New, and confused about size vs. tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ColoradoRex, May 9, 2021.

  1. ColoradoRex

    ColoradoRex Supporting Member

    May 9, 2021
    I would have thought that for bass, the bigger the speaker (15", 18"), the better the tone.

    But, it seems like people here get great (better?) bass tone from a 4X10 or 8X10.

    What am I missing?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I mainly use 1x12's

    You're not missing anything. Use the cabinet that delivers the sound you want. Speaker size by itself means nothing. That's like saying 20" tires ride better than 17" tires.
  3. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Speaker size is only one variable in the bass cab design equation. The speakers selected and their operational characteristics as well as how they are integrated into a tuned system (which includes cabinet design) determines the voicing of the cab. Speaker size is most useful for knowing what diameter hole to cut to mount it.

    Obviously there are some aspects of speaker size that do matter (e.g. we don't see 15" and 18" tweeters or 2" woofers in bass cabs). However, speaker size is not as significant a driver or predictor of cab performance as many believe.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It isn't 1970. There are lots of factors that go into how a cab is voiced. Use your ears, not your eyes.
  5. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    “Better” is relative. Some people like ultra-clear high fidelity, while others like more low and meaty.
    As others have said, size doesn’t determine tone.
    TinIndian, Jazzdogg, Zak TMD and 3 others like this.
  6. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    All that above. Intuitively you'd think a 15" or an 18" speaker is better for bass. The drivers have improved so much, cabinet design is an engineered process, not just a box. I use mostly 12" with a horn in the cab. No right answer except listen, what appeals to you? The evolution in design is that the speakers don't compensate for bass with size. Many of us are using smaller enclosures that in some cases are louder than the older massive cabs. And many of us use Low Pass Filters (LPF) which cuts off the ultra lows that you can't hear but cause your speakers to work harder. It's like free volume. Some amps have them built in.
    DrMole, dkelley and Aqualung60 like this.
  7. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    The bigger the speaker the better the radiation impdance of a speaker.
    As the radiation impedance depends on speaker size and frequency,
    The bigger the speaker size ....
    in first instance the better the radiation impedance (that also depends on frequency) the better the radiation impedance.
    cause at some content cone excursion replacment can be substituded for speaker size. And a couple of small speakers can substitude one large one
    Radiation impedance
    AlexanderB likes this.
  8. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Listen with your ears, not your eyes

    What part of CO are you in?
  9. ColoradoRex

    ColoradoRex Supporting Member

    May 9, 2021
    Colorado Springs
    Bent77 likes this.
  10. ColoradoRex

    ColoradoRex Supporting Member

    May 9, 2021
    I'm looking up radiation impedance now...
  11. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    You see all different size speakers these days used for bass. You still have the traditional 15 and 18 inch drivers but, Phil Jones uses 5" speakers and manages to make it all work. 4x10's can play just as low as 2x15's and can have better overall response. Best advice is to buy what sounds good to you no matter what size drivers are being used.
  12. rylie


    Sep 25, 2017
    somewhere stable
    what you're missing is the weight of a 15/18 cab
    210s and 112s can be just as effective with a lighter cab weight
    [skyraider] and Aqualung60 like this.
  13. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    I like 12s. But, I've played through good 12s more than good 15s, or 10s even. But, more speaker, more sound. One 15" speaker, does as much as two and a half 10s, or one and a half 12s. So, a 15 isn't going to be as good as a 212, or 410. Two 15s will blow a 410 out of the water, but 412s will blow that out of the water and keep up with any 610. 810s, is only beat by 415s, 612s, 1210s, add infinum...get it?
  14. To me modern 12" drivers seem to be abit of a sweet spot. Running a modualr setup getting a 1x12 with a pair of good 2x12 cabs you could cover everything from small to larger shows short of only arena size and large out door festival stuff. I love being able to scale up for the size of the show as needed.
    Low8 likes this.
  15. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I don't know about all of the gobble gook but I have used 110, 115, 210, 212, 215, 410, 610, 415 and a few double 410 stacks. So far my favorite all around every day use cabinet has been the 410.

    I am in the process of trying a 210 & 115 stack. Haven't gigged it yet but have high hopes ( I will have an opportunity on May 21). Next will be a 210 & 210 stack as soon as my back ordered 210 gets here (looks like August). This is for the sake of light weight schlepping.
  16. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    +1 on not getting too caught up on speaker size. Sure, different size speakers generally yield specific tone ranges and characteristics... but just like pickup type, pickup number, pickup placement, string gauge, string material, etc., you should ultimately go with whatever you need to get the sound you want.

    All that being on the table, +1 on 12-inch speakers. They really are a nice sweetspot between a tight punch and a low-end woof that moves air. If I was forced to go with one speaker size, it would be a 12... no question.

  17. Iristone


    Jul 8, 2017
    And I ride a 28" so I must be the best ;)
    mikewalker likes this.
  18. SVT810, and never look back.
    Heady likes this.
  19. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Paging @agedhorse First I’ve heard of this term.
  20. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    ...define 'better'.
    deff likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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