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lets discuss "classic" sealed 2x15 cabs (i.e. "tall" bassman)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by toobalicious, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    lets go ahead and get out of the way:
    the cab is really too small.
    the cab is poorly braced, and was built cheaply.
    picking drivers is a crapshoot.
    design the box for the driver, not the other way around.

    one of my favorite amps is my bassman 100. it is loud enough for rehearsal, but gets lost on most stages, no matter what cab ive tried. but i *love* to record with it. at this point, i will never sell it, so 100% original isnt a big deal. but it only seems right that the head should live on the original cab, no matter how bad our calculations say it will suck. it is approx 5.3 cubic feet, and has a shelf type brace separating the box into halves (there is a 3" or so gap on either side for airflow.

    still with me? here is some background, and it is probably important to note that i have never actually bought speakers for this cab--- these were already available to me for whatever reason...

    i blew the original CTS speakers in the early 90's, and therefore i can barely remember what they sounded like. i remember thinking they sort of sucked, actually, but i was younger then.......

    next, i loaded with peavey scorpion, and that was ok. loud and sounded pretty aggressive, but in that cab had a weird low end bump that i never got used to.

    i had a pair of alnico EV SRO's that sounded great in the cab. financial hardship and inherent value of them forced me to sell. big mistake, i guess.

    few years back, i loaded a pair of black widow 1502. ok, but those speakers really need a vented cab. they sounded kind of choked, even.

    then, i came across a free pair of 90's era OEM eminence (probably fender, but no real indicators of that). they are there today, but just arent the ones. sensitivity is apparently fairly low. lots of low-mid content, and surprisingly deep extension. unfortunately, with the bassman that equals *mud*. still not even close to loud enough to play with a rock band on stage (without major PA support).
    while we do play places that are big enough to bring that much PA gear in, sometimes we dont, and i am required to carry the room/patio/gazebo, etc. i do have other, bigger amps, but i want to use this one.

    SO... i am looking for a very efficient driver suited for loading in a smallish sealed enclosure. low end response isnt so important, as the voicing of the bassman has butt piles of low end (i usually keep the bass control between 0 & 3). hopefully not with a huge low-mid hump. volume is probably a bigger concern than frequency response, at least initially. low power is ok, as this thing is only making about 85 watts anyway.

    going to borrow a pair of D-130F from a friend to try them. they will probably be awesome, and there is a large chance that he wont sell them to me.
    also, some of the weber clones seem promising. altec?

    again, i have other amps and several cabs, and am not interested in anything other than making this too-small, poorly constructed fender cab perform as greatly as it possibly can.

    any opinions?

    p.s. i am going this p.m. to look at a mesa 400+. if it comes home with me, this cab deal might become a back-burner project for a minute. ive owned many tube amps over the years, but never a "BIG" one. like borat, i am very excite!
    AstroSonic likes this.
  2. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    You seriously have to be kidding ... the bassman 2x15 is one of the worst sounding bass cab's of all time... regardless of driver. Best thing that ever happened to my old D140s' (those 130's will smoke by the way... that is a guitar speaker) was getting them out of the Fender box and into a ported Sunn...

    Landfill material. That's what the old Fender 2x15 is ...

    Altec 421's -figure 25 to 35 watts actual power handing for the lows. Wonderful tone, very efficient, very fragile, extremely expensive to get reconed ...
    A single EV 15L in a TL 606 style box would be a beter choice for your Bassman 100 IMO.
  3. hopefully you'll buy the Mesa. I go down this road every three months when I plug in the Bassman and hear how great it is at home. No matter how many times I think I've found a way, it never works out. My Bassman Ten has a line out,(1980 model) if you could use the schematic to mod your amp then you could use a power amp and any cab you like. It starts getting complicated so I just use an SS for now.
  4. 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)
    My suggestion is the Eminence Delta 15A. A pair will give you -2 dB around 82 Hz without a midbass hump, and the efficiency and top end extentension are both rather good for a 15.

    AstroSonic likes this.
  5. I have a Peavey 2 x 15 sealed cab I bought when I was 17 in 1981. It has had plenty of different drivers in it over the years. It currently has black widows in it.

