Neodymium Speakers/Cabinets.. Can they sound as Good as the Old Heavy Ones?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Juicyanalog, Jan 12, 2022.

  1. Juicyanalog


    Jan 9, 2010
    Shokan, NY
    Old fart here… I had them All- over the years !

    ‘63 Ampeg B-15
    ‘76 SVT with the fridge
    ‘73 Acoustic 370/371
    ‘79 Ashley-pre/‘88 BGW-E
    ‘74 Sunn Coliseum w 810s
    ‘98 SWR Super Redhead w ext (currently.. not for long though lol)

    Fantastic tones, beautiful heavy transformers, ridiculously heavy speakers

    and who doesn’t love old acoustics and old ampegs for PBasses (and Rickys)

    … and now- a Hernia, and 2 Ruptured Discs later, The Doctor told me NEVER to lift anything over 25 pounds again in my life… fun fun fun!
    (…A Warning to all you young schleppers out

    Neodymium Cabs…
    Tried them 10 some-odd years ago
    didn’t like them
    Yeah, light a f,
    but Brittle cheap “papery” highs

    but nevertheless because of my situation, I HAVE to go ClassD/Neo

    I did a search on here and I did not find a thread that discussed an in-depth direct comparison to the old ones… if I missed a thread or two on it, I apologize

    but again, I am an old fart (respectively) that is very anal about my tone when I get to the ‘higher volumes’…

    despite the manufacturer, can anybody give me advice on good sounding AND LIGHT neo cabs that can rival the old days? I know, rhetorical.. but i’m ignorant to today’s market, and hoping there have been improvements in the last 10 some odd years that y’all might be hip to

    thank you

    KLINCOLNS, madjazzbass, dbase and 5 others like this.
  2. Opinions vary
  3. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    25 lbs is a severe limitation. You're looking at single speaker cabs, for the most part. I can't tell you which ones will sound best to you.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  4. Juicyanalog


    Jan 9, 2010
    Shokan, NY
    … i’m sure I will push that envelope just a tad. Lol
  5. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    The only reason I know this is that I asked a similar question recently about 2x10 cabinets in the 30-35 lb range. Most of the suggestions were 40+. Very few options out there that meet my weight requirements.
    dkelley, DJ Bebop and Juicyanalog like this.
  6. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    Yes, I have had back issues also, you really dont have a choice. I have gone to a Hartke HD210, cab, 500w, 32 lbs, pushed it pretty hard, really rocks,,,,
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022
  7. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    East Bay, N. Ca.
    The Ampeg svt 2x10AV cabinets are 26lb. I've gigged one cabinet with a blues trio in a bar and was heard fine.
    Patrice B, dasherf17, GregC and 10 others like this.
  8. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    see my reply above,,
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  9. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    squarepeg, eriky4003, Gabbs and 9 others like this.
  10. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Thanks. I'll check those out. I was looking for 2 210s to replace a boutique cabinet I have and then add to it. I'm also looking at a 410 GR like @abarson just mentioned but I can't find anyone stateside who has that in stock. I emailed the place in Austin about their restock plans and they told me they'd let me know yesterday, but they didn't.
    bigdaddybass12 and DJ Bebop like this.
  11. willsellout

    willsellout I apologize in advance. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    No one cares in a live situation. No one notices but maybe you. And even that is suspect. Do your research and buy from a reputable manufacturer and you’ll be fine. I’ve been playing for 30 years and the cabinets I’m playing now sound as good as anything else I’ve played. There will always be people who disagree but it doesn’t sound like you have a choice in the matter. Either get with the lightweight stuff or hire a roadie:)
  12. willsellout

    willsellout I apologize in advance. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Fort Wayne, IN
    As far as manufacturers there are plenty. Aguilar, Genzler, Mesa, Barefaced, Revsound, etc.

    LOTS of very high quality and very good sounding options!
    btmpancake, noahw1, bigjames and 4 others like this.
  13. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    This matches my experience.

    IMO the difference in the properties of the magnetic material allows designers to fool around a bit with other geometries/design approaches within the motor assembly and you do see different speaker performance from that different design. While one might argue that Neodymium enabled such a design change, the result is not because the magnet material itself is different. Within a motor assembly it's been my experience (with linear motors) that flux density itself is more important than what material or approach created the magnetic field.

