Why the sudden shift to 12" speakers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tekhna, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. tekhna


    Nov 7, 2004
    It seems like 10s were the standard not too long ago, and now I see everyone and their grandmother has a 2x12 at the very least.
  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    good question

    i love 10's, but want a 15 - i got two 112 cabs - an aggie and eden - best decision i have ever made - i think it's kinda like the best of both worlds.
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    for a long time 15" speakers were "it" for bass, the only other option being the 8x10 ampeg, although some players used 18" speakers.
    in the mid 80's hartke introduced the aluminum 4x10, which was quickly surpassed by the swr/eden 4x10 "goliath" cabinet and the trace elliot 4x10.
    During the 80's the biamp craze also took off. Although most manufacturers preferred the sound of a 4x10 and 1x15 run full range at the same time, they included crossovers in their heads and gave consumers what they wanted.
    12" speakers were usually considered guitar speakers, but this wasn't because of their ability to reproduce the dynamics of the bass guitar. Instead it was because speakers designed for electric guitar were not designed to handle the frequency response and dynamics of the bass, and they were typically 12" speakers. FYI, there were a lot of 12" PA speakers that could handle the range of the bass and the wattage required to produce acceptable volume, but they were generally only included in pa cabinets. To this day, many guitar players prefer the sound of low wattage guitar speakers like the 12" 25 watt "greenbacks" due to their tonal charactaristics. In the recent past, many companies have realized that 12" speakers bridge the gap between the fast and tight response of 10" drivers, while incorporating some of the midrange complexity and unique low end response of 15" drivers. This gives us bass players another tonal option to explore. Depending upon speaker and cabinet design, these cabinets can range from the aggressive high mid response of the venerable Bag End 2x12 cabinet, to the more mellow deep bass of the aguilar 2x12, to the high fi epifani 2x12, and almost every other flavor imaginable. It's not so much that all of a sudden 12" speakers have improved or eclipsed other sized drivers as it was just the right time to introduce yet another option to bass players. As a rule, bass players tend to be much more open minded than guitar players in terms of trying new ideas and designs. So it seems to me as if the time was just ripe for marketing some more options to us.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    good stuff ivan

  5. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada
    I'm going to go against the grain and say it's just a fad, first it was 15's then 10's then for a little it looked like it was going to shift to 8's but it moved to 12's.

    The same thing happens in the amp world, first it was ampeg, then hartke, swr, eden, now pre-power. In cabinet brands it went ampeg, then hartke, swr, eden, ea, acme, schroeder.
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I'll stick with my 10's. I turned my back on my 15's a couple years ago. I can't keep doing this every couple years.

    NJL......nice choice on cabs. When I was caught up in the 12" rage a couple months ago, it came down to those two cabs you have.

  7. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Speaking of 8's, has anyone played through those cabinets that have all the little 8's in them? I can't remember who makes them, but they look like a wall of little speakers in both straight and angled cabs. I had a friend who was gassing bad for a stack of 8's a while back, but never heard if he played through them or if he ever got one ...
  8. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Oh, and sorry to not respond to the original question. I like 15's for the low end and 10's for the punch. I have never played through a 12 that I have liked. Too much in the middle and not enough on either side. But, I am intrigued by the Schroeder approach that has 2 10's and 2 12's. I would like to hear how they sound.
  9. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Actually I started using a 2X12 8 years ago for my second cad [my other is a 1X18] then switched to a 4X10 for a while, but it just wasn't me so I traded it for another 2X12 [musicman audiophile] and I haven't had any complaints sense.:smug:

    As far as fads go, I don’t care what anyone else is using as long as they can get the sound that they want. But it is nice to know that if I need another 2X12 there will be a nice selection of the things. :p
  10. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Have you tried the Aggie 1x12? After falling in love with one in a store I finally got one and am finding it's lacking in mids in a gig situation.
  11. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    SWR Henry The 8x8.....
    Dunno if this is the one you're talking about but I've played through them before....unbelieveable low end. Great cab IMO.
  12. Basspolizei

    Basspolizei Pseudo bass player/collector Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Buy basses and lots of guns before it's too late! You have been warned.
    This topic is wide open to opinion as most threads! The 18's are old school and gone for the most part because they are slow and low. I played 4x15's in the 80's and now 4x10's. I began though with a single 12" and it was great. Play a variety of cabs and find your tone. No opinion can do that for you. Simply put, the 12" speakers of today make a lot of sense because they do "bridge the gap" between the most popular speakers, 15's and 10's. Huge tonal differnence? Maybe, maybe not. In my opinion it's slight enough to barely matter. Bass is bass and unless your an audio scientist, you will either enjoy the tone of a cab or you won't! Throw through it and if you like it, buy it...We bored bassist's have a problem sometimes with
    contentment :crying:
  13. why the sudden switch to 12s? i retort with, "why the sudden switch to ERBs?" perhaps it's because last year's paradigm (or even yesterday's, for that matter) may not apply to any individual's playing, sound, and musical goals.

    i play a 4 string bass because it fits my playing, just like i play a 1x12 because it sounds how i want. there are probably more guys out there playing 7 string basses through accugroove 1x15 + 1x12 + 1x8 + 2x1 full-range cabinets. why? because those are the tools that allow us to express ourselves musically.

    i've never liked the sound of multiple 10" driver cabinets through which i've played. i found a 1x12 cabinet that is louder, sounds better, is smaller, and is lighter than the 1x15 i was previously using. if the shoe fits....

    perhaps you're thinking of phil jones bass piranha cabinets. they're stocked with up to 24 5" drivers, depending on the model.

  14. 12's for bass have been around forever. It's only now that more makers are warming up to them because people are warming up to them...cause and effect.

    Entwistle used 12's for a long long time, as well as other "old" cats.

    It's not a fad, it's a cycle.
  15. I think one of the very first bass cabs (Fender Bassman) had four tens... :meh:

    Anyway I like 10s for their quick response and I love the sound of good ol' 15, just so juicy.... but, I've grown to really love 12s. I find that so far I prefer one driver per cab and I also prefer the same size driver if using multiples. I've tried several types of mixed drivers cabs and never am I satisfied, hence my current cabs are Berg 610 (sealed non-ported) and two Berg 112's. I have however used one 12 on top of the 610 as sort of a monitor at a much lower volumn right next to my ears. Also I find the two single enclosures (112) to be a tighter, and more focused than say a single cab with two 12s. With 10s it's already tight as heck so it's not an issue with alike multiple drivers in the same cab. There are also several cabs on the market that have isolated inner cabs within the cab/enclosure. Lots to choose from.
  16. Why?

    Because 12's get talked up so much on this board.

  17. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    I have two of the old Ampeg 4x8 cabinets that they made for a while there when 8's were in.I replaced the 8's with emminence alpha's, and the cabinets really thump.The cabinet will definately out thump a single 15 cab and has more high end , though curiously a little less in the midranges, and the cabinet is about the same size as a single 15 cab.I have almost every different common speaker arrangement available and they all have their strong points and weak points, but I following these threads eagerly,hoping that someone finds that "Holy Grail" of bass cabinets so I can clean out my closet.
    Keep those reviews coming!
  18. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    gard told me i would be happier with one of each as opposed to two aggies. paired they sound way better than my 410 and they don't mess with my back
  19. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    i was worried about the same thing - so i bought an aggie 12 and an eden 12 from gard - best advice he has given me!!

  20. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    Plenty of punch, quick enough response, plenty loud, and lots of lows. It can do anything I need it to. Haulage is a small price to pay for these cabs that do so much. I tried 15's and it sounded like someone pulled a heavy wool blanket over my tone.