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Can I use a PA speaker cabinet for my bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sequimite, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Noob here, life-long drummer, long time rhythm guitarist with an opportunity to play bass. I'm also a stereophile and old, so I have the stubborn determination that you need a BIG cabinet for proper lows. I think of the bass reproduction in my old Bozak Concerto speakers.

    I've also noticed that many bass speaker cabinets look a lot like full range PA speakers, so is there anything, other than size and weight, that should deter me from using an Altec Voice of the Theater cabinet or it's equivalent for my bass?
  2. Not really, the amount of sound output you get would be limited by the speaker in the A7.
    That said, you have been hearing bass recorded from a baked in voice of the bass amp in a processed state. A live instrument is much more percussive. Like the amount of air from a kick drum (that also carries a note). You would not like the sound of a midrange horn with a live bass by the way.
  3. Thanks for the reply. So those bass cabinets with tweeter horns and such aren't designed for full frequency reproduction but are attenuated to suit a bass guitar?
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Are you related to J. Gordon Holt? :bag:
  5. I think he had a good point about trusting your ears rather than relying on what scientific instruments can measure.
  6. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    what's the best pa cab for metal?
  7. Mock me all you like as long as I get a clear answer.
  8. Here's an example of a published frequency response from another thread: " Ampeg SVT-210 AV cab. Ampeg lists it on their web site as -3db at 58Hz-5kHz and -10db at 40 Hz."

    That's pretty damn flat compared to any electric guitar amp. Given how flat that is why wouldn't a PA cabinet with a little frequency equalization work? And I don't buy the claim that Altec VOT's can't get loud enough.
  9. Note I did say midrange horns. The tweeter horns are at the upper most content of bass guitar harmonics 3KHz to 5 KHZ is the cross-over point.
  10. Every one knows its Peavey from Craigslist:D

    There are a few companies that make 2 or 3 way bass cabs. They often get confused with PA cabs, but are tuned lower, or have some Bass specific design
    Carvin LS1503
    Avatar TB1503 and others
  11. MI industry doesn't have to play by the same rules as general consumer goods and specs take full advantage of this fact. In other words gains of salt needed. Pay careful attention to wording "-3db at 58Hz-5kHz" does not say flat within +/- anything. This leaves you to assume a -3db drop off at 58Hz and at 5kHz (1/2 sound output).

    Who said A7's couldn't be loud enough? What is loud enough anyway?
  12. The highly regarded fEarful and its progeny are based on PA speaker concepts; fairly flat full-range response. What you have in mind might work, though not as well as the real thing. Your background tells me that you are fully qualified to trust your ears, and that ultimately is what is going to determine what "works" or doesn't.

    Sequim; now how many people out there in the audience tonight know how to pronounce that properly?
  13. I had to google Voice of the Theatre, looks like a whole lot of horn subwoofer for a bass rig. You really don't need as much low frequency as most people think.

    Aside from fearful and a few high end cabs, bass cabinets don't do well below 60Hz and don't need to. 60hz is the 2nd harmonic of the bottom B, if your cab does 60hz well then you get a big low B.

    Knowing that, I find ampeg's 210 spec pretty dubious. Someone who's actually played them can tell us if they make a full sounding B or not.

    Lots of PA cabs designed for "full range" are prone to not quite do 80 hz well enough for 4str bass.
  14. He's a Skwimite from Sequim WA :eyebrow:
  15. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    You can check out korg mma130 demo, portable battery pa, there is a demo online and they sound good to me
  16. Actually the "horn" part of the A7 VOT is a fairly "high" cutoff (in bass terms anyway) the low end came from the full port bass reflex.
  17. Thanks for the thoughtful answers. I may do it just as an experiment. The horn is definitely overkill but the increased low frequencies of the big 15" driver cabinet might sound good to me. And systems based on the Voice of the Theater, like the Carvin 1330, are readily available for about $100 for each.
  18. 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)
    Depends on what his goals are and how well executed the design is. Imo of course.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Actually, you don't want the mids and highs attenuated much. That's where the tasty overtones live. That's why PA subs don't make particularly good bass cabs.

    In my acoustic trio, our PA consists of two JBL PRX612M cabinets. My rig consists of a Radial J48 direct to the board. At moderate volumes, the sound is fine. Think about it - if your home stereo speakers had 12-inch drivers, you'd expect them to do a good job of reproducing bass frequencies. Problems would probably arise if you tried to get too much bass volume out of PA speakers, though. When we play outdoors or larger venues, I then bring a rig - usually a GK MB800 with a Bergantino AE210 or AE212.

    When I first got my Avalon U5, I plugged my bass into it and ran it to a Mackie SR1530 powered PA cab. I remember thinking, "Wow! I should just use this as my rig." But again, probably not so great at high volume.
  20. Well my old Bozak system had a 12" woofer in an 8 cubic foot cabinet. Pushed by a minimum of 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms I could hear the detailed response of an orchestral bass drum at live volume levels.

    Notice that your first and second sentence contradict each other. You say that good bass reproduction needs relatively flat frequency response from lows to the upper mid-range (what Ampeg claims for their product) and then conclude that a PA speaker can't do that, when in fact that is exactly what a PA speaker is designed to do.

    Most of my "hifi" speakers are from the 50's and 60's and the innovations since then seem to be compromises where sound quality is lost in exchange for less weight and size. Weight and size are legitimate concerns but I began this thread by asking, if you put these aside, will a high powered wide frequency PA speaker work?

    I've heard enough to believe it is a viable option. Whether I end up liking it better than a conventional bass speaker cabinet is an open question, but with the proper preamp and a graphic equalizer to shape the frequency response I think I'll like the sound whether or not I like lugging the cabinets around.