Side-By-Side Speakers...?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ZenG, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. So in many threads it is advised against putting two combos or two cabs side-by-side on a stage/floor/ playing space etc. because the speakers have a cancelling effect on each other sonically for certain wavelengths.

    Yet when you look at a lot of cabs and combos with multiple speakers of the same size in them, the speakers are often paired side-by-side.

    For example, let's say a a 6x10 cab. Three rows of two speakers, stacked yes, but three rows of side-by-side.

    Do the makers just say " to heck with the specs and rules.......this is the way we make that cab for space-saving reasons"

    Do they factor in the side-by-side effect?

    Is there any effect difference in paired side-by-side speakers in a cab or combo sonically, spec-wise or any other way compared to ones that aren't?

    Does it even matter?....Is it all just a myth?
    dbbltime and Pbassmanca like this.
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Sonically there is most definitely a measurable difference. If you and/or the audience like how it sounds, it arguably doesn't matter a bit though.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I don't see why frequency cancellation would be more of an issue with side-by-side arrangements than it is with stacked arrangements.
    pomegranesis and Stefan Verbeeck like this.
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Because good horizontal dispersion is more important than good vertical dispersion in quite a few playing situations? Yel_wink.gif

    But as usual, that just depends, and there are better and worse specific implementations of either format.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
    ThisBass, Thwack, mcnach and 2 others like this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yeah, I guess the orientation of the plane of cancellation would matter, makes sense. The same cancellation still happens, just a matter of where.
    NKBassman likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    IMO: in 99% of real-world situations it's the room, the room, the room. in my opinion = it's always the room. :)
    MrLenny1, pcake, bassballs27 and 10 others like this.
  7. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
  8. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    At one point, I owned a set of Mesa PH115 and PH212 cabs. I usually stacked them, when I ran them together. One day, I felt lazy, so I ran them side-by-side in the rehearsal space, and it sounded like only one cab was producing sound, until I moved to another part of the room, and the only the other cab sounded like it was producing sound. There were spots where I could sorta hear both at once, but one cab always seemed to dominate.
    Stevorebob and lz4005 like this.
  9. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I use a pair of Acme B2 2x10 cabinets. Once I tried them in a vertical 4x10 stack I never went back. :)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  10. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    A 6x10 cab with all the speakers in a column would be half again taller than an SVT cab.
    That's just impractical from a storage and transportation perspective. Imagine trying to get a 6 foot tall x 14 inch wide/deep cab into a car.

    As for whether frequency cancellation and dispersion is a myth or not, it's easy to find out for yourself if you have a few cabs laying around.
    I've A/B/C'd a pair of 2x10's horizontally, vertically and set up as a cube.
    There's a dramatic difference in how it sounds, particularly if you back off 20 feet or so and move around the room.

    The most practical benefit, however, for most gig situations is that setting them up as a column puts the top cab much closer to your ears so you can hear yourself better.
  11. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Funny, I was pondering the same question as the OP, which I still haven't seen a good explanation
  12. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Flat baffle side x side 410, 610, 810, ext., all exhibit acoustical interference from about 500 Hz and up. This shows up as wonky dispersion in that frequency range, hot and cold spots, combing, cancellation, etc. Most people try to ignore it as those configurations are entrenched in the zeitgeist. Stevie Ray Vaughn hated the uneven dispersion so much he would hang foam diffusers over the driver centers to even out/tame where things got too hot. BFM has a crossfire side x side design for guitar cabs, but it's form factor is so weird it gained little acceptance. I believe Duke LeJune here has a crossfire 410 bass cab design available as a flat pack from Speaker Hardware.

