Get That Cabinet Off The Floor!

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jason Hollar, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    So, I played one of my regular jazz gigs last night at a local Beer Hall/Brewery. The acoustics are terrible...high ceilings, lots of tile & glass, overall a very "boomy" and echo-prone room. We don't even use any reverb on the singer's mic...because it's already there.

    Normally, I put my SWR 2x10 on the floor, on its side, stacking the tens on top of each other (I'm pretending it's a Euphonic 2x10 for the time being!) All I ever do is fight with the EQ and fool around with volume between tunes. Last night, I grabbed an unoccupied short stool and put my cabinet/head on it. My speakers were now firing directly into my back.

    Some interesting things happened! First of all, I noticed my master volume level needed to be considerably lower for me to hear my bass. Second, the note definition was much clearer, because the sound wasn't firing past my legs. Also, I didn't seem to lose any good-feeling low end, just the muddy stuff.

    So, I realize this may not come as surprise to many of you...but for me, it's a revelation! I've always been in the frame of mind that bass amp + floor = extra bass...and that this is a good thing. Plus, after schlepping my rig (and the singer's sound system) up stairs, etc., the last thing I want to do is lift more stuff up AGAIN. In addition, I never considered it because it usually meant carrying yet another "thing" to the gig like an amp stand, milk crate, or stool, for example.

    However, I can now look back (with hindsight being 20/20) at many situations where I wasn't happy with my sound -- and that maybe raising up the rig would have made a big difference in the quality of the group sound.

    I can also see how having the amp in this position might allow for an even smaller rig (like a 1x12 combo amp for instance) instead of my relatively beefy 2x10 plus head rig.

    Of course, the guitarist that I played with last night brought in his fab new Polytone, promptly put it on a chair, and proceeded to sound great. Ah, lessons for the working musician! I got lots of compliments from people who were listening -- that said they really liked my solos, etc. I guess I had a good time hearing myself more, and playing with more finesse in not having to "fight the room" so much.

    Go figure!
  2. I've heard so many bass players say they need a second cab just so they can get their speakers up where thay can hear them. They don't seem to realise that there are ways to raise a cab off the floor that don't involve a new 115 cab!

    I made a light lift-off 'tea cosy' case for my combo from 6mm ply and roadcase angle - it doubles as a handy stand that's just the right height and looks neater than a chair.
  3. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Yea. That is the way to do it. I use a single vl208 most of the time with my Walter Woods and I'm always putting it up on something from around the venue. I've been thinking about making some sort of thing that doubles as a speaker stand and then when flipped around can be a dolly for the head and speaker. In search of my one trip load in.
  4. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong

    I'm sure they know ... this is just what they have to tell their wife :D
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Agreed about the "off the floor" concept. My speaker stand goes everywhere my amp goes these days, and my intonation thanks me for it. :)
  6. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Well, I snarfed a fancy, and very sturdy all-black milk crate several years ago that makes a lovely stand for my 2x10. It's also handy to put things in...just blows my 2 trip load in...unless I bring the bigger cart.

  7. Q: What's the optimum height off the floor for any piece of audio equipment?
    A: One ISMC (International Standard Milk Crate)
  8. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    There's a reason Fender put those tilt-back legs on all their cabinets and amps way back when.

    What you typically hear in bass is the harmonics, not the fundementals, and those are very directional coming out of a 10" or larger speaker. Getting the amp up or tilted back make it much easier to hear yourself. I use a stand for my guitar amp that raises it about 18" and tilts it back. This points it at me head, allows me to hear myself, and prevents arguments with the other guitarist ;-)

    Getting the cabinet off the floor will also reduce the low-end boost that comes from coupling the cab to one or more of the room's resonance modes.
  9. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    There's a lot of emphasis put on speaker stands in studio and home audio systems for anyone interested in better sound. They make a big difference for those situations and for musicians too. A light, rigid stand, usually made from an aluminum alloy is preferred. I've found that a height from 8" to 20" works well. Top and bottom spikes on the stands also help dramatically, but probably won't work for gigs. There are fold-up amp stands you can take with you for the occasional gig where you can't find a suitable chair or table...
  10. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    I've got an Avatar B212 which can set off a room's natural resonance if I leave it on the floor. I've found that one rectangular milk crate will hold it, but it's pretty tippy. So I take two of them and turn them the long way, side by side, and it's perfect. Also gets my amp up to the right level for making adjustments on the fly.
  11. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    I had my LDS 1x8 made with a pole socket. Then I cut the legs of the PA stand back a few inches (those stands are made for super big mackies and such) now I have a stand that is feather weight, gets the cab up where ever i want it and lets me hear it all like nothing else...trying to tilt a cab back on a chair (with an amp on top) makes for a mess and I've had them fall too. This is sooo much better.
    Thanks for the idea Chris
  12. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I generally use a Gramma from Aurralex Acoustic. It's a compromise between putting the amp on the floor and setting
    it up higher on a chair. IMHO it sounds a little better than putting
    the speaker up on a chair. I have used many a milk crate in my time though, as well as the folding supports for serving trays they use at hotels. It's especially nice when you can just borrow one
    from one of the waiters or waitresses. I just noticed that they have a atractive new basic black acessory bag for the Gramma
    a must for any traveling musicians ensemble.

    Ric ;)
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Just curious, how heavy is one of those Gramma's, Ric?
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I just noticed that the Auralex site dosen't give the platforms weight. It's very light, I'd guess around 4 lbs or so. I'll surf around later today and see if I can find a shipping weight.

    Ric :confused:
  15. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    That's a riot!

    The milk crate I have must be a "double". It's a wide rectangular shape, rather than the standard square type. It has this cool, metal reinforced rim. Indestructable, and basic black too with no visible lettering.

    What the heck, I might as well throw it in the car and take it along in case there aren't any decent "in house" options on the gig.

    Are you guys like you eyeball those stacks of milk crates along the sides of stores??? I'm no thief by nature, but there's nothing quite as tempting as a stack of shiny, black milk crates. They offer such potential...such a handy device!!! So much cheaper than an Auralex thinga-ma-bob!
  16. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I also have one and it's not that heavy. Only a coupld of lbs., I think.
  17. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Sure, but it's more crap to carry. I might toy with getting a bunch of hard plastic drinking cups to elevate the cab first. Cheaper, lighter, and alot more compact. Normally my cab needs to be coupled with the floor to get that extra bass but sometimes it's too much, thus my interest.

    Anyways, I have my gear down to a single trip and it's nice. I don't even need to use a cart. I'd like to see if keep it that way. :)
  18. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Plus think of all the beer you could drink with those cups. :rolleyes:
  19. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    There are a lot of rooms where I like having my cab off the floor too. But sometimes I miss the depth in my sound created by floor coupling.

    So I try to back my amp up fairly close to a wall if I can. Having a wall behind the amp to reflect sound seems to help recreate some of that depth that I lose by taking the amp off the floor, without sacrificing any of the advantages.
  20. Ray-man

    Ray-man Guest

    Sep 10, 2005
    Yes. I've never taken one (since I have two from work that were just going to be thrown away anyhow), but I've thought about finding the manager and asking him how much he'd take for two of 'em.