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What Do You Really Want From a Bass Cabinet?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bgavin, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. I'd like to get input from other players about what they would really like to have in a bass cab that is not available with the standard commercial cabs.

    Yeah, we'd all like it the size of a Bose, as loud as a stadium system, and flat to DC...


    There are 3 parameters that can be juggled around:


    You can have any two combinations in one cab, but the laws of physics don't allow for all three.

    Other characteristics are:
    Hump (the Eden mid-bass boom) vs Flat response
    Coloration (vs uncolored)
    Low frequency extension
    Ultra-tight transients (sealed box)
    Distortion (long cone travel, but short Xmax)

    Other thoughts are Self-powered subs/extension cabs, small and loud stage monitors, etc.
  2. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I think you forgot "low cost" :)
  3. No, I didn't.

    There are plenty of cheap cabs out there. I'm researching to see if there is a market for highly engineered cabs. Bassists are willing to spend serious cash on their instruments, but more than willing to play those basses through noisy preamps and cabinets with very poor frequency response.

    For example, I can't think of any commercial cabs that will do justice to a 6-string bass at low C# (23 Hz). Nobody makes a very compact, full range cab (to low B) that is ideal for small venues where low volume and full range is desired.
  4. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    ok...low and loud.

    I want it to be loud like my Avatar 4x10, but I wish it would handle the really low stuff better. (of course that cost range works for me too!:D )
    the only option I have now is to add my 1x15 to cover that bottom end better.

    and i agree with you about cost, but sometimes that has a major influence on the decision (especially if you have kids!;) )

    hope this helps...
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north

    I'm about to buy new cabs and have decided on the Dutch Hevos brand (www.hevos.nl). I'm getting the Compact Plus stack. Their cabs are small (though not smallest) and claim very impressive numbers. As does some of the German Glockenklang (www.glockenklang.com) cabinets. Another "loud, low, small" is Euphonic-Audio (www.euphonicaudio-eu.com) CXL-112.

    These characteristics are however open to interpretation, perhaps you should put some numbers on what "small", "low" and "loud" mean?
  6. I don't care how big it is, as long as it fits in the back of a pickup truck.

    I want it low and loud. Enough to be able to thrash everyone's ears for a three block radius.
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I don't care much if there's a hump or it's flat, as long as there is proper handling of the low end.

    Low and Loud, really. I'm young, I can handle the cabs, no problem. I'd just like it to kick butt in the low end.
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Low and loud is not necessarily always good. If you primarily use a PA for your amplification it can muddy up the sound and cause problems with vocal and drum microphones. For that use (as monitors) small (possibly wedge shaped), flat and detailed is probably more important.
  9. Small

    I hate heavy stuff...it's enough to make you upset and not want to play out sometimes....ampeg's portabass cabs are a great thing.

    Volume's not a huge issue, just as long as it'll go over the drummer for stage monitoring.

    Coloration and an eden hump would be good also.
    Distortion isn't even a consideration.

    The other considerations don't weigh heavily on me....but the tight transients would be a good thing.
  10. fast slapper

    fast slapper

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA

    Please post a review here when you buy your stack.
  11. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    Another factor you have to worry about is projection. If you use your cab just for onstage monitoring, you need something that cuts through the band so you can hear yourself, but you don't want something that interferes with the PA and muddies up your sound from offstage. On the other hand, if you don't have strong PA support you'll need something that the audience can hear from a distance, though it might not sound good from up close. Of course, you can't really get either of these qualities with a super hi-fi, flat-response cab.

    To answer your question, what I'm really looking for is small and loud. Preferably something that's loud from up close, but without a lot of throw so I can let the sound guy worry about what the audience hears. If there were a way to get, say, an SWR Henry 8x8 sound into a much smaller box, I'd be all for that.
  12. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Right now, I would say loud and low. The CXL-112 I have I can see has some trade off, it is very low for what is on the market, -3dB at 38Hz. On the other hand it is pretty heavy, 49lbs but it is pretty loud, 103dB sensitivity. I see the new one is 39lbs with the same other specs, due to a change in the construction material.

    I would assume by large, you mean volume though.

    I like a tight low end, keeping away from booming. I like flat as well, I prefer to tell the cab what to do with my bass and amp, and I have found that I prefer a flatter sound in general to let the bass sound through more.

  13. Frankly, I'd like to see proof of -3dB at 38 Hz from a cab with a true 103 SPL rating. I'm not dissing your rig at all, but I truly think these kinds of specs are pure baloney.

    I don't have anything personal against Eden, but the more I see of their cabs, the more I'm inclined to take their specs as pure bullsh*t. I have anytime-access to the D410XLT owned by my daughter's bassist, so it is getting to be high time to rigorously test that cabinet against its claims. The Eden has one thing for sure: it is loud, but my preliminary low frequency measurements show it hasn't got squat for bottom.

