What affects the tone more, the head or the cab?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sir Psycho, Dec 7, 2001.

  1. Sir Psycho

    Sir Psycho

    Mar 20, 2001
    You heard me... opinions!
  2. i'd say the head.. coz that is where you do 90 % of the tone-shaping.. the cabs can only change the resonance, not the actual equalising..
  3. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Agreed. all the eq and tone shaping come from the head. now, the cab might promote more highs, lows, or mids. depending on the cabs. but id say almost all of you tone comes from your head. meaning you could switch cabs and have the same head and still sound almost 99.9999999999 percent the same. un less you turn on the tweeter or something........
  4. In a comparison, I would have to say the head.
  5. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I would definately say the head. Unless you have a cab with busted speakers, then it would be doing most of the tone-shaping :D

    The cab hardly changes anything tone-wise. Its pretty much all in the head.
  6. Hmmm... good question. My subs make my Alembic F-1X sound very fat indeed. I notice a substantial coloration between my JBL E110 and other drivers. The E110 are very bright and "yellow" for lack of a better description. I compared them against playing the bass through my HiFi speakers which I A/B'ed extensively for good bass and neutral coloration. The E110 are definitely, heavily colored.
  7. the cabs do actually drastically change you sound but all the main tone shaping is in the head... and you bass.
  8. captainpabst


    Mar 18, 2001
    i think neither aspect is more significant than the other, really. if you change out your head or cab, it'll sound different. maybe different in different ways, but nonetheless... i give it 50/50.
  9. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    If the head is what mainly affects the sound, then why so much discussion over cabs? People spend a lot of money on eden cabs (for example) to get those cab's "sound".

    I think the tone shaping in either the head or the bass will affect the tone the most, but imagine setting the eq the same on two heads, and switching these in combination with two cabinets. Don't get too dizzy while doing this. In other words, set the adjustable tone shaping portion of some heads as similar as possible and then see whether the head or cabinet has more effect.

    I think there are a range of heads and cabinets that sound similar to each other. Then there are ones that really color the sound. Changing one of these coloring pieces in or out of the rig will affect the sound the most.
  10. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I really think its about 80-20 amps to cabs. More like 40-60 if you have a Mesa Boogie cab :D :cool:
  11. some guy#2

    some guy#2

    Feb 3, 2001
    I just posted this same question here at the forum a short while back except it was about Eden heads & cabs (what contributes more to their perceived "darkness"). In this instance I think the heads are largely responsible.

    As a general question I think it is difficult to answer with any real certainty & most definitely varies a good deal from rig to rig.
    Were I pressed to answer I would say the head.

    In the quest for ones own personal sound though I like to think of it in terms of picking a lock. Once all the pins are in place...wha la; you can now open the door and walk through!
    One of the pins could be as small as nut material but it still needs to be set!

    It is an interesting topic!
  12. I thought about this a while. In the real world, this question has too many variables for a definitive answer. For example, are we talking about control of the tone (which the head does), or the tone that one would get with, say, all EQ set flat.

    How about this:

    Let's start with a 400 watt (good quality) brandX bass head and a 4x10 (good quality) cab.

    Lets say the sound of this configuration is good.

    Now lets keep the head but swap the cab out for a 2 inch transistor radio speaker.

    I would venture to say that the sound would be very bad.

    Now lets put the 4x10s back and swap the 400 watt head for a 1 watt transistor radio type amp.

    What do you think the result would be?

    Actually, as long as you did not exceed the 1 watt, the tone would probably be pretty good. You would not, however, have significant volume.

    This would support the argument that the cab is more important.

    Many of the problems bass players have with tone is that at higher levels the cabs cannot deliver the low bass they are looking for or the the head does not have the power to drive the cabs to deliver those low notes.

    So my vote goes to a good cab with a head with enough power to drive it.