Speakers? 1970s Lee, Squire, Wetton, Hope tones.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, May 24, 2012.

  1. For this purpose I'm admittedly stuck in 1979 here. A super quick background .. I've already done/been all about:

    ** The modern huge-bottom/tight-bottom/Low-B trip.
    ** SVT/6x10 tube head/big 10" cabs.
    ** Modular Solid State setups (Mackie PA amp with various preamps both digital and analog).
    ** Modern/active/18volt basses. From 'Wicks to Carvins.
    ** 10" radius fretboards to 16" fretboards.
    ** 32" scales to 35.5" scales.
    ** Passive 4 and 5 strings .. Ps, Js, Ricks, many others.
    ** Even built one or two of my own Warmoths.
    ** Done high bux compressors, low bux compressors.
    ** I've gone through more than two dozen basses since 1990.

    So then, this time around it's all about 1979 (or there abouts). I'm doing the Rock Bass sound from the mid 70s to early 80s.

    ** 2112 to Signals.
    ** Left Overture to Two For the Show.
    ** UK Danger Money to Yes Roundabout.
    ** The whole P, J, Rick, FAT FAT tone that lives mostly right there in the notch where no guitar player dare tread. Usually sharing the bandwidth with the singer (depending on how high the singer goes, obviously not in the Starcastle range).
    ** That bass sound you can actually make with your throat and sing.

    I'm doing it modular/solid state this time:

    ** Mackie M1400i in 8ohms stereo mode (300 watts per channel in that mode).
    ** Preamp of my own design built from three modular synthesizer "state variable" filters arranged and patched like three semi-parametric EQ filters, and some DIY compression and some DIY very light distortion. My setup has fooled bass players many times into thinking it's a tube rig. It's all in the analog solid state preamp/compressor/distortion thing. And ironically the entire amp/preamp rig costs less than a single SVT head.
    ** 2001 Cort A4 bass with 9volt Bartolini 3-band EQ and Bart Mk1 single coil soapbars. Believe it or not, this bass does a GREAT P-bass/Ricky type tone, the midrange EQ knob is VERY effective when either cut/scooped or boosted. It is a very versatile bass.
    ** Pick and finger.
    ** "Jam Studio", recording, and beer-bar use. I'll be recording at home, jamming in the studio, and playing live.

    So there we go, that lines out everything .. background, intention, and gear on-hand. Well, everything with one exception .....

    Where I'm stone-stuck is speakers and cab. I'm not very well versed with bass speaker choices or cabs, nor what is available in today's market. I will say that in my own experience (so far) 10-inchers don't do "it" quite right. Not this kind of sound. At least in my own experience, which is not all-inclusive. There is much I do not know, in fact there is more in the "dont know" column than there is in the "do know" column, no doubt about it! So I may be wrong about the 10" thing. But so far, it seems to me that 12" drivers do that old school "voicy bass" sound better. 10s seem to do the tight bottom better. I typically dial out any tweeters too, jsyk (no fret-click please). So it's an issue of getting those uber-thick high-mids out of a 12". Like I say, that's from my own experience which may be shallow and otherwise wrong.

    So where does someone in my position even begin to look? I don't have the money to buy-n-try, I need to kinda nail it if possible. Buying an empty cab that was made by a small boutique and installing drivers is fine, I do that with my guitars with great success (I use Lopo Line guitar cabs exclusively, to my knowledge they don't make bass cabs).

    And also, does using a hybrid make sense? 2x10s for those famous tight tight tight lows, and a single 12 for that high-mid voice? I know that sounds backwards.

    I'm using a single 12 Roland KC150 keyboard amp that I've modded by disconnecting the tweeter, and disconnecting the amp and using the Mackie to CAREFULLY drive the 12 inch and I get super cool sound. Just right actually. It's just very limited in SPL (volume).

    So after this huge post ... any help for a Wayback Machine stuck doofus? I really need some help here.

    Thanks for tolerating me. Ok, hitting "submit new thread" .. let's see what happens.

  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I might suggest using an Ampeg 810e for the bass. That's the cab that's got the most classic 70's sound IMHO. A 410he with the tweeter and crossover bypassed would also work if you need to go smaller.

    I'd also suggest using a guitar amp that's got the low end rolled off and turned up to where it'll get you a little dirt in conjunction with a bass rig. That's a key component of the 70's Yes/Rush sound.

    Mixing speakers in a bass rig can work out, but it's very unpredictable due to phase relationships, and there's no way to tell before you try it with a band. For that reason alone I'd stick to the same size speakers in the bass rig. Also, speaker size is absolutely meaningless when it comes to the tone of a cab. If it wasn't meaningless, then every cab with 10"s would sound the same, every cab with 15"s would sound the same, etc.
  3. jungleheat

    jungleheat Inactive

    Jun 19, 2011
    Your solution is simple. Buy or build 2 well designed 1x15 cabs, and load them with vintage JBLs or EVs. Run them in "stereo" from your Mackie amp, and if you throw a stereo phaser in there, it will be an instant time warp. You will have tons of volume, thump, punch, and pretty much whatever else you might want out of such a rig.

    Also, this is just my personal philosophy, but if you do decide to use different sized drivers, it makes sense to skip a size between them. 10s and 12s (or 12s and 15s, or 10s and 8s) are going to be too similar to really benefit from having different sizes in the first place.

    But 15s were pretty much were it was at for bass back in the 70s, so that seems like the best route for you to take.
  4. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Forget abojt the sizes and just get something that isn't too big/wide/modern in the bottom end and gets a little snarl when you lay into it. No tweeters. And you might not wabt real highend speakers either. Want them to get pushed and cry a little.

    Another approach.... +1 to using a good bass rig on the bottom with a guitar rig adding mid/high overdrive. A beautiful thing indeed.
  5. +1, do this if you're looking for 70s prog tone. Check out Greg Lake's mid-70s rig for inspiration:

  6. Everyone has good suggestions on here. I've got some secondhand experience with a tone like this myself. A friend of mine used to play in a Who tribute band, and his rig consisted of a 90s-era Fender Bassman head and a 1972 Marshall Super Lead. He Y-ed the bass signal to go through both amps, running one through a Sunn 6x10 cab, and the other through a Sunn 2X15 cab. Nailed the Live at Leeds tone with a P-Bass.

    And you're probably thinking "Yeah, but how does that compare to a Yes/Rush type tone?" Well, that same exact rig was used by a different friend of mine playing in a Yes tribute band, with some slight tweaks to the EQ, and that got pretty close too!

    Now, old Sunn cabs ain't cheap, so if you're on a budget, that's probably not the way you wanna go. However, I will tell you from firsthand experience that my simple ol' GK 800RB head with a late 90s-era Crate 4x10 bass cab (no tweeter) gets pretty close to that grunty Rush-type tone if I dime out the EQ.

    So, getting to the nitty gritty, here's what my suggestion would be: have your boutique guy build a 4x10, and get yourself 2 Beyma 10BR60v2 speakers (for the well-defined low end with a clean top end), and 2 Eminence Legend BP102 speakers (which sound a little dirtier and have more "grunt" than the Beymas, at least to my ears). Total cost? Around $400 plus the cost of the cab. If you wanted to run it in true stereo, maybe go with two 2x10s instead, and load each cab with one of each brand of speaker. Classic 70s tone with a modern, compact look.

    Just my two cents. Hope it helps.
  7. Braddock


    Aug 13, 2010
    East Kentucky
    Hey what in the world is that? Is that the same thing Mike Oldfield is playing bass through in this video? You can see it on the left side of the stage in the back. If that even is the same thing.
    He gets on bass around 4:00 in the video

  8. Sorry for my absense, I have been dealing with a dying dog. My wife and I have been through hell and back the last ten/twelve years (breast cancer for her, and my own issues) and our dog "Binkle" (rhymes with "tinkle") has been at my wife's side all along. Binkle is dying, her turn for cancer to waste her away. It's been a highly emotional time for us. We've been together for 33 years - no kids. So we seem to get pretty attached to our pets. Sorry for this digression.

    Anyhow, thanks a LOT for the help. I have this insanely killer book called "RUSH Tribute - Merely Players" and it is chocked full of quotes by the three mouseketeers. Geddy seemed to always use 15's ... I figured "of course, he's basically playing through his own PA and needs tons and tons of volume". So I kinda have dismissed it as something I'd need to use.

    On the other hand I've also noticed that the FATTEST TONES can be had by making big speakers put out higher tones. They don't do that very well so the resulting sound is somewhat rolled-off. You push a bunch of top end into them but since their response curve deosen't seem to reproduce it as well, out comes this wonderfully FAT sound.

    I've avoided Greg Lake's use of the "accoustic lenses" (those ~finned~ things sitting on top of his large PA cabs). His tone from that era was his attempt to make his bass sound like Kieth's piano .. by his own admission. If you listen very carefully to Lake's live tone it has a LOT of top end. Bi-amping and the use of huge lower cabs combined with the accoustic lenses gives that "three string per note" sound that a piano has. (Jsyk .. for some folks that aren't aware .. a piano has three strings per note in most registers. That's why a piano has such brilliant and defined bottom end).

    On the piano thing, that's part of what Entwhistle (sp?) had happening with his biamped systems. The bass amps on the bottom and the guitar amps on top .. x3 or x4. Creating his "Manhattan Skyline" row of bass monsters. Good sound, as long as the fret-click can be rolled off. The 70s had "crappy" recording gear by comparison to today's (even baseline home systems). So a lot of WAY overcompensation had to be used to make up for the fidelity loss from recording booth to master stereo tape. So the sound heard on the records is what I want, but to actually GET THERE using today's gear (I think might) take a different approach than what was used back then.

    I'm totally diggin on the idea of biamping. I have quite a modular head/brain, and the ideas you all have presented about using two different systems appeals to me. The 15s are starting to make a LOT of sense now. Again, with the whole ideas of using big giant ~low end~ speakers to produce sounds that little-bitties are made to put out may help.

    I have a couple of Marshall tube heads. They're DIY "Ceriatone" amps .. a JTM45 (36 watt) and a 20 watt "Lead/Bass". The JTM45 is actually a bass amp that is nearly a ~clone~ of the Fender Bassman. The Bassman was claimed by guitar players in the 60s for their own use as a GREAT blues amp. Marshall jumped on the bandwagon and ~ahem~ invented the JTM45 to sell to guitarists. So at it's core it's actually a bass amp. I have a 2x12 sealed closed back cab with Celestion "Greenbacks" in it, and a 2x12 open back cab with Celestion "V30s" in it. I might try the JTM45 with one of those two cabs for the top-sound, and the Mackie with some sortof of 1x15 for the bottom sound.

    Those are my thoughts for now. Ok, so here's some more questions:

    Will the 1x15 give me that really tight low end that the modern bass player gets? I loved how tight the 6x10 610 HLF cab I had with my SVT. Lordy that was some tight low. But 6x10 (and especially 8x10) is out of budget and a bit overkill for my purposes right now. The 1x15 + some sortof upper amplification idea is appealing. So is the 2x15 (but in separate cabs or driving the two speakers with different amps/different EQ treatments) also sounds ok as an idea or path to follow.

    So, as a question, will the 1x15 accept the thick mids amplifier input, and will it also produce the tight lows? In other words, if I had 2-15s, would they suffuce to do this job? Perhaps using one for the upper mids, and the other for the low end?

    Ok, I need to re-read your posts, scribble some notes on paper (remember that stuff?) and tackle some of them one at a time. I'm too distracted to keep this all square in my head in one post. This is important to me and worth putting some discussionary effort in to.

    Onward... (oh, and THANKS for the help so far!!!).
  9. Let's call this "Plan C" for now. The 410 may be viable, but the 810 is just too danged much. I'm partially disabled with a spinal injury. Honking around an 810 just ain't sounding like fun. Also, with an 810 it seems like I'd have to keep the amps (and the speakers) to such low volumes that neither amp nor speaker would be in a sweet spot, so to speak. Just a thought.

    This sounds cool. I can also just use my filter array and tune one filter to ba a highpass and get the same results piping the HPF feed into one channel of the Mackie, and a low pass filter into the other channel. Basically the same sortof "working methods".

    Thanks for this info, I don't have that kind of experience so thanks for educating me on that. :) But it does raise the question of "then what point is there for making the different sizes?" If they don't sound different, then why aren't we all just using different amounts of ten inch speakers? If 15's don't sound different than 10's, then why make the different sizes at all? I know that smaller speakers respond "faster" so slappers kinda like smaller speakers for that super-instant response time. But other than that, if what you say is true what reason is there for different sizes?

    Ok, notes taken. Next ....
  10. Everything said here makes a lot of sense to me. The "spacing" between two different sized drivers makes sense as well. But it kinda contradicts exactly what JimmyM is saying about how different sized speaker don't sound any different due to their size. Why even bother with the two sizes at all if it makes no tonal difference?

    The idea of biamping two 1x15 cabs is making a LOT of sense. Added to notes....
  11. The "not using he fidelity speakers" is smelling good. That stupid little Roland KC150 keyboard amp I'm using has a pretty lousy fidelity. Especially since I've disconneted the tweeter. I push highs into it and the cruddy speaker does a great job of rolling them off. That amp acutally sounds "perfect" all by itself, and not in a band, and not recorded or in a mix. Just wailing away all alone in the studio. If I could have ~that~ sound live as well as recorded .. I'd be done with this!

    ....It's all starting to add up here folks!
  12. I'm an ELP fuh-REEK. I have that picture, as well as about 400 or 500 more. I own two Hammonds and a full-on modular synth and for years and years strived to emulate Emerson's doings. Those guys broke so much ground in live music production ... their PA systems with the very first "big giant stadium killers", Lake used really forward bass amplification ideas as well. I have a little broader taste these days, but man oh man was ever the fanboy for many years! :)
  13. This helps a LOT. It's all starting to sound like it's between doing something like this, or going the 1x15x2 rig.

    How about a 1x15 for the tight bottom, and a 2x10 with the BP102s for the upper distorted honk?

    Or the other way around ... the 2x10 with the Beymas, and a 1x15 for the upper end?

    Just don't want to leave any possibilities overlooked.

    OK, so this stuff you fellas have presented me seems to narrow things WAY down.

    ** Biamping: Gotchya. :) Not too hard to do with my existing gear. The uppers/distortion tone can be achieved in one of several ways with what I already own. The amplifying part of it can be done with one Mackie channel or using one of my guitar heads. Between my DIY distortion cicuits, my filter array, the JTM45, and the Mackie I have the amp and preamp/distortion covered (I think)

    ** Speakers: Two "mouths" .. as in speaker voices. Either a 4x10 loaded with two Beyas and two Eminence drivers, or 2x1x15s loaded with (um .. which 15" drivers again?). Or possibly combining a 2x10 cab with a 1x15 cab, each configured for one job or the other (tight bottom with rolled off lows if I want, and nice "low-fi" distorted mids .. a separate cab for each.)

    So it comes down to choices now.

    ** Low end. Do I go 1x15 or 2x10?

    ** Lo-fi top end. Do I go lo-fi 10s or a 15?

    Both the single cab 4x10 with mixed drivers sounds good to me, as well as the two-cab idea sound ok as well. The two cab thing would for sure be easier on my back. So I'm with everyone on the biamping setup. With everyone on using two different types of drivers for the biamp setup as well. Now all that's left is to chose speaker configurations. Then the last part to this giant mess I've created here will be to get advice on speaker brands and model numbers.

    So here's the set of questions left on selecting which configuration (then we can attack brands and models after the configuration is chosen).

    1.) 1x15 for low + 2x10 for highs.

    2.) 2x10 for low + 1x15 for high (this one sounds oddly appealing for some reason, not sure why though).

    3.) 1x15 + 1x15.

    4.) 2x10 + 2x10.

    Whew! There we go.

    Hey, really sorry about SO MUCH YAKKITY YAK! But like I said this is important to me and worth some conversational effort. So BIG HUGE THANKS for putting up with me today. It's been a welcome distraction from my personal woes.

  14. Let me make this way easier than reading all of my blablabla ... Si it comes down to this issue/question:

    Both the single cab 4x10 with mixed drivers sounds good to me, as well as the two-cab idea sound ok as well. The two cab thing would for sure be easier on my back. So I'm with everyone on the biamping setup. With everyone on using two different types of drivers for the biamp setup as well. Now all that's left is to chose speaker configurations. Then the last part to this giant mess I've created here will be to get advice on speaker brands and model numbers.

    So here's the set of questions left on selecting which configuration (then we can attack brands and models after the configuration is chosen).

    1.) 1x15 for low + 2x10 for highs.

    2.) 2x10 for low + 1x15 for high (this one sounds oddly appealing for some reason, not sure why though).

    3.) 1x15 + 1x15.

    4.) 2x10 + 2x10.
  15. OK, I'm finding some good $$ deals on Ebay for SWR 1x15 "working mans" cabs and Carvin 1x15 cabs and a few others. All of them are FRONT PORTED. So would one of these be a good start? I can load a vintage JBL or one of the others suggested as money allows later. Are these types of cabs a good place to start?
  16. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    I would definitely go with the EV or JBL recommendation on the 15's. Rather than replacing the stock speaker in another company's cab w/EV or JBL, why not buy an EV (or JBL) cab already loaded with EV (or JBL) speakers -
    I've seen a variety of different cabs which you could use - and they really don't go for a lot considering what's in them and how cool they are.

    Just a thought....

  17. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
  18. jungleheat

    jungleheat Inactive

    Jun 19, 2011
    Out of those options, I would definitely go with option 1 if you are bi-amping, and option 2 if you aren't.
  19. Wow, so with your suggestion I can get both cabs and accomplish either option 1 or option 2, depending on how I amplify them. That's pretty cool.

    I like things "modular" like that manily because it's an easier buy-in. Get one of the cabs, then maybe the amp, then another cab. All done piece-meal as I can afford it. Same way I did my filter array (I was missing one filter when I took these pics, all filled in now) ....


    Here's more crud added to it (Electro Harmonix Poly Chorus and Electric Mistress sit on top, two Boss DD-20 Gigdelays down below).


    Not only do I have the modular synth filters to provide HPF, LPG, Notch, Bandpass, plus sweeping with various LFOs, but the Poly chorus and Electric Mistress can either be set to sweep or as stationary filters in their "matrix modes". Very helpful rig!

    I use one DD-20 as a looper (24 seconds, sound on sound) and the other one as a ... well ... a delay.

    Got a DIY phaser up there as well. So now I"m here in the depths of this thread trying to get some speakers and cabs lined up to get this rig rolling.

    Total cost of everything you see was $2k (that's for everything, the modular synth stuff, the cab it's in, the EH flanger and EH chorus, the two delays, the Presonus tube mic-pre, the DIY phaser) Make it just the filter array and we are at $1,100. Add the Mackie M1400i for $300. Total for the BIG package is $2300 including the Mackie. Total for the basic rig (filter array and Mackie) we're at $1400.

    What's a new SVT head run .. $2500 or so? And this rug is TRUCKLOADS more versatile, it does far more than just bass stuff. It processes nearly anything. I'm quite happy with it.

    So now I gotta git me sum speakers and cabs going on.

    Thank you for the help fellas!!!! More please!!! :)

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