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Why can't bass cabs be as shallow as guitar cabs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TravTrav, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. TravTrav


    Jun 6, 2010
    I mean, what happens if you were to use a guitar cab and put bass speakers in it?

    Reason I ask is I just like how compact guitar 2x12 cabs are.
  2. Bass needs more cabinet internal volume.
    Put bass speakers in a guitar cab and get really bad results.
  3. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Do a search (on TB or Google) for Thiele-Small parameters and cab design. You will find out why B-string's second sentence is correct. (Btw, his first sentence is also correct.)
  4. Welcome to the bass player's lot. Having said that things have drastically improved over the last few years with lightweight strong new drivers that work in much smaller boxes than ever before.

    If you can build your own cab there are cheap or even free plans which beat the daylights out of reloading a guitar cab with bass drivers.
  5. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Q: How come bass speakers have to be in bigger cabinets than guitar speakers?

    Q: How come my guitar player fills the room with 50w and I need 500w?

    Q: How come my guitar player can rock the stage with a single 12" speaker and I need a 410 to keep up?

    A: That's just the way it is. (AKA physics)
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hoffman's Iron Law says "Low, loud and small...pick any two."
  7. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    For bass drivers to get the frequency range they're designed to produce, the cabs they're loaded into need to have more internal volume than with guitar speakers. If they're not deeper, they have to be wider/taller.

    Just how physics works.
  8. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    Open back guitar cabs work with guitar frequencies, but bass frequencies need either sealed cabs or tuned cabs to keep speakers from exceeding the limit of their cone travel (xlim).

    Closed back guitar cabs might work for bass if the vas and qts specs are low enough, but don't expect great fundamental note reproduction, or even first harmonic note reproduction.
  9. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Some of us just aren't as shallow.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Skipping all of the geeky details, sound pressure "goes" as the square of frequency for a piston with a given displacement volume. And then, a guitar speaker can be more efficient because it doesn't have to reproduce the bass frequencies.
  11. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    The Marshall 1936 2X12 is not a very small 212. Its bigger then the GK Neo 212.
  12. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    As others have said, physics. Also, underperforming electronics and speaker design gives guitar character, not so much with bass.
  13. A: It will sound more like a guitar than a bass.
  14. Coz bass freq waves are SO long they leave the speaker, go all the way to the far wall, rebound, go back into the cab thru one port & come out thru the other port.

    That's why sealed cabs sound tighter & why they have to be deeper :rolleyes::eek::D
  15. TravTrav


    Jun 6, 2010
    Do you guys think it'd depend on how I eq/want my tone to sound? Lets say I was going for more of a Lemmy tone, rather than a fat dubby sound. Do you guys think I would run into much trouble?

    I think I recall seeing a video on here a little while ago, and it was that girl who plays a Rick (the band is Chatter, I think?) and she had multiple amps for what she did. One of the amps she was using was a Mesa Recto halfstack (it was a guitar rig through and through, she wasn't using the head through a bass cab), and her tone wasn't at all how we would usually think of bass. But, I guess it wasn't blowing up on her or anything. :confused:
  16. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    You can to a certain extent compensate for cabinet size if you are willing to trade power, money, weight and complexity.

    Using some expensive modern drivers and feeding them lots of power you can coax them into compensating for cabinet size. You'll never reach the volumes you'd normally reach with the amount of power you put in. Your rack is now permanently EQed and heavier, compensated for by a lighter wallet.

    The walls of the cabinet will also have to be reinforced much more than in a similar guitar cabinet, otherwise it won't project cleanly.
  17. Hi.

    I had a 412 Marshall top cab in my teens, pretty much a guitar cab equipped with "bass" speakers.

    I'd say that it primarily depends on how deep Your pockets are.
    And secondarily what You are willing to sacrifice.

    Generally speaking, traditional guitar speakers don't need an enclosure at all, but for practical reasons there's a baffle and it is attached to sides of some sort.

    Sub 80Hz reproduction is a totally different animal, a cone+motor speaker design requires an equalising "spring" that is easiest to acchieve with a volume of trapped air or a Helmholz resonator chamber.

    By choosing a suitable driver, there's no reason why a bass speaker enclosure couldn't be as compact as a guitar cab, but the cost becomes very probhivitive, very quickly. There will also be trade-offs, that are not IMHO justified for just having a smaller enclosure.

    If You roll off all your lows, a generic guitar cab with bass drivers may do, but one mishap and the voice coils are cooked or the cone overexcurses. And that is the end of it.

    How much You're willing to spend?
    A compound 410 using 10" Eminence Deltalite II's for example can be very compact and relatively light.
    Because of the compound design it can't be very shallow though.

  18. I seem to remember reading somewhere that both Steve Harris and Dana Strum used Marshall 412's reloaded with bass drivers, don't know if they still do now or not.

    FWIW, Hartke TP series uses boxes that are nearly as thin but are still ported. While they sound OK at lower volumes, they're not particularly loud/deep/effecient. Don't know if it's entirely due to the box volume or the driver design.
  19. Im very shallow, thank you
  20. +1