Can someone please explain cabinet effeciency ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by catphish, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. catphish


    Feb 25, 2003
    What makes a cabinet effecient? Does being an effecient cabinet make it "good", or does it have nothing to do with it, just volume?

    What are considered some highly efficient cabinets? How does a SWR Workingman's 410 rank in the effeciency dept?

  2. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    The choice of speakers determines cabinet efficiency. Good is subjective; efficient just means it makes a lot of sound for the amout of power you drive it with.

    As a general rule, efficient and low are different design criteria in a speaker. Low requires the speaker to have a high excursion (lots of travel for the cone) and high excursion almost always means low efficiency, as I understand it. In addition, speakers that go low (high excursion) usually don't do much in the way of highs.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Efficiency simply refers to how loud the speaker will get with a certain amount of signal applied to it. Typically if you feed two cabs from the same amp, one will be louder than the other. The louder one is "more efficient", it converts more of the electrical power into acoustical power.

    Speaker spec sheets often have a spec for "sensitivity", expressed in dB at 1 watt at 1 meter. In other words, if you fed a signal of 1 watt into the speaker and stood 1 meter away, that's how loud it would be in dB. Sadly, this number is usually specified at a frequency of 1 KHz which is upper midrange for us bass players, it says nothing about how loud the speaker might be at frequencies of 30-200 Hz where the fundamentals of our notes lie.

    If a given speaker is 3 dB more efficient than another, it will be just as loud with only HALF the amp wattage driving it. This is why you see people fret over speaker specs so much, since maximum volume seems to be the #1 issue for so many bassists.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No - it doesn't make it good - I've heard lots of loud, efficient cabs that sounded plain bad to me - muffled, boxy etc.

    Whereas the best cab I have ever heard - my EA VL210 is pretty inefficient - but very good!!! ;)
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    That is actually pretty common. Most cabinets that have a hi quality, flat frequency response over a broad frequency range, are very inefficient.

    EAs sound amazing, you just need a bigger amp.