    (Vertical stacking still has the same dispersion issues, but it is the vertical plane, so you don't notice it because you move left and right across the stage, I.E., horizontally. Now if you were on a trampoline in front of a vertical stack, you'd notice the same issues as someone moving left and right in front of side x side driver placement)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  13. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    It is probably best said keeping it simple ... manufacturers build what sells, and it sells because buyers are used to seeing them as they have been for 60+ years ... maybe surprising to some on here, but the vast majority of the gear buying public do not frequent TalkBass, and share in many of our ongoing controversies ... ;)
  14. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    I should probably add, I remember attending arena concerts back in the 60's/70's, and on each side of the stage there was a conglomerate of various PA cabs 'piled together (mostly side by side) for FOH ... now, you see a flying 'vertical line array', with the subs 'clustered' or lined across the front together ... not many questioning that set up ... ;)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    G Aichele, Stevorebob and eff-clef like this.
  15. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    The modern line array. It is the standard. Note that the 'top' are stacked vertical, and are carrying 125 Hz and above. Subs clustered horizontally, but they are usually carrying only 125 Hz and below. Not a problem. It is only when frequencies get +500Hz where we get issues. That 500 value is an approximation because the actual value is dependent on driver size and center to center spacing.
    JimChjones likes this.
  16. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    The acoustical effect being referenced is called "comb filtering." It is very real. You can google it, or do a search on TB using those two words.

    You are correct Zen.....many mainstream "consumer" grade cab makers don't worry about comb filtering since they bank on the fact that there is a significant percentage of musicians on this planet who don't seem to know about such things. Those cab makers like it that way! (Just like they don't want musicians knowing that their wattage ratings for their cabs refers to the thermal rating, not their mechanical rating, and in reality their cabs can only handle about half the power that is advertised.) "Shhhhhh" says the consumer grade cab makers! They want to keep that stuff a secret so they can keep selling their mediocre products to unknowing humans.

    But if you look at cabs designed by folks who really know what they are doing (eg, Jim Bergantino, Alex Claber w/Barefaced, etc.), you will notice that they don't have the speakers in their multi-driver cabs perfectly horizontal. The drivers are staggered. That is done to help reduce comb filtering. In the case of Alex's 10-inch driver cabs, the drivers are indeed perfectly horizontal, but he filters out the high freqs for the drivers on one side of the cab.

    Some bass players don't worry or care (or know) about comb filtering, which is fine. And some bassists do worry or care about comb filtering, which is fine too.
    Pbassmanca and monsterthompson like this.
  17. sawzalot

    sawzalot Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I think the center-to-center distance of the drivers has to be less than one wavelength to minimize the beaming/comb filtering effect. So if your driver centers are, say 12 inches apart your speakers will start becoming directional around 1100 hz or so. So an 8x10 will slightly try to keep the sound above 1100 Hz from being sent to the walls on either side and will do a better job of keeping those frequencies from being sent to the floor and ceiling. A lone 4x10 will slightly try to do both of those things. A stack of 2x10's on end will do a better job of keeping your sound above 1100 Hz from the walls and ceiling and not try at all to keep it from going to the walls on either side.

    If you look at the big line array hangs at a major concert you'll see how this *really* gets implemented. Our little multi-driver cabinets just don't hold a candle to the technology in those arrays.

    In practice though, who really cares. If it sounds good it is good.

    bucephylus and Pbassmanca like this.
  18. Two big cabs (6x10 or 8x10) with a big head Ampeg/Bassman just look cool side by side with the head centered over them.
    Getting one of these big cabs to sit on top of the other is a whole other matter.
  19. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It's for real. Looks can be deceiving for example these don't have the combing effect horizontally because those cones aren't doing the upper mids and HF. Those are coming out of the horn drivers in the middle.
    NOVAX and Pbassmanca like this.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thank you! Now I have a scientific reason to play bass in a trampoline. Up until now my wife has frowned upon it every time. Now I can tell her.....

    "I am researching the vertical sump nuther thing with the guy and the....speaker ......thing....that the guy in the spots and.....and....stuff.....honey." :wideyed:
    bholder, LowActionHero, Ewo and 5 others 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.

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