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Bassplayer 2 x 15 inch or not? Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 9th September 2011
  #1
Bassplayer 2 x 15 inch or not?

Hi, I use a 2 x 15 cab from Fender under a Fender Bassman 100 Silverface.

I'm a fan of 15 inch sound, but I really never see others playing 15 inch. Almost everyone uses a 2x10 or even 2x10. Why?

Menoj
Old 9th September 2011
  #2
because 2x10 has more area than 1x15 and the 10's respond quicker. at least that's my take on it. I used 15" cabs for many many years. switched to 10's & never looked back. love the weight of the neo speakers as well. doesn't kill my back to move stuff around any more.
Old 9th September 2011
  #3
Gear Head
 

Yes to the 2 x15"! It's a louder, deeper sound. Lots of people like 10" speakers because they have more definition. It's a matter of taste.
Old 9th September 2011
  #4
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I prefer 8X10's to 2X15's for note definition and punch, while
others like 15's for added warmth and a looser response.

Of course the quality of those tones also depends on the quality
of the speakers and the quality of the amp.

The only thing with a Bassman 100 is that you might get a fuller
sound with 2X15's but the amp barely has enough power
to push a pair of 15's.
Old 9th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
I'm the opposite. I'm a huge fan of smaller speakers. My favorite amp was a SWR Baby Blue combo with 2-8's and a tweeter. It was just not loud enough for anything but a small jazz gig. Sound can't be beat. Punchy instead of mushy.

I dig the Phil Jones stuff with all the 5" speakers.

But that's why there's so many flavors of ice cream...
Old 12th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Definitely prefer the tone of a 2x15. Not a fan of the Hartke 10" speakers.
Old 14th September 2011
  #7
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Tapeworm's Avatar
 

I'm not really a bass player but I dabble occasionally. A few times a year I still play out as a "bassist". I was (and still am) a fan of the 15" but I have recently converted to the 10" after years of refusing to believe.

You still get plenty of round low end with greater note definition. Sometimes live, that extra "tightness" really helps the bass from going from something that can be felt more than heard to something that can be felt and heard.

Not to mention that I no longer fear that I'm going to get a hernia every time I have to carry the cab up some stairs or load it into the van.
Old 14th September 2011
  #8
Gear Addict
 

I had good experiences with 2 x 15 cabs , Kustom, Peavey, Acoustic, Fender
many factors here, bass, style, room, etc
Old 18th September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 

I used run a 1x15 cabinet and a 2x10 cabinet so I guess it was the best of both worlds. Really nice for a busy musician because I could run just the 1x15 for practice and smaller gigs and add the 2x10 for bigger gigs.
Old 18th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
I only use 15's or 18's, both in the studio and live.

I hate that barky 10" sound.

you can always add top at the amp.
You CAN'T add the feeling of the low octave into a 10


the argument about the "real estate" of an 8x10 versus a 1x15 is meaningless, at best, because no one ever mics an 8x10; they mic ONE 10 in an 8x10.
Old 18th September 2011
  #11
Gear Guru
 

No offense to the "tens", but IMO, small speakers are to bass players what bashing the hi-hat is to drummers. An annoying habit that the musicians themselves are addicted to, but everyone else hates. And for pretty much the same reasons.

I am sure that bassists have their own idea of what they want to sound like, but if they care what others think, and they took a poll of non-bassists, I am sure they would find 15's coming out way on top.


I am not a bassist , but as a drummer, I consider myself an appreciator of bassists.

As a musician or in the audience, every time I go to a show where there are multiple bands and one bassist is using 10's and the another is using 15's, I am consistently struck by the feeling that the sound that comes out of a 15 is a "bass" and the sound that comes out of a 10 is something else- a 'low guitar' maybe

That head-to-head comparison in just about any room is to me, undeniable. Take my observation for what you will.
Old 18th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
Uh, then you better tell ampeg that their time-tested SVT 8x10 was a dumb idea... What a moronic statement. Equally moronic is your hihat comment - everyone hates the hihat?
Old 18th September 2011
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
everyone hates the hihat?
I didn't say that.
I said everyone hates hi-hat bashers

yet these guys are often oblivious to how annoying it is

probably because no one wants to tell them
probably because of the over-the-top reactions they get when they try

as I said, no offense, take my opinion with a grain of salt if you wish
but try taking that poll if you care what the audience thinks. What it sounds like from the cheap seats. I stand by my evaluation of the head-to-head comparison at any show I have ever been to where both kinds of cabinets were employed.
Old 18th September 2011
  #14
Gear Head
 

i always used to get a decent live sound using a trace 1x15" & 4x10"
one without the other just didnt seem right....
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
Gear Nut
The cone diameter has little to do with the frequency response of the cabinet.

