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Does speaker size matter?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bobostein, Sep 18, 2009.

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  1. bobostein


    Jun 5, 2009
    Do larger or smaller speaker size (Ex. 210 cab vs. 115 cab)
    change the overall tone and should it be somthing to highly consider when geting a new combo amp?
  2. Yes and yes. Lots to read within this forum, but if you can A/B a 210 to a 115 you'll have your answer immediately.
  3. Men have been wondering if size really mattered for a long time...

  4. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007

    The differences people claim are caused by other things aside from the speaker size.
  5. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    What do you mean "No"! You can measure the differences in terms of speaker inches, air movement, decibels, sound ranges, etc., and perhaps most importantly, with your own ears.

    Different size speakers have different qualities, as do their cabs, and the heads that drive them.

  6. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    yes and no

    the myth that 15's are slow and 10's are fast is a lie. you can build a box for a 10 that will make it sound slow and muddy, and also build a box for a 15 that will make it sound fast and articulate.

    that said, the yes comes from that fact that different speaker sizes have different frequencies they prefer and present differently.
    15's have a more pronounced low mid preference. 12's more a high mid growly sort of thing, and 10's are usually a bit scooped.
    you can either combat or accentuate those tendancies with your box dimensions.
    the Bag End S15 is a very small box that is fact, articulate and clear. but no matter how fast you make a 15, it will never ever sound like a 10.

    play as many boxes and speaker sizes that you can, see what works for you.
  7. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    Speaker size affects mid dispersion (I think). That is pretty much it.
  8. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    He's right, according to BFM. There's just more to the story, and I won't try to explain since I don't understand it fully.
  9. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    No. Over a dozen parameters influence tone/output etc. A highly simplified explanation of them can be found at http://www.eminence.com/resources/data.asp

    Note that driver size is not one of them.
  10. Fetusyolk


    Aug 7, 2008
    i think my head just exploded
  11. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    The link does discuss driver size in relation to frequency ranges. Not sure what it means, but there is a reference to size.

    Are you saying an earbud speaker can perform like a 21" subwoofer, in the proper cabinet?

    I'm not trying to be a sm@rta$$, but if size doesn't matter.....
  12. Parameters, specifics...I'll bow to the experts, for sure. However, I think some real world sensibilities needs to be factored in. Last night, for example, I coincidentally played through a 115 combo, followed by a 210 combo. Same manufacturer...same amp, for that matter. Two totally different sounds. Ditto another rig, where I played (separately, under the same amp) through a 115 cab and a 212 cab . Same result...huge difference in sound.

    My point (I actually have one!)... Have I ever played through combos (or cabs) where the number of speakers and/or speaker size were the only things that distinguished one from the other? I don't think so, but I probably wouldn't know if I did. :D However, have I heard a difference in sound between every 210 and 115 arrangement I've played through? Youbetcha.
  13. Speaker size does matter, but cabinet size, thickness, etc. affects a lot too. All speakers can go low it's just at what volume? A lot of speaker brands say they can go way lower than they can. Like I have some bose speakers (which I dislike they suck as far as speakers go) Bose says they can go all the way down to 10herts. They drop of at about 50 herts though.

    If you have a 15" it will most likely be able to handle a low b better than a 10" would, but there are so many other factors. Some really nice speakers can handle the lows with a smaller speaker. some people love 10"s and other people really loves 15". Maybe you should get both. If you have a 4 string a 10" wouldn't be to bad, but if you have a 5 string go for a 15"
  14. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That refers to dispersion, already mentioned by UncleBalsamic. It's the only factor influenced by driver diameter alone.
    If it has the same T/S specs, yes. That's an extreme example, and like all extreme examples is silly to even contemplate. OTOH within the typical range of electric bass drivers, tens, twelves and fifteens, you can find examples of each with identical specs, and therefore they will sound the same with the exception of dispersion.
  15. Boxes do affect this yes, but that is why 18" is about as big as speakers get. Not because of price, but if you have a 25" it can not be pulled back in fast enough. In cabinets it's porting that effects this most, but it is true that smaller speakers can go faster.
    It is not a myth. If this was a myth some bassists would have gigantic speakers and so would concert places.
  16. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Bill and many other professionals from the industry have answered this question in great detail, numerous times, here on Talkbass. I wonder why people feel they know better than they do? :confused:

    Please check the FAQ's as I will be adding all sorts of links about it.


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