Upgrade head or get another cab for more volume?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Stevescale, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Stevescale


    May 22, 2019
    Hey guys, currently playing out of a GK backline 600 into a GK neo 212(8 ohms) and I'm finding it doesn't produce quite enough volume for my needs. I play with a large variety of groups including oldies, classic rock, and more modern, heavier (louder) rock. Setup sounds great and is plenty loud for the quieter stuff but when I have to compete with a loud drummer and cranked distorted guitars the volume is lacking a bit. Definitely audible but when I really crank the head it definitely starts to distort.

    Was wondering if I would be better off upgrading to a more powerful head, maybe something like GK rb 700, or add on another cab to the setup? Cost is of course a consideration here, as well as the hassle of lugging extra equipment, so if I get another cab a 4x10 or even another 2x12 is probably out of the question.

    Is it it worth it to add something like 2x10 or a 1x15?? Thanks!
  2. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist
    First, what are your eq settings like.

    Second, what is your gain structure like?

    Third, what boost or contour features do you use: 3(b); this includes any pedals and/or user adjustable settings.

    Fourth, budget?

    Fifth, cabs add loud more effectively than upping amp power.

    Sixth, I suggest a second, same model 212.
  3. get a better head... The backline 600 is a nice little head for what it is, but that is where you are lacking. That neo 212 cab is more than capable in most gigging situations. The Backline is 300 watts at 4 ohms, so you are probably pushing 175 or so at 8ohms. While I agree that adding a 2nd cab will get you more volume, I think in this situation a better head is in order if you can swing it if you are looking for more clean head room
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  4. Rick James

    Rick James Inactive

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    If you want to get 6dB more output you'll need to quadruple your amp power, which I doubt your 212 will handle. Adding another identical 212 will get you that same 6dB additional using your current amp.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Adding more watts to go through the same cab won't do much for your volume.

    Adding another light weight cab like Revsound's 30lb 2x10 not only will move more air but will also unlock more watts from your amp.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
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  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Quoted just to reinforce the message. To get twice as loud by adding power you would have to increase that power by ten times. It’s one of the reasons why folks who are trying to get louder by changing their speakers to get 4Ω are essentially wasting their time and money.
  7. OP stated that adding another 2x12 cab is probably not possible.

    other points to consider.. do you have PA support in those louder bands? If you do, then the amp is just a monitor on stage.. raise the cab a little higher so it is closer to your ears and you will hear it better on stage. Haveing owned the Backline amp myself, I found it lacking as well. There is a definative difference between that and the 700 or 1000 RB series amps. I am not saying twice as loud different, but definately a difference.

    There are all sorts of points of view on using different size drivers in the same set up.. I don't mix driver size myself, but I never use more than 1 cab at my gigs.

    maybe sell the neo 2x12 and get an efficient 4x10? I use a berg 410 and it's more than enough in every single situation I come across using a variety of heads..
  8. Stevescale


    May 22, 2019
    Thanks for the fast replies guys!

    EQ settings vary from band to band, for the older stuff I prefer a bassier tone, and the modern (louder) stuff I like it to be punchier with more treble. I don't use any pedals. Contour usually stays pretty low, around 9'oclock.

    I've been experimenting with different balances of gain, boost, and master volume to get the volume to where I want it to be. Master volume distorts the least when i raise it but it doesn't seem to increase the volume that much if the gain (channel A volume on the backline 600) or boost are low. No matter what combination of gain/boost/master I use, it seems to distort around the same volume (as percieved by my ears), especially notes on the E string.

    Yes ideally another 212 would be great but my basement stairs are very steep and narrow and it's difficult enough lugging the gk neo 212 up and down for gigs, which is, from what I understand, about as light as a 212 can be. Does anyone have firsthand experience mixing a 2x12 with a 2x10?

    Some gigs have PA support.

    I don't have an exact budget but cheaper is definitely better, so I would be looking for used equipment. If I do upgrade the head the upside is that I could sell my old one, but if it won't be that noticeable I won't bother.

    Bottom line, I can get by on this setup, but I would prefer to not have to crank my rig to the limit to get loud enough, which definitely detracts from tone.
  9. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    The 2x10 will act as a limiting factor. Typically a 2x12 can handle more power than a 2x10.

