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speaker configuration

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by qveda, Jan 7, 2003.


  1. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    I'm curious about the general difference
    in sonic characteristics of:

    A) mulitple smaller speakers in one(or two) cabinet(s)
    vs
    B) few larger speakers in one cabinet.

    How would you generally describe the pros/cons of , say, two 2x10 cabs,or one 4x8 cab vs a 2x12, or 1x15.

    thanks,
    -Qua
     
  2. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    I've always enjoyed questions like this because there are sooooo many ways of coming up with an answer.

    My favorite/best sounding amp is a late 60's Sunn 200S. It puts out a "massive", butt-whumping 60 watts, has 2 15" JBL D140 speakers and sings like a bird. At one time "EVERYONE" used 2x15 cabinets.

    What happened next? Well, for one thing, cars got smaller and you couldn't get a 2x15 in the back seat of a Toyota. For another, along came Ampeg and put out a couple of cabinets that used 10" speakers.......and they worked. They were smooth; handled low-end really well and when used in quantity, they moved a lot of air. Cabinet designs began to change radically, soon after.

    Another cabinet that I REALLY liked was made by G-K and used 4 12's and 2 10's. The 12's mounted in the folded horn portion of the enclosure gave it more smooth bottom and the front-mounted 10's gave it more definition. It was a sweet sounding cabinet.........but outside of the 4 that I bought, I've never seen any others......anywhere. :confused:

    So, MY bottom line to your question is a simple, yet lengthy, one. There are no "cons" to any of the speakers you asked about. There are only pros.......but it really depends on a couple of things: The intended use of the cabinet as to the type/volume of music that it's expected to produce. :::: The head that you're using the cabinet with:::: The design of the cabinet that's helping the speaker to work:::::::: and the type of vehicle that you're going to be using to move said cabinet. If I could only have one cabinet, it'd be a 4x10. If I could add another, it'd be a 2x15 to put under it for gigs that needed a bit more thump.

    Bass-ically Yours,
    Rich Briere
     
  3. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    thanks for the input!. I realize I'm asking a broad hypothetical question. I come from an audiophile background, recently moving into MI. I am interested in playing Chapman Stick (full range) at low to mid volume levels, with solid full range reinforcment from low Bb on up.
    I have some favorite cabinets in mind, but haven't decided on configuration yet. I've thought of two smaller cabs with smaller spkrs so I could reproduce stereo effects, vs one larger, perhaps more full range mono cabinet. In theory, two small ones could move the same air as one larger one, but they would of course sound different.

    Thought I'd ask folks "how" they would describe the differences eg, need the large cones for fullness at lower volumes? or need smaller cones for better mids ? or need all of the above (which is what I figure will be the case ;-)
     
  4. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Since a Bass is a very dynamic instrument with a large range, it may be necessary to have 2 different types of Cabinets to produce both the good tone and the deep low frequencies.
    In order to get decent volume, I run a Biamped system with a 4x10 cab on the Mids/Highs (100Hz up) and either a single or two 1x18's cabs (depending on club size) on the Lows.
    Since you come from an "audiophile background" you have probably seen many applications where specific frequencies go to particular drivers.
    Most Home surround sound speakers feature a separate Sub to handle the Low frequencies and have 2 or more drivers with crossovers in the each of the mains and possibly other speakers.
    Decent PA systems use Multiple drivers in the Mains (usually a 15" or 12" with a horn with an internal crossover) sometimes with Subs for the lows.
    Cabinets with 18s tend to move air and produce low frequencies well but are muddy in the mids and produce poor highs. Cabinets with 10s tend to be punchy with good tone and definition in the mids but lack the ability to produce the fundamental of a 30Hz B at a loud volume. Many Cabs with 10s have a horn or tweeter to produce crisp highs.
    Combining the 2 types of cabinets would be ideal but if I had to go with a single cabinet it would be a 4x10. A 2x10 on the Mids/Highs with a 1x18 on the Lows works very well for a 2 Cab setup.
     
  5. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I think what you're asking here is how the configurations compare to each other.

    I'd say that a 4x10 sounds comparable to a single 15 with better mids and highs. A 2x10 cab is similar in size to a single 15 but it won't keep up - I reckon 2x10 cabs should only be used as an additional speaker (or for low volume gigs). Put a couple of 2x10's together and it sounds similar to a 4x10 or a single 15. It's then up to you wether you'd prefer to carry a single heavy 4x10 or two lighter 2x10's.

    I've only ever heard one cab with 8" speakers that sounded any good - SWR Henry the Eight. It has eight 8' speakers. Smaller speakers can produce decent bottoms but you need lots of em so the low frequencies can couple. If you're looking at a 4x8 cab, I'd put it in the same category as he 2x10 and use it in conjunction with another speaker.

    2x12 cabs haven't really taken off her in Oz so I can't really coment. I've seen a couple in the shops and the look big and frumpy.

