Question About Matching Speakers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bogie1519, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. bogie1519


    Feb 25, 2012
    Beaumont Tex
    I would like to hear both sides. I have a Fender Rumble 500 Head unit matched with a 1/15 speaker cabinet. Want to add another speaker cabinet. Everyone knows the choices. Do they have to match, what will happen to sound if they don't? I was leaning towards 4/10. That way i could use together or use them one at a time. depending on the gig...Thanks for any advice...
  2. Physics says no. Power will split between 4 drivers and a single driver. You can push the single driver way too hard. The volume will be uneven. This can kind of be avoided by mixing impedances (8ohm and 4ohm for example).

    Ears can say yes. Loads of people seem to run 4x10/1x15 and 2x10/1x15 cabs and say they sound great. Tone is subjective and maybe you like the result. As long as you don't overload a driver it may be what you're after. Orange even push their 4x10 and 1x15 stack. As does Ampeg. Mesa make mixed driver cabs although they also have crossovers.

    That aside you have just started a driver mixing thread on Talk Bass... May God have mercy on your soul.
    jnewmark, JRA, SLO Surfer and 3 others like this.
  3. Matching is safe.
    Mixing, a crapshoot.

    And beyond the potential crapshoot sound consideration, with a 15 working against 4 10s, your 15 is carrying half the load, each 10 is only carrying 1/8 of it. The 15 could max out well before the 10's break a sweat. That will limit your rig to what the 15 can handle.
    rodl2005, shoot-r and Lobster11 like this.
  4. Signalsdrone


    Feb 6, 2017
    SW Ontario
    I rented a couple of cabs from the local music store to see how things sounded with my 1x15 cab. For $50, not only did I bother the neighbours for a few hours, I found out that 2x10 - 1x15 sounds better than 2x15 to my ears and a 2x10 sounds better alone than a 1x15.

    If you can rent a few cabs for a week and blast away outside, inside, in the garage etc, you can test out different combos and see what you like. You could possibly save yourself a bunch of money, I did.
  5. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i used non-matching cabs for years, never any problem, but to make this work best, imo you'll need cabs with similar ohms, and some cabs just don't work and play well with each other.
    Lobster11 likes this.
  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    But that was testing a particular 1x15 with and against a particular 2x10. Different brands and models might produce very different results. I wouldn't want to draw any conclusions about 1x15s and 2x10s in general from this.

    That said, if OP has the opportunity to do what you did and test some other (particular) cabs with and against his (particular) 1x15, it's hard to argue with that. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a second matching 1x15 rather than taking a chance mixing the 1x15 with a 2x10 or 4x10.
    rodl2005, shoot-r and eriky4003 like this.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    that just means you liked the 2x10 more than the 15 to begin with. your best setup would have been to ditch the 15 entirely and get two of those 2x10s.
  8. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    And stack them on their ends for a vertical 4x10. :)
    rodl2005, edencab, physics and 2 others like this.
  9. I just don't see any power loss, or response issues with my 4x10/2x15. I do run a bi-amped rig though. Caution: Many combo's don't really deliver when adding a cabinet. I think they usually hamstring the whole effect by coupling the drivers in series. My combo actually gets softer when adding either a 8 ohm or a 4 ohm cabinet. o_O
  10. Drivers are normally coupled in parallel.
    If you are talking about coming out of the head to cab A then from cab A to cab B, that is a parallel connection.
    It looks to be in series because one thing follows another. But electrically it is parallel and the same as if you have two output jacks available on one amplifier and wire each if those to a cab.

    To actually wire two cabs and an amp in series requires going to a lot of trouble to make up special cables.

    Bi-amping has some different considerations than connecting two cabs to the same amplifier.

    You may have one cab out of phase with another. This can cause loudness to decrease when adding cabs.
  11. I should have said *cabinets* not *drivers*. It looks like the external speaker circuit is in parallel for the Rumble 500 (good for the OP). But, some combos like mine put the external speaker in series.
  12. Interesting. What sort of rig do you have?

    Drivers, cabs, speakers. It's good. We get it. :thumbsup:
  13. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Haha. I was just thinking that my takeaway was "ok, so he'd like a pair of 210's better than a 15 mix."
  14. Practice combo? BT220. It was a fire sale deal, ok? ;)
  15. So when you plug in an extension cab, it is in series with the amp and internal speaker? Got it.
    I wasn't aware that those amps did that. Thanks.
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, that's the trade-off combo designers have to consider if they want to offer an external speaker option:

    have the internal speaker be higher impedance than the amp so that it only gets full power with the extension cab, or

    have the internal speaker be right at the minimum load the amp can handle so the combo gets max power by itself but can only run extensions if they're in series.

    for my money the former makes more sense from a gigging standpoint.
  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    at least in that case, the 2x15 is in the ballpark of "equal" to the 4x10 in terms of speaker area, low end and loudness.
    meaning two bass amps running each cab full-on, or meaning actually crossed over so the 2x15 only gets lows and the 4x10 only gets highs?

    if you're actually crossing over so the 4x10 doesn't have any lows in it then you're dragging out that big cab for nothing, you could replace it with like a single 12 cab or even a 6" mid driver like in a fEARful and actually have better mids and highs with a wider, smoother dispersion.
  18. Worth noting for the OP's sake that your observations apply to whatever specific make/model cabs you demo'ed and don't necessarily apply to 210's and 115's in general.

    FWIW, depending on the size and quantity of drivers in any two cabinets, an ohms mismatch may be much preferable.

    rodl2005 and walterw like this.
  19. Well I'm certainly with you on that!

    I'm trying to work out the Jack switching arrangement on the amp to add a cab to a combo in series.
    That'll keep me busy for a while. But it must be more complicated than adding a second cab in parallel?

    Thanks for the heads up on that.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    definitely, you need special switching jacks to make it happen.

    the idea is a jack with a "normally closed" connection in series with the internal speaker. with nothing plugged in the signal goes right through, but when you plug in it interrupts that connection and places the external speaker in that interrupted path.