Continuing my never-ending search for the correct reproduction of a low B-note.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by michiel soenen, Apr 13, 2003.

  1. Since a couple of months I've decided I want some sort of sub for my rig:
    a hartke 3500 that puts out 240 watts in my Swr Henry Jr. 4x8.
    I use a yamaha bbg 5a 5-string trough it, and I have 2 reasons to get a sub:
    -So I would be louder( my hartke really pushes)
    -So I would have better defined lows:
    most notes below E (starts at D#) really suck, as in: there seems to be some kind of lag and it's all mud, it totally flaps(at lower volumes it's just great but we don't rehearse at practice volume). They're also a whole lot quieter, making me not cut-trough as good(which my henry is real good in for the E-string and higher).

    I've experience in cab-building: a while ago i built a closed 1x10 for my practice amp and last week I put the finishing touch to our band's 2x6, with purpose singing. It's got 2 eminence alpha-6, and it goes down to 80 hz at -3, they're placed in a 33,4 l box.
    Yes i've read the speaker cookbook(the dutch version)

    My goals for this sub:
    -max 600 l
    -flat or -3db(if there are other factors to compensate) at 31 hz.
    -not too much mud :) 16-20 ms groupdelay max, rules out a bunch of them.

    BUT... I'm limited on choises... The only site where i can get my speakers from is so if anyone(Joris?) knows places in the Benelux where I could get them or a web-ordering site in Europe I would be very happy.

    Also, does anyone know if the fane colossus 24" is still in production?
  2. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I have a Yamaha BBN5 and found that string choice made a big difference in B string response. I tried several brands of strings and DR's worked best for me. I think Accugrove's 21" subwoofer with about 3000 watts would help too;)
  3. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    How much power can you commit to this, and how much volume do you need?

    I don't think you will have much luck with subs if you expect your Hartke to drive them.

    I am using a pair of 1x12 subs (92db sensitivity) under an Avatar B112 (96 db sensitivity) crossed over at 150hz. For a LOUD practice I am running about half the rated power of my amp. At full power I should be pushing 700w into the subs and 275w into the Avatar. I would say my rig is enough to play small-medium gigs.

    Flat to 30hz is not hard to do with car audio subs with an Fs below 30, but make sure you have the power to do what you need.

    It's amazing to hear the difference when your speakers really can play a low B as well as any other note. I read lots of posts about "handling a low B" and I think a lot of people have different definitions of "handling a low B". From what I can see, a common definition is "don't take physical damage immediately" when playing a low B. Playing that note with the same volume and and tone as the other notes is a much different thing.
  4. Order your speakers from Parts Express

    It's my understanding they will ship world-wide.
  5. You're up for a daunting task, my friend. You might want to resort to HiFi drivers, and a VERY large power amp.

    Ordering from the US is probably a bad idea. You'd have to pay VAT separately, maybe added tax and, shipping and insurance cost is probably 10% of the value of the goods.

    I used to obtain my speakers from the Dutch devision of Konitech. They imported RCF speakers from Italy, and they are the supplier of all Monacor products. I got Beyma speakers through a local electronics shop nearby.

    But... I used to be a professional (I quit my business this year), those suppliers are (I think) not accessible to non-business customers. Find an electronics shop that can order them for you.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    just get an Acme B2, and be done with it!

  7. Yes, that's exactly where I want to get to. I'm a 16 year old kid, I've been playing bass for 2 years, I earn around €25 per week, so I don't have much money for big-name company cabs or amplifiers(the swr costed me €250, 2nd hand), and I'm not really interested in the lower cost-designs. My dad works in the wood-sector so the wood doesn't cost me a thing.

    I get rather satisfying results with a kappa 18 in vented boxes, I've got 2 I could possibly build:
    676 L, tuned at 25.81 hz. It is -0.32 db at 31 hz

    the second, a smaller box is
    454.7 L, tuned at 29.36 hz. It is -1.44 db at 31 hz

    sensitivity is 97db 1w/1m so that's quite efficient.

    group delay is 16.87 ms for the large box and 18.11 for the small one at 31 hz, I think this is ok?

    Also the kappa is pretty cheap €159
  8. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    You ought to e-mail bgavin on the 18's . He has spent a lot of time on those.

