help a bass player... - the effect of speaker size

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help a bass player... - the effect of speaker size

Postby DeadPoet » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:01 pm

Hello all,

I'm involved in a rather heated discussion on the talkbass forum... A user asks the question on how do different bass cabinets sound different..

My input:
Every diameter has its own sound as well. It is all a matter of preference, but a 12" will sound a bit more nasal / has more 'bark' (to my ears) than a 10". A 15" has a resonance even lower than a 12" so it will seem to 'go lower' than a 12 or 10.

Also there's the speed of the speaker to consider: a 15" has more surface to move thus will respond slower to your playing than a 10".

For what I do I prefer the sound and response of 10" drivers, followed by a single 15" with the 12" being my least preffered sound. Don't get me wrong, playing through 12" or 15" cabs makes me play a certain way or certain styles/genres, it's that a 4x10 or 2x10 is a more versatile cab *to me*.

...but that is all *very* personal and depending on your own needs and taste. It is also an acquired taste imho. Choose a cab or speaker size, learn it well and after a year (or more) get another cab on loan or so and check out the differences.


And this one guy claims the absolute thruth is:
No, diameter of a speaker does not affect it's sound, other factors do. The only factor affected by diameter is how much treble and mid you don't hear off axis, and even then configuration of the speakers in the box is generally an overriding factor (like a 4x10 is worse off axis than a 1x15).

And then again someone else about speaker 'speed' (I should have written transient response, my bad):
This, IMO, is pure fallacy. The human ear cannot detect reaction "speed" of different diameter drivers. To hear some tell it, you would have to play ahead of the beat if using 15"s or 18"s. (LOL!!)

Would any of the enlightened people on this board educate me (and the others there) on this subject?

(original thread: )

Thanks in advance,
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Location: Belgium

Re: help a bass player... - the effect of speaker size

Postby Scott R. Foster » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:33 pm

My $0.01

A speaker [a box plus a driver plus maybe some horn loading] can do damn near anything you want regardless of driver diameter - driver diameter in and of it self is not defining as you describe it.

In the real world there are typical characteristics that come with most musical instrument cabs that one could from experience apply to driver diameter with a high liklihood of accuracey - but all these presumptions can be false in the case of a well executed speaker design. Thus tagging absolutes onto speakers with a given diameter set of drivers isn't necessecarily true given smart design. 10's can be stellar low freqeuncy performers in the right box & 15's can be way too honky in the mids!

There are limitations brought by driver diamter per freqeuncy that changes the smoothness of off axis performance - absent some form of horn and/or eq of the input.

If Bert replies ignore everything I just said and listen to him instead.
Scott R. Foster
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:41 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL USA

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