    It sounds like a down comforter. No matter how you attack a note it blooms out of this thing when it's damn good and ready. I've actually learned to account for it. If the song has any double-stop, quick transient stuff, I'll play on top of, or slightly ahead of the beat. When pushed hard the thing roars like the hounds of hell. It makes for a rough night for the FOH guy!!

    It definitely isn't for everybody, and I don't use it all the time. But it is a BLAST to play.
    slade likes this.
  6. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    4mal, FWIW:
    i have owned, carted, stored, lived-with, and maybe even occasionally slept on :eek: this cab for almost 20 years. if only for my own nostalgia, this cab will have my money and time invested--- polished turd or not. like the "girlfriend you had in high school that you run into years down the road and nail her a few times" kind of nostalgia. i was thinking that since 1972 there has been SOMEONE who has changed the speakers in a tall bassman cab, perhaps even with amicable results? your avatar is a bassman, for Dog's sake.

    thanks for the responses. thobbinghotrod gets it for sure! it is what it is, no disputing that. i hope i get the mesa too, but having not yet laid eyes on, i am not 100% sure of what to expect. plus i will have to take an ampeg 410he as part of the deal. yuk, lol.

    the delta 15a is definitely on the list. ive never actually played through (or even heard, that i know of) them. someone else thought they would be a good choice as well. these are the kinds of responses i was looking for, thanks.
    slade likes this.
  7. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    There have been so many advancements in speaker cab design that I hope you move on.
    I played the small and large Bassman cabs and heads as well as Showmans when they were new. Nothing compared to the Sunn 200s and 2000s cabs and heads in this 2x15 configuration. The amps are fine for quiet recording and that Fender tone.
    Alembic F1-X pres give a good approximation of the tone. Then you can add ooomph from a real power amp.
    I had one of those diagonal 2x15 JBL Bassman cabs and it too sounded like poo no matter what head I put on it.
    They are just dimensionally wrong. Sure it would sound great at whisper level but you could buy a cheap practice amp to sound that good.
    Hey, an old Kustom tuck&roll 2x15 w/CTS would blow it away.
    If you get the 400 enjoy but through something else.:)
  8. 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
    IMHO, you should restore the cab to original drivers, wipe it down, polish the metal, steam clean the grill cloth, and park it for good in your studio.

    Loving an old amp is fine. Getting it to be something it is not is futile. I have a 210 Epifani that totally smokes every cab I owned or used before 1974--and I can get the old school tone for days, if I want it.

    Don't torture yourself or your old 2x15 pal. Restore it, love it care for it, but don't try to make it something it is not. All IMHO.
  9. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    Get that 400+ and a Bergantino NV215. All your tone problems will disappear.
  10. 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

    I used: black face 2x12 Bassman, 2x12 Vox Essex and a couple of 1x18 Voxes, 2x15 Dual Showman, 2x2x15 Dual Showman, 2x15 Custom CTS & JBL, 8x12 Marshall, a large number of B-"whatevers," etc.

    All totally blown away for loudness and tone by a modern Epi 2x10. :ninja:

    Honestly, I loved those old amps, but really, get a cab built to hold modern drivers. There are many great ones out there. :bassist:
  11. hrgiger


    Jan 11, 2009
    Could you post a picture of that please? Either here or in the Big Cabs Club or the Peavey amps club. I would like to see that cab...
  12. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    these are valid points, no doubt. i am not sure ive ever seen the correct drivers for sale anywhere, though i must admit to never having *looked* for them either. and in truth, this was something i have considered as well. i also happen to have a couple of 60's 18" BG-80 CTS drivers (which look a lot like the square mag'd 15's that came in it)--- that'd be a hoot i think, but te cab is undoubtedly way too small for those. honestly, i dont know if i could cut the 35 year old mdf-ish baffle without destroying it, anyway lol.

    at any rate, the emi's are coming out. wonder *** ill do with them? nothing special on any spec, AFAICT.
  13. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    What I would do is brace the hell out of it, build a separate mid chamber, and make it into a fEarful type cab.

