Bass cabs

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by eggy in a bready, May 6, 2018.

  1. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    school me plz. i don't know what i'm doing haha.

    this is what i guess i'm trying to accomplish:

    i play in low tunings, so ideally i'd like to get some cabs that will accomplish that without flubbing out. will bigger speakers do this (15"), or am i good with 10-12" ones? or will both work?

    i like playing with fuzz and od, so a cab with stereo ins would be cool. i can run one amp dirty and one amp clean, adjusting the volume of each to taste to keep the low end intact. i also wouldn't mind running two cabs, running my amps into their own respective cab.

    neodynium speakers look super appealing, because i am not about that heavy bass cab life.
     
  2. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Stupid question but, are you looking to try out a bass cab with you're low-tuned guitar? Or with a bass?
     
  3. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    sorry, should've clarified: i am playing bass through these.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Think of an acoustic guitar.
    The strings make the sound, and the hollow body of the guitar resonates and amplifies the sound. If the guitar's body is too small, it will struggle to carry the bassier frequencies.

    A bass cab is kind of the same thing. The drivers make the sound, and then the cavity of the cab has to resonate in such a way to project the sound from the drivers.

    So, you could get a really awful bass response from a cab with an 18" driver, if the cab isn't voiced properly. It'll sound like an acoustic bass guitar, in a way, because the lows just don't hit you like they should.

    Barring interesting setups like line arrays and such, where a little more thought is required going into the cab design, I'd say that, in general, you'll want a speaker that can push some air at the frequency of the fundamental of your lowest note, but it doesn't have to be a flat response there. What's much more important, though, is that the cab is a design that lends itself to lower frequencies as well, and you're going to need some high-end response as well, to pick up harmonics, otherwise your playing will sound like mush.

    I guess there's no universally arbitrary answer for this. Anyone recommending a piece of gear would need to know how low you are tuning, what style of music or what type of tone you hope to achieve, and also, most importantly, how much you are willing to spend.
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Realistically, the size of your speakers are just one element in a whole pile of things that influence the performance of a cab. My current cab has 8" speakers and works fine for playing in B, despite not being great for it "on paper". My :2c: is that bass is not just about the fundamental - I actually care more about the high-frequency performance of a cab, since that's where a lot of the character of a bass comes from, to my ears. Any ol' bass and cab can blast out tons of low end and hold the bottom down, but things like dirt, finger noises, slap, etc. are all represented higher up. Neo cabs for lightweight is always a great idea though.
     
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  6. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    Some quick notes (bass experience getting close to 2 decades):

    Speaker size doesnt always = frequency response
    These days 15 cabs are mainly made for cats who are going for super old school sounds with less edge (think James Jamerson sound)
    Mixing cabs (like "adding a 15 to my rig for more bass") is another vintage/obsolete idea and it was ironically never legit in the first place because 4x10s are likely to be overall louder and deeper and have more power handling than 1x15 anyway. Match cabs if you are going modular and building up.
    Overall cab design will determine frequency response of the cab. If the cab is kind of cube shaped it probably goes deeper
    A lot of bass cabs use a tweeter for a more "modern" full range response; fuzz tends to sound horrible with tweeter. I roll tweeter off completely if I am using OD or distortion. If I am using a clean/OD rig, I turn off the tweeter on the OD cab
    In a band mix too much emphasis on the sub lows tend to add mud to the mix and causes your actual sound to disappear (ever see the bassist on stage with a huge rig, except you cant hear them? that's what im talking about, getting AJFA Newstead-ed)
    Low midrange (150-250 Hz, about a notch above guitar chunk) is often the sweet spot for bass presence in a rock/metal mix- this is where a lot of bass "punch" is experienced. Recommend: Look for cabs with a "low mids bump" (Mesa, Ampeg typically). In low metal guitars and kick bring so much lows that you want less bass and boosted midrange overall.
    Bass cabs with stereo in's are uncommon (probably only custom)
    Neo speakers can make a huge different in cutting down weight
    The true bi-amp approach for blending clean and OD is probably best but it can be hard to execute in a live band due to so much gear involved. It's more easily done in the studio.
    In a clean+OD rig, the OD side will be disproportionately loud (due to massive amount of raunch in the midrange)
    Personal rule of thumb (for br00tz) whatever cabinetry the guitarist is using, show up with double (example if guitar is 4x12, then I show up with 8x10)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    That's why it really depends on what you are wanting to get out of it. I always used a 4x10" cab, but when I got a gig in a cover band doing a lot of dance songs, I had to switch to a 1x15", solely because the 4x10"s didn't have that chest-beating thump that was necessary for that specific application. The irony of it was that I had been using the 4x10" for playing in drop A, and the 1x15" was being used in standard tuning (honestly, most of those songs never went lower than G1).
     
