Light, Low, Loud: Pick any two.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by oddio, May 14, 2005.

  1. This topic comes up frequently, so perhaps a dedicated thread is worthwhile. Thanks to Richard Lindsey, whose response in another thread prompted this one.

    We all know that the laws of physics apply to our profession and that the limitations imposed are such that in general terms, a cabinet can have any two of the following three desirable qualities:

    i) light
    ii) low
    iii) loud

    Being primarily a 5-string player I need to get down low so that's a prerequisite for me in a cabinet choice. In other words, I had discounted "loud and light" in favour of the two other types. This is how I solved the problem...

    For the combination of "light and low" I use Acme 4ohm Low-B2 cabinets. We all know that these cabinets require a lot of power, but given the cost-per-watt of a decent amp these days they represent a great value and are very manageble in the size/weight department. You'd need to spend a lot more to do better than these.

    Also, I needed a cabinet with minimal coloration, excellent low end response like the Acmes and it had to be as loud as possible. For "loud and low" I chose the AccuGroove El Whappo. Given the whallop the El Whappo packs it almost transcends the mentioned laws, but realistically it's not a lightweight. The El Whappo is the pinnacle of cabinet design (IMHO).

    So the floor is open. Do you play 4-string, 5-string or extended range (or other) basses? What did you pick for your situation?
  2. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    4 string bass.

    I needed volume (dont we all) and couldnt decide between light and low. In the end, I went with the added low end response of a 410 and 115 stack (there goes the light :D ) because my next bass will either be a five or sixer.
  3. Mika

    Mika Guest

    Nov 29, 2002
    Excellent thread!

    I'm shooting for light and loud at the moment with my DIY 2x12" project. I've chosen B&C 12HPL64 drivers for it and plan to use a modified SBB4 alignment with a slightly larger internal volume. The total weight should be about 21 kg (~46 lbs) and the outer dimensions will be 610 mm x 610 mm x 320 mm (24" x 24" x 12.6").

    I play a 4-string and use dropped-D tuning on occasion. Our rehearsal space is fairly small, so I'll get some LF compensation from the room gain. The cab would be used only for onstage monitoring in live performances and therefore it doesn't need earthshaking LF response.
  4. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    4-stringer here. I'm young enough still that weight doesn't bother me so

    Low and Loud

    My rig is shaping up to be a Sunn 1200S and a Sunn 2x15 so I think I have that covered pretty well :D
  5. If one was going to be nit-picky, the 3rd choice is actually "small" instead of light.

    I was playing 5-string, then went back to 4-bangers with a DBX 120 sub-synth that dives down to 26 Hz. I use multiple 15" subwoofers tuned at 20 Hz, to get down this far. This requires a lot of amp power, and multiple drivers. Each 1x15 is 5.4 cubic feet net volume, and are a pain to haul around. Efficiency is very low in order to get down this far with a direct radiator.

    Bass horns are a viable solution for getting all the way down with high efficiency, but the trade off is the large mouth size. Full horn loading to low E (41 Hz) requires a mouth size of some 30 square feet, when standing on the ground. This increases to 52 square feet for low B. The solution is having multiple bass horns stacked together. The collective size is still huge, but efficiency is very high, and separate cabinets allows for easier transport.

    Real Time Analysis of live music suggests that most bass output power is a full octave above this point, such as 64 Hz and higher. This RTA data could result from cabs that cannot produce the low octave, or basses that have a weak fundamental and strong 2nd harmonic, or from bassists who play higher up the scale. Bass cabs with massive output in the low octave are fine for stand-alone, but they are a big headache for the sound engineer doing PA support.

    The pinnacle of cabinet design is not here yet. Those cabs approaching this point will have time aligned drivers and vertically aligned driver arrays. The smaller drivers will have a separate baffle board and be more deeply set back, so their voice coils are vertically (time) aligned with the woofers.

    Most cabinets have the drivers all over the baffle board for efficient use of real estate, or esthetics. Proper acoustic location is the vertical array, as tight together as possible. This reduces lobing and distribution problems. The Pro Sound guys are much closer than bass cab manufacturers. Remember price points and profits...
  6. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    C'mon y'all. Git yer baks inta it!
    Low 'n' LOUD!!!!
    'Til deth duz we part.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
  8. Good points all, bgavin. For accuracy, the questions to consider are size rather than weight (light), loud and low. Without muddying the waters, for those using small cabs, have you found projection to be an issue?
  9. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Light. That's all. I don't really need a whole lot of volume at this point. Light and small is where it's at.
  10. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    The Republic of Texas
    I like loud, reasonably low, and of manageable size & weight.

    I need loud because I want to be able to play any type of music in almost any reasonable sized venue without having to rely on PA support.

