Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

stack of multiple small cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Schizoid75, Feb 25, 2006.


  1. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    So, I've been toying with the idea of getting about 4 1x10, 1x12, or 1x15 cabs and creating a tall stack. I can think of quite a few pros and cons to the setup, but what I'm really curious about is low frequecy response.

    I've read discussion of multiple cabs seeming to have better bass response than the ratings on the individual cabs would lead one to believe. I've also read discussions of line arrays and the Dead's "Wall of Sound" approach. Obviously, this wouldn't be that big, but what do you think? Would the sum of the parts allow deeper bass reproduction than the individual cabs? Thoughts, caveats? Anyone have experience with a setup like this?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. If you're going to get that many cabs, you might as well mix it up. Get a 15, a 412, and a 410 or something.

    I'm not sure how much validation the "wall of sound" claim has. It will obviously be louder, but I think that you could get the same effect by placing your cabs on top of something, so they are closer to your ears.
     
  3. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    that's 9 drivers. to answer his question as he asked it, we'd have to assume is is using 9 separate cabs of mixed 1x10, 1x12, and 1x15.
    that is a LOT of little cabs.

    how about this- do 4 properly tuned 1x10 cabs with driver X have the same (or better or worse) expected performance as a typical 410 that those drivers would be in (properly tuned, if thats how most 410's come.
     
  4. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I don't think you know what you're talking about! Do some reading on speaker cab design and line arrays.

    A pair of 2x10" cabs, with full-range response like EA NL210s or Acme Low-B2s, stacked vertically will act as a line source throughout the midrange and consequently give you a clearer and more coherent sound onstage whilst maintaining higher SPLs out in the audience.

    Four 1x10" cabs would do likewise but you start to pay quite a cost and weight penalty.

    Alex
     
  5. Single cabs offer flexibility. They also offer the builder the chance to size the internal volume correctly for the chosen driver. Singles are also much easier to handle by yourself.

    Deep bass response depends entirely on choosing the correct driver, and enclosing it in the optimum cabinet and tuning. The more air you move, the more noise you make.

    For example, the BP102 discussed elsewhere on TB, requires 2.2 to 4.0 cubic feet (each) for optimal tuning. This makes for a very huge 4x10, but manageable as a stack of four 1x10.

    There is a very fast point of diminishing returns with multiple reflex cabs. Four 1x10 BP102 are larger than a single BP102 in a Tuba 24, yet not as loud as the bass horn. Four BP102 have a radiating (piston) area of 207 square inches. The Tuba 24 radiating plane is 529 square inches.

    Do not mix and match different drivers and/or cabinet tunings for the same frequency range. The pro sound guys have already figured out this is a bass killer due to cancellation issues. Keep your subs or low-bass drivers all the same.

    For the highs, vertical stacking makes a whole lot of sense as to reducing combing effects.

    Building a lot of cabs is a lot of work. It looks easy on paper, but there is a lot to it when sawdust occurs. If you make jigs to speed the work, you can crank out a number of identical cabs. Time is required to build the jigs.
     
  6. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Yes. But the stack of 1x10"s will disperse and project the sound better.

    Alex
     
  7. Schizoid75

    Schizoid75

    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    Hmmmm. Lots of interesting points and thoughts here, but let me clarify what I'm thinking of doing and the information I'm trying to uncover. I might have been unclear with my cabinet specs. I'm not planning on buying 4 1x10's, 4 1x12's, and 4 1x15's. I'm only planning on four cabinets, I just haven't decided on which four yet! For arguments sake, let's say 4 1x12's.

    Suppose I use Aguilar GS 112's. The stated response on these from the Aguilar page is 42Hz to 16kHz. They don't give a +/- range. So, my question is would 4 GS 112's tested the same way they created the specs for the single cab result in deeper low frequecy response, all things being equal? I get that more drivers is going to be louder, but does in necessarilly mean it will be deeper?

    I know there are many other concerns like portability, powering four cabs, calculating ohm loads, etc, but I'm not worried about all that just yet.

    Thanks!!
     
  8. While multiple small cabs with 'couple' and produce more volume and low freq that the individual cab specs would suggest, I've always liked a single large cab's sound better than multiple small cabs (i.e., a 410 vs. two 210').... the larger cab always seemed to be more focused and sound 'bigger' than the smaller cabs stacked.

    As far as the linear array thing... stacking small cabs vertically will put the top cab closer to your ear (possibly a good thing), but I've never noticed significantly better dispersion, etc. into the room with stacked vs. side by side speakers. I would think that once you get into very large vertical arrays you would notice the improvement, but a few tens isn't going to make much difference in my experience.

    In additions, the low end of smaller cabs can sometimes be greatly improved by coupling to the floor (in some cases... depending on the room and floor/stage)... getting a small cab up off the ground can really result in a loss of low end punch IMO.
     
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    I've done this for quite a while. For a time i used a bag end 2x10 on its side, then a bag end 15, then two BE 1x12 cabs. Since then I sold the 2x10 and replaced it with another 1x15. It's not often that I use the whole thing, most gigs only see two cabs, but I shlep the entire stack out from time to time. I have done several comparisons of the sound of the rediculous looking vertical stack to the more conventional looking "dual stack" of the 15s on the floor and the 12s on top.