    That said, I think speaker designers had to learn to effectively use what Neo offered them and a few of the original designs were perhaps not as refiend as they could have been. I.e. lower weight was not the only property one needed to understand during design.
    fig, dBChad, Jazzdogg and 10 others like this.
  14. JSandbloom

    JSandbloom Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    Redding, Ca
    Lakland Basses
    I switched to Neo cabs because of my back not for the sound. The Aguilar SL cabs are a good enough compromise when it comes to weight but when I have help on gigs I always bring my DB series cabs because they got that “booty”.
    glitchslap, sprag, RGerhart and 2 others like this.
  15. coy garcia

    coy garcia

    Jan 18, 2020
    IMHO I think they sound great. I use a BBC112 tank cab 25 lbs, and a Ampegpf50t 25 lbs. Sounds like old school tube ampeg and keeps up with any situation. The cab does have strong mids but that's not a bad thing the sound spreads so well and my drummer loves it.
    View attachment 4540439
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
    DJ Bebop and SteveCS like this.
  16. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    This reminds of when my doctor telling me never to get my heart rate over 130. Yeah right.

    I’m the guy who competitively raced road bikes till I was 60. The guys in my bike club were in hysterics when I told them about the dr’s 130hr call. 130 is a cruising hr. 165 was a normal racing hr. Some of the club guys are pushing 80 years old. They laughed. Doctors are not always correct.

    25lbs? Really.

    I’m sure you will find amps that do the job. I ended up with a couple GK powered mb112II powered 12” boxes that may do it for you. 200 watts each.
    Jim C, Pocket4, BOOG and 1 other person like this.
  17. I would suggest that ten years is a long time to not check back on a rapidly advancing technology.

    I too, have a similar backlog of experience with all of the amps you listed. When I started in the 70's, the standard rig was a head and a 215 or Folded 18 to try and get some spl's out of those old wheezy amps. Been there, done that.

    But you know, I've no desire to go back to tube TV, 45's on my record player, or shag carpet. Or big-ass amps.

    I honestly don't care if it's Class D, flunked that class, or Class Dismissed, or whatever's under the hood as long as it sounds good. And to me, they're just fine, and almost like a daydream that all that steam can come out of itty-bitty boxes into cabinets that don't require a big dolly and lots of cursing.

    I did the math: I could buy a Mesa Subway head and TWO of the Subway 215's, and it would almost weigh as much as my 215BW (much less my folded 18 Peavey or Acoustic rig) cabinet by itself. Cut myself down to that Subway head and a pair of Single 12 Subways, I'll weigh a little more than a Twin Reverb, split up in three easy to carry pieces. It's like they re-invented physics.

    And if I had any of my old amps, they're now old and impossible to get parts for, or anyone to work on them. Not a strategy for me regardless of how they sounded. That was then and this is now.

    Hell, the next thing you know, they'll have telephones without dials. The only 'vintage' thing I can't do without . . . is me. The rest of it, you can have mine. What sounds best to you, only you can answer, but I'm just fine with these cabinets and amps today.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
  18. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    My opinion is that neo is better in every way than the over-voiced fart-machines and mud factories of yore. I want to hear the bass, not the cab. Clarity, headroom and transients are where it is at. For me. But...

    It seems to me that what you don't like is the flat, neutral, unvoiced character of many modern cabs. Many are designed for, and some are even capable of accurate FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) reproduction.

    Of course the other thing to have moved forwards in recent years is DSP processing. Some of the more recent amp/cab modelling technology is quite remarkable. In the early days I never understood the point - if I am still playing through my amp/cab (which is still as coloured as it ever was) then I am not really hearing the modelled tones. But then came neo and FRFR, and it all made sense. Although I mostly play without amp/cab sims, there are some cases where I do use them, and they can sound superb. Arguably better than the real thing as you can adjust for qualities that were previously baked in by the physics of the amp/cab itself - especially useful in 'difficult' rooms.
    Maybe it's time to stop worrying about how 'bad' the FRFR cabs sound to you, and try embracing the opportunities of having all of those vintage tones available at the press of a footswitch whilst at the same time saving your back by schlepping no more than a couple of 350W neo 1x12" that can faithfully reproduce, without hindrance, the great DSP emulations of some classic amp/cab combinations?

    fig, gepettus, LowActionHero and 20 others like this.
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