    I play a BEADG 5 string and I like a punchy, tight, solid tone, but I'm not obsessed with having a flat response at 31Hz.

    I'm fifty-something, so size and weight does matter, but I also work out just about every day in the attempt to keep myself somewhat in decent shape.
    I used to own a Bergantino HT322 and it fits my definition of manageable size/weight (it had good casters and fit in the back seat of my Accord).

    I since traded the Berg in on a Schroeder 410.

    It can get louder with the same power than the HT322, plus it can handle more power (I think this is the result of the drivers used, efficiency, and the way the cab design 'throws' the sound waves -- projection); to my ears, at lower volume levels it does low at least as well as the HT322 and as the volume level goes up (at least with my bass and rig) it stays tighter in the lows where the HT322 gets a bit looser; and it is somewhat smaller and lighter than the HT322.

    The idea of modular, vertical stacks appeals to me very much, but at the moment I don't have extra money to invest.
    If I could work out a trade or whatever, I wouldn't mind something like an iAmp-800 into either a stacked pair of Wizzy's or one Wizzy + a vertical 2x10 (or Wizzy + two 1x10).
    Probably my ideal would be a couple of vertically stacked AG Tri 210, or a Tri 210 + Tri 112 stack, or a stacked pair of Schroeder 1210.

    Loud, Low, & Manageable, that's the ticket.
  11. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    I conducted one of those studies and it is true. Over two years and 60 odd concerts these results were similar for all acts, be they hip-hop or symphonies, rock or country. Symphonies tended to have peak output around 100Hz, rock acts around 60 Hz. Hip-hop acts had higher than average content at 30-50 Hz but still the greatest power output was at 50-60 Hz. These results were absolutely not colored by a lack of available LF power. PA in general needs deeper extension than electric bass. Electric bass power demands peak from roughly 60 to 80 Hz. But this still leaves possibly the most popular configurations, the 2x10 and 4x10, wanting, as many of those tend to start rolling off at 90 Hz or so.
  12. I've got loud, low and managable.I use a Avatar Neo 410 with five strings tuned BEADG.It weighs 65Lbs,3Lbs less than my Eden 210xlt,and seems to go almost as deep.Being a 410 it gets louder than my Eden too so I'd say it does the low thing and the loud pretty well.I give it a managable because of the size of the cabinet but it's still the lightest,loudest 410 that I've had.

    I also had a pair of Avatar 112s that were pretty light and would go low and fairly loud for a 112.I often used one with my Eden 210 and the Avatar would add bottom to that cabinet.The thing with them is you need a pair of them to get really loud,one could work with an acoustic gig or light jazz gig but for rock or blues you need a pair so you don't have to push them to the edge.I would really like to get a Schroeder 12/10 or 12/12 and have a small light cabinet that would do most jobs but I'm really happy with my bargain bin cabinets for now.
  13. SteveC


    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Hmmm....I have a Bergantino HT112 so...

    light for sure. I think it's loud - as loud as I need it anyway. I have 4, 5 and 6 string bass. I think the low end is pretty good, but compared to some other cabs, that's probably what's missing to some people. I disagree.

    For me, I don't go for that earthshaking volume and low end so this is a good cab for me and my jazz gigs. If I need more, it's called a PA.
  14. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I think that it's a matter of size moreso than weight.
    Low, Loud, or Small. Especially with all the Neo stuff hitting the stage...
  15. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Loud and Low, in that order.

    I'd rather have something that shreds in the mix over something that can hit 30hz.
  16. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    Actually, light, loud, and low are possible, but it takes two boxes, and you sacrifice flat frequency response.

    Good thing EQs are light.
  17. ster


    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    I went for low and loud and not too heavey IMO. (77 lbs)The Low Down Sound 5"x8" cab. Thunderous lows. Loud when given the wattage in a pretty compact package.
  18. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Light is critical for me as i dont drive. The other two characteristics ... should be low "enough" and loud "enough", both of which I am unsure what is "enough."

    Currently I am considering an avatar neo 1-12. the non-neo is 45LBS. I am waiting to hear what the neo weighs... hopefully 10LBS less.

    Its rated 500w rms, but with the low-end frequencies added i am not sure if it would be loud enough. More research and questions to ask i suppose. :)
  19. i think 15s or 12s should do it for loud and low. the way i see it is if you want low and loud you shouldn't care about light because if you like your rig and you play good shows you feel good about, weight shouldnt become a factor unless your rig crushes your spine
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member


    I stopped looking after I got my Schroeder 1210 and my iAMP 800.

    The Schroeder medium box(1210, 1212) are the best combination of loud, low and small IME.

    Others get lower, and some few are smaller, but none come closer to having all three.