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Inches: Do they Matter?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bassline_Delux, Jan 1, 2004.


  1. I've been playing for a while now, and I'm gonna upgrade my rig. I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful 5-String bass with active J-Style Pickups, so I'll just be upgrading my 'amplification section'. Thing is, even though I've been playign for a while and I'd liek to think I'm decent enough....I don't really know **** about Cabinets and Speakers...

    Could you please provide some insight on what kinda sounds they produce and what is required to be heard and sound good in a band where the guitar player is gonna be playing a 4x10 wit ha marshall (ss) head...

    And speaker size? (Hence title)
     
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Inches do indeed matter -- there's a reason someone spending wads of cash on a car audio system gets a massive subwoofer. The bigger the speaker, the bigger the low end. Some people feel that you start to lose definition at 15", and noticeably at 18". By the same token, 10"'s sometimes aren't big enough for a particular choice of tone (especially if they/you like the big bottom end). 12"'s are a nice compromise, better if you have a tweeter in the cab. 15" and larger are often used as subs in multiple-cab setups and one of the more common multiple cab setups I've seen around here is a 4x10 and a 1x15 or a 2x12 and a 1x15. You probably don't need a very large cab setup, I'd go with something like a 1x15 and a 2x10 (simply for sake of convenience of a 2x10 versus larger cabs). Also remember -- the larger the cab, the less portable it becomes, so unless you're willing to leave your stuff there I'd go with something as portable as possible.
     
  3. What was already said about inches mattering is mostly true. That's why when you see guys with the bigger amp setups with a full stack have the one bigger cone and then a cabinet with the 2 or 4 smaller cones to get more range and better sound. And as far as the car stereos many people think bigger is better but it depends on what you're playing. Think logically and you can see that a bigger cone will move more which makes the vibrations slower. That's why you lose some tone with bigger ones because they vibrate too slow.
     
  4. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What type of amp are you currently using?
    What is you current amp lacking?

    What type of tone are you after?
    Do you want thumping deep lows or mids that cut through the mix?

    Since you play a 5-string, is it tuned BEADG or EADGC?
    Do you play mostly in the lowest octave on the bass or do you play mostly in the mid to upper area?

    How loud is the guitarist? How loud is the Drummer?

    Do they have a PA with Subs to help carry your lows?
     
  5. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What type of amp are you currently using?
    What is you current amp lacking?

    What type of tone are you after?
    Do you want thumping deep lows or mids that cut through the mix?

    Since you play a 5-string, is it tuned BEADG or EADGC?
    Do you play mostly in the lowest octave on the bass or do you play mostly in the mid to upper area?

    How loud is the guitarist? How loud is the Drummer?

    Do they have a PA with Subs to help carry your lows?
     
  6. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What type of amp are you currently using?
    What is you current amp lacking?

    What type of tone are you after?
    Do you want thumping deep lows or mids that cut through the mix?

    Since you play a 5-string, is it tuned BEADG or EADGC?
    Do you play mostly in the lowest octave on the bass or do you play mostly in the mid to upper area?

    How loud is the guitarist? How loud is the Drummer?

    Do they have a PA with Subs to help carry your lows?
     
  7. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What type of amp are you currently using?
    What is you current amp lacking?

    What type of tone are you after?
    Do you want thumping deep lows or mids that cut through the mix?

    Since you play a 5-string, is it tuned BEADG or EADGC?
    Do you play mostly in the lowest octave on the bass or do you play mostly in the mid to upper area?

    How loud is the guitarist? How loud is the Drummer?

    Do they have a PA with Subs to help carry your lows?
     
  8. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    What type of amp are you currently using?
    What is you current amp lacking?

    What type of tone are you after?
    Do you want thumping deep lows or mids that cut through the mix?

    Since you play a 5-string, is it tuned BEADG or EADGC?
    Do you play mostly in the lowest octave on the bass or do you play mostly in the mid to upper area?

    How loud is the guitarist? How loud is the Drummer?

    Do they have a PA with Subs to help carry your lows?
     
  9. Yes, size does matter ;)
     
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Sure, it was a good post -- but was it worthy of saying 5 times?
     
