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So many speaker questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by volerium, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. volerium


    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    I have a blown 4 10 cab and I'm looking at either putting new speakers in or buying a new cab. Ideally I'd like a cab that can handle 1000 watts @ 4 ohms. I have my eye on the Eden cab, priced right at $1000. http://www.activebass.com/item--UR.D410XST8

    I'm hearing that I could put high quality speakers in the box I have now for much less and that's where my questions come in.

    1. Series vs. Parallel, does one handle more power better? and how is ohms and wattage determined for each. I know is 4 16ohm speakers giving you a 4 ohm load and the other is 4 4ohm speakers giving you a 4 ohm load. So 4 100watt speakers is a 100 watt cab or a 400 watt cab? and I'm assuming 4 4ohm speakers would be a stronger cab than the 4 16ohm

    2. PA speakers vs. Bass speakers. I've heard back and forth on this from three different people now. Some say the PA will handle more power and give a broader spectrum of sound overall and I've also heard that playing bass through PA speakers will blow them out quick, ruin the cone or something like that.. anyone really know for a fact? What specs should I be looking at?

    3. Magnet size. I'm hearing the bigger the better. I was looking at the avatar bass cab site and they had speakers with a 42 oz magnet. I don't know what to compare that to but they had it listed as a selling point. Is bigger magnets better and why?

    4. Voice coils melting. If a cab is rated at 500 watts and you go over it, the voice coils melt and you're then destroying your speaker, right? So.. if I get a cab rated higher than my head is that no longer a concern? I have a head rated at 500 watts at 8ohm and 1000 at 4ohm.

    5. Can a cab mess up my head? My friend replaced a 12 inch guitar speaker in his combo amp with a same size PA speaker but he said the magnet was much bigger and the speaker rated higher. He says he can now run the amp on full volume constantly and it won't hurt the speaker at all. But he says the head will wear down faster now from pushing that speaker. I've played my bass through his set up a half dozen times now and it sounds amazing, just curious if what he's saying is true.

    I want a cab that I can play hard and loud and that can take the abuse that this head can dish out. I know no speakers are going to last forever but somethings gotta take some abuse.
    Lemmy kills his! haha

    I'm playing two different basses, both passive
    Ampeg SVT Pro 7
    Boss pedals, tons of distortion
    4 10 cab

    I know I know, lots of questions. Any replies, real life experience or links to other info is always appreciated.
  2. astack

    astack Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Hmm, no bites?

    OK, I'll shoot:
    Easiest, and possibly cheaper, way to go is sell the box and let it be someone else's problem and find the 4x10 that fits your bill. If your budget is a grand, I think you can take your pick. Once you open that door, you might consider different configurations / form factors.

    Beyond that, specifically for your case, I can't help much. Don't know much about available 4x10 cabs or replacement 10's.

    Power handling doesn't change based on wiring. A 4x10 with 10's that handle 250W will give you your 1kW no matter how you wire them. And neither is "stronger."

    Otherwise, you're right. If you want 4 ohms, you need to find 4 (wired in series/parallel) or 16 (wired in parallel) ohm speakers. Narrows the field quite a bit, actually.

    If you mean just the raw drivers, mostly marketing distinction. PA speakers tend to be heavier duty: higher power handling and have higher excursion (i.e. Xmax over 6 mm), relatively. Oh and heavier duty construction like cast frame vs. stamped. They sometimes also have different tonal characteristics. I know for 12" speakers, for example, Eminence makes the Deltalite II 2512 for pro audio and Basslite S2012 for bass. Fairly similar, in general, but the 2512 has higher power handling and an evenly rising midrange that's typically more desirable for vocals, etc. The S2012 doesn't have that, so the tone's a bit more "bass cab" sounding.

    Otherwise, you're really speaking in generalities, and there are always exceptions to be found. Plus there are probably many more bass-marketed speakers in 10" than PA, unlike 12's or 15's.

    If by bigger, you mean stronger, than yes, kind of better. Depends on your goals. BTW, look at the BL spec for magnet strength. The weight of the magnet only matters comparing same materials. A ferrite magnet is going to be many times the weight of a neodymium magnet for the same strength.

    But in the end, it doesn't really matter as a stand-alone spec. Red herring.

    More or less, yeah.

    Yes. The only way, though, is if the impedance is not right. For the 7 Pro (or most any solid state amp), the golden rule is never go below 4 ohms. You have a 4 ohm cab in mind, so good to go. Your guitar playing buddy sounds like he's talking about a tube head, which are pickier.

    With tons of distortion, probably pull the tweeter and crossover and seal the hole when you replace the speakers (assuming the cab has them). There's a reason guitar cabs don't have tweeters.

    If you're looking for specific speaker rec's, you're gonna have to tell us more about the cab. Get out your tape measure, measure internal dimension, ports if it's got 'em, where they are, what they look like, etc.
  3. volerium


    May 21, 2012
    Wichita, KS
    Thanks for the help. I don't really have a budget limit at a grand, I figured if I could spruce this broken one up to be kick ass for a few hundred then I'd be further ahead in the end. Also, I didn't really think I'd be able to get anything out of it by selling it. I've tried for a month or more now and no bites.

