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Seeking Advice on Cabinets...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ionic Eye, May 18, 2002.


  1. Ionic Eye

    Ionic Eye

    May 13, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    Hello! My first post (I'm new) concerned bass guitar; I got some great input from people (thanks!) so with that taken care of I thought I'd throw a cab question out at you all (at the risk of seeming greedy.) I own an SWR Mo' Bass (I've since read some rather dismal reviews of them here, but I'm determined not to feel bad about having one; it's easily portable and compact, with built-in effects, so I'm cool with it!) I'm starting up a project, so we'll be playing the typical small, local type of college/bar gigs (and hopefully move up from there!) I've never had good bass equipment, so I really don't know what type of set-up I'd need; all I know is that the bass MUST BE HEARD; must be an EQUAL PLAYER! My next purchase will be a Reverend Brad Houser 5, so low B is important to me. I plan on having two main sounds for playing live: clean, and distorted. The distorted, effected sound (I like the sub-octave effect, I must say) I plan on running through one cab, while the other cab will remain a clean bass sound at all times (unless that's a stupid thing to do?) So, my question here is this: what size cabs would be best, speaker-wise? I'll be up against some massive walls of distortion at times, so need to cut through. Would I want the cabs to be the same for when I'm splitting the clean/distorted sound, or could I use, say, a 2x10 or 4x10 for clean and a 2x12 or 1x15 for the distorted (or vice/versa, even?) Sorry for my ignorance; any responses would be greatly appreciated! Thanks... Matt
     
  2. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    what are you using for the distorted? is it coming from the Mo'Bass? are you gonna be switching from the clean cab to the distorted cab? or are you running them at the same time. i wouldnt do that cause things get really expensive and its a bit of a waste. just run things thru one cab, and leave it at that.

    before i give you any ideas, what kind of band are you gonna be? are you competing with a full marshall stack? or just a combo amp? its important cause you dont wanna carry more gear than you need cause bass cabs are notoriously heavy.

    2x10s and 4x10s have a tight punchie feel that cut like a knife, but lack the low end response that many crave. 1x15 cabs have that low end, but lack the punchiness to cut thru. so, many players put together a combo of both. 2x12 cabs have nice punch and low end response, but some some people still prefer the combo sound of 10"s & 15"s.

    if you're just playing small venues, then a 2x10 w/ 1x15 cab combo or 2x12 cab would be fine. a 4x10 would be great too, but its really tight sounding, and might not be as thumpy as you'd like it. if you're doing a metal outfit, i'd get a 4x10 w/ 1x15 setup.
     
  3. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    btw, check out the Harmony central forums, they're a wee bit more noobie friendly.
     
  4. Ionic Eye

    Ionic Eye

    May 13, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    jokerjkny: thanks for taking the time to respond; I appreciate it! I'm posting here because I'm impressed; you all seem like you're easily the most bass-knowledgeable group of people I've run across, so I'd rather post a question here and run the risk of being categorized as a "newbie not worthy of consideration" than post at another site and get a whole bunch of responses from well-meaning but perhaps none-too-knowledgeable people, if that makes sense. At any rate, if you read this, I'm in the process of forming a band; the friends I played with before have all "moved on" and I've decided I need to pursue music further. I plan on using only the Mo' Bass for ease of use and portability (no added equipment.) The music is going to be "intelligent, melodic rock w/ extensive use of dynamics"; for the harder parts I'm after some of the most killer walls of distortion out there; that's an important element. However, never having been in a band before, I don't really know what's needed; I've seen quite a few shows (King's X, Our Lady Peace, Dream Theater, Paw, etc) as well as the smaller, local bands opening for them, but I don't know when I'm hearing THEIR equipment vs the P.A.; I want my "rig" to be able to stand on it's own, if you will, as I imagine I'll be in quite a few "no P.A." situations. I have heard that when using distortion it is a good idea to "blend" that signal with a "clean" bass signal so that the low-end, "substance" part of the bass sound is not lost; that's why I was planning on running two cabs (as well as wanting to be loud enough; I'd also rather move two 60 lb cabs than one 95 lb cab.) I've been reading posts here and was considering Avatar 2x10 and 1x15, perhaps, or Ashdown or Nemesis 4x10, which are both in the 60 lb range, as well as the Nemesis 2x12. I guess I just want to be sure I end up with a rig that will easily be heard over drums, two guitars and keys, as I believe the bass should be an equal player in a band (with half the bands I hear playing I can hardly make out the bass at all.) Again, thanks for the response, and I'm a pretty darn good bassist; I've just never been in a "playing out" situation before that requires good, loud sound!
     