  11. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    No no no! it's the way you use it.:D

    Seriously, though, all else being equal a bigger speaker will have more lows. But all else is rarely equal, so it's possible to have a cabinet with 10" speakers go lower than one with a 15. A good place to start would be to go out and play through every cab you can find. This will give you a good basic knowledge of what different cabs sound like, and you can narrow it down from there.
     
  12. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    also, make sure you have at least 4x the wattage of your guitarists.

    i.e. 100 watt Marshall, you'd better have 400 watts on your side.

    cab requirement wise, just make sure you have a cab that can handle that much wattage.

    Govi pretty much nailed it. 10" speakers are punchier and will cut thru a dense mix better. 15" have a huge low end that's fun to listen to, but can be muddy in that dense mix. 12" are a nice compromise of the two.

    but just cause a cab has 10" speakers doesnt mean it wont go that low. just pay attention to the cabs "frequency response". e.g. Acme cabs come in 10" variations like the 2x10 and 4x10, but they can easily go down to 31 Hz. and Eden's new XST 2x10 goes down to 30Hz as well.
     
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, let's see. I'm gonna make a couple of assumptions. One is, that if your guitar player uses a Plexi, he likes to turn it up. (Right?) Then the next one is, you're also playing with a loud drummer. If you're in a situation where you find yourself having to compete with these guys to turn up loud enough to make them sound good (wink), then I'd say target 300 watts for a tube amp, and 1000 watts for a solid state amp.

    After that, it's a question of what kind of sound you're after. If you want the SVT sound, you have to get an SVT and an SVT cabinet. Or if you want the 370 sound, then it's an Acoustic 370 and a 301 cabinet.

    Personally, I prefer the more dynamic punchy sounds. I do a lot of slappin' stuff, but I also play in a classic rock and blues cover band, so those are two different types of requirements. For both, I like nice deep rich "fat" low end, and a nice dynamic punchy high end. But for the slap stuff I need power in the extreme lows and extreme highs, whereas for the classic rock and blues stuff I need power in the lower midrange. Here's what I've found.

    If you're playing outdoors, there's no substitute for big speakers. I use EVX-180A's to get my sound "out there" into the audience. In an outdoor situation, the low frequencies travel through the ground, and it takes beaucoup power and very big speakers to make that happen. The same would apply in a large indoor venue where you're basically playing to a lot of open space. Usually those big 18's don't have a whole lot of high end, so I complement that with a bunch of 12's to get some decent upper midrange, and that also gives me the punchy high end I'm looking for. That's a very nice combination, and I love playing outdoors just 'cause it sounds so good!

    If you're playing a medium sized indoor venue like an auditorium or a theater, I've found that 15's are perfectly adequate. The things to watch out for there is resonances, 'cause a lot of large rooms have low frequency resonances that make 15's sound "boomy" and not at all pleasant. There are two ways to fix that: either EQ to compensate with a parametric, or use lots of really small speakers, or both. I usually use the EQ method, it works most of the time, but once or twice it hasn't worked and the gig didn't go well. So I always try to check out this kind of situation ahead of time if possible, usually I can tell just by yelling a few words in the room, what it's going to sound like and what equipment I should bring. 12's sometimes work well in this situation, they work especially well if you can get away with a fat midrangey tone at a lower volume, 'cause the extreme lows don't make it out into the audience with 12's.

    If you're in a small club, you can get away with using 10's. That's my opinion. I wouldn't use them anywhere else, unless I had a whole bunch of 'em, and unless they were only for the high end. I detest 10's for several reasons. One is, I play a 5-string, and there aren't many 10's that can take the punishment of 31 Hz at a thousand watts. I've seen more than one 10" speaker cone flying all the way across the stage (and I mean "all" the way, like twenty or thirty feet), and all it took was one good whack on the low B. The other reason I don't like 10's is that if they're the only thing I'm using, then for my particular sound, they're almost "too" dynamic. I WANT some sluggishness and some fatness in my sound, that's what gives my bottom end the thickness and texture that makes it rich and intricate, and it allows the high frequencies to complement the sound in many ways that can't be achieved if the bottom end is "too" dynamic.