    Sounds like it's either big enough or a little too big, but after you add sufficient bracing and a separate mid chamber, it would probably sound great with a Kappalite 3015LF and some 6.5" midrange driver.

    It doesn't have to be a 215. Put a new baffle with a shelf port and new bracing in and it's a new animal, but it'll have the same look.

    Edit: and a Kl3015LF, an Eminence Alpha 6 and all the parts you need will probably not cost much more than a pair of D130s, if not less than.
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    IMO, D130F's or K130's (or 140's)would make your cabinet sound about as good as it can. it wouldn't be a "modern" cab, but it would be authentic. i actually like the sound of those old pine fender cabs with JBL's in them.

    another, and possibly less expensive option would be to put two Eminence Kappalite 3015's in it.

    2 cents............
    Bassmec, markjazzbassist and slade like this.
  15. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I never played through an old fender bass cab that was worth a damn - they're too shallow. I'd experiment with porting it ... just my opinion of course.

    The old sunn and kustom cabs were the first ones you could hear.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    +1 for Bob. Great guitar cabs, not the first thing I'd look for in a bass cab. But I can't blame a guy for wanting to get a vintage cab going. John's probably right about the JBL's but the Delta 15a is cheaper and sounds killer in my B-15 cabs.
  17. Halvorsen


    Mar 7, 2008
    I also have an old Fender Bassman 2x15 that I have used live for 13 years. I too find myself lost in the mix no matter what.

    I was looking into upgrading it as well. I received the same replies as you have. The main point was always "It's too small".

    Now, I fully respect the advice I was given, as it was from some of the respected cabinet builders on these forums, but here is something that I am still wondering about.

    My Fender Bassman 2x15 is a sealed cabinet and externally measures: 39H x 29W x 11D. 7.2 cubic feet.

    The NV215 is a sealed cabinet and externally measures:
    36H x 24W x 15D 7.5 cubic feet.

    It seems like .3 cubic feet isn't much of a difference considering the NV215 has a mid driver crammed in there too.

    What makes the Bassman so hard to find good drivers for when the Berg sounds amazing at roughly the same size?
  18. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    One is called Fender one is called Berg.

    Can it be more obvious?:hyper::eek::rollno::bassist:

    Actually proportions trump measurements all the time.:)

    If you have any doubt start looking around you......

    On cab dimensions though Jim knows a lot more about cab design then Leo.

    Leo knew other things really well.
  19. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    lol, maybe i should recheck my measurements? did you do the math based on exterior dimensions, or did you account for wood thickness (including double fro the baffle *and* grill frame) and speaker displacement? whopping difference between 7+ cu. ft. and 5.3 cu. ft.....

    edit: yes, you did say externally. still, an interesting point. my other 2x15 cab is about 6.8 cu. ft., and has two BW 1505 loaded, with a 5" port tuning the cab to around 45 Hz. it straight rox with the GK rig, but sounds kind of stuffy with the bassman. part of that is the voicing inherent in the 1505's, and frankly, these amps are voiced about as differently as two nice sounding amps could be, and that combo of speakers has loads of low end extension with any amp. win ISD thought it would be virtually flat on down to the tuning frequency, actually, but of course there will probably be at least a little variation in the real world, and truly, it has been some time since i ran those calculations.... (holy run-on!)

    ..... but it looks like it wont matter, at least in the short term :bassist:.
    because look what followed me home today...
  20. DaveMcLain


    Jun 19, 2005
    Cuba MO
    I've had a couple of those Fender Bassman cabs one that was a short 215 and then later I had one that came with a Super Bassman head which was MUCH taller, taller than the tall Bassman cabinet that looks like a Showman cabinet. The Super Bassman cabinet had JBL 15's and it sounded nice, not all that loud but it had a good solid tone. The other Bassman cabinet I had sounded pretty awful. One time or another we tried it for guitar and it sounded much better for that purpose.

    The Super Bassman wasn't all that super. I think it was pretty much the same as the 100 watt Bassman head. I had a 135 watt one time too which was used with the smaller cabinet I never liked the sound of that amp and it never had a good tone.

    Did Fender ever build a Bassman head based on the power section used in the Super Twin Reverb 180 watts with 6 6L6's?

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