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ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/3/13 3:14 p.m.

This is part of a larger "Oh, crap, I need to rethink my whole amplification setup" morass, but for starters, what differences and how extreme are the differences between using a 2x12 and 4x12 cabinet?

I've been playing a 2x12 combo (Fender Twin Reverb), but will be switching to a head unit (as yet unknown) and importantly, a closed back cabinet to get the tighter response I want.

We will probably never play very large venues, though we could end up playing a parking lot. I have a vague notion from reading that one of the big differences of the four-speaker cabinet is what it sounds like further from the stage, and also that moving more air can make it easier for me to hear myself in situations with minimal/no monitor for guitar... Not to mention the drummer, who I'm not sure could hear me at all last time out since the stage more or less dictated putting him perpendicular to my amp (there's no complete cure for that, I'm sure...)

Thanks for any insights, observations, recommendations about the 2/4 question and any thoughts on best bang for buck in cabinets...

ditchdigger
ditchdigger SuperDork
8/3/13 4:48 p.m.

Lets face it. When you are playing live at any decent venue your volume will be pretty low and they will only be mic'ing one speaker anyway so a 2X12 is more than enough.

You have a tablesaw. DIY a pair of 2X12's that are stackable. You get the cool look of a half stack, the portability of smaller lighter pieces and the option of taking only one if you need to.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/3/13 4:52 p.m.

My tablesaw is in many pieces waiting for the woodshop, which is waiting for the garage...

That said, any links for good sources for plans or at least important details? Or is it as simple as just building a nice, solid plywood box with no rattly bits and sound wiring and there's nothing more? I mean, I'm sure there are flame wars over the correct enclosed volume and distance between front and back wall and so forth, but... I've got bigger problems

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/3/13 7:57 p.m.

I've played through a 4x12 for most of my life. Currently a Peavey driven by an old 70's Fender Dual Showman. It's loud. Really effin' loud. Partly due to the head being a 120 watt all tube amp with no master volume and partly because 4 12" speakers move a lot of air.

I'm planning to build a 2x12 closed back cabinet for better portability and lower air volume when playing in smaller rooms - like my house. My plan is to get grill cloth to match the silver sparkle of the head, although i won't do so far as to add a Fender logo. I'll probably swap the grill cloth on the Peavey as well (along with a logo delete).

What kind of music do you play? Do you play live? While I never went so nuts as to use a full stack on the tiny stages we played, there was a feeling I got using the half-stack that I just didn't get playing through 2x12 combo amps when playing the pseudo-industrial rock we played.

As far as design - A quick bit of Google-ing turned up this interesting design: http://www.billfitzmaurice.com/XFCabs.html. Not traditional, but does address issues often associated with guitar cabinets. $15 for the plans doesn't sound too bad.

petegossett
petegossett UberDork
8/4/13 8:41 a.m.

As a bass player, please get a 2x12!

Ok, kidding aside, what kind of music/tone? If you're relying on gain to get the tone you need, your bandmates will probably be appreciative of the 2x12. Next question - do you really want/need to lug a 4x12 around?

At one point my bass rig consisted of a Mesa Boogie rack-mounted tube bass head(heavy) through a 4x10 cabinet(not too heavy) AND a Marshall JCM 800( heavy) through a HiWatt 4x12 guitar cabinet(very heavy)...ok, in hindsight that might have been a bit overkill. My point being, at the time it seemed cool/like a good idea, but I sure didn't need it. Now I play through the 4x10 - although I've upgraded the casters so it will roll over rough terrain - and a GK 800RB that's about 20lbs.

Ok, and I'll drop a plug for a local business. If you're interested in something boutique, check out Rossville Sound Werx.

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave MegaDork
8/4/13 11:22 a.m.

My back hurts too much / I'm too old / my ego is in check enough that I no longer want / need big gear. I used to rock an Eden 4x10 on top of a Carvin 18, all powered by a Hartke 7000. At some point that became just the 4x10. Then I traded it for a Boogie 2x10. Realizing that the bass guitar rig just sounded like crap with an upright, I recently picked up a Carvin MB110 combo (200 watts, single 10" speaker, and 27# all in) and I berkeleying love it.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/4/13 2:46 p.m.

Super-quick version of background before I lose my afternoon...

I love my Twin Reverb, and have a long-standing love affair with surf and rockabilly type stuff and the associated gear, but it's not what I actually usually play. My current band is basically the same band I was in twelve years ago all over again. We're nominally "punk"; we play a few covers, a couple of Hanson Brothers tunes and a Riverdales tune. Our original stuff tends to sound like guys who don't exactly know how to write a song but listen to a mishmash of pop punk, a lot of Devo, metal, and some of the nervous post-punk stuff (999, Buzzcocks, etc...). We'd probably sound more like Devo than we do if we were more competent, but we aren't, so we don't.

We tend to play small venues, sometimes without any additional guitar amplification. The somewhat-larger places tend to mic the amps anyhow.

