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Is it really size that matters?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Quap, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Quap


    Oct 14, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    I live in Austin TX so am fortunate that all the venues I play have a house system and staff sound guy.

    My cabinet then becomes important for practice and an on stage monitor for myself and drummer.

    I currently play through an Ampeg PF210 powered by a PF500. I am wondering can a ported 1x12 or 1x15 (Looking at barefaced or Mesa) be louder than my sealed 2x10? I’m upgrading my cabinet first and leaving the amp for a while.
  2. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I'm not a speaker cab expert, but for what I know, it's all about a speaker with high sensitivity in a cab that is designed around that speaker. If both things are met, it will be as loud as it can be.
    The PF210 is 99.6dB SPL, which is pretty good for a cab. I think that larger cabs with more cone area are more sensitive, so for a single speaker, you will have to get something pretty smartly engineered.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
    saabfender and Rumbledore like this.
  3. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    The cool thing about the 210 is that one speaker is *that* much closer to your ear. It kind of depends on your music style. I oftentimes go ampless when I know I’ll get a wedge. If you can hear yourself, you can play through anything, provided FOH is doing the heavy lifting.
  4. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    Average Sensitivity of a 1x12 will be about equal to a 2x10
    And on average a 1x15 slightly higher.

    Always exceptions. But higher quality drivers will typically improve tone and overall presence.

    And unlike TB myths in general yes larger speakers make more bass
    rtav and Ellery like this.
  5. Rick James

    Rick James Banned

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    In the mids and highs maybe not. In the lows, absolutely.
    At what frequency? That's what matters. There's also the matter of driver displacement. A twelve with the same displacement as a fifteen can go just as loud as the fifteen, all else being if not equal at least similar. Since you're looking at Barefaced you should read all the technical information on their site, it's the most informative company that I'm aware of.
  6. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    One area where a good two-way cab does well is, dispersion. Good dispersion makes it easier for your bandmates including the drummer to hear what you're doing.

    When you compare specs, be aware of two things: 1) Not everyone is measuring with the same yardstick; and 2) There is a trade-off relationship between box size, bass extension, and efficiency, such that a smaller box is not going to be both louder and deeper than a larger box, assuming competent design and similar technologies (such as, both cabs are ported).

    For practice and onstage monitoring, good dispersion might be as important as maximum on-axis SPL. So even if you take a small step backwards in on-axis SPL, a cab with better dispersion may better serve your particular needs. The 2-way Barefaced cabs and the Mesa Subway cabs all have very good dispersion. Based on an educated guess about what's in the Mesa Subway 115, imo that's a pretty loud cab.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
    Balog, AstroSonic, ThisBass and 4 others like this.
  7. looking at the price range of the Mesa & Barefaced cabs, I'd add the Audiokinesis manufactured by @DukeLeJeune and the Genzler bass array to your consideration. Each are different flavors of wonderful...
    agedhorse, RColie and Kro like this.
  8. My girlfriend complains all the time.
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I had the Ampeg PF-210 (and a PF-115).

    I now have:
    Mesa Subway 112
    Mesa Subway 115
    Barefaced SuperCompact
    Audiokinesis Changeling 112t.

    I can tell you first hand the Mesa Subway 115 can easily outperform the PF-210 in every way possible. The AudioKinesis can as well, but it does not sound as thick. The Subway 112 and SuperCompact meet or exceed it on on loudness overall, but the thing about those cabs is that they can produce sooo much more low end than the PF-210. So yes, any of these would be an upgrade. But hey..the Ampeg costs half as much as most of them. Maybe you just need to add a second 210?
    AstroSonic and voided3 like this.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    I would put your cab up on a stand and Add an adjustable HPF to your signal chain and then see if you need new cabs.

    I also suggestif you change cabs, think about adding a second 2x10 for a vertical stack to move more air and get more watts along with better dispersion.
    saabfender and BadExample like this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Size does matter. A cabinet of any given configuration (say a 210), with high sensitivity and small size has to give up something. That something is low frequency extension. There are very few (actually I don't know of any) commercial bass guitar cabinets that have an f3 (meaning they're flat to within 3 dB at 40Hz) with an efficiency above 95dB SPL/watt. Acme makes some cabinets that go that low, but with lower efficiency - something has to give. I have a 112 I made that's at 96, but it's a bigger enclosure than anyone puts a single 12 in, because....people want smaller.

    So, as in many things, it's: Smaller, louder, deeper.

    Pick 2.

    And no, more money can't get you out of the box
    ThisBass and agedhorse like this.
  12. voided3


    Nov 11, 2008
    I just picked up a Barefaced Super Compact 1x12 that seems to match my Ampeg 410HE (sealed 4x10) loaded with Basslites for output, for what it's worth.

    With that said, definitely try a stand first. I even put my 4x10 on a stand at gigs as we always have FOH support, too. I use an On-Stage medium format T-stand that raises the cab about two feet so I'm practically wearing it as headphones. It'll sound a little thinner compared to being coupled with the floor, but it'll be "punchier" and way easier to hear the all important upper mids. The perceived loudness factor goes way up with your head that close to the cab. It also lets your EQ your amp more "honestly". I'm also a guitar player and I use the same T-stand for those amps, too, otherwise you end up ripping everyone's head off with treble.
  13. gidbass

    gidbass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Is it really size that matters?

    The plethora of responses actually made me light headed....;)

    Thanks for the laugh and Good Luck!
    BadExample likes this.
  14. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Yes, a ported 112 or a 115 can be very much louder than your sealed 210.

    A Barefaced Big Baby 2 goes for about $1025 shipped. It is one of the finest, if not the finest 112 bass cabinet made. It will blow away most 410's and most 212's. It weighs under 30 lbs.

    Barefaced Bass - Big Baby 2
    P_Robyn and Dp1363 like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You need a second cab if you want to be louder. Replacing a 210 with a 115 or 112 is more often than not a completely lateral move and you'll be back to square one. You need to add a cab.
  16. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    If you usually play in venues with decent sound and crew, ask for more in the monitor or IEMs and leave the heavy stuff at home.
    Groove Doctor, MrLenny1 and BazzaBass like this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Wouldn't call the PF210he "heavy stuff" :D Plus some of us hate hearing our basses through monitors. Most are designed to sound good with vocals, not bass, and all I want in my monitor is my vocal and nothing else. It will work to do that, yes, but there's baggage.
    Manticore and Kro like this.
  18. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    Get it off the ground and point it at your noggin. This is technology most guitar players clearly don’t have access to.
    BadExample and Das Jugghead like this.
  19. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    You're correct. A PF210e isn't heavy, but one simply doesn't need to have much more from a dedicated bass rig to sound excellent in the house, and that's what really counts. OP is correct; there are a good number of excellent house systems run by competent people in Austin. Having less than one's idea of perfect sound on stage isn't the end of the world, but such baggage shouldn't negatively affect one's performance. The less one has on stage the easier it is to get a perfect sound in the house. We have our differences on this topic, but that's just fine as well.
    JimmyM and kesslari like this.
  20. Das Jugghead

    Das Jugghead

    Oct 28, 2015
    This. On both accounts.

    I told the guitarists in one of the bands I am in to point their cabs at their heads rather than at their calves. The response was "Are you crazy? I'll go deaf!" from one of them and "I don't want to hear myself that loud" from the other. And yet throughout rehearsal I see them turning up and turning up.
    JimmyM, S-Bigbottom and saabfender like this.

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