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How much do cabinets influence your tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by LifeIsBass, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. Now, I know a single 15 is going to sound way different from a 410. But what I'm wondering is how much variation is there in tone between one brand of the same type of cabinet from another? In other words, say an Eden 210 from an Aquilar?
    And then to make it even more complicated, between different models of the same brand? Is the difference in tone even more drastic than 2 different heads? Do the cabinets influence the tone more than the actual head?

    I never really thought about it much until recently. I've been contemplating doing PU and pre changes on basses when maybe I should be considering a new cabinet. I was just thinking the other day that back in my guitar playing days, I was floored when I heard the difference in tone from a cabinet loaded w/Celestion Vintage 30's compared to one with Celestion G12T-75's (I think that's what they were anyway). Is it the same with bass? Help me out all you guys who have experimented with lots of different cabinets. :)
  2. Hyde


    Mar 30, 2006
    They definitely sound different. I'm not going to even begin to say whether a cab affects your tone more than the head, bass, strings, technique, or acoustics of the venue, but there are definitely big tonal differences between cabinets by different manufacturers, and even different models made by the same manufacturer.
  3. MarkMyWordsXx


    May 17, 2006
    it all depends on what specific cabs your talking about
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Heck even speakers of the same configuration but different models from the same manufacturer can sound very different. For example the Eden D-410T vs their D-410XLT and D-410XST. I have a hunch Aguilar's DB series cabs sound different from their GS series.
  5. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Some would argue it's the most important point in sound reproduction ... your sound exits those speakers, remember.
  6. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Speakers will have more distortion than any amp that's not clipping, will have a narrower and usually non-flat frequency response than any decent amp, the room and their placement in it will contribute to what you hear and will have a much worse impulse response due to a variety of reasons.
    Speakers are far less linear than amps in general. Preamp stages can of course shape the frequency response and distortion spectrum greatly and make as large a contribution to the overall sound. The difference is you have control of the amp's knobs, whereas you have no control of the speaker, except for room placement, and even then not usually much. I find a speaker's contribution to the overall tonality to be greater than the amp.
  7. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    It can be an enormous difference.

    Wisely you must choose
  8. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005


    - georgestrings
  9. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Speaking as someone who has gone through tons of equipment in 25 years of playing, I gotta say that the speakers you use make a world of difference. I use 15's and have tried many different amps, along with different speaker brands. I always seem to come back to using JBL E 140 15's. They seem to give me the sound I hear in my head, no matter what kind of amplification I use with them.
  10. Your speaker cabinets:

    1) Produce your tone
    2) Reproduce your tone

    Some players use highly colored cabs to produce their particular tone. Other players want a full range, transparent speaker system that reproduces the tone of the bass/electronics.

    If you play a familiar music CD through your bass rig, any coloration will be apparent. I have a pair of JBL E110 that I used for my bi-amp rig. Driven by my reference HiFi system, their coloration was quite obvious, and nowhere close to transparent.
  11. Hopefully soon to be absolutely not at all. I plan on eventually play through two el whappo's.
  12. Masher88

    Masher88 Believe in absurdities and you commit atrocities

    May 7, 2005
    Cleveland, OH

    When I use my same rig thru my 8x10 or my Schroeder, they sound completely different.
  13. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    As far as my personal sound goes, my speakers are an indispensable part of it. I like to have that certain coloration.

    I think that some jazz-oriented folks dig a "transparent" sound, so for them the less the cab influences it, the better.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Possibly. But a lot of jazzers play through the little GK combo, which is a wonderful sounding amp but a monstrosity from a transparency standpoint.
  15. Vic Winters

    Vic Winters Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Western NY
    Speakers make a world of difference. When one of the aluminum drivers in my Behringer BX4210A (2x10 combo) cracked, I replaced them with Eminence Beta 10's. Such an improvement. So much more growl and mid range punch. Tore through a 60 watt Marshall tube amp with no problem at only 25% volume.
  16. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    It's been my experience that the very detailed, flat cabs do such a good job reproducing sound accurately that they can expose poor technique and could actually make a crummy bass/player sound worse.
    Brings me back to the first time I plugged direct into a mixing console and slapped-on a pair of cans! VERY humbling indeed!!

    I don't mean this as a bash at all, but I think alot of the "scooped-mid" type cabs really help players achieve a more acceptable tone given the techniques being used and basses they are playing. A retailer I know says when many bassists come-in to try out basses he keeps them AWAY from the GLOCK gear for this reason!

    Cabs/Drivers:BIG effect on tone!!
  17. +1 to everything Dharmabass said. The speaker is almost invariably the weakest link. Even the best engineered speakers have levels of distortion that would be considered unacceptable even in mediocre amplifiers. Plus there's a whole litany of phase and frequency response issues on top of the non-linearities.

    There is no such thing as a truly transparent speaker, there are only more or less coloured ones.

    No passively crossed over cabinet is anywhere close to actually transparent. That being said, I don't think speaker colouration is necessarily a bad thing in an instrument amplifier. I quite like the colouration of my sealed 610, for example. However, in a playback system I think striving for lower distortion etc is very important.

    I also think a lot of people erroneously equate "good bass response" with "transparency."
  18. +1 to Mark Record's post. As to the above, I can't really think of many cabs with a mid scoop... maybe some of the Bergantino's (my HTs series cabs seem quite scooped... deep lows, plenty of high end, but no pronounced mids at all).

    Most 'voiced' cabs (by 'voiced', I mean cabs that aren't marketed as 'flat' or transparant) IMO are voiced with some sort of mid presence versus any sort of scooped mids, and those cabs seem much more 'illuminating' of technique issues, etc. than cabs that some TBer's think of as flat (the older EA VL line, the Acme's, Accugrooves, etc.).

    To me, it's the bump in the upper mids and treble that cabs like Eden, the newer EA line, the EpiUL line, etc. that a) cut through a mix and b) really require you to play cleanly and accurately.

    The big low end (as Mark points out), and the rather polite (i.e., non-bumped) mids and treble of many 'flat' marketed cabs actually tend to hide technique problems IME and IMO.

    +1.... to me, a cab is the crucial link in the signal chain in live performance.
  19. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    I see that as one of the major benefits of an articulate, present cab. If you can't hear it clearly you're not likely to fix it. It's one way that good gear can actually help you to develop as a player, imo.
  20. slombovia


    Jul 15, 2003
    I am a determined follower of Jesus Christ and am a Mormon.
    With my Eden, Carvin, Avatar, JBL, etc. cabs I was always trying to EQ one frequency out and/or another in.

    With my Euphonic Audio CXL-112L, now I only EQ for the room or to change my tone intentionally for the music.

    With the EA, I walk from the low B on my NYBW 6-string basses all the way up the high C string and it's even all the way - no bumps or dips that I can tell - certainly FAR less than the other cabs. :bassist:

    So, by influencing my tone very little, it makes me very happy with the tone of my New York Bass Works into Read Bass Purity preamp which sound amazing and finally my speakers aren't fouling it up! :p

    (Oh, and I just run 700w into 1 cab!)

    Tom H.

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