Why did Geddy use 215 cabs back in the day? (An Open Question)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Hamlet7768, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    I recently noticed that Geddy Lee appears to have never used 810 cabinets. I find this a bit unusual considering how ubiquitous the 810 SVT cab was, and considering he used to use an SVT (at least on the Farewell to Kings Tour) into said 215 cabs.

    I'm not expecting a definitive answer on this. I guess I'm interested in talking about 215s and their benefits, since benefits would probably be why he would use them. I will say, in full disclosure, I've thought about 215s recently, mostly because they aren't as expensive as 810s, and apparently have a more "vintage" sound, which could be interesting. Of course, the one that most piques my interest, the Bergantino NV215, isn't made anymore...oh well. Not like they all vanished, right? And there are more 215s out there.
    OrphicTrench likes this.
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I believe Geddy used them because he liked them ;)

    As for the benefits of 215's vs cabs with 10"s, that's all a case by case basis and you can't really make any generalizations. Some cabs with 15"s I like, some I don't. Some cabs with 10"s I like, some I don't. In the end, just get a cab that you like, and don't worry about the speaker size. It really tells you nothing about the sound of a cab.
  3. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    215s are gonna have a lot less mid dispersion in the horizontal field than an 810.

    Other than that, Jimmy is totally spot on about speaker size vs tone.
  4. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    Geddy used Ampeg V4B cabs. Not your garden variety 2x15...
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry M0ses, but an 810 has the dispersion of a 20" speaker, so it'll actually have slightly less high/high mid dispersion than the 215, unless you lay the 215 on its side.
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    The 2x15 configuration was pretty darned ubiquitous back in the day too - in case you don't recall...or more likely, in case you weren't around at that time. :meh:

    Do you even realize how few choices in pro-quality bass amplification existed when Rush was coming up? It was nothing like it is now. Not even close. You can't even begin to make judgments regarding what it was like then, on the basis of what exists now. It's a different world. :eyebrow:

  7. Definition of dispersion, please, Jimmy. I'm gassing for 15 or 18's, so…how do they disport differently than my 10's and 12's?
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's called speaker beaming: The bigger the speaker area is in the horizontal plane, the more that highs and high mids will be directed toward the center of the cab.

    Honestly, though, I find the beaming aspect of bass cabs to be pretty irrelevant to my enjoyment of them. Even the cabs I have that beam a lot still sound good to me throughout the venue on those rare occasions I don't have the bass going through the PA, and most of the time it is going through the PA, so I don't have to worry about it.
  9. Unless you are listening from dead in front, the sound from the nearer cone edge and further away cone edge arrive slightly out of phase at the listening position, due to the difference in travel time.

    The wider the cone the larger the difference in the distance left and right, for any angle off centre.

    The greater the separation, the lower the frequency at which cancellation occurs for a given angle off centre. Above that frequency only a narrow beam of audience get the full range of sound. It is very easy to observe at gigs where bass is not in the PA.
  10. Sartori

    Sartori Supporting Member


    A single 15" has worse midrange dispersion than a single 10" driver, but two 10" drivers side by side function more like a 20" driver when it comes to dispersion.
  11. Many of us didn't dig the narrow range of the 810 (not much low end, not much high end) way back in the day. Today, speaker cone diameter means nothing, but way back in the day, many ported cabs used 15's because the technology was not quite there to achieve a true full range sound at volume with small drivers. That all changed when the Guild/Hartke 410 was introduced in the late 70's/early 80's, followed by the SWR Goliath and somewhat later the Eden 410XLT.

    Today, choosing a cab based on driver side is not particularly valid. There are 8" driver loaded cabs that FAR exceed the frequency range of the old 15 loaded boxes.
  12. The dispersion issue is not that big of a deal. Higher frequencies tend to beam a bit when they are produced by either a large diameter driver, or by smaller diameter drivers that are placed horizontally next to each other. The issue is very gradual as you move up the frequency range, and isn't even noticeable below around 1K. With most bass guitar tonal choices, it is a minor issue (i.e., that the higher frequencies at the very top of the bass tonality aren't quite as even when you are standing close and significantly to the side of the cab). Of course, once you have front of house support, it becomes literally a non issue.