    Right off, I think the quality of the driver may be a little low for best results with bass; it's more of a PA type speaker.

    My 12" JBL's have the same size magnet structue as the Kappa 18 (and the magnet isn't that big for a 12). That means the cone will not be as well controlled as it could be.

    They have a pretty high Qts (as do my JBL's) which mean they REALLY want to resonate at Fs. This is not a problem for me as mine have Fs=25 but your Fs is a bit closer to your lowest note; potential trouble.

    The final problem is cone excursion, which lots of software doesn't plot for you. You can get that from some tools on Bgavin's site. My JBL's have 12.5mm of Xmax while the Kappa 18 as 4.8mm . As you go lower, the voice coil wil travel outside the magnet gap and distort. You really need a tool that shows excursion at frequency; it's where the problems really happen.

    I use my JBL's as a reference not because they are so amazing (they really aren't that good), but because they are subwoofers, which is whatyou need to get low. Bgavin is working up some traditional bass cabs with Omega or Magnum 18's; more expensive speakers than the Kappa but a LOT better.

    Low requires high Xmax; loud requires high sensitivity, and they are mutually exclusive. If you think you have found a speaker that violates that rule, you just haven't looked hard enough.

    If you're on a budget and want to play in bands, I would suggest the path you are on instead of true subs; that last 10hz costs a lot of money. The Omega 15 isn't bad for the money.
  9. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I though he was working on the Magnum 15? Either way, Magnum's are twice the price of the Kappas so you can understand his reluctance.

    Either way I agree with ESP on the Kappa 18. With a QTS of 0.41, it's sitting right in that horrid in between where it's not really crying to go into a vented enclosure, but sealed isn't looking too tasty either.

    I had a quick look at the Omega and Sigma 18s. I reckon it's worth doing some calcs on these.

    Damn these are going to be big boxes :)
  10. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
  11. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Actually where is Bruce? This thread is right up his alley.......
  12. keep in mind that the only place where i can buy speakers so far is and the only other realistic option is the sigma pro-18 which looks delicious in a 431,9l box tuned at 28.17hz (low groupdelay, high sensitivity)

    or the kilomax pro 18 but at the rate I earn money right now(the restaurant isn't busy right now, no dishes to wash!) minus the money I need to get my weekly portion of beer, it will take me another half year to get me the 100 extra Euro :)

    About the cone excursion: my hartke is only 350 watt at 4 ohm, so he'll be getting like 175 watt, is that enough to push it over the Xmax? I doubt it?
  13. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Go to and pull down the DOS Box Modeler and there is an Excel spreadsheet as well. Between the two of them you can get a lot of info on excursion.
  14. Larry Kaye

    Larry Kaye Retailer: Schroeder Cabinets

    Mar 23, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    I had a Henry Jr. For me, it suited my purposes at that time (quieter wedding band, 4 string), but check out the specs....what's the low frequency response rating on the cab, maybe 45-50hz. Maybe at -6db's too?

    No wonder the B string's lower notes don't sound how you want them to. It also doesn't use high end speakers and it's cabinet design is not exactly state of the art or made to reproduce the low b string accurately. The cab does however, have decent volume, it's light as heck, but a bottom end tone machine, it's not dude!!

    I think you would be quite surprised if you just look at any cab that goes 40hz or under @ -3db, and how much more "accurate" or what some of us simply would say, "better" the b string sounds than what you're running through.

    I wouldn't even consider building my own cabinet before trying out many of the cabs below first. There's little to no need to reinvent the wheel here with so many cabinet choices available which make a B string much more responsive and at least somewhat more "accurate", maybe not down to 31 hz at -3 db. Here's some choices for you:

    Accugroove Bill Dickens model
    Accugroove El Whappo, El Whappo Jr, others
    Bag end....cripes you can get an Elf system, a couple of or a single sub down to what....25 hz or somethin' like that? Yeah, ya gotta pay for it, but it's available
    Wayne Jones cabinets...down to 32 hz I believe?
    Eden's xst cabs I believe are down to 37 hz.
    Some bergentino's are down into the 30's.
    Epifani's 112, 212, 310, or bigger are at 40, possibly lower?
    EA's, especially the now extinct VL series.
    Several others I'm sure I don't know about!!!

