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Why if particle board is so bad?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 4Saken, May 30, 2005.

  1. 4Saken


    Nov 7, 2004
    That Marshall makes alot of their cabs out of it. ( I have a friend with a 1000$ 4 x12 marshall cab thats made out of it) And I know other high dollar company's do too. I understand why it is not the best material for sound reproduction. I have been in the car audio insudtry for many years and understand acoustics quite well but I just can't see why people get all up in arms about a cheap cab from some no name company.
  2. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    Because playing bass through those same cabs using bass speakers will shake those cabs into dust?


    Is particle board the same as mdf? Mdf is very heavy. I am sure that has something to do with it.

    And how durable IS it for bass? And I mean gigging as opposed to a go nowhere do nothing garage type band (the non gigging noisemaking really sucks kind)?

    Hmm...I guess I just added a few questions as opposed to answering them.



  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    It is more succeptible to moisture damage, it is not as strong, screws cannot hold as well in it, it is very heavy, any other questions?
  4. David Henry

    David Henry

    Mar 24, 2000
    Salem, Oregon
    No way. :smug:
  5. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Guitar cabs can get away with using less-rigid materials because of the nature of the guitar, being an octave higher and having to deal with far less bass and driver movement than a bass guitar's cab would see
  6. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Particle board (a.k.a. MDF) actually works really well for sound reproduction. It is very dense which helps fight unwanted resonant frequencies in the cab. When I worked in car audio MDF was the preferred material for constructing subwoofer enclosures.

    There are three disadvantages to MDF for bass guitar enclosures. Weight is one that most people talk about the most. Durability is the second. Unlike true plywood (not presswood) MDF cannot take the impacts as well. It tends to break alot easier. The third is IMO one that is overlooked alot, it can't take moisture/water for anything! If moisture gets into it, it quickly starts coming apart and once the water damage is done you can't fix it.

    Now if you originally meant presswood, that crap just sucks period!
  7. resol

    resol Guest

    Feb 21, 2005
    aren't the Ashdown MAG series cabs and the new Aguilar S-Series made from MDF...
  8. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    MDF and Particle board are different things.

    Particle board -

    MDF -
  9. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Pasco, WA

    Easy to see that MDF is good, particle board is bad.

    But is MDF better than plywood?


  10. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I know most manufacturers that are still building 'heavy' cabinets are using Marine Plywood. Most 'neo' cabs are built using spruce plywood, that is lighter and almost as strong.
  11. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    MDF also comes in different densities. The lighter MDF is close to plywood in weight.

    But, it can be hard to glue and screw properly and doesn't take well to physical abuse as pointed out in previous posts.
  12. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    MDF isn't as good as ply. It's not as strong, and it weighs more.

  13. The only advantages that MDF and Particleboard have over raw wood, as said many times, is that it is acoustically "dead". Plywood ups the ante by being similarly "dead", yet also being extremely durable. OSB rides the line, in a cheaper, middle of the road material..not as acoustically dead, not *as* durable, but cheap as sin, and workable.

    Most manufacturers tout "void free 13 ply baltic birch" for a reason. Domestic grade (US) plywood is inferior. It has less plies that are thicker, inconsistent, and full of voids. The better BB grade stuff is made primarily in Russia or China (whose raw materials are from Russia for the most part)...and is of consistent, superior quality, at reasonable price points. Properly braced and constructed, is the best choice for enclosures, and is practically indestructable.
  14. A really interesting option that hasn't come up is MDO, Medium Density Overlay, which is used for making higway signage and such. Waterproof, easy to machine, makes decent joints... Still heavy, and still needs to be joined correctly, but it is common in sign shops. It is a ply material, not a fiberboard.

    Void free plys like baltic birch and marine ply are the best when you want excellent strength to weight and tight, strong joinery. I scored a deal on a 1/2 sheet of marine "transom" ply and the resulting cab was off the charts for structure, and the sonics were pretty good too. Not cheap, but if it was this thread would be a lot shorter.
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    +1 Baltic Birch ply, 1/2 inch and properly braced ... If your cab is going to be a permanent fixture, high grade mdf is fine. It has very good sonic qualities but the resulting cab isn't going to take abuse from transport well and it will be very heavy.
  16. markfsy


    May 14, 2005
    Suffolk, England
    Not many people seem to know that their precious 810E Ampeg cabs are made of particle board (unless they are old ones) In fact as far as I can see all Ampeg cabs apart from the BXT range and the 810HPC are particle board, a fact they don't mention in their ads or on their web site. Imagine my feelings when I recieved my brand new Ampeg cab and decided to move the rubber feet - when I drilled into the new position for the first pilot hole - crumbly pieces just fell out of that hole. You could have pushed a screwdriver into it instead. I've nothing against particle board sonically, but structurally it is crap, and I just wonder how many proud Ampeg owners would have laid out their money if they'd known in advance that their cab was made of Sterling board, which is really more suited to boarding up windows. When I questioned their production manager he told me it was better than ply because it is more consistent. Better for them maybe, dollar-wise that is. Just drop one and see what happens, or get one wet.
  17. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I know my old Hartke I used to have was 3/4 particle board inside, 3/4 plywood on the outside.
  18. 4Saken


    Nov 7, 2004

    This is what he owns and it is made of particle board (not MDF) http://www.zzounds.com/item--MSH1960AV I have seen a spot where the tolex ripped and it is particle board.
  19. David Henry

    David Henry

    Mar 24, 2000
    Salem, Oregon

  20. MDF isn't as good as ply in terms of strength, durability or weight, but it has an edge in acoustical properties owing to its density. Even 13-ply baltic birch isn't as acoustically dead as MDF or HDF (even better). This is why practically all hifi speakers are MDF or HDF.

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