    One thing I didn't understand at the end was the rec to pull the tweeter and crossover.. wouldn't that limit what tones I could get? Am I getting more power out of the cab by doing that or what? Also, I have heard or read somewhere that even though bass cabs sometimes have a switch to turn the tweeter off, doing so can damage the cab.. or head. I don't remember which, I just remember reading that you shouldn't turn it off but turn it down fairly low and that was safer. Doesn't make sense to me but I try to listen and learn from people who have more experience with these things than me

    So this is the cab I have right now


    There was a couple SWR threads talking about replacement speakers that had a link to this guys ebay page, you can grab a speaker for $60 - $70.

    I found these that are looking pretty good to me, PA speakers, heavy magnets, 350 watts for $80

    So rather than having this SWR cab rated somewhere between 400 - 800 watts with replacement speakers costing me $240.. if I go the PA route with this am I right in figuring I'll have a 410 cab that's 1400 watts at 4ohms for $320? That sounds almost too good to be true so please correct any mis information I have here. I've tried to include as much information as I can with this. If the PA thing is a fit I think I'll have my dream cab.

    I don't know to tell if a speaker is cast or stamped but the forum I was reading said SWRs were loaded with eminence speakers and they were cast speakers.

    This is the forum I was getting that info from
  4. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    EDIT: The information about the PA speaker at the link in the post above is a mixture of specs from both the Eminence Delta 10A and Delta 10B, so based on the impedance given I thought it was the 10A. Actually the Delta 10A has reasonable excursion at 3.5 mm; the 10B has poor excursion at 1.8 mm. If you decide to go that route, make sure you get the Delta 10A.

    Below is my original incorrect post, based on the information at the link; thank you Arjank for catching my mistake:

    The Delta 10A, the PA speaker you linked to, is more of a midrange than a woofer. It only has a linear excursion (x-max) of 1.6mm. Four of them will fartout at about the same SPL as an average 210.
  5. People usually blow 4x10 with excess excursion put on the speakers by asking them to make 40Hz loud. 200W can do that, let alone 1000W.

    Most 8x10 can't handle 1000W let loose without some help from Eq'ing out excess lows.
  6. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam
    I thought it was the other way around.
    By mistake I ordered two of the Delta10B's 10 years ago, man, with only a few watts you get a ticket to fartout-city :hyper:

    The "A" version is slightly better, this one has an xmax of 3.5mm.

    If you want your 410 to really be able to handle 1000watts then you need some really, really good 10"s.
    My 210 with the Oberton 10B200 can handle 500watts(depending on what kind of audio signal you send to it), this is one heck of a driver but not available in the U.S. Maybe you should check out one of those new LF drivers form Eminence.

    But for selecting the correct drivers you will need to know the internal volume of your cab and the tuning frequency....
  7. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    Good catch!!

    The link I was referring to indicates the driver's DC resistance is 5.32 ohms (and x-max of 1.6 mm), so I thought it was the Delta 10A based on the DC resistance. Checking on Eminence's website shows that you are correct - the 10B is the one with only 1.8 mm of x-max. The information at the link is an unfortunate mixture of the two.

    I'll edit my post so that it's no longer giving out bad information.
  8. Arjank


    Oct 9, 2007
    Above Amsterdam
    No thnx Duke, we're here to assist eachother and share our knowledge :)
  9. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    I know that this will make me sound like a jerk but, all 5 questions could easily be answered by doing a few quick searches on here in the amps section. I'd say that over half the threads on here are people asking the same questions over and over again without taking the time to look.
  10. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    spend $400 and buy the Eden cab for sale in the classifieds.
    Experiment with the empty box at your leisure
  11. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
  12. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
  13. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    At first you should figure out WHY your 410 is blown.
    Too much heat?
    Too much cone excursion because of too much subharmonic content?

    Distorted sounds cause both of these points.

    A lot of (standard) drivers are fitted with 2" voice coil, whereas some are fitted with 2.5" voice coil.

    I cant predict you will be fine with 2.5" but to fit well your purpose it will be a good bet to deal with 3" voice coils.
  14. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
  15. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    To get the same sort of speaker reliability as Lemmy using a 1000 watt transistor amp.
    You will need to run circa 10 times as many speakers, yes it will be quite a bit louder than Lemmy's rig if you do.
    The thing here is that old school technology works by low power tube amp + massive cone area.
    New school technology is all about getting a massive amount of speaker destructive power and applying it to the minimum number of maximum displacement highest power handling ten inch speakers with the lightest magnet materials you can find, resulting in a great many damaged ten inch speakers like yours that died of overpowering, nothing to do with your choice of eq or distortion, it was to do with a massively insufficient system headroom in voice coil power handling or put it the old way loudspeaker count.
    These are totally different approaches to getting a rig loud enough to work in a heavy rock or metal stage environment, both work but I wouldn't be doing it the modern way personally as the laws of physics are, that to increase the low frequency power handling of a loudspeaker you will inevitably loose efficiency, agility, and the midrange tone will be sacrificed due to the heavily increased inertia of a inevitably heavier voice coil, suspension and cone assemblies.
    New school lightweight bass rigs are in many ways only designed to be run ultra clean.
    If you add distortion to the mix you will, due to unavoidable physics get exactly the same percentage increase in muddiness that you have achieved in power handling at low frequency per driver.
    Every Action Has An Equal And Opposite Reaction In Science.:bassist:
  16. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Psh... who uses 10's anymore? :bag:

    The secret is not using full range drivers in your full range bass cab. Want big lows? use drivers meant to handle them, want mids/highs/distortion? use drivers meant to handle them. Each driver will excel in the frequency range it was designed to work at. If implemented well you end up with a cab that goes higher, lower, louder, just as efficient, and weighs a whole lot less.
  17. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Lemmy uses a valve amp with the associated high pass filtering from the OT and the compression from the valves, using compression and a high pass filter will keep your cab much safer. It isn't about watts really, its voltage and frequency, and thus excursion.
  18. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan

    And even though Lemmy's sound is heavy and in your face, he isnt really pushing a ton of lows. His cabinet choice reflects this. He is playing with basically beefed up, super efficient guitar cabs. He isnt pushing crushing sub lows out of his rig, like a lot of players want these days.
  19. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Are you using Lemmy's sound on recordings as your reference and trying to replicate it for yourself, live? Don't even bother. It's possible to add sub-harmonics on a recording that you'll never be able to re-create live unless you can send the sound from your rig through the same processors, with a PA system that has the same audio response as what you're using to listen to the music. Also, they probably used a direct box in the studio and live. If you want that sound, it will require some serious engineering and money. Add a bit of luck, too- picking a specific sound as your goal is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Better to try for coming close and being happy with what you find along the way, making lots of notes about how you reached all of the results and comments about the good and bad aspects of everything.

    BTW- when someone blows all/most of their speakers, manufacturers call this 'abuse'. It means the speakers were never designed to be used that way.

    This will deal with points 2-5.

    Good system design means finding devices that operate within a specific range that agrees with the system requirements. You already defines the sound you want, but the details need to be specified- frequency response, power handling, amplifier power, effects that will be used, etc. An audio system needs to be designed for durability unless you have an unlimited budget for replacement parts in which case, you can use the sound as the primary goal but you still need to make sure the damage to the speakers won't kill your amp(s).

    Magnets are sized to provide the needed magnetic force, based on the voice coil's windings/diameter/needed power handling. A larger magnet of one material may have more magnetic force (flux) than needed and this can cause more damping than desired. The larger magnet will, however, remove more heat from the voice coil/gap and this allows it to handle more power, or operate longer. This is one way PA speakers differ from guitar/bass speakers but just having a larger magnet doesn't mean one speaker is better for everything than another. Many times, the driver with the smaller magnet is better in a specific cabinet and each will work best in a narrow range of designs- the driver determines the cabinet and using a cabinet to base the speaker design is working backward.

    4) If you melt voice coils, you're doing something to it that it can't handle, which means it's not right for your application. You need to work within the speaker's limitations- it will never change what it can handle to suit your needs. Exactly what is causing the damage still needs to be determined and it's not possible to be absolutely certain using your ears for this. You need to see what's causing it, using test equipment. Ay other way will take far too long and cost too much.

    5) A cabinet won't mess up your amp head on its own unless the impedance is outside of the range the amp can handle. However, it's not just resistance that an amp sees when impedance is considered, but I haven't seen much discussion of the other characteristics in guitar/bass amp discussions.

    When speakers are in the process of being damaged or they're already damaged when the amp is connected, the amp can be damaged- voice coils can warp, which often causes it to scrape on the magnet (yoke or pole piece). This can smear the metal and scrape through the enamel/epoxy coating on the wire, causing a short and in extreme cases, enough of a change in DC resistance that the amp pukes. Also, the voice coil winding can become so hot that the wire stretches from the magnetic force that's caused by the current flowing through it. This causes it to scrape and/or break, opening the coil and making it stop working completely. Sometimes, the voice coil can warp AND stretch, causing the cone to develop a constant scraping/rubbing sound. In other extreme cases, the enamel/epoxy melts, flows to the lowest points and gums up the coil & gap. When it cools, it solidifies and makes the cone un-movable (like my Altec 417B, when the amp over-powered it).
  20. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Perfectly correct! the only real problem appears that unlike the young metal bass player with a modern uber 4X10, a sub octave pedal and >1000watts, the old experienced live sound engineer is somewhat miffed with all the crushing lows (usually ends up as boom outside of his bedroom acoustic anyway ) when in fact the only place in the bands mix and the halls acoustics for any intelligible bass guitar at all, has a great deal more to do with Chris Squires of "Yes" than family man Barratt of Bob Marley fame.:bassist: