What cab should i get for my first tube amp?

Flamedmaple

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Hello everyone,

I'm about to buy my first tube amp after having only used my Axe FX for years. I've read up on different alternatives within my budget at around $800, and narrowed it down to an EVH 5150 lll LBX-S. While aiming for a volume level suited for home use this seems to be the best alternative, as the volume taper seems to be better than most of its competitors, for not negatively affecting the tone too much.

However, now the question comes to cabs. I need advice on a good cab suited for this amp, and for a home environment. Somewhere i read that speakers for lower volumes should have more of a midrange emphasis to balance out fizzyness that otherwise can occur with a tube amp set to low volume. Can someone share their experiences on this topic and recommend me a good cab for this purpose?

The Celestion Vintage 30 seems to be generally quite praised, but i didn't find much about its suitability for home use. Thomann sells a V30 loaded 1x12 cab by Harley Benton for a steal for example.
 

MetalDaze

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5150 + V30 has been a popular combination for a long time. It's a good place to start. Also, I play through 2 2x12's with V30's at home at low volumes - no problem.

Of course, just like anything, there are a lot of other speakers that will work as well and everyone has their preference. I think you should start with the V30 so you know what that sounds like and you can always branch out from there.
 

Deadpool_25

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First tube amp with first cab?

The Harley Benton will probably be good enough. If you want to splurge a little more find a used 1x12 or 2x12 with V30s or something.
 

alex1fly

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Totally my subjective opinion here.

Cabs make so much difference in the sound... even moreso than the amp in a lot of cases IME. Playing your guitar through a clean amp into a variety of cabs is really a fantastic way to go if you can.

If you have to go sight-unseen, I think it's hard to go wrong with an open-back 2x12. Doesn't need to be nice or name brand because you can always swap speakers later.

I can play at home with a 2x12 with my family doing things in the other room. Just have to be sure to set the volume at 1.3 instead of 1.35 :)

2x12 sounds a lot better to me than 1x12 at all volumes. Something about having two sound sources makes it feel bigger, rounder, more responsive, more alive, whether I'm at home or gigging or jamming.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Personally, I like V30s in a mix but not as much when jamming alone.

For the money, I'm a fan of these Greenback-loaded Peavey cabs. I have one of each. I use the 1x12 as an open back and the 2x12 closed.

I don't have an EVH amp (although I do have an OG 5150). I use mine mainly with a DSL20, Peavey Classic 20MH, Carvin V3M, GSP1101, and various amp sims/plugins thru a tube power amp. They're good all-around cabinets. I play several different styes with tones from Fender clean to Diezel mean.

A graphic EQ in the FX loop will tame any high-end fizz, although I don't find Greenbacks prone to that at all. I was on the verge of selling my V3M until I put an EQ in the loop. Now it ain't goin' nowhere. Made a HUGE difference for the weird boxy mids that amp has.

Links:

1x12

2x12
 

Flamedmaple

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5150 + V30 has been a popular combination for a long time. It's a good place to start. Also, I play through 2 2x12's with V30's at home at low volumes - no problem.

Of course, just like anything, there are a lot of other speakers that will work as well and everyone has their preference. I think you should start with the V30 so you know what that sounds like and you can always branch out from there.
Thanks man. Since they are among the more popular speakers, they seem to be the safest bet so far. Especially when i don't have an opportunity to try them personally before hand. So i just have to go by hearsay.

Would you say it's worth going by a 2x12 already to begin with? I understand it's highly subjective, but in general, do they sound fuller/warmer?
 

Flamedmaple

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First tube amp with first cab?

The Harley Benton will probably be good enough. If you want to splurge a little more find a used 1x12 or 2x12 with V30s or something.
This might be a stupid question, but anyway. A V30 is always a V30 right? So that the Harely Benton is so cheap should be a matter of a compromise in overall build quality and materials over a Marshall with V30's for example? Then comes the question, is the difference in tone very obvious? How much does these factors (construction, quality, weight?) affect tone?
 

Flamedmaple

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I would say at least a 2X12. 4X12 if you have the space/budget. The 2X12 is gonna be a lot more enjoyable than a 1X12.
In general, what's the defining characteristic of a 2x12 compared to a 1x12, granted that they use the same speakers?
 

GreatGreen

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Something to note: a cab sounds NOTHING like a recorded guitar. Take your favorite recording ever. If you could magically go back in time to the studio where the guitars were recorded and be in the same room as the cabs during tracking, it would sound NOTHING like what you hear on the record. Mics hear guitar tone differently. In the room, a cab is basically always going to have a ton more mids, and less highs and lows.

