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Old Mesa Boogie Cab -- Replace 15-inch Bass Speaker?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 83_Silberpfeil, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. 83_Silberpfeil


    Aug 15, 2011
    Hi ---

    Posting my experience with my Mesa Boogie cap --1X15 rated at 400 W -- would like to get expert opinion on whether I can get better sound/performance by replacing the speaker. Say, with a Celestion 15-in rated at 400 or 500 W.

    My amp is a Behringer BX3000H rated at 300 W.

    I got both via Craigslist --- $110 for the cab and $75 for the amp. So, I may get a new or better amp soon. The existing one has lots of hiss and buzz. Given that I spent very little for used equipment, I don't mind parting with $100 - $150 for a new speaker.

    In general does replacing the speaker with new really improve the sound?

    I play on a Yamaha BB1200S --- usually pretty high on the neck. Most of what I play is Peter Hook (Joy Division / New Order) stuff. I would be using the set up for small dive bar gigs.

  2. The thing is, the cab is designed around the driver, not the other way around. So finding a driver that will work will take a bunch of research, and may or may not live up to your hopes anyway. You could look up drivers and find one that'll work in approximately the size box you've got, but the specs won't tell you how it will sound once installed, and you might not like it. You really are better off finding another cab you like better, rather than trying to make this one work better.
  3. What is the cab? TB knows what does well in most cabs but without the cab info...

    Vintage Mesa 15's take well to the 3015 Eminence, but a little pricey. You can mod the tl606 versions to take better advantage of that driver. The Legend 15 is another flexible one.
  4. grey area

    grey area

    Sep 2, 2009
    almeria spain
    i will watch this space as i may have the same problem with my PH 1x15. so far i believe the 3015/ LF might do the trick but i am still at school with this stuff.
    good luck to us.
  5. LF means it's a subwoofer, no good for full range cabs.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    What exactly is the problem with the current cab?

    I would attribute hiss & buzz more to the bass than anything. 2nd would be the amp. The cab just makes it all heard...
  7. Hiss yes,
    Buzz could be either.
  8. WretchedExcess


    Jul 29, 2013
    It depends what you mean by better performance. that speaker/cab combination is about the best you're going to get in terms of LF extension for a 4-string. With EQ the system is tuned to provide good response down to the low E. The frequency of the TL-606 box itself is tuned to 40 Hz.

    OTOH, you need to bear in mind that the box is tuned at 40 Hz, and that's not going to do well for a fiver. If you want better performance for a fiver, your best bet would be to find a cabinet that's designed for that purpose. Your other option is to modify the box to change it's port size. That's your only real option for tuning the box.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I wouldn't say that.

    As someone who primarily plays a 5er, I definitely wouldn't say that. My current cab is tuned to 40hz and it slams. My previous cabs were tuned to 50hz and they slammed as well.
  10. So long as 60hz comes out strong most are happy on 5 string. My 15 is a bit down on 60hz output despite 40something hz tuning.
  11. grey area

    grey area

    Sep 2, 2009
    almeria spain
    thanks for that downunder, i have just seen the LF version mentioned many times in threads about cabs with tweeters and crossovers like the PH that i have. so am i right in thinking the 3015( without the LF bit is the one to go for?.
  12. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    The EV's that came in those Mesa cabs actually sound really good, I think.
    I wouldn't mess with them unless they were blown.
    Then, a quality recone will rumn you about $150.

    I had two old Mesa diesels 15 cabs. One came to me blown, one came to me with a crappy Carvin 15 in it.
    I reloaded those with Eminence 3105; and liked that very well. They're expensive compared to reconing though.
  13. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    My Mesa Boogie 115 bass cab came with an ElectroVoice EVM15L. (The same basket can be loaded with a B cone), but Mesa chose to use the L version, and I trust that they knew what they were doing.

    If the driver is at fault, I recommend that you get it re-coned.

    It's the speaker that the cab was designed for.
  14. WretchedExcess


    Jul 29, 2013
    My comments are based upon the objective engineering data that was used to design the cabinet. Your subjective opinion is every bit as valid, it's just not supported by the engineering data that was used to design the cabinet.

    The technical facts are that the EVM-15L + TL-606 combination that Mesa used, when placed into step-down mode with EQ, is flat to 40 Hz. It was designed explicitly for the purpose of providing the maximum bass extension that's needed for 4-string bass, and nothing more. If LXF is what the OP is after, he's going to have a hard time finding something that works better to 40 Hz. Flat is flat. The consensus of opinion is that the EVM-15L + TL-606 is a pretty good sounding setup for 4-string. The technical data illustrates why the consensus of opinion is what it is. Of course, anyone is free to have a divergent opinion if they want to, but the engineering data may not support it.

    My comments aren't about tone or slam. They're about durability and longevity of the driver.

    The problem with running the Mesa TL-606-type cabinet with a fiver is related entirely to the Thiele-Small parameters that were used to design the cabinet. The driver + cabinet combination is specifically designed to provide a maximum LF extension to 40 Hz, and no farther. Go below 40 Hz and Xmax increases logarithmically with power output. The engineering data for the system expressly warns against using it to reproduce any frequency below 40 Hz. In fact, the EDS specifically requires that a high pass filter tuned to the box frequency should be used to roll-off any LF content below the box tuning in order to protect the driver from destruction due to over excursion.

    The engineering data says that you shouldn't play a fiver through one of these things, because excursion below 40 Hz presents a real and present danger to the driver. Of course, the engineering data doesn't stop people who play fivers from ignoring the Thiele-Small parameters, and then wondering why these rigs blow up on them.
  15. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You didn't actually list any objective engineering date in that post, just a blanket statement.

    So you're telling me that there is virtually no better cab/speaker combo that's better for LF extension on a 4 string bass than the Mesa Diesel or Powerhouse (whichever is in question here)? No subs? No fearful?

    I'll make a blanket statement and say that the vast majority of bassists have no idea what that is, and wouldn't understand it even if it was explained in detail.
  16. I suspect he's referring to the engineering data in the TL-606 Builders Plan from EV ...

    Attached Files:

  17. WretchedExcess


    Jul 29, 2013
    I have never crunched the Thiele-Small parameters for a Fearful cab/speaker setup. I have also never seen anyone publish complete frequency response plots, or polar response plots, for fearful speaker/cab combinations, like EV or JBL will publish for their PA gear. I've heard a lot of anecdotal reports of how the fearful cabs sound from end users, but there's a serious lack of published objective engineering data on the Fearful builds. Not having seen the fearful data, and not being a Fearful user, I can't comment on them objectively. It sure would be nice to have a complete set of published engineering data on those cabs.

    Depends on how you define better. You have three significant variables regarding cabinet performance that you can choose to optimize when you're designing a Thiele-Small array, and you can optimize any two of the three at the expense of the third. You can have LF extension, efficiency, or small cabinet size. Pick whichever combination of those work best for your individual application. If you squeeze one end of the balloon, it will bulge at the other end. Ultimately, what you get from the design exercise all comes down to how you define "best".

    The EV TL-606 boxes were designed to optimize LFX while bandwidth limited to 40 Hz, with high efficiency, and a moderate box volume. They were specifically designed for the frequency limits of a 4-string bass.

    If you define "best" as flat, well, you can't get better than flat. If you define "best" as loud, or peaky or boomy in the midbass or low bass, then it's easy enough to design a cab/speaker pairing that will have a resonance peak anywhere you want it to be. Some guys might actually prefer that. So what's "best" depends entirely upon how you define "best." I like to define "best" as "flat." YMMV.

    You're absolutely right on that. I'm sure that many people have no idea what the engineering data is all about, and they may not even care. But there is a small subset of users here who understand T-S parameters and do the number crunching when they build their own cabs. And there are plenty of sound engineers who understand the need for bandpass filtering the input to a particular cab/driver system to prevent it's destruction.

    Regardless of whether or not the majority of musicians know these technical things or are ignorant of them, the engineering facts are what they are. The facts don't change depending upon whether people are ignorant of them or not.

    I think it's a bad idea to use a TL-606/EVM-15L setup for a fiver. IMO the engineering data says that it's a recipe for blown drivers. Whether or not people are aware of the engineering data and whether or not they understand it doesn't change the laws of physics. My only point in making these comments is to help people understand why they blow up these systems unexpectedly. Most people who have these setups fail on them don't understand why it happened, in spite of the fact that the failure was entirely predictable.

    Bill, I wasn't referring to that spec sheet, but it is germane to the subject as it shows the 40 Hz box tuning frequency of the TL-606 in stepped-down mode. Taking a look at the EDS for the EVM-15L driver would also be helpful. My recollection is that it recommends high pass filtration at the box tuning frequency (standard sound engineering practice), but I haven't looked at that stuff in a long time. I can't guarantee what is printed where whithout actually looking it up. The specific warnings might have been published in an old version of the EV PA Bible, or some other EV publication. Regardless, what we're discussing are commonly understood sound engineering principles, not some obscure fact that comes out of left field.

    IMO to really understand the answer, the best approach is to crunch the numbers using the Thiele-Small parameters. I did this stuff back in the day when you needed to use pencil and paper and a hand held calculator, but there are lots of good computer programs to do this sort of thing today.
  18. The tl606 doesn't make useful amount of 4 string fundamental. Paraphrasing Bill Fitzmaurice, the 15L has enough excursion for something been squat and diddly 40hz. My Mesa d180 seems short on fundamentals, figures!

    Put a 50hz highpass on and see how it goes, probably weaker on B like my big old Trace 1518.

    Retuning it with 3015 would do much better at catching onto 60hz.
  19. I've got the EDS for it, as well as the EVM-15B, but the files are too big to post here, unfortunately. (I downloaded them from the EV site, IIRC.)
  20. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I used a Mesa Boogie 115 EV rated at 400w for nearly 10 years with 5 string basses. A replacement might sound good but, IMO, it won't sound better.

    If you have a problem with the speaker I'd get it reconed.

    For an even bigger sound I used to add the matching 210, also with EV's.

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