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Mixing bass cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by NZBassman, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. I read somewhere (probably on here) that you shouldn't mix different brand bass cabs and someone even said you shouldn't mix speakers e.g. don't mix a 4x10 with a 1x15

    Anyway I've got an Ashdown EVO 900 III and a Warwick 4x10 (600w 8ohm) cab and want to add another cab
    the options I am looking at are

    1) Warwick 2x10 (400w 8ohms)
    2) Warwick 6x10 (900w 6ohms)
    3) Ashdown ABM115 1x15 (300w 8ohms)

    with the 2x10 I will have the portability of using the smaller cab for rehearsals and both cabs for gigs.
    with the 6x10 I'll have more than enough headroom and can ditch the 4x10, but it would weigh a tonne and I don't really need a cab that's heavier than what I've got.
    With the 1x15 I will have the portability of using the 1x15 cab for rehearsals and both cabs for gigs.

    the Ashdown is made in UK and is cheaper that the Warwick cabs - and in the future I could always save for an Ashdown 4x10 to match.
    I've not played through any of these cabs yet - just getting ideas

    thoughts please? :bassist:
  2. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Two 2x10 or 2x12 cabs stacked vertically would be the most efficient setup. There's lots of reasons for not mixing different cabs but efficiency is the bottom line.
  3. Cabs are not much traded in NZ so it's hard to pick up matching ones, however you might define matching.

    There are no matching 115 410 cabs.

    The 210 and 115 may sound good together or may phase badly and just be loud.

    Adding 8 ohm 210 to 8ohm 410 gives little extra potential because the 410 must be held back to half power to let the 210 play. Same goes for 8ohm 115.
  4. Shardik


    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    There are a lot of reasons for not mixing cabinets, but they are all negated by the pragmatic "if it works for you, why not"-rule.

    I personally think that it is probably a good idea to select cabinets from the same brand and series, and they should also have the same impedance for proper power distribution.

    The main problems are usually:
    1. They have different sensitivity, which means that one of the cab will always be louder and drown out the other cab.
    2. They operate with different phase at different frequencies, which mean they phase each other out at certain frequencies, making the overall frequency response uneven, and may even cause some notes to phase out to almost nothing if they are a particularly bad match.
    3. Even if nominally the same, they have different impedances at some frequencies. This may actually cause one of the cabinets to draw more power than the other at certain frequencies. Never assume that your amp power distributes evenly between the cabinets. Example: If your amp can provide 600W max, do not assume each cab gets 300W. It may very well be a 200W/400W distribution if cabs are not equal.

    Myself, I run a cab stack with a 115 and a 210 in the rehearsal room and for gigs (both are Kustom Deep End 8ohm - budget stuff). They do what I want, with the 210 providing punch and clarity while the 115 adds more depth, but I do not believe I can play twice as loud with this compared to a single cab, as the 210 seems a bit louder than the 115 after all. I have also tried an Ashdown stack in a shop with the same 115+210 configuration that also worked fine. For home practice and portable rehearsals (with my other band), I have a single Eden EX112 (4ohm) cab instead, which is surprisingly capable (got that just a week ago).

    There is one option that is more expensive, but may be worth considering, and that is getting a second amp and let each amp drive a separate cab. You may need to buffer and split the input signal. That way you can control the output of each amp much better and even voice them differently. This may also be a fallback if running two different cabs on the same amp fails.
  5. I wouldnt pick any of the op's choices.
  6. thanks for your help.... finances are a bit tight at the moment so I might hold off for the mean time
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Shardik's entire post is nicely done, but this first comment is the most important. All that matters is whether you like the result.

    I once ran an Ampeg 2x10 over an EV-loaded Mesa/Boogie 2x10. The Ampeg was all about punch, while the Mesa was hi-fi. I thought they sounded better together than each individually, even when volume was equal. The Mesa was noticeably more efficient, but I was running my power amp stereo and could balance the cabs to my liking.

    OTOH, I've run cabs that didn't play well together for various reasons. Point being, there's somewhat more risk involved when mixing cabs. But it can work quite well, so no one should insist that it should never be done.
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    No one said it should never be done. *If* you know what you're doing, it can work. The problem is, most don't. And the thing about making sure they're the same impedance, well, that's fine if both cabs are equal, but a 410 and a 210 are NOT equal. It would work better if the 4x10 were a 4 ohm cab, and the 2x10 an 8 ohm cab. This would ensure all 6 drivers get the same power, and the 2 cabs are then balanced. BUT, your amp would need to be 2 ohm stable.
    So, for those folk who do not understand all the ins and outs of spkr pairing, the best thing to suggest is identical cab pairings. It's the only way to avoid the pitfalls of a badly mis-matched pair of cabs, which ANY of the OP's choices would be.

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