    Edit: Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I prefer 15's for a small club situation, or more specifically one 15 and one 12 in parallel. I have a couple of EVX-155's that I use with Bag End 12's, I stack 'em in pairs for all but the outdoor gigs, that's where I substitute the big 18's for the 15's, so it becomes an 18 and 12 stack. That's my approach. I never use 10's. It's always either one 15 and one 12, or one 18 and one 12, I pair 'em like that. That gives me the sound I want just about anywhere. (End Edit)

    So, there's my 2c worth. Happy New Year!
     
  14. I'm still at school so ive just got a 300w head with a 15 inch spkr. I find that i can get a nice mid range growly tone with a certain eq, or i can make a smooth deep sound etc etc. As has been said above, usually a bigger speaker means deeper sound but less tone or definition, opposite for smaller. But i think it depends alot on your bass and eq as well. Maybe its just different speakers facilitate certain sounds better?:)
     
  15. thejohnkim

    thejohnkim

    Sep 30, 2003
    NYC
    i dont disagree with anything said, but just as a side note, bigger cones don't necessarily always mean worse definition, and 'slow' response.

    [sidenote]
    what causes 15's to generally be called 'slower' is that to make them as fast as 8's and 10's, stronger magnets need to be used, and most inepensive (relatively) 15" drivers skimp on that, so they dont respond as well as the smaller driver with more driver excursion control (relatively of course). you can see a whole ton of examples of this in home theater subwoofers, where high end subs that use 15" and 18" drivers are every bit as fast as good 8" and 10" driver-loaded subs.

    but of course for bass users, that would mean lugging around denser cabinets, which would make them heavier and more expensive than they already are.
    [/sidenote]

    ....ok...back to the topic...
     
  16. chadds

    chadds

    Mar 18, 2000
    Before you buy search this forum for more info. You can put together a great rig with lots of power small speakers for highs and that 18" for lows and it will sound incredible until you play it with your band in a live real setting. Then your tone will be indistinct muddy possibly boomy and the audience won't know there is a bassist. 10"s came along so everyone could hear the bass in a live context. That's why the SVT was so successful. We'd had years of 15s and 18s when that hit the scene. FYI the Acoustic 360 was barely sudible on stage. 1/4 mile away whoa! It had output for a mid and high range cab. Don't reinvent the wheel. Let the soundman have his subs so he can do what he will after you are putting great sounds out. If your band mates can here you then the music of the group is better and the whole band sounds great. I've spent a lot of money on gear I thought would work as opposed to what really works.
     
  17. Amp - Reason I'm upgrading, Fender15B (Old Mofo)
    What is you current amp lacking? - Well...

    I'm looking for Fat, Rich Low end, but with that 'high-responsiveness' punch...

    5-string tuned: BEADG

    I don't play 'mostly' anywhere, I'd like something that could handle whatever I throw at it.

    Guitarist isn't tooo loud but he's got 100W(SS) and a 4x10.

    And finnaly...We can't afford a PA...So we just play with our amps and ****..
     
  18. There is a common misconception that more inches is better... if one asks, they will be told that bigger around is what is most desired.

    A high quality, large diameter unit will pound all night long without quitting at the wrong time. Slow and unresponsive units are typically cheap, low budget models. They may be nice to look at, but are a waste of time when called upon to do their job. They won't stand up to the job, and go soft and sloppy when pushed hard.

    Give strong consideration to having more than one. Multiple big ones are good, both visually and for maximum utilization of resources by filling every nook and cranny. Especially so for a live performance, or on video tape.
     
  19. panazza

    panazza

    Nov 23, 2003
    italy
    my ebs combo has a single 15' speaker with a tweeter and it can do all the punchy and metallic and trebley sound I'd want. I think that size does matter but a good amp like mine could do both muddy and trebley sounds... just use the eq section... I also tried a small swr workingman's combo with a 15' speaker and it had an angry tone in the highs-mid... I had a laney with a 12' speaker and it couldn't do any nice bassy tone... then I tried some 4 x 10 cabs and they couldn't handle a low E... Size matters but if you get 15' speakers you can't go wrong
     
  20. panazza

    panazza

    Nov 23, 2003
    italy
    bassline_delux I'd suggest buying a 15' combo with at least 300w of power...mine is 350w and I play with the loudest drummer in the world and a guitarist with a tube 65w amp...always at very high volumes and it always did his job.. but you must buy a high level combo if you want it to sound good... I saw 300w combos for 500 euros!!! they must be a bunch of s**t