Who cares about efficiency??!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. Efficiency ratings

    3 vote(s)
  2. Other figures/ratings - like ohms, watts etc

    3 vote(s)
  3. Recommendations

    2 vote(s)
  4. How they sound

    84 vote(s)
  5. Price/value

    15 vote(s)
  6. Portability/weight considerations

    5 vote(s)
  7. Availability -

    0 vote(s)
  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I have noticed a disturbing obsession around here, with efficiency of cabinets. Now am I the only one who buys cabs for the way they sound rather than any figures on "efficiency"?

    I have tried very efficient cabs that just sounded awful - boxy, indistinct etc. And I have tried cabs that were very inefficient but sounded great!

    So who really cares?

    My view is that if you are only interested in total volume, to the exclusion of anything else - like high-quality sound - that you would be better off buying a road drill, or a small amount of explosive, rather than a cab! ;)
  2. Well I voted for how they sound which is most important for me.
    That’s why I bought an Eden D215XLT.
    It does also seem to be quite efficient at 103DB SPL @ 1w 1m.

    Once owned an Ampeg 8x10 and although it sounded great, it was just too much hassle to get around. So I guess it does balance very slightly with portability for me as well.
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL

    I tend to agree with you, for the most part. I'm not one who goes into a shop armed with facts and figures for just about any product, especially bass amps! In fact, all I generally do like to know is what fair prices are and what are rated as comparable products.

    Once I have those 2 pieces of information, I go shopping with my ears. But, in buying my current rig, I've found there were some cabinets that didn't project as well as others. It was only on Talkbass that I began to understand how efficiency really mattered. If I put my cabinet up against another, less efficient cab, mine will sound louder.

    But, that's not really a determining factor in how I chose my cabinet. In fact, I was unaware of this until after I owned my amp.

    The bottom line is, I think there are a number of factors that go into purchasing an amp. If I have to choose only one, of course sound is it. But, there are other factors that can play a part, albeit small...;)
  4. Well Bruce in an ideal world (personal roadie, v. large income) sound would always be number one.

    In my particular case I replaced my Marshall 4x10 with an Eden D210T because I mainly needed a smaller/lighter cab.

    And the fact that Eden cabs have high sensitivity meant that it sounded as loud as my old Marshall, so it is something to consider. I also had the choice between 4/8 ohm versions - which depending on the amp could affect the sound as well as max. volume.

    But when it came down to it I picked the Eden on sound rather than price/size/insert random spec here.

    Which is a verbose method of saying that I generally agree, but those other factors could come into play - especially if a space/money constraint is involved.

    As for explosives, well I work with those too....FYI the tone is pants! :D
  5. I've never found a cab with a good price/quality ratio. When a cab has the sound I want, I can't spend the money on it. Because, in my case, better sounding = more expensive. But that's just taste I guess. It happens to be true for me.

    So, I build my own cabs. They're cheap, and they have the sound I want. Talk about price/quality ratio.

    Oh, and they're incredibly inefficient. 93 dB.

    But, if I were to buy a commercial cab, I would DEFINITELY buy it because I like its sound. But I can't afford an Eden 1x18 + 2x10 stack. I think I would like the sound of THAT.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I bought a SWR Triad because of its sound, but its low efficiency drives me nuts. I put 400 W RMS into it and I can't hear myself properly without monitors (we are by no means a loud band). I wouldn't go for a box with less than 103dB anymore, regardless if it sounds better. My next cab will be a Glockenklang Take Five, so there won't be complaints anyway (4x10,103dB, 800W)
  7. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    It was kinda hard to choose from your list. Sound is very important... But if ya have no roadies... that 8x10 sucks to cart around. I have a Carvin Cyclops that I really like, but I would trade it in a heartbeat for the RC210 varient that is about the same, 25 pounds lighter. Efficiency is important to a degree... You can always overcome the need for it by brute force (ie more wattage).