    There ain't nothing cheap here dude. Of the above cabs, I know for sure that the Wayne Jones and Acmes are very inefficient. I'm not sure about Bag end subs, but you definitely need a stereo head or preamp/stereo amp for the ELF. The rest are decent efficiency wise and your current head MIGHT be enough power, MAYBE.

  15. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Maybe i'm way off base here (as usual) but I don't understand why it seems everyone on TB is on this quest for "correct reproduction of the low B". I personally prefer cutting the lowest lows - I feel it makes the bass blend in and become a tighter piece of the band as a whole - now of COURSE it completely depends on what kind of music you're playing, and what sound you're looking for.

    The only thing that worries me is that collectively we're telling newbies and manufacturers that bass players want to hear their full range (and I mean FULL range) sound completely flat and will schlep any gear necessary to get it. Well that's probably 1/2 true already! :D "Correct" just implies that the other ways are incorrect, and while that's true sonically, its not philosopically. uhhh... what?

    So after that crap, here's my question. Why do you, feel this compulsion to endlessly search for "correct" repro. of the low B? Is it just "cause you like the sound" or is there some reason you feel it works better with what you play? I'm seriously interested here, not saying anyone is stupid for looking for new gear. If anything, i'm the stupid one for schlepping a 110lb cabinet. :)

  16. Have you even read my previous posts?
    -I live in Belgium. Most of the cabs aren't available here.
    -I'm 16 years old and my budget is like €250

    also, isn't the 'elf', like other low-boosters(ex equalizers) very stressing on the speaker, creating outrageous speaker excursion and everything? Either way, I won't have the money for those cabs till I'm like 25...
  17. All I know, is that what I'm hearing now, is NOT the correct display of a B-note. It totally fladders open, it's like distortion. It's not tight and it's MUCH quieter. I just wanna play safe and immediatly cover the 1st harmonic, because I'm tight on budget and I wanna get it right the first time trough.
  18. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Quite often that's because of things like a poor setup, dead strings - you shouldn't have a flappy B regardless of your speaker cabs...

    sounds like from your budget restraints that buildin your own is the way to go! good luck... sorry I don't know of any speaker shops in benelux.
  19. I've been busy doing income taxes. Never buy Tax Cut software... not ready for prime time. Awful stuff.

    I'm working on the Magnum 18LF, Legend B102, JBL E155, and Delta 10 (PA) projects right now. The Magnum 15LF is a high Qts driver that does not interest me, due to the problems inherent in high Qts drivers.

    Magnum 15LF Group Delay

    One area that is more subtle is the trade off between low frequency extension and group delay. The SBB4 and sealed boxes have better transient response, but at a cost of rolling off the bass higher up.

    The 18LF is better suited as a 4-string driver. The Adire Maelstrom 18" is a better performer for low B and lower. The E155 doesn't have any bottom end, but it runs in a tiny cabinet and is loud, making it perfect for a PA supported stage monitor. I'd really like to get my hands on an E145.

    JBL E155 Gain Plot

    JBL E155 Group Delay Plot

    The Legend B102 is a perfect SPL match for the Magnum 18LF. The sensitivity is very close to an Acme B4. I'm building a prototype floor PA monitor using the Legend B102 because of its extended high frequency response. The cab is also the correct size for a Delta 10a.

    In my experience, the one location where you will most want full response all the way down to your lowest note is outdoors. Here, there is nothing to reinforce your low notes, and most cabs are terribly anemic sounding outdoors. Two weeks ago, my buddies and I played a set at my daughter's outdoor gig and we used their gear. Her bassist uses the D410XLT I got from a TB'er, and it is all mids in an outdoor environment.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have a regular gig with glass front walls, brick side walls and a hardwood floor. I have to EQ my subs down -6dB or more below 65 Hz to avoid booming in this room.

    V, I share your pain. My subs are 135 to 150 pounds each (estimated). The rack is 79 pounds, and each of my 1x10 E110 are 41 pounds. It was complete stupidity on my part, building the E110 cabs from 3/4" MDF, when thinner and lighter material would work just as well. Each 1x10 cab weighs 29 pounds (measured) without the driver.
  20. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Now that's a damn good point - how do the big outdoor shows do it?