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Is the Cabinet design THE Thing?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Grissle, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    I understand that small speakers can go as low as larger ones. I've also read that different sizes have different beaming characteristics. But many people say they like 15's or 10's etc. So is their really any differences aside from dissimilar construction? Is say a 2x10 and 1x18 that are constructed identically, (with the same TS parameters) with the same cab design and tuning, going to sound The Same?

    P.S., Sorry if I'm just being confusing!😶😊
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Somebody much smarter than I will give you a better response, but simply, yes.
  3. The box design will dictate to some extent the sound. So will the specific model of driver used.

    Complicating it are the fact that several different models of driver in the same diameter might be designed with similar goals, but others might not be.
  4. GretschBassist


    Nov 11, 2012
    I found this video very informative on the matter, sure that is GK only but he explains it very logical.
  5. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam

    Even if their on-axis response is the same, the off-axis response will be different. Thus, the cab will sound different
  6. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Additionally, a 10" speaker has a quicker response time, in that the cone doesn't flex as much due to the smaller cone area, while the 18" speaker pushes more air, again due to the larger cone area. I doubt even the on-axis response would be the same.
  7. swamp_bass

    swamp_bass I love it when a groove comes together Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2013
    North Cackalacky

    Each speaker has a potential performance that can be maximized by cabinet design. But because different performance characteristics are mutually exclusive, ultimately the limitations are set by the speaker manufacturer.
  8. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Totally doesn't work like that. If the T/S specs are the same, the the amount of air moved is the same, and the cone stiffness isn't part of them.

    Also, more to them than T/S specs, those give you the low bit, and the box is heavily involved with that, the high bit has tons of factors, and they really matter because of your ear being sensitive to stuff there, its where the character is.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY

    Two myths wrapped into one reply.
  10. What tends to get oversimplified in these discussions is that the wave generation and propagation mechanisms vary widely over the frequency ranges involved. At the lowest frequencies, it's all about cabinet design and the collective ability of the speaker(s) to move air, independent of speaker size. Wave propogation at those long wavelengths includes the room dimensions as part of the resonance system. Above that, beaming becomes an issue but wave propagation becomes more dependent on line of sight to the speaker and reflections from what's in the room. At the highest frequencies, ray tracing is the best way to get a sense for how the waves travel. My engineering intuition says there's probably 3 or 4 major divisions across the range of human hearing where generation/propogation models are significantly different. In all but the lowest, speaker size and type are a factor so the size and number of speakers will make a noticeable difference.

    IMHO of course.
  11. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Speaker size is disconnected from dispersion by the fact they are not perfectly stiff and perfectly pistonic, so can only make broad generalisations about dispersion of single speakers.
  12. popcorn.
  13. 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)
    Starting out with identical T/S parameters will give us similar low-end response as a first approximation (linear volume displacement and a couple of other things also play a role), but will not do much for us across the rest of the spectrum. It's the rest of the spectrum that gives us most of the characteristic "tone" of a cab, in the relative loudness of the different overtones.

    And what's happening across the rest of the spectrum depends on a lot of factors, primarily the behavior of that particular cone/suspension/motor system, but also the radiation pattern. And no, it's not possible to get a 210 and a 118 to behave the same in these two areas.

    I happen to believe that the off-axis behavior of a bass cab is under-appreciated. In an indoor venue, most of the sound that most of the audience hears is actually reverberant (reflected) energy, and most of that reverberant energy started out as off-axis energy. Bass Gear Magazine measures and publishes off-axis curves, take a look at those the next time you read one of their cab reviews. Imo the 30-degree off-axis curve is usually a better indicator of what the cab sounds like than is the on-axis curve.

    What can a designer do to get a bass cab to behave the way he wants (and figuring out "what he wants" is the first step)?

    He picks out drivers whose T/S parameters, volume displacement (cone area times xmax) and frequency response (preferably both on and off-axis) are in the ballpark for what his goal is. He designs the box, juggling low-end extension and low-end clarity and box size and fartout resistance and radiation pattern (efficiency was largely determined by his woofer choice). He may have to include a midrange and/or tweeter to get the response he wants, in which case crossover design enters into the picture. He may want to shape the response of one or more of the drivers with response-shaping circuitry. He will take all of this plus costs into account. Well, that's an abbreviated version.
  14. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Myths are us :p
  15. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Thanks Duke for the way you addressed the original post.
  16. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Duke, very well stated.
  17. Id like to help but personally I don't understand the point of the question. If you wanted a rig with a 210 and an 18 that sound identical to each other then why not just buy 2 210s or 2 118s instead?
  18. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Thanks Duke, my instincts were telling me the same thing. And you were able to spell it out very nicely. Again thanks!
    Basically, speaker size does matter, but not in the way that most people think it does.
  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    In other words, no.
  20. 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)
    Thank you, 5StringPocket, Cirk, and Grissle.

    Humans try to find explanations for what they observe, and use those explanations to predict things. We observe that cabs with 15" woofers go deeper than cabs with 10" woofers (most if not all of the time) and draw a conclusion accordingly, and our conclusion isn't necessarily wrong (nor is its predictive value useless), it's just that the real picture is a lot more complicated. So in the speaker world at least, many if not most so-called "myths" contain some truth. And most "truths" contain some myth, in that even they are over-simplifications. For instance, T/S parameters are not absolute truths - they can and do change significantly with power level. Credit to Obi-Wan, in the speaker world at least, many of the truths we cling to depend on our point of view (mine included!).