    It would be interesting to take real-world measurements from 41 to 100 Hz at a constant voltage, and set a series of bench marks. Electric bass amps are voltage amplifiers... X volts in, Y volts out. I have a feeling that standardized testing would be very revealing.

    My reason for starting this thread is, I have several unique concepts in mind for building and marketing bass cabs. In the last two years I've been playing this instrument, I've become aware that the majority of bassists will spend thousands of dollars for multiple or high end basses, only to play them through cabs whose only virtue is being loud.

    Other than a double neck, one cannot have a 4-string and 5-string instrument simultaneously. Two are required. The same holds true for bass cabs.

    A 5-string or 6-string design is quite different than a 4-string cab. A stage monitor design can be small and loud enough to hear over a drummer, but will have no bottom to interfere with PA support. An outdoor rig is altogether different, because it has to operate without benefit of reinforcing walls and ceilings. An intimate club cab can be very small, yet still deliver the goods way down into the very low ranges.
  14. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i dont know if those always holds true but ive kind of noticed either a bass camp or an amp camp. ive spent some pretty good coin on a custom fodera an f and my 62 jazz, but for some reason im not so inclined to do so with amps and cabs. ive seen other guys do the opposite though. buy multiple high end cabs and not spend a lot on basses.

    the idea of bass specific cabs seems like a pain. being that playing live involves being heard, i can understand why most bassists just buy loud cabs. it makes things a lot easier when you can just pick up any integrated head rather than assembling a rack rig.
  15. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    1. clean - I want a speaker that's pretty flat, so that the sound live is the same as the direct sound

    2. light, fairly small - broken up into pieces 40lbs or less, that fit in my small sedan (a typical 2x10 is pretty much too big)

    3. loud - I've got power, so if it's inefficient it needs to be able to handle the juice

    Currently this is manifested by two EA VL-110s. They don't cover below 45Hz, which is acceptable. I like the sound of my Acme B-1, but it would require too many of them (probably four) for enough live sound.

    I think things are going to go through quite a flux now that neodymium-magnet woofers have hit the market. I could see an ELF sub about like the S18-D, but with two 18" drivers in it, one forwards-facing, the other rear facing. It'd weigh less than the current single one, and because of the ELF processing the box wouldn't necessarily have to be much (if any) larger.

    I also think it makes more sense, with lighter drivers, to invest in lighter cabinet materials. Especially complex designs like EA, they're using a lighter plywood now, but a fiberglass or honeycomb material might really be nice.

    So, I think it's within the realm of the soon-to-be-possible to dream of a rig such as: two VL-110ish cabs that extend to 50Hz, 100dB efficiency, weighing ~25lb each. Add a 20" cube, 40lb, dual-18 ELF sub when needed (this would more properly be part of a sweet, compact PA system). A PLX3402 and ELF processor would make one 30lb rack, then add preamplification of choice. For small gigs, a small head like WW or Clarus and one or two cabs.
  16. i think we are talking to ourselves. if it is important for you to have flat response then sign up for non-eden specs. ultimately...myself...i want my audience to be able to connect...i don't care if it is 30hz or way up the the freq. scale. if i see the booty move...I am happy. If i have a cab that pushes 30hz faithfully and does not garner a reaction (a head nod, a booty shake...anything)

    then i have failed as a musician.....
  17. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I want cabs that do exactly what mine do. I have two Ampeg SVT410HLF's. To MY ears, they have superb lows, especially for 10"s (I don't read specs, I go by what I hear). They are loud enough for any sort of situation I have or ever will be in. And they are portable enough so that I can fit both of them, my rack, Rockstand, pedalboard, and duffel bag in the back of my Durango.(my basses ride on the middle row seat) They do exactly everything I could ask for.

    So I don't know what category mine fit into.;)
  18. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    You do realize that Geoff was talking about a Euphonic Audio cabinet (the CXL 112,) not an Eden, right? Would you consider their specs to be overhyped as well?
  19. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    If you call the specs baloney I think it's up to you to prove that. It'd be very interesting to see some measurements if you have the tools and know-how to do that. On the other hand perhaps specs mean less than we'd like, ears rule. I just pressed the 75Hz low cut on my PA and my bass sounds much better. Go figure. :)

    Don't get me wrong, I'd also like a small cabinet that goes low, has high efficiency and a flat response. You can always dial out stuff, it's harder to add something in which isn't there to begin with.
  20. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA

    does the Bag End ELF design break the 2 out of 3 rule? Or does having an active subwoofer controller discount this design from the discussion. I'm seriously thinking of getting one to go with the BE Q10 that's on the way.

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