    My rig? A Nemisis 4x10 with an Eden 2x10 (i bought the Nemisis because the Eden 4x10 weighed more than me). My second rig is a single 15 with a 2x10. With EQ I can actually get them sounding very similar.
     
  6. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    Thanks Petebass!
    yes, that's just the kind of opinion I was interested in. One reason I was posing these questions is to help me decide on going for two smaller cabinets with which I can reproduce stereo effects, vs one larger cabinet, that could include large and small spkrs, that would be mono. If the two smaller ones are stacked they would probably couple fairly well, but if they are separated for stereo, then they may not be as satisfying overall as a larger mono cabinet which may have both large and small spkrs within it. Two large cabinets will likely cost too much and overload my room.

    how have folks delt with this stereo/mono cabinet dillema ?

    -Qua
     
  7. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I gave up on the stereo effects thing long ago for lots of reasons.

    Firstly for it to work properly, the speakers can't be near each other. But whoever is on the other side of the stage would always get the poops if I tried to put a cab over there.

    Secondly having stereo on stage is pointless if you're runnning through a PA. I could never ever convince the sound guy to give me 2 DI's 2 chanels panned left and right.

    Thirdly even if I could get stage and PA running stereo, no-one notices except me. (Pull a dopey face) "Oh were your effects stereo were they??"...... Actually I shouldn't be too harsh coz I've been guilty of the same thing myself.

    So I decided that the Hi-Fi bandits who made Mono a dirty word should be shot coz it's definitely better for live work. Sorry if it's not what U wanted to hear but I call em as I see em.
     
  8. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I personally like the versatility of 10's + 18's. I have 2 of each (2 stacks). I can go big or small. The only hang up is that the 18's need a butt load of power and require proper EQ'ing and crossover frequency control. But once in the groove, its a monster sound.

    Mike
     
  9. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    Excellent input! since I am still very much in the novice and learning mode, and not yet playing in coffee houses or in other folks bands, I have not run into the PA practicalities. However I am striving for the highest quality and most immersive sound that I can afford.

    thanks for the sanity check. I am now leaning toward a single properly placed (for immersiveness), high end mono cabinet, and relegate the stereo experience to headphones and recordings.

    -Qua
     
  10. I see the words "subwoofer" in between the lines here.

    :D

    The El Whappo is -6dB at 33 Hz, with an implied -3dB at 39 Hz. The response plot isn't published, but I wouldn't expect subwoofer performance out of the El Whappo. Mark Wright is a standup guy, so give him a call and ask him. He may not publish the response curve, but I'm sure he knows what his cabs will do.

    1) Where is the 0dB point?
    2) Where is the -10dB point?

    I assume the Bb you want to hit is the one at 29.1 Hz. If so, this is a *long* way down from 39 Hz.

    Your other question asked about multiple sized drivers. A full range cab requires smaller drivers to reduce the beaming effect as the frequency goes higher relative to the diameter of the driver. A driver is definitely beaming when the wave length is <= the piston diameter. The wave form is spherical when the wave length is >= 4x the piston diameter.

    A 10" driver with an 8.25 piston diameter is beaming at 1641 Hz and up, and spherical from 410 Hz and lower. An 18" Magnum LF beams above 884 Hz, and is spherical below 221 Hz.

    Multiple drivers are required to have an omni-directional sound. An 18" sub crossed over to a 10" midbass around 125 Hz will do it for the low end.
    A compression driver crossed over at 1600 Hz will pick up from where the 10" driver begins to beam.

    My Magnum 18 design is constructed exactly in this manner, but with two cabinets. The compression driver is always much more efficient, but it can be controlled with an L-pad built into the crossover. I don't like putting multiple drivers into one large cabinet. It is too heavy, too big, and too hard to move without assistance. Also, my focus is on bi-amped cabinets, although bi-amping is easily done in either one or multiple cabs.

    The Magnum 18 design isn't designed for a massive bottom down to 29 Hz. It rolls off substantially (-10dB) at 29 Hz. A true subwoofer will provide much more bottom, but it will eat 4x more power and not be as efficient. My 15" subs are good to about 23 Hz, but it takes 4x the power for them to generate the same output as a single Magnum 18LF driver at 100 Hz. But, the subs keep going down long after the Magnum rolls off into nothing.
     
  11. Being one of the older members here, I've seen just about everything as far as speakers go. When I first started playing bass, the 12 and the 15 was king. The 1st really kick ( ! ) amp I remember was a Kustom 200 with 2 x 2 x 15 cabs loaded with CTS speakers. These amps had enough power and speakers to move some serious air. Most everybody played Fenders and Gibsons in those days and nobody cared about frequencies above 2k. The next really big improvement I remember was the Acustic 360. It had a 300 watt (i think) head with a single 18 Cerwin Vega. The thing was huge and the sound was massive. You could literally drown out the entire band with a 2 cab rig. Along about the same time, Ampeg brought out the SVT with the 8x10 cab. It was about the same size and weight as the Acustic and these 2 designs were popular through most of the 70's. When bass players started using Round wound strings in the late 70's ( Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, etc, etc,) Amps started being designed to bring out more of the twang of the new strings. 10" speakers became more and more popular until many guys started thinking of the bass as a full range instrument. As far as speaker size and output, it has been my experience that 2x10's is about like 1x15 and 4x10's will put out about like 2x15's. I'm comparing my 2x15 EV cab with my Hartke 4.5XL. The tonal balance is different but the output is about the same. Where will the cabs of the future go? I think the Acme B series has the right idea. When they can get the efficiency up to around 98 db there will be nothing stopping them. jmho........:D
     
  12. RichBriere

    RichBriere Guest

    Jan 1, 2003
    Upstate NY
    As soon as you said the word "coffeehouse", the discussion really begins to get focused. I'd be willing to bet half my empire (that would be just under $7.00) that a single "high quality" 2x10 cabinet will be plenty for you. I often use my Bassman 400 combo with 2 10's and a 5 string MTD bass for small to mid-sized clubs---and that's keeping up with a full band. I've never even come close to blatting out, running out of gas, or pushing the speakers too hard. Have Fun!

    RB
     
  13. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Hey Bruce, what about those new drivers we talked about. Smoke tested them yet?

    Mike
     
  14. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    thanks everyone for the excellent responses!

    some of them were a bit over my head, but I think I got the main ideas. Regarding my previous comment about the Accugroove subwoofer, I was referring to the new Grande model which I believe is a sub intended to compliment the multi-driver Whappo. I believe the Grande has a 21" spkr. and gets into the low c# area.

    -Qua
     
  15. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I think the best you can do for your money is to look into Acme cabs. Go to www.acmebass.com and in particular check out the Low-B2. If you got a pair of these you could use them stacked in mono for big gigs where you have a good PA, and for smaller gigs you could actually use them as the stereo PA and they will sound gorgeous. For lower volume situations you could consider the B1 and louder ones the B4, but if it's that loud I'd look at EA's new cabs (I know I am).

    Alex
     
  16. Nope.

    :D

    I've been in Client Hell for the last two straight weeks. Lost a prime server, others with mail issues, workstations going to pot, etc. It's been work around the clock with a little time out for sleep (and playing bass on Thursday nights).

    The cabinet sub contractor is all ready to go... all he needs is a prototype. I've got the designs and drawings laid out, just have to find time to build and test the prototype.
     
  17. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    Thanks for the information about using two smaller cabs and stacking/separating. I've never heard the Acme cabs, they sound very interesting. I have heard the Accugroove Tri10 (3way with a 10", 6", and two tweeters). It was amazing! I was thinking of two of two Tri8's or Tri10's vs a single larger cab like their Whappo Jr or Mini).

    This idea of using a pair for stereo or stacking, vs a single larger (4way) cabinet with larger speakers and potentially better articulation was what prompted me to start this thread. Good news is that there are a variety of configs to choose from!

    -Qua
     
  18. Coupling means different things to different people. To me, it is the effective increase of a cone area that increases the efficiency without increasing mass. This is for multiple drivers operating at the same frequency, i.e. a 4x10 or 2x15 arrangement. The drivers mutually couple when the distance between their centers is 1/2 wavelength or shorter. 100 Hz is a 11.30 foot wavelength, so the drivers will couple up to 100 Hz when spread apart as much as 5.65 feet.

    If you mean coupling as mating appropriately between two different drivers, that is a matter of taste. IMO, the drivers should match closely in efficiency for best balance. Coloration is again a matter of taste.

    A spherical wave form could be interpreted as high dispersion, but it is correctly termed as a spherical wave form. Beaming is highly directional.
     
  19. qveda

    qveda

    Apr 3, 2002
    Excellent info on the coupling effect. Thanks!
    -Qua
     
  20. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Coupling was explained to me as being the opposite of phase cancelation. Have you every pointed two cabs straight at each other? The sound waves at certain frequencies literally smash into each other and cancel each other out. So you get a drop in volume, especially in the bottoms. The same thing happens when you talk into 2 mics at once.

    I was told that coupling is effectively the opposite effect. When speakers throw their sound in the same direction, the sound waves meet and combine to make bigger sound waves. Therefore everything gets louder and the bottoms get fatter.

    I remember when 4x10 cabs were first introduced, the sales pitch was that 4 speakers of 10 inches have a combined total of 40 inches of speaker cone area and should therefore have more bottoms than a single 15. Sound engineers laughed out loud at this sales pitch and then offered the above explaination. Apparently a 4x10 will sound heaps better than 4 single 10's placed around the stage.