About the difference between cabs, even with the same speaker, the cab makes quite a bit of difference. Check out youtube for some good examples. A straight baffle Marshall 4x12 with V30's is going to sound very different than a straight baffle Mesa 4x12 with V30's.

Another thing is that the higher gain your sound is, the more the cab matters. With something like an EVH that is very high gain, the cab is going to be at least as important as the amp in the overall tone. No pressure. :)

Personally, I find the standard EVH 4x12 cabs with Celestion EVH speakers to be incredible for those amps. Mesa 4x12's with V30's are also great. The V30 is going to be naturally louder at the same place on the volume knob than Greenbacks because Greenbacks are less sensitive. The V30's is also going to have more emphasis on treble and high mids, where the Greenbacks are going to be warmer and have more emphasis on mids and lows.

Generally, the more speakers you have in an enclosure, the bigger and better the low end and low mids will be.
 
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AMOS

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First tube amp with first cab?

The Harley Benton will probably be good enough. If you want to splurge a little more find a used 1x12 or 2x12 with V30s or something.
How good are those Harley Bentons? laoded with the V30's
 

ATRguitar91

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If you have the space, always go for a bigger cab if possible. A 412 is better than a 212 is better than a 112. Bigger is better because there's more space in the cab to move air create low end, this is especially pronounced at lower volumes. It also just sounds...bigger.

I have 2 412s, a 212, and 112. I always go for the 412s, and usually run 2 in stereo. Even at low volumes the 412s sound better. Unless you just need portability, I'd get a 212 at least to start.

In terms of what to actually get, it's good to try out V30s, but just get whatever you can find used locally. If you don't like it, just sell it for what you bought it for and move on to the next thing. I think it's a good idea to sample a lot of stuff to see what jives with you.
 

NickS

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^Yeah, basically what he said. The bigger the better, generally. You can get some potentially really good sounding 1X12's, like a Mesa Widebody or some of the ported options out there, but they're expensive. So you might as well just get at least a 2X12.

Or as many 4X12's as you can fit. You'll thank me later.
 

Dr. Caligari

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A V30 is always a V30 right?

If you buy new the speakers should be pretty similar provided they're the same impedance. 8 vs 16 ohm speakers sound different however. And v30s made in China might sound slightly different to ones made in UK.

However if you're also looking at used cabs/speakers then NO, v30 is NOT = v30. You could buy some used v30s that sound one way and some that sound completely different and they might both sound almost nothing like current production ones. It depends on what era they are from and how they've been used over the years.

And cab construction does make a big difference to the sound.

If you can't hear the cab before you buy it it can be pretty hard to know what it sounds like. Just knowing "v30" alone doesn't necessarily say all that much about what a cab is gonna sound like. And the cab/speakers does do the most of the shaping of your overall tone. Amp is more shape/feel of the distortion.
 

Flamedmaple

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Okay, so now i spotted a used EVH 1x12 with a Celestion G12H in it. This is a bit more expensive, but it would be really cool with a matching cab to the EVH LBX-S. :cool:
I read that this one isn't as bright as the V30, so maybe it could work well to balance out the tone of a 1x12 cab? Anyone tried it?
 

jarledge

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the bigger the better isn't always right. Speakers will react differently to changes in the volume of sealed cabs. Open cabs don't matter quite as much because they are open. I have big cabs that sound great with certain speakers and smaller cabs that sound great with certain speakers. It is trial and error for the most part.

I noticed you mention thomman, if you are in europe there are a ton of cool options out there. There are plenty of of old crate cabs, peavey cabs, laney cabs and stuff under 300 euro.Buy something used cheap, then work on changing out speakers in it. I personally really love the hughes and kettner warp cabs. They are large, oversized and can be found as cheap as 100 euro. They sound fantastic with some nicer speakers in them.
 

estin

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are you going for the "amp in the room" experience? I am getting back into tube amps myself but will be doing the Captor X with IRs instead of a speaker cabinet. Like others have mentioned, a physical amp sounds at best similar to what you'd hear on a well produced record. If you are used to using modelers you might prefer this route.
 

youngthrasher9

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I would say at least a 2X12. 4X12 if you have the space/budget. The 2X12 is gonna be a lot more enjoyable than a 1X12.
You can get around the sound of a 1x12 with certain designs like thiele cabs but unless one wanted to finish a raw one from eBay or buy one from Mesa at their premium I’d agree with this statement. I think carefully ported 1x12’s are underrated but still, with a 2x12 you can experiment with different speaker pairings down the road.
 


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