We recently did some recording, which is how it was cemented for me that the Twin wasn't what I should be using. During the recording process, I ended up playing through a little Vox AC4TV plugged into a Marshall 4x12 cabinet (which sounded epically better than the Vox's own combo speaker), and I really liked that (though obviously it wouldn't be up to a good sized room on its own at 4 watts). In the end, our friend/engineer/producer ended up using other software amps with the signal directly out of my guitar for what wound up in the songs, so the Vox isn't recorded anywhere, it's just what I heard while I was playing (along with my trusty ProCo Rat pedal).

This of course opens up into the rest of my dilemma, since I need a head unit as well. I kinda figured I'd try to find a cabinet since there's less variation, and the 2 vs 4 speaker thing seemed like a good question to answer. Once I had that, I figured I could use my actual cabinet to play candidate head units through. My bassist more or less thinks I should just get a Marshall (JCM 800?) and be done with it. It's the guaranteed will-sound-pretty-darn-good answer.

We also haven't really figured out how the bass and guitar will sound best together. Bassist would love to sound like Rob Wright from NoMeansNo/Hanson Brothers, but probably won't be trading in his Trace Elliot any time soon, and hasn't gotten around to playing with adding in any external distortion. I guess it's crazy to get into trying to figure out what guitar tone would work well with something he hasn't done yet and may not muck around with soon...

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/4/13 4:10 p.m.

Out of a desire to be different, I resisted a Marshall JCM for years and went through a number of amps - early Carvin X100B, Fender Dual Showman w/ assorted pedals (which I still have) and an ADA MP2/Microtube 200 rack set-up (also still have). Right now, as I'm trying to get back into playing, I'm looking at one of these: http://www.xacttone.com/atomic.html since it seems it'll work well with the Dual Showman head I have now. And since have no intention of ever getting rid of the Fender, if a pedal can get the same Marshall JCM tones I'm looking for without adding yet another amp to my collection (and do it for less $$$), I figure it's worth a shot.

My old bass player would agree with yours - just get a JCM and be done.

dabird
dabird Reader
8/4/13 4:41 p.m.

just get a ts9 tube screamer and use it with the twin. I've used the combo a lot over the years and that should be fine for the type of music you're describing.

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave MegaDork
8/4/13 4:45 p.m.

I know that early digital stuff was to be reviled, but i heard a line 6 combo not long ago that was amazing. Want a vox, set it to vox. Want a rectifier, set it to rectifier. It did an amazing job of nailing various tones.

That does remind me though of the other half of the equation. There's tone and there's "oh my god I can feel it in my chest". A small amp may have a great tone, but nobody is going to accidentally E36 M3 themselves in front of a small amp. For that you need to move air and nothing moves air like a boogie 4x12.

fritzsch
fritzsch HalfDork
8/4/13 5:36 p.m.

I don't have much to add, but I was looking into building a subwoofer enclosure for my car if I ever wanted to have a sound system. But if you want to make it yourself, one of the pretty critical things most sites mentioned was the enclosure volume, the other dimensions are not so important, but the air volume is. So don't just throw up 6 sides and cut a hole in it, a little math with go a long way.

poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/4/13 6:06 p.m.

Having just loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and loaded (too berkeleying tired to unload right now) my Carvin 4x12, I'd say stick w/the smallest thing you can get away with!

grafmiata
grafmiata SuperDork
8/4/13 6:47 p.m.
poopshovel wrote: Having just loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and loaded (too berkeleying tired to unload right now) my Carvin 4x12, I'd say stick w/the smallest thing you can get away with!

Exactly.

And the guy behind the FOH board will thank you, and buy you beers and shots.

I would persoannly go with a closed-back 2x12's. Easier on that body to move, and more "modular" as far as running one or two, depending on the venue.

Mic one for the FOH, and have another stage-opposite, angled towards the drummer. The effects of this are twofold... First, it gives you a bit more stage-volume for yourself, and it will piss your drummer off. Double win!!!

ditchdigger
ditchdigger SuperDork
8/4/13 10:03 p.m.
fritzsch wrote: I don't have much to add, but I was looking into building a subwoofer enclosure for my car if I ever wanted to have a sound system. But if you want to make it yourself, one of the pretty critical things most sites mentioned was the enclosure volume, the other dimensions are not so important, but the air volume is. So don't just throw up 6 sides and cut a hole in it, a little math with go a long way.

That is all true and good for hifi audio type stuff but guitar amps are a different beast altogether. With a subwoofer or home audio speaker cabinet you are trying to get as accurate representation of the recorded sound as possible so you want acoustically dead boxes that will not color the sound. With guitar amps it is very much the opposite. You will never see the heavy particle board boxes with porting and baffling in a guitar rig. They will be plywoods solid softwoods and that ring and add tonal variations to the emitted sound.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/5/13 7:51 a.m.

In reply to ditchdigger:

Yep. Big difference in the guitar world between "audio-correct" and "tone-correct" and often the two conflict. Hell... that's why old vacuum tube technology is still the norm.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
8/5/13 8:03 a.m.