  8. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Buy an 810, have fun.
     
  9. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    yo, this was infinitely helpful, thank you my man.

    been there, done that, FUCK that.
     
  10. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Every time we play with a bassist who has a 410/610/etc and then they use the 810, the 810 sounds noticeably better. Two people to move it on stairs and you're good to go. Put neo speakers in to reduce weight (fender makes one - weighs less than an orange ppc412).
     
  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Is it any ol' 810 or particularly certain Ampeg 810s? There's a venue nearby (House of Targ -> cool place if anyone here is ever in Ottawa) that keeps a backline for bands and provides an amaaaaaaazing sounding Ampeg 810. Makes anything you play through it sound like gold, to my ears. But I wouldn't want to carry it around.
    So,
    +1 to 810 sounds great,
    but also +1 to f*ck owning one.
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    The Ampeg 810 with the all-tube SVT classic is pretty much every bass player's dream rig on stage, but also every roadie's nightmare to haul.

    I'm just guessing, but I think the 810 might sound so damned great because of the amount of air inside of that thing. It's the biggest issue with bass cabs - they take up a lot of space in order to sound amazing. It all comes back to what I was saying in my first post - it's all about the volume of the cab and the frequency response of the drivers, both. You could get an amazingly pricey 24" driver and put it in a tiny cab, and it will sound like shit. You could have an amazing huge, nicely voices cabinet, but try to drive it with a cheap pair of 10" no-name drivers and it'll sound like ass. But put a driver with good low end response into a big ol' cab, and you can get lots of thumping.

    The guitar is simple, in that it aims for a narrow frequency target. If your gear hits that target, it's not difficult to get good coverage over the entire frequency range. For bass, your power in the mix comes from everything below the guitar's frequency range, and your presence in the mix comes from everything above the guitar's frequency range, so you are trying to hit two targets with good coverage without adding too much in the middle. So you want to be cognizant of whatever thing in your signal chain is the weakest link between your fingers and the listener's ears.

    I've used 1x15" cabs and 4x10" cabs, and even a 2x12" compact cab and a 1x18" oversized cab, and you can get perfectly acceptable sounds out of each of those, but each has its own context where it works best.
     
  13. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    so... ampeg makes these 4x10s with neo speakers, which weigh roughly about 60 pounds each. figured i could just grab two, use one cab for band practice and two live. run od into one, "clean" tone into another. solves the weight issue, plus i have 8 10" speakers. boom, ampeg fridge acquired. time 2 rock.
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I seriously don't just come here to piss on your picnic, but two 4x10" Ampeg cabs really doesn't match the behaviour of a single 8x10" cab, even though they will sound really really good.

    The magic of the 8x10" is that all of that air moves as one entity when you play.
     
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  15. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    consider my picnic PISSED ON. THANKS.

    nah, you're probably right. I just can't fathom owning a fridge again.
     
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  16. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    I use a modular 2x 4x10 and have no complaints. I owned fridge and it was a bit beast to move.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    my balls just retracted back into my body
     
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  18. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    so, after multiple bouts of option paralysis and a few existential breakdowns, i am about to be the proud father of an 8x10 again. found a sweet Aguilar DB 810 for a pretty good price. 196 lbs. god help me
     
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  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The toes in my right foot ache just thinking about it. (I broke that foot via bass cab drop accident a year ago :lol:)

    Good luck haha.

    Edit: Also, no, I'm never going to stop bringing up the time I broke my foot with a bass cab. Those things are dangerous maaaaan.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Good for you! How does the Aguilar compare to the Ampeg? My Road-ready Mesa Cabs weigh about 169 lbs., so only 30 lbs more than that (granted, that's 30 pounds heavier than a cab that's already my physical limit of how big a cab I feel (un)comfortable enough to try moving by myself), no big deal right?! (actually, it kind of is a big deal, so I hope your bandmates like the sound enough to carry that thing for you)

    I remember my dad recruiting me to help him carry his big 2x18" cab up stairs, and it probably weighed about 200 pounds. (also, after a gig one night, at 4 AM, he came home and unloaded the cab right into the driveway and loudly and angrily sawed the cabinet in half, because he was so frustrated at having to lug a cab the size of a large refrigerator up two flights of stairs at a place with no working service elevator) It sounded almost as good as the Ampeg 8x10".
     

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