will line up with your idea of great tone. We may not always be talking about the same things though we think we are :)

    I read, listen, average out all the comments and more often than not I get closer, quicker to the stuff I like
  12. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I have yet to use sound samples on a cab.. I have bought 5 cabs online.. two Schroeder Mini 12Ls at the same time, a Schro 1212L 8 , a 1212L 4 and a AG Tri115.. I look at the specs and look at the reviews and so far I have not been surprised..
  13. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Las Vegas
    I did this with my Avatar 4x10. About all I could go by was the thoughts of others who have them. And it could not have been worse than what I was running. The hope was I wouldn't get hosed on a piece of garbage, the reality far exceeded my hope. Been a good solid cab and I like the sound.
  14. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I try to read as many reviews as I can and get as many comparisons that I can from TB members. Someone will usually make a comparison to a cab/amp/etc. that I am familiar with and I can somewhat base my decision on that.

    Then if I think it's going to fit my needs, I take the plunge! Bergantino for example. I was never able to play one around me, so I read as much as I could and finally decided that I wanted to try them out. I couldn't be happier with my cab choice now...
  15. astack

    astack Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    I've bought new cabs without testing them once. It did match up to the descriptions I read on here pretty well. Probably a mix of reality and expectations/heard what I wanted to hear (hopefully more reality). I then got a mix of gas and the DIY bug and sold them at a decent loss.

    I'm done with buying new stuff for now, though. I like the school of thought of buying used stuff that's very well regarded and at least a few years old, so I can always get what I paid for them +/-. That way you're just out shipping if you don't gel with it.
  16. I'm an Australian, and my choices are to either buy something completely unheard/untested, or to pay twice as much for it. My only really bad experience with buying a cab unheard is with fearfuls, and I don't think that was the fault of the cabs, rather my own inexperience, anyway.

    As long as you've done your research and read some reviews, I'd say go for it
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    My 2¢: online demos can be great for giving you a general idea of how the gear will sound, however the emphasis is on general: no matter how well the online demo was recorded, you can never really know how well you will like the cab until you try it with your own gear. Specifically:

    Amp (of course). Very few if any amps are completely flat even when set flat.
    Bass (of course).
    STRINGS. A big deal, but often overlooked
    Last but certainly not least: fingers (technique)

    I'm a fairly regular TBer, and keep fairly aware of fellow TBers who are unbiased and experienced in a lot of different gear, so I follow their reviews whether audio/video is included or not. It also helps to know players who have similar tone goals. Example: if TBer JGR (to pick just one of many names) recommends a particular piece of gear, then I will be very interested in trying it myself, because his taste is similar to mine: semi-retro SS roundwound tone often with tube OD dialed in, sealed cab with no tweeter (but a mid driver is OK with 15"+ woofers). :)
  18. SickAura

    SickAura Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2013
    I am about to do it right now - couldn't find the cabinet anywhere near by so had to order it. I find it really hard to get a true sense of the cabinet in-store anyway - with different gear, a sales person and other people hanging around - also not in a band situation. Until you get it into your own environment you will never really know. That being said I look for the right quality/price ratio - as well as reviews and comments here from people that I believe have the same thoughts, opinions, tone goals as I do.
  19. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    IMO Cab Demos on the web do nothing for me. Still I have my eyes on a new LoPhat 2x12 Custom Made Cab based on responses from guys who like and play the same kind of music I do and play through High End Gear.