I'd go for a 2x12 but I've never played any real gigs, just jamming with some buddies. I've got a 100 watt SS Hughes & Kettner Attax 80 with a Fender 4x12 cabinet.

One thing to consider is the sensitivity of the speakers. Disregarding how the multiple speakers react together to alter the overall sensitivity, if you pump 1 watt into a 85 db/w/m and a 95 db/w/m speakers, the latter speaker will sound twice as loud.

As for another head, if you liked the small single ended Vox, look for a larger single ended design.

madmallard
madmallard HalfDork
8/5/13 11:01 a.m.
Ian F wrote: As far as design - A quick bit of Google-ing turned up this interesting design: http://www.billfitzmaurice.com/XFCabs.html. Not traditional, but does address issues often associated with guitar cabinets. $15 for the plans doesn't sound too bad.

This designer is a bass player himself

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/5/13 11:40 a.m.
poopshovel wrote: Having just loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and loaded (too berkeleying tired to unload right now) my Carvin 4x12, I'd say stick w/the smallest thing you can get away with!

You need these: http://www.metalsucks.net/2013/07/10/will-people-please-shut-up-about-the-fake-amps-on-stage-debate/

Jake
Jake Dork
8/5/13 2:37 p.m.

A 2x12 is plenty. Anything more is just for show (see also, above link), and honestly the main reason I’d say you even need a 2x12 is so your head doesn’t look weird sitting on top of it. :D

petegossett
petegossett UberDork
8/5/13 2:55 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote:
poopshovel wrote: Having just loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and loaded (too berkeleying tired to unload right now) my Carvin 4x12, I'd say stick w/the smallest thing you can get away with!

You need these: http://www.metalsucks.net/2013/07/10/will-people-please-shut-up-about-the-fake-amps-on-stage-debate/

I think I'm going to make some very poor copies out of random cardboard boxes for our next show.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/5/13 4:10 p.m.

Wandered into a couple of local music shops while waiting for service on the WRX (that thing's going to be so documented when I sell it ), and am running into one semi-expected thing: there was one semi-suitable 2x12 cab between the two shops...

Here's another cab question: What distinguishes a cheap Marshall from a nicer one? There were a couple of MG412s (angled and not) in the $125-$150 range... Just cheap speakers, upgradeable later? Or is there inherent crappiness in the build quality that hamstrings them in the long term? Or is it just dumb to look at budget stuff like this that will just leave that need to upgrade hanging over my head?

RossD
RossD PowerDork
8/5/13 4:28 p.m.

I know nothing of Marshall stuff.

However, I tried selling my 4x12 cab and the guitar store said no one's buying them. It might just be the dream of being in a hair band with twenty 4x12 cabinets stacked behind you is going out of fashion. I notice the vintage tube combo amps going for twice the 4x12 cabinets and sometimes with the SS heads included! The times they are a changin'.

nervousdog
nervousdog HalfDork
8/5/13 10:21 p.m.
ransom wrote: Here's another cab question: What distinguishes a cheap Marshall from a nicer one? There were a couple of MG412s (angled and not) in the $125-$150 range... Just cheap speakers, upgradeable later? Or is there inherent crappiness in the build quality that hamstrings them in the long term? Or is it just dumb to look at budget stuff like this that will just leave that need to upgrade hanging over my head?

Marshall MG cabs are made from MDF and come with "Celestion" speakers made just for that application. Only 8 ohm.

JCM 800/900 and 1960 cabinets are made from Baltic Birch Plywood and came with Celestion G12T-75's. Starting in the 80's they were switchable between 16 ohm or 4 ohm mono and 8 ohm stereo. Most tube amps are 16 ohm. These are what most people think of when they think of the Marshall sound.

1960's can also be had with G12 Vintage 70 or 25 watt G12M Greenbacks (think Angus Young) but you are going to PAY for those variations.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/6/13 6:43 a.m.

IMHO, Marshall cabinets use really cheap hardware - plastic handles, corner protectors, etc. As far as I'm concerned, a box is a box for the most part, and as long as the speakers are good (Celestion or equivalent) then I'd argue the player will be more of a difference.

I just remembered Carvin sells a 2x12 cabinet for a reasonable price: $299 + $30 shipping. Realistically, once you buy decent speakers and the hardware & materials, duplicating it wouldn't cost much less, if any. Plywood construction, made in the USA.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/6/13 10:19 a.m.
Ian F wrote: <snip>as long as the speakers are good (Celestion or equivalent) then I'd argue the player will be more of a difference.

Well, yes, there's that whole playing-the-guitar thing I should be concerning myself with...

I just remembered Carvin sells a 2x12 cabinet for a reasonable price: $299 + $30 shipping. Realistically, once you buy decent speakers and the hardware & materials, duplicating it wouldn't cost much less, if any. Plywood construction, made in the USA.

Oo! That's pretty compelling... Even if I had my table saw set up, project time is thin on the ground. The X100B half stack is pretty compelling as a complete solution; though I don't need 100W. The V3M is interesting, too. Wonder where I can play one... Wish they made an X50B.

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