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Sunn Sonic 1 Cabinet Build

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by John Wayland, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Hello,

    I just joined this forum in my quest to get cabinet details of the Sonic 1 single 15 JBL. I found an old thread from 2005 and wanted to get in touch with 'edbass' or anyone else who might have an original Sonic i single 15 cabinet, as I am building a couple of these and want to get the port dimension correct. I already know the interior folded horn baffle dimensions, but am unsure of how the height of the port is affected by the 1/2" trim piece that frames the front of the cabinet. From most accounts, the cabinet is 24 X 24 X 15, yet the 1970 Sunn brochure lists it as being 26 inches tall. Did they change the 24 X 24 design in 1970 to be 2 inches taller?
    I am thinking the cabinet changed when it became the Sonic 1-40. It would be great to get the actual measurements from an original Sonic 1 cabinet, such as the height of the speaker baffle from the top edge of the bottom port to the lower edge of the top-most trim piece, and the opening height of the port from the top edge of the lower trim piece to the top edge of the port. Can any help me with this?

    I have some history with the 200S - I was in the Sundholm's garage 47 years ago as a young 14 year old bass player as part of my first band here in Portland - long time ago! Our drummer's dad took us there and bought four of the 'happy Sunn face' amps! In my late high school days and afterwards, I had a 200S with twin bottoms (four JBL D140s). Now I am a older guy returning to his music a bit, and want to resurrect my 200S (still have my original head unit, but no longer have the twin tall 2-15 style cabinets). This time around however,I want to go with a custom made Sonic 1 style single 15 shorty style cabinet.

    I have a roll of the original Tolex covering and a mint condition pair of JBL K140s, so I am building a pair of the stubby single 15 cabinets using high quality Baltic Birch no-void plywood. I have partially assembled one raw cabinet, but fear I've got the port height dimension wrong. Conrad Sundholm had written that the Sonic 1 was essentially half a 200S bottom, and lacking the exact port dimensions, I made it 1/2 the height of the port of 200s cabinet, at 2.25 inches tall - I am thinking that's too narrow now.

    I have scoured the internet for images and or cabinet drawings, found lots of info about replica 200S twin 15 type cabinets, but not much on the single 15 Sonic 1 style, or for that matter, the sonic 1-40. I can't find certain important details like the port opening's dimensions (I know it goes the full width of the cabinet). My goal is to build an exact replica of the Sonic 1 cabinet, and want to end up with a tidy compact bass amp setup for my refurbished 200S head. I am making two cabinets instead of just one, because as I mentioned, I recenty aquired a nice pair of K140s.

    Back in the day, LOUD without PA micing was the norm, so the twin 15 200S cabients were what most everyone used, while the little Sonic 1 cabinet was largely ignored. Fast forward 40+ years, and now itÂ’s exactly what I want for my basement bass setup. It will be a nice addition to my Hammond A100 w/ Leslie 122 already down there :)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    See Ya... John Wayland
  2. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    I dont think they made it 2 inches taller
    Sunn brochures show the cabinet to be a few inches taller because they include the height of the cabinet with wheels/casters.
  3. Why not just call, google Conrad ampsv for contact info. He still builds cabs too I think.
  4. spellcaster


    Mar 20, 2007
    Love the Sonic cabs and own a few of them. Regrettably I'm out of town and cannot provide any measurements at this time. I can confirm that all the models were 24x24x15 and the catalogs measurements were based on the cabinet with 2inch casters. Looking forward to hear how the project goes and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one who would love to see some photos of your 200s and the cabs progress.
  5. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    As far as I know conrad was active on the Sunn forum

    He also had parts for sale I believe mainly hardware such as corners etc might have tolex and on the forum was a supplier that had similar grill cloth. So it would be cool to include parts actually bought from Conrad and if you placed a order sure he would be happy to provide information if he has it.

    Maybe a few sonic owners there or spellcastor sounds like he can help you out.

    also i know JBL had a few design guides for musical instrument cabinets. for the 15" drivers they had many designs for 1 2 and 4 woofers. but they always shared same volume requirements per driver to be either a 3.75 cubic foot cabinet tuned to 40hz and a 5 cubic cabinet tuned at 30hz.

    And the K140 and later E140 both had recommended volumes of 3.75 cubic feet tuned at 40hz.

    If you cant find accurate port measurements for the sonic. which was built way before Theile Small design.
    I would just design a shelf port tuned at 40hz as recommended by JBL. The sonic cab is pretty much on the money at around 3.8 cubic feet.
  6. spellcaster


    Mar 20, 2007
  7. edbass


    Nov 8, 2004
    The Sonic I was the D130F loaded guitar cab, the Sonic I-40 was the D140F loaded bass cab. Same box though, if someone doesn't chime in with an accurate measurement in the next day or so I'll open one up and measure the port.

