cab specmanship/comparing specs/freq response

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by craigb, Jun 24, 2002.

  1. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Hey Y'all,

    First off let me fully acknowledge that specs don't tell you how a cab sounds, only how the output and input relate. However, given a lack of opportunities to try out all the different cabs on the market a careful examination of the specs can give a good indication of what cabs to seek out to try out (possibly through purchase and returns if none can be found locally).

    So my question becomes how to compare specs from different companies, in particular the frequency response, without full information (I rarely see full charts that would let you really get into how they compare).

    For example, like many people, I want the low frequency response down to my lowest fundamental (E, 41 Hz as a 4-stringer) to be as flat/true as possible to get good depth to my sound. I also want light weight and small size. Let's throw in great sensitivity and power handling while we're at it. And it has to sound good, too. And cheap.

    For example I have owned, and liked the sound and behavior of, a SWR WM-15t cab. Nothing exotic, a 1x15 in a relatively compact box. The specs listed for it give it a frequency response of -6db at 40Hz and 16KHz (100 db sensitivity). So let's say that is my benchmark for looking at additional cabs because I liked the way it handled the low end of my basses. Other cabs I find interesting include:

    Aguilar GS-112 +-2db @ 42 Hz, 16 KHz (102 db sensitivity)
    Bag End S-15D +-?db @ 50 Hz, 4 KHz (103 db sensitivity)
    Goliath III Jr +-3db @ 45 Hz, 15 KHz (105 db sensitivity)
    Ashdown Mini 15 +-? @ 41Hz, 4 KHz (96 db sensitivity)

    Now I'm sure there are plenty of others. But with these it looks like I would definitely be happy with the low end of the Aguilar, Ashdown and Goliath Jr but the Bag End might be lacking. But without the details I can't tell if the drop off at 40 Hz might actually be less than the SWR WM15t - since it has a 6db drop off. I don't know of local places I can go to check these different cabs out and can't afford to buy them all and return the ones I don't like. So as I look at what I might want the GS-112 pops up as meeting all the numerical criteria (response, weight, size, cost) and would be a reasonable risk to buy and check out. But I know I liked the SWR (it's a bit bulkier than I'd like or I'd just go that route again) and maybe a 15" speaker would be more to my liking (my GB 12" combos are nice but I liked the 15" SWR better).

    I know the best approach would be to line up the different things I'm interested in at a retailer and compare them but that's not going to happen. So any advice on how to evaluate the specs to determine which ones to track down for a trial?
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I don't know. I would suggest that you repost a thread with Aguilar and 12 in it. You'll get load of responses and theres at least one TBer who has the Bag End. I dont think the specs will work.

    I think that you need to talk to people who own the stuff and can tell you what it does for them.

    Agree/disagree but you got a bump-happy hunting.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Specs are nearly useless. I've owned numerous cabinets over the years and the ones that had the lowest resonse weren't necessarily the deepest or fattest sounding.

    Consider that you can easily find makers offering cabs with one or more 10, 12 or 15" drivers; they may have similar specs on paper but obviously sound a lot different in reality. Never mind cabinets from competitors with similar specs :rolleyes:

    What is far more important is the shape of the response. A cabinet with a peak in the 80-200 Hz range will sound incredibly fat even if it is weak at 40 Hz.

    Think about it, if response is listed +/- 3 dB that allows for a 6 dB swing across the spectrum, which is a LOT. So what you want to know is where the peaks and valleys are in the response. This is what specs can't tell you.
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I echo the chorus: I just don't know if this is the path to get you what you need.

    For example, I tried the Aguilar GS112. The specs suggested it would sound great to me. I didn't like it much. That doesn't mean it's a bad cab or that it wouldn't work for you. But looking at specs probably won't get it done by itself. IMHO.
  5. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    Thanks for the responses, guys. I guess I'll have to see what I can do about finding the cabs I'm interested in and check them out.

    I've read as much information as I can on them and I guess the varied opinions I've seen really back up what all of you are saying. For example some people say the Bag End cabs have all the bottom they need for a 5 string and others find them lacking in bottom.

    I guess I need to stop being lazy and get out to the music stores (I don't particularly like going to the music stores around here other than my favorite place that sells but doesn't stock Genz Benz stuff) and play through everything I can find.

    Thanks again
  6. JoelEoM


    Mar 11, 2002
    Lancaster, PA
    i say dont discount the bag end based on specs alone. which is what youre trying not to do, but i think it needs to be said anyway. i have a D10X-D, and the other week, i coupled it with oddentitys bag end 15. beautiful, and it handled a low B with no problem. zulufunk also owns a similar setup, i suggest talking to him or oddentity about these cabs. i was certainly pleased with it. just some thoughts.