    The 'beam' spreads out as you get farther away from the cab, so again, with a bass guitar, really not that big of a deal out in the room, and of course, if you use a cab with a tweeter, the beaming pretty much stops at the frequencies covered by the tweeter.

    Dispersion issues are a bit overstated on this site IMO, and IME.

    Edit: Including a small cone mid driver, used in cabs like the Acme's, the Bergantino 15" loaded cabs, many of the LDS cabs (410's, etc.), the fEARful cabs, the Baer ML cabs, etc., etc. reduce this lower treble/upper midrange beaming issue, since the mid driver carries most of the frequencies above 1K (or even lower) in these executions. Of course, these cabs have their own tonality, and different mid drivers (just like different woofers) can sound quite different (i.e., good or bad to an individual user), and once you get up into the upper treble region, if you don't have a tweeter, then beaming kicks in again!
  13. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    OP - back at that time few trusted 10" bass drivers, too many of us had seen speakers that had been ruined by low tones they weren't designed to produce. Speaker design and materials are much better today. For those of us who started in that era it was hard to get on board with the 10s and smaller.

    Beaming...you guys crack me up. I mean, it's a real effect but some of you go on like you were acoustical engineers at a cabinet design seminar.:D I want to know why my Mesa Powerhouse cabinet with the (4)10s,(1) 15 and a tweeter sounds so good even though it shouldn't on paper.
  14. Best way to answer the question about beaming posted above is to define what beaming is. Being accurate will also hopefully eliminate or at least reduce all these posts about 'better dispersion' with some cab designs, which many assume means 'better dispersion of all frequencies', which is not the case.

    Regarding the powerhouse, again, beaming will not have any impact regarding sitting in a music store right in front of the cab. Most cabs sound quite good when sitting at 'eye level' 3 feet in front of the cab. The main issue with that particular cab is that it pretty much ignores quite a few cab design 'suggested guidelines'

    1) The 10's are very widely spaces, so it is the 'most beaming cabinet' on the market in the upper midrange

    2) Depending on how it is wired, most likely, the 15 is getting as much power as the 410's, which makes for a very iffy design regarding thermal safety and or 'farting/mechanical limits' (i.e., the 15 will have problems long before the 410's will.

    3) Putting non crossed over drivers of different cone diameters in the same box can result in some phasing issues (peaks and valleys beyond what each driver would normally experience).

    That being said, and since point number 2 is a guess (don't know really how that cab is wired), and since points 1 and 3 are real but not particularly big problems with bass backline amplification, +1 in that I never thought that particular cab sounded nearly as bad as some of the 'amateur EE's' predict it should:smug: (i.e., most who post how horrible that cab is have never heard it!)
  15. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    You're spot on it that I wasn't around, and I know the choices were few, which is why I thought the 215s were unusual. Among the names I usually hear cited as the "standard" cabs back then, Teal (Thiele?) was not one of them.

    Was there something special about those cabs or were they just high quality?
  16. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They were folded horns.
  18. +1 I was being very US-centric. The Guild/Hartke is what opened up 'full range in a relatively small cab' to many bass players here in the early 80's or whenever that was.
  19. gearHed289


    Sep 11, 2008
    Chicago area
    Head of design and sales, MT Case Co.
    They had two 15s facing each other in a "W" style folded horn cab. He ran his neck pick through those. The bridge pickup went to more conventional style, front loaded 2x15 cabs. First Sunn, then the custom Thiele design (a great cab based on EV's TL606).

    Why did he use them? Cause they sound great! :cool: I like 8x10s for punch, and all around air-moving power, but I love 15s for tone.
  20. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Nearly as bad - hahahaha. This is a great sounding cab. And contrary to what you're saying it actually seems to sound better 20+ feet out. My SVT-7 has never made it fart ulness I turned to like 9. Unlike my Hartke Hydrive 15 which can't really take more than 4.5 with same amp. The Hartke cab is the most disappointing cab I've ever bought. Yes, purchased online off name. Meanwhile the HArtke HyDrive 410 sounds pretty good at same level.