    In a word, (several actually), the sound of the full stack is crystal clear and projection couldn't be better. There is a bit more apparent bass response from the shorter side by side stacks, but that arrangement lacks the clarity and focus of the vertical setup. There is a tradeoff however. While small cabinets fit in any car and fitting two in a vehicle is easier then wedging in a 4x10 or what have you, three or four cabs start to take up a lot of vehicle interior real estate. That's just something to consider. Less important are the odd looks you'll get as your amp starts to reach six or seven feet. Of course, the good part about that is that my huge rig still only takes up a 15"x18" slice of the floor space.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Hope you don't mind me messin' with your picture but I had to get a better look at it. Makes my rig look short. Aren't you afraid it'll tip over?
    [​IMG]
     
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    One of the possible cons is that you will probably need a preamp/power amp solution like IvanMike has. Your profile dosen't mention what gear you have.

    One advantage of say a 4x10 rather than 4 1x10s is that you can plug it into any type of bass amp and it will work. With 4 singles, you either need special serial cables or a stereo amp.

    I am assuming commercially available 4 or 8 ohm cabs here. And if you already have a power amp or planned to get one, then this is irrelevant.
     
  12. There is a whole lot of positives for vertical stacks. Small stages and intimate venues demand stacks because there is no space to spread out.

    My intimate venue rig is planned as a vertical standing AutoTuba 10 with a small array of 6" on top. The foot print is 16" x 16" and is intended to stand in a corner on 6" legs with the horn mouth facing down into the corner.

    Another value to a stack is centralizing all the guitar and bass amps into a central stage location. This keeps the guitars, bass, keys, all in the same sonic location. Everybody hears everybody else at the same loudness level, no matter where they stand on stage.
     
  13. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    plus, IMO these ministacks just have a certain "look" that's really really cool. Away from the "80's" look of a 15 with a 410 on top, and form the "70's" look of a fridge on stage (ampeg 810 & berg610 users, please, no offense).

    since i am both the bass player AND key roadie in the band/s i play with, small modular is an enormous advantage (especially at the end of the night.
     
  14. ibz

    ibz

    Apr 14, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    That edited picture is way clearer than the original, you could actually point out what's what.
     
  15. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    gee thanks! what program dija use to edit that?

    i did have some concerns with stability, (thie pic is a bit slanted making the rig look like the tower of pisa - :smug: ). However, i have found that at that height, the rig is quite stable. That of course depends upon the weight of the cabinets in question. It helps to have those nifty stack-lock corners that come on most cabs these days, and using cabs with the identical "footprint" so that said corners actually lock up. The 210 had a bigger "footprint" so the back corners did not match up. That's not why i got rid of it. I actually just needed the cash, and later i found a used 1x15 at a steal. But anyhow, for multiple cab stacks i would try to use identical units, or at least ones that had the identical "footprint". The BE 12" cabs have the same 18"x15" that the 15" cabs have, so itis quite stable. A similar array of aggie, bergie, or epi (to name a few) 1x12 cabs stack up very nice as well.

    seanm has a valid point. With an array of three or four 8 ohm cabs you're going to need an amp that is either 2 ohms stable in mono, at least 4 ohms stable stereo, or a pre/power setup that is at least 4 ohms stable stereo. It gets worse if you decide to use 4 ohm cabs like the EA wizzy. Then you definitely need to use a stereo head or stereo poweramp that is 2 ohms stable per side. The good news is that by the time you are using 4 cabs, you really do not need all that much power. The current stack of two 1x15" and two 1x12" is one heck of a lot louder than a 4x10 watt for watt. I only wish that the eden 550 was available when i bought my 400 some years back. I would have kept it. I can't imagine too many gigs where i'd need more than 600 (or whatever the 550 is @ 2ohms) going into that stack.

    One more consideration that has both positives and negatives. In a tall array, you're going to have zero problem hearing yourself even at low volumes as you have a speaker right next to your head. In fact, at a relatively loud volume each individual cab really isn't all that loud, so the one next to your ears won't be killing you. However, some players find that to be a bit freaky, and at least one cat who used my rig at a party disconnected the top speaker. At higher volumes that top speaker can cause you to reach for the earplugs. :eek:
     
  16. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I just used the photo program that came with my computer. Adobe photo deluxe. I think it's just a budget version of photoshop.
    Yeah a pre/power amp setup helps with the flexability in a multicab rig. You can bring 1,2,3 or 4 cabs to your gig/rehearsal as needed.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    All thius talk about horizontal Vs vertical is valid, but we haven't yet addresses the original poster's question. I think what he's asking is this:- If one 12" speaker is, say, -3dB at 42Hz, will 4x12" speakers go any lower than 42Hz?

    The answer is two pronged. On paper, the 2x12 will have a very similar -3dB point to the 1x12. However, the 4x12 will sound decidedly deeper at the same SPL via a boost in the 50-100Hz region or thereabouts. This is the basis of how a typical 4x10 works. In laymans terms, the low frequencies couple with each other a lot better than mid and high frequencies. In fact mids and highs eminating from seperate cabs are more likely to cancel each other out than add anything.
     
  18. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    True. You won't actually get lower response via mutual coupling, it just seems that way because the mids and highs don't couple as well. To get effective coupling the sources must be less than 1/4 wavelength apart. At 80Hz that's about 3.5 feet, not hard to do. At 800 Hz that's about four inches apart, a much more difficult proposition, and the higher you go the worse the situation is. Stacking vertically is a simple matter with low frequencies, but in the higher frequencies you can do more harm than good if you don't use speakers designed to be vertically arrayed.
     
  19. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    or you use an "NT" version of one or more of the cabs being stacked?

    (notice, there's a question mark, not a period!)
     
  20. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Absolutely. The best option for stacking is a full vertical tweeter array in every cab, all on the same axis, that's how it's done in PA arrays. The next best option is having the tweeters at the top of one cab and the bottom of the one above it. Otherwise you're best off with a single point source for the HFs. Multiple tweeters widely spaced and/or placed horizontally are the worst possible configurations.