1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Head and cab pairing across brands

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by shlinder, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    I have some questions about mixing cab and head brands:

    1. Which heads by certain brands pair well with cabs of other brands?
    2. How can I know?
    3. Are differences significant enough that you should rather stay within the brand of the head?
    4. Does it come down to speaker type? Like, does an Orange pair best with any brand that has a Vintage 30 speaker? Not?
    5. What info do I need to know before crossing brands?
    6. Which brands definitely do NOT mix well?
    7. Or... are these stupid questions and it really doesn't matter, i.e. any pairing works?

    For example, which cabs of other brands would go well with a Mesa 800 or Orange OB1-500? Would an Ampeg SVT15E work well with either? A Fender Rumble 115? Is the price disparity worth it?

    Please don't say, Mesa with Mesa or Orange with Orange. I am curious to know which other brands will be equally good. And it's not a question of budget, it's a question of learning how to do the research, i.e. what to look for when shopping.
  2. Sounds like you're getting a little overwhelmed by endless options and combinations. I seem to always mix brands of heads and cabs. There is no right or wrong, except mixing driver size which is a TB taboo.

    You can learn a lot from TB but the final decision will have to be made by your ears. I've never liked 410 cabs. From TB I've learned that part of the reason is the off axis response and dispersion stink.

    What are you using now and what do/don't you like about it?
  3. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    What does this mean: "mixing driver size"? Why is that taboo?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  4. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    I am moving from a Laney Richer RB8 to a head and cab setup. Never had that before, and have become fairly obsessed these last couple weeks with it all.
  5. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I haven't found an amp that didn't match well with a Bergantino or Barefaced cab.

    Many years ago I ran a great sounding rig, an Ampeg SVT3PRO with 2 Mesa Boogie EV cabs.

    The success of mixing amps and cabs is purely subjective. If you like the sound then that's good for you, but IMO bassy amps are probably best kept away from bassy cabs etc, unless you play dub.
  6. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    Please elaborate on that adjective "bassy".
  7. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    And what does that mean: "match well"? How do you know? Is that just subjective?
  8. In a nutshell, you risk frequency and phase cancelation by mixing 10" and 15" speakers. A lot depends on your goals, ability, and desire to lift.

    Personally I like the GK 12" cabs. I can use one or more. For me, I can easily dial in or out the mids. Some cabs have a baked in response that is hard to dial out.
  9. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    "Bassy". . . too much bass, less note definition and less clarity.

    "Match well". . . sounds good together.

    "How do you know?". . . you'll know.

    You need to get out and hear some amps and cabs. That's a good choice, by the way. Separates let you upgrade separately which can get you some interesting matches ups. Describing sound only gets you so far. Go and listen to bands and see what's available in music shops and start building up a "library" of the sounds you hear and the features you see.
  10. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    I'm not thinking of mixing speaker cabs, or having multiple cabs per amp (at least not yet). I'm still thinking one cab per head.

    If I don't mix or connect multiple cabs, is "frequency and phase cancellation" still a worry? What is that?
  11. Nobody knows what you will like.

    In my experience I have only struggled with the ancient Fender passive 3 band EQ that only cuts the mids from neutral with anything less than fully cranked on the knob. Flat being 2 on Bass 10 on Mids and 2 on Treble.

    Cabs have some quirks but nothing I have owned. I never would consider a 410 610 810 unless Barefaced or similar with half the drivers low passing to get over the mids dispersion mess of side by side speakers.

    Some people never get graphic EQ. I cut my teeth on 12 band Trace with dual compression and EQ balance. The GK rotary knobs are cut and boost and easy enough to EQ all my cabs to taste.

    If you are looking at used bargains by all means get TB e-pinions. Bear in mind that nobody knows what you will like.
  12. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I use a 500 watt amp and 2 112 cabs. That lets me choose 1 or 2 cabs depending on the gig. You might prefer a 410, 212 or 215. Over the years I have used all these cabs and these days I like more smaller cabs.

    The "don't mix" mantra isn't at all clear cut these days. And IMO it never was a "black and white" rule. There are manufacturers who design their cabs to be mixed, TC, Mesa Boogie, Bergantino and Barefaced do or have done this. Mixing a 210 and 115 always worked for me.

    The only rule is use your ears.
  13. No, using one cab or two of the same cab does not create phase cancelation. You might want to read the sticky at the top of the Amps and cabs Forum. Lots of great information.
  14. shlinder


    Jun 3, 2017
    Someone told me every head will do well with a Marshal or Fender cab.
  15. sound does not behave like multiple flashlights where 1+1 = 2. Sometimes a selection of frequencies will be doing 2 and the others 0. That's a slight exaggeration but known as comb filtering when it is side by side drivers. You have a lot to learn.
  16. cardinal


    Jan 13, 2016
    Just gotta try stuff, I think. For example, the 800rb was ubiquitous in the '80s and used often with Hartke 4x10s and 1x15s, Bag End 1x15s, and Ampeg 8x10, among others. All sounds good to me. Different but it all worked.
    InhumanResource and Zooberwerx like this.
  17. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Best example that comes to mind!

  18. ficelles

    ficelles Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    The brand of a cab really is irrelevant, except maybe as an indicator of quality.

    All you need to worry about is matching impedance and power handling.

    Other than that, it's just down to whether you like the sound.
    Suncat, Rattman, macmanlou and 3 others like this.
  19. ficelles

    ficelles Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Sometimes 1+1 = 4... there is constructive interference as well as destructive.
  20. I refer to 2 speakers full range. 1 + 1 never equals 4 unless you are talking about boundary reflections.

Share This Page