    Several members at The Sunn Discussion Page have built various clone cabs, many using plans from Conrad. I can't think of any Sonic 115 projects but it might be worthwhile to poke around there a little for info.

    That's a 115S/M/V cab, the Sonic I/I-40 cab has porting like the 200S cab.
  8. Hello again,

    Thanks everyone, for your responses so far.

    >Some photos of an early 70's Sunn Sonic cab. >http://imgur.com/a/YaVDx

    From edbass:

    >That's a 115S/M/V cab, the Sonic I/I-40 cab has porting like >the 200S cab.

    Thanks for this clarification - this is what I thought also. That wider mouth port with its slanted upper side making an outward-opening horn had me scratching my head, as Conrad is quoted as saying the Sonic 1 is really just half of the 200S twin 15 cabinet - it has about a 4.5 inch wide 'slot' opening who's upper and lower pieces are parallel with each other, then about 4 inches back or so, each have a 45 degree 9 inch tilted baffle that makes the folded horn. So, it seems the 115 cabinet is a different design than the Sonic 1 (or Sonic 1-40).
    The original late 60s brochure does not list a 'Sonic 1-40' bass setup, only the Sonic 1 designed for guitar, organ and light bass duty, with the D140 offered as an option so it can be used as a bass amp. I do see that in the 1970 brochure, they list a Sonic 1-40 though, and no Sonic 1.

    Edbass, I would really appreciate some nice photos and measurements! I largely used info you provided in the 2005 string about this wonderful cabinet, and am thrilled to have you posting here now - thanks! I was hoping my post would flush you out :)

    I am especially curious about the bottom 'trim piece' of 1/2 plywood. The Sunn cabinets had trim all around the front cabinet edge to add a ' beefy look' that also added a bit of stiffness, I suppose. On the port's bottom edge then, how deep into the floor of the cabinet does that 1/2" piece extend? How high is the port 'slot' opening, measured from the top edge of the bottom trim piece to the upper edge of the port opening? How tall is the main speaker baffle, measured from the top edge of the port opening to the top edge of the speaker baffle where it meets the top of the cabinet? I assume the speaker hole is 14", so another measurement that would solidify things for me, is first - is the speaker hole exactly centered between the top edge of the port opening to the top edge of the speaker baffle where it meets the top of the cabinet? If it is, what is the measurement from the top edge of the port opening to the top bottom point of the speaker hole (should be the same as from the top point of the speaker hole to the top edge of the cabinet if the speaker hole is centered)? Another question - What is the inset measurement of the speaker baffle from the front edge of the cabinet, that allows space for the speaker grill piece? How thick is the grill frame - 1/2"? When put in place, is the grill flush, or is it inset a bit?

    See Ya ... John Wayland

  9. Hello,

    A quick 'thanks' to Kirk's suggestion and link to Conradamps.com. I had a great conversation with Conrad - turns out he's still in my area! What a thrill it was to speak with him - he remembered my junior high rock band's visit to his garage shop after all these years :) For a very reasonable fee, he sent me a 'very' detailed 7 page PDF of the Sonic 1-40 cabinet design. It has every single measurement, plus design notes on how to do every woodworking step, tips on trim paint, Tolex wrapping, grill work, and sound dampening specs. We are nearly starting over from scratch today, though the main box panels are spot on with our dado cuts exactly as the plans call for, and we can now build the cabinets as exact replicas. The PDF is a real treasure in itself! Maybe when they're finished, if they meet with his approval, I could get him to sign an interior panel :)

    John Wayland
  10. The vent in the Sunn boxes is simply a vent, and much too short to be any kind of horn.
    The flare shape is just a cute feature.. a vent is a vent.
    The only important points are the tuning frequency and square area.

    I remember Sunn boxes also, same age group, my Hammond was a C3, not an A100... Now it is an XK2.
    The JBL drivers are a wide variety, so choose driver first, box volume last.
    There is a huge difference between the older K-series and newer E-series for box requirements.
  11. John Wayland,

    I'm glad you were able to get in touch with Conrad and get the info you wanted as that would have been my recommendation too. I've been friends with Conrad for quite a number of years now and he's a great guy and very helpful to those who want to re-create stuff.

    I built myself a 1x15 cab awhile back that is the same width as a 200S head when upright, but it can be flipped on its side and then is the same width as a 2000S head. So it is a bit taller than your normal Sonic 1 or I-40 cabinet. I have a port along the bottom that is half the height of a 200S or 2000S cabinet. Conrad and I ran it on his LMS machine and compared it to a 200S cabinet and the response is very close. I'm in the Portland area and you are welcome to try it out if you want to. Just send me a PM if you do.

  12. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Bumping this 5 year old thread because I want to do the exact same thing. I am attempting to build my first cab and would love the details of this Sonic 1 cab. Anyone have the measurements they could share? I would love to have the pdf the OP mentions..
  13. I took a Skil saw to my old 2X15 Orion cabinet and split the port exactly in half and the cabinets sounded great.

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