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Oh, bullcrap. This is probably the friendliest forum for newbies around.

    Ionic Eye, a suggestion: please format your posts into paragraphs to make them easier to read. And welcome!
     
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    And regarding your cab predicament, can you drag your head out to stores and demo different cabs to see which sound you like?
     
  7. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    np IE,

    just here to help. most times than not, in small venues that house less than 500 people, a mo'bass rig with 2x10&1x15 or just a 2x12 or just a 4x10 will easily fill a small room and crush whatever drummer or guitarist you've got. a good formula to follow: you wattage should be 4x the guitar player. if he's 100 watts, you should be 400 watts. you'll be easily heard. and as long as your out in front of your rig, you should hear yourself easily as well. just try not to be tooo loud or everyone in the band will turn up their volume, and your stage volume goes wildly outta control.

    the soundman still might run you thru the PA for definition and only cause they like to control the overall sound.

    also make sure your head has more wattage than your speakers can handle. AND make sure your combined ohmage is equal to what your speakers can handle. if not you might fry your head's transformers. this is a whole other thread, so if you dont know what this means, ask.

    still go and play as many setups as you can with your head, and see what you like. you might be surprised.

    and yea, please, organize your thoughts into paragraphs. my poor eyes have enough to deal with when i'm designing at work. :D
     
  8. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Word!
     
  9. Ionic Eye

    Ionic Eye

    May 13, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    Joker & HD: thanks again for more advice; again, much appreciated (especially about the paragraphs- I don't want to be putting people in a negative mind-frame w/out knowing it!)
    The reason I'm not "trying out" cabs (new parag.!) at music stores is because I don't think that would really tell me much about how they'd perform in a real live-jam-type situation, which I know most of you ARE quite familiar with.
    I am, however, confused about getting cabs that handle less wattage than the head puts out. The Mo' Bass is 400 watts per side at 4 ohms, 900 watts bridged. I was planning on going with the two cab deal, so 400 W into each.
    Are you saying I should be going with cabs that can handle, say, 350 watts, like the Nemesis 2x12 does, and NOT a cab that can handle, say, 600 watts? I was assuming I'd WANT a 600 watt cab, just to be "safe".
    I'll look further into more posts; again, thanks for any help! Matt
     
  10. Ionic Eye

    Ionic Eye

    May 13, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    Oops; next time I'll put spaces between the paragraphs as well.

    Like that. ~(;-)
     
  11. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    TX
    Impedence my friend, no ohmage.
     
  12. SubDubMan

    SubDubMan

    Apr 26, 2002
    yes... i wanna know too!

    ...why would you want your head to be able to put out more than your cab(s) can handle??
     
  13. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    well, that would be called -- appropriately enough -- "headroom"

    it's not really, really necessary - but nice to have available -
    you get the volume from the cab without the amp having to be cranked all the way up (just don't drive the speakers to overpowering)
     
  14. Wxp4759cb

    Wxp4759cb

    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I believe the reason you'd want more "headroom" is to avoid clipping. If your cabs try to take more power than your amp can give them, it could cause damage.

    That aside however I'd worry more about how the cabs sound then their specs. (of course making sure not to fry them).

    A couple options:

    SWR Goliath III 4x10 (Bridge the amp for 900watts)

    2 Peavey Pro 4x10s

    2 Aguilar 2x12 (expensive!!!)

    SWR MEGOLIATH III 8x10 (bridged)

    Ampeg 6x10 HLF

    Ampeg PR4x10HLF (expensive, and I don't like but some do)

    (I don't like 15s so I don't have a ton of experience with them.)

    EDIT: I posted this before I saw Malibu's post.
     
  15. Wxp4759cb

    Wxp4759cb

    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    Unless money is tight I'd probably go for something other than Avatar. Also if you could swing it I'd say Eden over Nemisis.
     
  16. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    yup, Ionic,

    just what everyone here says. amps that are pushing their power sections to its limits will start to clip and fart the speaker causing damage to the speaker itself. sure you could punish a speaker with too much power, but this way, the fear of blowing them keeps you from cranking your amp too loud and clipping the speaker.

    you could feed each speaker with its own channel, known as running in "parallel", but most guys prefer the responsiveness of a "series" setup where you would run the amp in "bridged" mode. basically, you'd run one speaker cable from the amp to the 1st cab, then from that 1st cab to the 2nd cab. its essentially a chain. you'll want the added headroom and power that bridged mode gives you. it feels waaay nicer.

