New Light Weight Speaker Cabs Vs. Old Heavy Cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by David Post, Sep 26, 2021.


  1. David Post

    David Post Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2019
    Tulsa, OK
    Do new lightweight speaker cabinets with carbon fiber construction and lightweight speaker magnets sound as good as the older, heavy models?
     
    zon6c-f and Plain Old Barry like this.
  2. LetItGrowTone

    LetItGrowTone

    Apr 2, 2019
    Cabinet design is an art and science of balancing compromises.
    But I haven't seen anyone ask: This cabinet is of minimum size and weight, so what was sacrificed to achieve that?
     
  3. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Better design and better components allow good tone at lighter weights. I went from a 150+ Trace Elliot rig to something well under 50 pounds, with almost all the volume and tone.
     
  4. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Montreal
    Yes.
     
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  5. Matthias

    Matthias

    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    No, they don't.
    They sound better.
     
    bassbully, Artman, bass4u and 21 others like this.
  6. Do not know about the carbon fiber ones but most newer cabs sound better than older ones.*


    *Depending on your tonal goals and preferences.

    But then, every cab sounds different from others regardless of make, model or year produced...
     
    Artman, dkelley, DJ Bebop and 3 others like this.
  7. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Newer cabinets have much better speakers and many of them have much better construction than old school cabs. The speakers are more efficient, are built better, can handle more power, and produce lower frequencies. And they do all that in smaller, lighter enclosures.
     
    DWBass, Rip Van Dan, dkelley and 17 others like this.
  8. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I’ve never played through carbon fiber cabinets, but my cabs are designed to be lightweight, handle ridiculous amounts of power, and sound great. What was sacrificed to achieve that? Budget was about the only thing. They’re not cheap.

    The claim isn’t that lightweight cabinets defy physics. On the contrary, the properly designed ones take advantage of physics far better than the old heavy cabinets ever did.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  9. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    I will put my little MarkBass CMD121P 12" up against my monster cab with 2 x 15" Altec 421s any day. Louder and cleaner - overall better sound. And I can carry the MB in one hand, my gig bag in the other.
     
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  10. TTA

    TTA

    Jun 10, 2021
    Not aware of cf options. Please share. Sound pricy.

    The main issue with super light cabs that i see is when the enclosure goes so light that they sacrifice stuff like internal bracing, and use a housing that is far too thin. However weight savings from neo magnets are win win as far as i know.

    an example of a cab that went too light is the orange 1x12’s. Mega light, no internal bracing, and lots of owners on forums asking how to stop amps from vibrating off the top. But results may vary… as the issue will be directly proportional to your volume.

    My rule of thumb is go for an in between weight. Generally best compromise. Too heavy is likely excessive, and mega light js likely giving something up (verify the internal bracing). And link together two smaller cabs that give you the end result you want. The total rig will weigh more, but each cab will be easier to move alone. So two 2x10 over a 4x10
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  11. TTA

    TTA

    Jun 10, 2021
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  12. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    What does an amp vibrating off the top have to do with internal bracing and the cab being too light?
     
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  13. TTA

    TTA

    Jun 10, 2021
    The walls of the cab start resonating if it is not solid enough (strong walls and bracing help minimize this). Can vibrate your amp off the cab
     
  14. abarson

    abarson

    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I don't know if it's a "sacrifice" but the materials that make the cabinet lighter require different skills than for typical cabinetry, and leads it to be more expensive. So time and cash are left on the altar.
     
    DJ Bebop and moon-bass like this.
  15. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    I was thinking that was just more of a side effect with lightweight cabs and amps. I mean, I have that with an Elf on top of an old Eden 4*10. Not a flaw, but a trade off. Doesn't mean the cab isn't solid, just means that it reacts differently, and physics.
     
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  16. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    California
    My Mesa Subway cabs sound better than any Trace Elliot, Ampeg, and Carvin cabs I’ve owned in the past.
     
  17. TTA

    TTA

    Jun 10, 2021
    yes, it is all a tradeoff. Physics always wins. And you can have heavy cabs that vibrate amps everywhere and lighter well designed ones that do not. All comes down to design and material choices.

    All cabs will vibrate. But put a single brace in the middle of the longest length and it will take more to get that side vibrating at a high amplitude. Divide it’s length into thirds with two braces… even better. At a point it may be unneeded or unnecessary. All about volume/size.

    A fun test is to put some sand on an cab. Use a decibel metre on your phone to set a roughly constant volume. Compare! Never done it myself but i can guarantee you can do this to find where the bracing is in each cab without opening one.

    Knocking on them in different locations and listening is another way to find the bracing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  18. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    Connecticut

    They do... Science!
     
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  19. 9Thumbs

    9Thumbs

    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    image.jpg Even though I’m old and feeble, I like my heavy old “Joe’s” 15. It sounds as heavy as it is. It replaced a pair of SVT 15Es
     
  20. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    When it comes to bass cabinets I think the heavy ones pack a harder punch. I have a zero science but a bunch of pratlctical experience. It 'feels' to me like the heavier cabs 'hold their ground' better when moving air. Also, most players I like and see on tour still tote the big iron as do I.
     
    Steve J and Sparky Mark like 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.

     
    Oct 28, 2021

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