    Edit: Sorry for the mistake but it’s fixed now! :(
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  10. Can you store another GK Neo 2x12 in another part of your home? No need to have the second cab in your basement to practice or rehearse. Just schlep it for gigs. Leave the other cab in the basement until two cabs are needed.
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  11. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    Perhaps sell the 2x12 and get two neo 2x10s? 4 x 10s should give you a substantial increase over 2 x 12s and two ports up the stairs will hurt less if they are both smaller boxes.
  12. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Living for the groove Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    I have the 4 ohm version of that cab and it is really loud paired with my WD-800 amp. It was also plenty loud with my previous Markbass Big Bang. Although increasing speakers usually is the more efficient way to increase volume, upgrading your amp might allow you to keep your kit smaller and more easily moved.
  13. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    Given the constraints, I'd try and get a more powerful head. But a single 212, IME, won't give you big bass when pushed in a loud rock situation. My personal rule of thumb for guitar bands is at least 3x the clean power and 2x the speakers. Keeps the guitarists from gettin all uppity XD
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  14. stubborne


    Oct 22, 2009
    Rock Hill, SC
    We are all using 100W amps.. yep.
  15. gepettus


    Sep 17, 2011
    Sell your actual cab (love them) and get a Cx410 @ 4 ohms!
  16. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    one choice is to get a 2nd 8 ohm cab. perhaps a 1x15 or another 2x12 or a 2x10 …

    With 2 8 ohm cabs I can get really load with ampeg heads of 200 or 300 watts. Also your 600 watt head will run about 300 watts with one 8 ohm cab.
  17. Like Rick said. For the amount of power you need to apply to make a worthwhile boost to loud, you'll blow your cab.

    Garden variety 212 are for two kinds of bands,
    not so loud on stage = 212
    stupid crazy loud on stage = 2 x 212.

    Another vote for 2x 210 substitution. That's as loud as your drums with 300w, louder than a lot of vocal PA's can match, louder than a lot of bars want these days. Everybody stay under the vocals and get more gigs.

    There is a chance just putting your cab up on a 1.5ft riser would let you hear it, and you'd get more gigs.
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  18. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    My bumpersticker:

    To vibrate more air, push more paper.
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  19. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    The Neo 212 is listed, on the GK site, as handling 800 Watts RMS (not peak). Even if you take the usual (and usually prudent) step of assuming that translates to about 400 real-world Watts of power handling, you should be able to go with a more powerful head -- 175 Watts (if that's the case) into your cab is not much.

    I had a Dr. Bass 2x12, some years back -- mine was 4 Ohms, not 8, but I imagine not horribly different from your GK cab in terms of max volume and real-world power handling (the cab was listed at 1000 Watts RMS power handling -- thermal -- which probably translated to about 500 Watts mechanical -- I know it wouldn't take 1000 Watts -- and efficiency was around 100 dB/W/meter, give or take a dB).

    Anyway, playing that cab with my 300 Watt Mesa Walkabout, the amp was running out of steam on louder gigs. Played with a 500 Watt Markbass F500, I had enough to play comfortably where the WA was starting to compress and overdrive. It was a significant difference -- not as much as adding a second cab, but more than the "barely audible difference" folks like to cite on TB. Differences in voicing, etc., accounted for some of that, too, but not all of it (similar results playing that cab with a number of different heads in the 500-700 Watt range).

    "More cab" is usually a better and safer solution for more volume than "more amp," but, in your case, I think "more amp" is worth a try. Can you take your cab to some stores and at least try it with a more powerful head? Is there a more powerful head that you could borrow for a gig? A 700 RB II or 1001 RB II would get more out of your cab than your current head (though, as always, with more power you'll want to utilize more care -- listen for signs of strain from your cab).

    If you upgrade your amp and end up deciding that you still need more/better cabinetry, you'll still have a better amp to power the new cab(s) with (though, again, if you can try/borrow before buying, I'd do that).

    In the ubiquitous "recommend my favorite cab" category (if you end up going that route), a 4 Ohm MAS 112 (particularly the latest, most compact design, if you're looking at navigating stairs) will smoke a GK 212 and excels at being heard clearly -- onstage and out in the house -- in a busy mix.

    Finally, as Stumbo likes to say, an HPF can make a material difference in how loud you can safely go with a cab (more with some amps/cabs than others) and can be handy for boomy stages.
  20. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    Currently gig/play GK1001RBii and 2 Neo 212s (each 8Ohms). P L E N T Y of versatility.
    Unfamiliar with your current head, but if it can handle another cab (212) get the cab.
    2x212s and a 700RBii would be a GREAT rig when you can swing it.
    Good luck