    but before you go and do that, what's the ohms rating when running in bridged mode @ 900 watts? i'm assuming its 900 watts @ 4 ohms. the less ohms an amp pushes, the more power and loudness you get. but, like hunter corrected me, your "impedence" should not go lower than what your amp can handle. too little impedence allows too much current to flow into the transformers, and could turn them into baked alaska. use this formula to find out what impedence your cabs are running at:

    (X*Y)/(X+Y)=Total Ohms

    X=1st cab ohms
    Y=2nd cab ohms

    so, two 8 ohm cabs equal 4 ohms total. so make sure you're getting two 8 ohm cabs. that's safest.

    for more info, that is better explained than what i did, try this FAQ put together by a fellow TB'er. very very helpful! should answer any questions you'd have.

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=24546&highlight=faq

    Good luck! and be sure to pass the karma. :D
     
  17. The String Shop on High Street has a couple of used Ampeg cabinets you should check out. They look like they are in excellent condition, I don't know. Also, you can take your MoBass over and hook it up and check them out. They have a 410 and 1-15 over in the used amp and cabinet area.They also have a layaway plan. It's worth checking out.

    They have a Warwick 410 also.
     
  18. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    The business about the extra wattage has been discussed many times here, and actually, in the form stated, it's IMO a bit of a myth rather than accurate. Having an amp that can put out more power than your cabs are rated for does absolutely nothing, in itself, to prevent clipping. In fact, it can render your speakers *more* liable to damage if you do clip your amp.

    What's important is not having more power than your cabs are rated for but *having more power than you need to easily get the volume you want*. The cabs have nothing directly to do with whether your amp clips (except with respect to efficiency, which is not the same thing as power handling). What causes clipping is turning your amp up too high. That's it. If you have an amp that is powerful enough that you never have to have it anywhere near clipping--that is, if you have more than enough amp to get the volume you want--you derive *no* additional benefit from having speakers rated at less than that, all else being equal.

    In other words, if you could do your gig comfortably with a 300 W amp through speakers of efficiency X, but you use a 1000 W amp, obviously you have headroom for days. But once you have that big old bruiser of an amp, using 500 W speakers of efficiency X rather than 1000 W speakers of efficiency X does *nothing* to help you further. It doesn't give you more volume or headroom, and it doesn't stop you from clipping: what stops you from clipping is that you have way more amp than you actually need.

    On the other hand, suppose you have a 300 W amp but you really need a 1000 W amp to get the minimum volume you want in that setting. There, it does you no good to have speakers rated at less than the amp. You're going to have to push the amp hard to get the volume, which means it will likely clip, and you're then actually *more* likely to damage the speakers if their power handling is lower.

    I'm not saying it can't work to have an amp rated higher than the speakers. Lots of people do that. I've done it too. I'm just saying that that's not what protects you from clipping. What protects you from clipping is having more power than you need *for your gig*, not more than your speakers.

    My recommendation to Ionic is to (1) make sure tha Mo' Bass is enough or more than enough amp for you, (2) choose your speakers on the basis of tone and efficiency, and then (3) make sure the speakers can handle at least the amount of power you're likely to throw at them (which should be substantially less than the amp's maximum).
     
  19. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    yeah, it is the amp clipping that is the problem for the cab speakers

    say that you are turning the preamp gains up, and so the signal peak of the amp up --
    the power amp will start to clip at some level -- it will be the same level whether it is connected
    to a cab speaker rated at 100W , or 300W , or 500W.

    but now however . . .
    say you run it bridged mono 600 watts into that speaker, instead of the, say , one channel of 250W -
    you are now getting a safety zone of headroom, you will get the volume you need at an earlier level - you won't have to crank it up !

    so you will have less need to turn things up to the level that the amp clips 'cause you'll already be there volume-wise.
     
  20. Ionic Eye

    Ionic Eye

    May 13, 2002
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks, everybody; I do feel better informed!

    Bassmangreg: thanks for The String Shop info; I'm in NY for awhile now, however, so that's out! I also have a thing for buying new equipment; I feel that once I've decided on a product (after doing all the research, finally concluding that THIS is the best equip. to fit my needs) I'm rather "obligated" to buy new just so that the "chosen company" will be getting some proceeds and my "support", if that makes sense. Not the most $-conservative route, I realize, but there it is!

    I'll look closer at the "series" vs "parallel" issue, and thanks for forwarding the info on impedance, jokerjkny.

    OK, enough thanking; now I'll go back into research mode, and maybe hit you all up again when even more questions arise (there does seem to be an element of "opening one door leads to three new ones" with all this bass stuff...

    Thanks for the help! Matt