Its a complete fallacy to suggest it does.

It is far more to do with the cab volume and porting, and the speaker xmax givea a far better indication of how much air a speaker will move (so how loud a cab will be) than the thermal limit, which is what the wattage represents.

15s are not 'slower' than 10s, they have far larger magnets that more than overcome the greater inertia of the larger cone + air that they must move.

Examples of 15s that go up as high as 3-4K, Barefaced Compact, Barefaced Vintage.

Examples of 10s that go as low as the fundametal frequency of a B string, Acme BAss Low B-2.

There is far far more too it than the speaker diameter chaps. I'd go as far to say the diameter of the speaker is the least effective variable to use to second guess what a cab is going to sound like.

For example, I own a Bergantino HT210, its matching HT115 brother and a Bergantino ae410. Between them they represent some of the best bass cabs ever designed.

The HT115 is slightly smaller than the HT210, the HT210 goes a smidge deeper, and a smidge higher than the HT115, the HT115 can make a real claim to be probably the best 115 cab ever made for bass by the way. Neither is 'faster' than the other. These cabs also sport some of the best crossovers and tweeters ever put in a bass rig, the top end on them is sublime.

The ae410 is a larger cab than either of the other two, and a bit smaller than both the others together, it is voiced to have slightly agressive upper mids, and to be extremely punchy, it is a phenominal cab, and on its own is louder than the HT stack. It also sits in a mix perfectly, not so much low end as to become a PIA for FOH, yet just enough to lend weight to the instrument. It may be the best sounding cab I will ever hear...


Old 19th September 2011
  #16
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
thanks for clarifying on the hihat.

On the comparison at any show you've been to, are you talking club level shows where there's no sub support, next step up where it's a mix of bass amp and PA, or arena? It just seems just a broad statement.
I guess I am mainly speaking of those situations where I am hearing the amp. If its mostly PA, who knows what I am listening to?
Old 19th September 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51m0n View Post
The cone diameter has little to do with the frequency response of the cabinet.

Its a complete fallacy to suggest it does.
BS. Under that logic, a cabinet loaded with eight 5-inch speakers would have the same frequency response and SPL as eight 10-inch speakers. Care to explain that one, Einstein?
Old 20th September 2011
  #18
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Real MC View Post
BS. Under that logic, a cabinet loaded with eight 5-inch speakers would have the same frequency response and SPL as eight 10-inch speakers. Care to explain that one, Einstein?

If the total volume of air moved by the 5 inch drivers equals the total volume of air moved by the 10 inch drivers (which would need the 5 inch drivers to have significantly larger xmax than the 10s) and the cabs were designed to have the same frequency response then they would in fact have equal volume and frequency response.

The 5s would typically require more power to achieve that extended Xmax though.

By your logic in ear buds would only be good over about 2KHz. Which is utter rubbish isnt it.

You would do well to read, and re-read the technical content of this page from Barefaced Bass which explains it all rather succinclty. This article in Bass Guitar Magazine will also help you get your head around this stuff.

Let me put this another way. What is the diameter of your monitors woofers? Less than 15" I would imagine? What is the frequency response of you monitors? If they are good they will be +/-2dB from 40Hz to 20KHz. SO how is the frequency response of the speaker enclosure so related to the diameter of a cone again exactly?? Over about2KHz you have a point, but we are talking about bass frequqncies here, and that is a whole different animal.

Bill Fitzmaurice subs massively outperform the competition, they are huge cabs designed for serious bass, the drivers? Typically no more than a single 12" driver per sub.
Old 20th September 2011
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51m0n View Post
You would do well to read, and re-read the technical content of this page from Barefaced Bass which explains it all rather succinclty. This article in Bass Guitar Magazine will also help you get your head around this stuff.
I did indeed read it and it provided proof of my original argument.

Quote:
If the total volume of air moved by the 5 inch drivers equals the total volume of air moved by the 10 inch drivers (which would need the 5 inch drivers to have significantly larger xmax than the 10s) and the cabs were designed to have the same frequency response then they would in fact have equal volume and frequency response.

The 5s would typically require more power to achieve that extended Xmax though.
Now you're changing the argument. We were originally disputing frequency response, now you are disputing SPL. Two totally different animals.

As long as you're addressing SPL, according to the articles you attached:
1) as speaker diameter get smaller their Xmax limit decreases due to physics.
2) for speakers with equal Xmax, to match the SPL cm^3 of five 15" speakers you would need twelve 10" speakers.

Quote:
Let's assume that you can use 8", 10", 12", 15" or 18" woofers, that they all have 10mm Xmax and you need a total Vd of 4000cc. An 8" woofer is roughly 200 sq.cm, a 10" is 350 sq.cm, a 12" is 550 sq.cm, a 15" is 850 sq.cm, and an 18" is 1500 sq.cm. So you could use twenty 8"s, twelve 10"s, eight 12"s, five 15"s or three 18"s.
That confirms part of my original argument.

Now regarding frequency response, the author in the attached article does confirm that there is a frequency difference in speakers of different size cones.

Quote:
With some careful EQ tweaking it would be pretty hard to tell our 12" and 15" models apart but unEQ'd there is a clear difference.
Which confirms the remainder of my original argument.

And if you still dispute speaker cone sizes, I remind you that Leo Fender during the 1950s often used the same amplifier chassis between multiple amp models but different size speakers. Despite the same amplifier circuits, they didn't sound the same with different speakers.

Quote:
By your logic in ear buds would only be good over about 2KHz. Which is utter rubbish isnt it.
Flawed rebuttal. IEMs in a tiny closed ear canal only needs to push a FRACTION of the SPL of a speaker in open air of few magnitude greater cm^3. As the Xmax excursion decreases, it is easier for the driver to reproduce wider frequency response. Again, confirmed in your attached article regarding high frequency drivers.

Quote:
Let me put this another way. What is the diameter of your monitors woofers? Less than 15" I would imagine? What is the frequency response of you monitors? If they are good they will be +/-2dB from 40Hz to 20KHz. SO how is the frequency response of the speaker enclosure so related to the diameter of a cone again exactly?? Over about2KHz you have a point, but we are talking about bass frequqncies here, and that is a whole different animal.
Read the article - key words are resonant frequency of the cabinet. As the speaker approaches the cabinet's resonant frequency, it doesn't have to exert the cone as hard (more below). Also the cm^3 of a cone is related to the frequency response of a cabinet - the resonant frequency of a cabinet is dependent on the volume of air moving inside. A larger cm^3 cone displacing more air volume will reach resonance faster a smaller cm^3 cone displacing less air volume. It's all physics - I studied them in college.

And finally, I quote from the article:

Quote:
If we have to move x cubic centimetres (cc) of air to reach y dB SPL at z Hz, we have to move 4x cc air to reach y dB at z/2 Hz.
Which is saying that as the frequency halves, you need to move 4x the cm^3 of air to equal the SPL of a flat response. By my argument and your article, due to design and physical limits a five inch speaker is not going to reproduce the same low frequency response of a ten inch speaker in open air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 51m0n View Post
<DELETED BY MODERATOR>
<DELETED BY MODERATOR>

You called it a complete fallacy to suggest that cone diameter has little to do with the frequency response of the cabinet. I knew better, you were challenged, and you own resources provided your rebuke. I make no apologies for correcting certain "myths" as I am tired of these things propogating the internet and tired of people who don't correctly interpret technical articles. I am an EE by trade and it is my responsibility to completely understand my craft, and I am not shy about correcting my colleagues. I also have 30+ years experience toying with speakers and cabinets for both stage and FOH applications.

Now let's talk about the cabinet itself. Both your articles place an emphasis on resonant frequency and internal air displacement channels of the cabinet. I do not dispute that cabinet design plays a large role in frequency response of a cabinet. What needs to be understood is that cabinet design and speaker cone size go hand in hand.

The Ampeg 8x10 SVT cabinet is a good example of this. The eight inch speakers were chosen not for the fundamental but for the HARMONICS of the bass signal. The cabinet itself is tuned to a resonant frequency at least an octave lower than the speakers and the eight inch speakers excite the resonance by means of symphatetic resonance. The same principle is illustrated when you pluck a harmonic on a guitar string and another string tuned an octave lower resonates in symphony of the harmonic. Also illustrated when microphone feedback occurs at a resonant frequency of a room.

If you were to put ten inch speakers in the same cabinet then the frequency response will be totally different because you now have a transducer that can better reproduce lower frequencies and thus the low end will be louder due to greater symphatetic resonance.

It's all physics. You'd do well to research some physics books instead of magazine articles.
Old 21st September 2011
  #20
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Real MC View Post
I did indeed read it and it provided proof of my original argument.

SNIP


It's all physics. You'd do well to research some physics books instead of magazine articles.
Reread my orginal post, it states that the diameter of the driver alone is not going to determine the frequency response of the cabinet. The fact is, it doesnt, there are a myriad other factors that you have to take into account. If that werent the case then all cabs with 10 inch cones would sound nominally the same. And they dont, not even close.

You yourself brought up the 810 fridge, a sealed cab designed in the days when it was simply beyond the capabilites of driver designers to produce high enough xmax drivers to cope with the output of an SVT - originally you were supposed to use 2 810s with one SVT.

There is very very little in common with the output of that cab and the output of an Acme low B2, which has far wider frequncy response than an Ampeg 810, it goes massively lower for a smaller volume cab, but the cost is the sensitivity, it takes huge amounts of power to drive it. Even then on its own it cant possibly attain the SPLs of the 810, it moves less air, and at deeper frequencies. But if you need to move more air, add more cabs and more power....

At the end of the day if you compare to speakers of different diameters on their own then yes you are right there will be a frequency response difference, but that isnt what we are talking about. We are talking about speaker cabs.

From your post someone may well incorrectly assume that you can determine the frequency response of a cab from the diameter of the speaker. Or even its final SPL. All I stated (correctly) was that that is not the whole story. If you look at the physics in that light it becomes obvious that that is the case.

As for :-

Under that logic, a cabinet loaded with eight 5-inch speakers would have the same frequency response and SPL as eight 10-inch speakers. Care to explain that one, Einstein?

You wouldnt expect the same SPL without another mitigating factor, XMAX could theoretically do that.

If we take the 810 in question to be an original Ampeg fridge, the drivers had an xmax around maybe 3 or 4 mm, and we load my theoretical cab with modern drivers, say with nice new shiny XBL motors in capable of an xmax around 13mm in some cases, then with enough wattage the same SPL could be derived, and with porting you'd get all the bass and more of an 810. Its not a sealed cab anymore, so the behaviour of the system as a whoel changes.

But its hocus anyway, because with that much surface area on the front baffle you would load the cab with more drivers (Check out the Phil Jones 21B cab) and not need as large an xmax, and still blow the old fridge away with more modern drivers which perform better those old ones did.

Downside would still be the power required to do it, and the weight would be insane. But my point stands, the driver diameter is not the determining factor, the design of the cab is at least as much to do with it.

You are nearly right when you say the cabinets design and the speaker diameter go hand in hand. In fact the cabinets design and the speaker design go hand in hand. There is more than one way to make a speaker move a lot of air, as you well know.

Oh and we can all pull an "I'm an engineer card" out of the hat if we need to, I'm an engineer too - woot woot - I read and dissemble specs for systems all day too. Are we having fun yet??
Old 21st September 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
To completely ignore the last few ranting posts...

Not every 15" is equal to every other 15" and that's for 10"s as well.
Some sound good, some don't. If you choose just because of the membrane surface you are asking the wrong questions. The enclosure is important, too - if not, nobody would use them ;-)
There ARE 15"s that are flabby and undefined and 10"s that sound just clanky...and the other way round. I have two TraceElliot 15"s that put most other bass cabs that come here to shame.
If you want something good sounding, get something good sounding and be prepared to spend a little money, whatever size the speakers are. If you want loud, you need to have cone area moving air. 2x15" is comfortable, but there is still an amp that needs to be up to snuff and.. and... and.

I also have a 2x15" Fender ... but I can't say how similar it is to yours. Mine has cheap speakers in a not-so-grand enclosure which adds up to a sound I can't find much use for. The cab still can be used as a gobo, something to put the pizza, to put some lyric sheets.... So what, I have many 4x12"s, 15"s, 10"s, 8"s, the lot. They waste space to look impressive. When people come here, they confuse mountains of gear with competence.
Old 21st September 2011
  #22
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by frans View Post
To completely ignore the last few ranting posts...