    I think my bottom line is that just one of your choices would not be enough.
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I own an Ampeg SVT 810 cab. It's gotta be the sound. It is <b>BIG!!!</b> & I do have an SVT 410 HLF that I could use in a smaller place, but I've used the 810 since I bought it. It's an older 70's cab w/a few replaced speakers.

    There was a subject you left out on the poll. "Appearence on stage". I know alot of people that tell me how awesome it looks on stage & I know alot of people that have bought a particular cabinet just because it looks good on stage.
  9. I'll have to go with the sound aspect of the amp. Basically b/c that's what amps are for after it's all said and done. Then again, that's just me.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Another provocative, interesting post, Bruce.

    I'm not a techie. I've been buying with my ear for decades. But I think I should learn all I can absorb about the technical aspects just so I don't get surprised. I've bought stuff that sounded good at first and crapped out later.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    While I buy mainly on sound, I'm also highly concerned with two other things, weight/portability and efficiency. Here's why:

    Weight- I hate dragging around big stuff, regardless of the sound. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and almost got the hernia, too). I just don't have that kind of a sense of humor.

    Efficiency- I hate dragging around big stuff. I've found a relatively small sized, "only" 400w @4ohm amp. It's also discontinued and my amp philosophy is to get something I don't have to push hard to get an average volume. This amp is more than enough for my Eden D210XLT's but would have to work harder with an EA or Acme cab. I have no desire to get a big amp or seperates in a rack, none at all. Again, been there...

    My rig, including two basses and a tool bag can be moved easily in one trip. I like that.
  12. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Efficiency is great for economy in terms of watts, but you normally have to sacrifice some lows to get them.

    I don't like carrying heavy or big stuff around, either, or spending lotsa bucks on equipment. HOWEVER...

    I play because I love to play bass -- and I don't enjoy gigs when I feel my sound has been compromised. I become downright cranky (ask my bandmates).

    I've decided that the inconvenience, extra trips, hand truck purchase, extra bucks are worth it -- 15 extra minutes carrying stuff in and out and setting up is WELL WORTH four forty-minute sets of TONE BLISS.

    A decision we all have to individually make.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Sound. Also, I try to limit the weight of the cabinet to under 100 pounds. I chose this weight for two reasons: 1. My Eden D-410XLT weighs 98 pounds: 2. It's the most I can lift into the Sequoia. That's all.
  14. I can honestly say that I have been recently becoming more interested in the specs of a cab esp. the SPL and freq range. I honestly can say that I've discredited a few amps just on specs alone. But I have been pleasantly surprised by a few (peaveys 410 for instance) so I use the math then use my ears. There isn't the most diverse selections here in PISSburgh, but though gigging with a lot of bands I listened to a few different brands and made(make) my decision from there.
  15. for me
    sound is #1
    weight and size is #2
    thats about it for me

    Efficiency ratings, i am not even sure what that means.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I thought we were talking about music not "posing" :rolleyes:

    Just my personal view, but I don't think this is worthy of anything other than contempt! ;)

    As to my "road drill" analogy - why not just get a cardboard cut-out and play to a backing track, if this is all it's about!
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I have the same end result in mind, but this argument doesn't make sense to me. A more powerful amp dosn't have to be more bulky or heavier - the Eden range or GK have very powerful amps that are small and light. The EA cabs I have are comparatively inefficient but sound amazing and are compact and light - no problem!

    I think that my question in this case as with many of mine around here is a theoretical one and sort of like - in an ideal world, you would always go for the best sounding setup. My way of thinking is to consider the ideas involved separately and not as how they might apply to me personally or a particular situation - but I can see that a lot of people only apply ideas to their own current experience.
  18. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i specifically purchased my cabs based on the sound they had.
  19. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Nino - Want to buy some dummy cabs ??? ;)

    I know where you're coming from. There are some players like that who are probably wintering in Gstaad or Aruba right now.