Not every 15" is equal to every other 15" and that's for 10"s as well.
Some sound good, some don't. If you choose just because of the membrane surface you are asking the wrong questions. The enclosure is important, too - if not, nobody would use them ;-)
There ARE 15"s that are flabby and undefined and 10"s that sound just clanky...and the other way round. I have two TraceElliot 15"s that put most other bass cabs that come here to shame.
If you want something good sounding, get something good sounding and be prepared to spend a little money, whatever size the speakers are. If you want loud, you need to have cone area moving air. 2x15" is comfortable, but there is still an amp that needs to be up to snuff and.. and... and.

I also have a 2x15" Fender ... but I can't say how similar it is to yours. Mine has cheap speakers in a not-so-grand enclosure which adds up to a sound I can't find much use for. The cab still can be used as a gobo, something to put the pizza, to put some lyric sheets.... So what, I have many 4x12"s, 15"s, 10"s, 8"s, the lot. They waste space to look impressive. When people come here, they confuse mountains of gear with competence.
Exactly!
Old 21st September 2011
  #23
Here for the gear
 
Little Pie's Avatar
 

My go to rig in the studio is an old Silverface Bassman 100 into an old EV single 15"...
Sounds big, fat and warm!!
Old 21st September 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 

Recently tried out the new Porta Flex with a 2x10 cab and a 1x15 cab. No comparison... went home with the 15 cab. Way more "bottom"
Old 10th October 2011
  #25
Hello reading up, I forgot I posted this one So it's a matter of taste if I may conclude.

I have recently replaced the fender cab speakers with neodynium high sensitiv speakers and boy they blast and do nice mids (even with only 100watt tube), I think it is really not comparable with the old 15 inchers I've played on. Furthermore I'm planning to enhance the mid frequencies by modifying the cab so it will take 2 6,5 inch drivers with 2 passive crosover to do the mid thing better.

Also notable, this freakin cab is 40 years old and replacing all the screws with thicker ones made the sound 200% better, at some screws I had to put a coppercable into it so the screw would tighten.
Old 12th October 2011
  #26
Gear Nut
I utilize a single 15 and a single 12 together. Killer sound. Run the signal through a tube pre/compressor to 900 watts to the 15 and through an RBI pre to another 900 watts to the 12. Light neo cabs from DR Bass. Versatile in that for a small gig or practice I can take just the 12 and a small Markbass head.
Old 12th October 2011
  #27
Gear Addict
 

Lots of self-righteous chest beating here but the bottom line is to keep trying until you find what works.

Currently I play through a Genz Benz shuttle 9.0 into an old SWR Goliath 4 X 10. It gives me all the volume, definition, punch, roundness and depth I need for almost all situations I play in.

I'm in two Afrobeat bands and a Reggae band, though, and am competing with lots of drums and horns...so I occasionally break out the Big Ben 1 x 18, which I much prefer to 15" cabs. Yet another bass player friend of mine swears by his two bag end 15" cabs...

Whatever works!
Old 21st October 2011
  #28
I do have 2 215 cabs, I'm satisfied with them, the only time I tought wauw this is good stuff was when playing a ampeg 410-hlf and a trace elliot 410 1000 watt, and offcourse the 8x10 from ampeg. I like the 215 'cause they are good to transport and sound very low end. I am curious for opinions on 2x15.
Old 23rd October 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
There's another factor in the size vs sound that most articles seem to ignore: the envelope of the sound. A quick illustration: the JBL D130F 15" speaker has a sensitivity of 105 dB 1w/1m, which is a solid twice the perceived loudness (and 8 times the power dissipation) of the best "modern" transducers. I put one in a JBL Casino ported cab and cranked up a 200w amplifier with some modern music. The bass was there, but the "thump" was missing. Same amp, same music, 12 and horn EV modern speaker cab and the thump was all over the sound.

Modern drivers tend to be inefficient but have long travel/big magnets that let them handle transients better than older ones. And smaller drivers handle transients better-there's generally less deforming of the speaker cone under high velocities. So, for low fundamentals, pillowy bass down to the limits of audibility a 15 or better and 18 is great. For hard, pumping bass favored by lots of modern artists, 10s work better. And has been mentioned, a combination of both probably gives you the best of both worlds. That and LOTs of power! Lose that Bassman 100 and find yourself a Fender PS450!
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