Author Topic: Bass Cabs as Subs  (Read 5702 times)

RoadRanger

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Bass Cabs as Subs
« on: September 11, 2013, 03:19:15 PM »
I'm presently using my pair of 34 lb GK 212MBE 2x12 cabs powered at 600wrms each as subs when I don't need more. They are the 4 ohm versions and powered with a Behringer NU3000. The drivers 8 ohm neo 300wrms GK.

My "normal" subs are Danley TH-Mini's powered by that same amp bridged (about 1200wrms per cab). Those are 8 ohm single 12 tapped horn cabs about the same size but over twice as heavy :( . The driver is a non-neo 700wrms B&C .

This is a photo of the 212MBE's in action. Note that it was taken with a flash, the drivers are normally not that visible :) :



The monitors are made by Ramsdell Pro Audio in FL and are a custom made "cut down" version of their standard 10" coaxial model. The LF driver is a Eminence 250wrms and the HF driver is a PAudio. They are driven from a pair of Peavey IPR1600's. My amp rack has all three of the mentioned amps in a Gator GR-6S rack and weighs under 40 lbs !
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 03:34:38 PM by RoadRanger »

Greg C.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 12:52:29 AM »
They should certainly give you some extra low punch compared to tops only, but I suspect the low frequency extension is lacking relative to real subs.
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 01:30:30 AM »
They should certainly give you some extra low punch compared to tops only, but I suspect the low frequency extension is lacking relative to real subs.
Just looking for the 50-100Hz octave. Nothing much musical happens below that except in DJ music.

Greg C.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 03:09:52 AM »
They should certainly give you some extra low punch compared to tops only, but I suspect the low frequency extension is lacking relative to real subs.
Just looking for the 50-100Hz octave. Nothing much musical happens below that except in DJ music.

Oh I beg to differ :) There is quite a bit going on actually even with a good kick drum, 5 string bass, keys & synths, cajon, sound effect pads, etc. Subs with extension down into the lower 30Hz or even mid to upper 20Hz range add a whole new dimension to live sound reinforcement. The only reason why you didn't find subs before the late 80s that could that was because the amp power and driver technology wasn't available. Most of the big concerts you go to nowadays have subs capable of sub 30Hz performance for most types of music genres. Rock, country, punk, pop, even the easy listening crap use rigs with subs that go deep. Believe me, there's a huge difference in system impact on the rigs that don't go below 40Hz vs. ones that do. But nothing beats the power of the demonstration. When I moved to the town I'm in now and installed my system in the venue it lives in currently, people said I didn't need that much sub. I've done A/B demos for the local folks where I run the high pass on the subs from 25 Hz during sound checks up to 40Hz (my subs are usable down to ~23Hz with a box cutoff at 20Hz). The difference even playing Pink Floyd tracks is jaw dropping when you go down low.
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 03:27:00 AM »
I'll agree that recorded music does benefit (hence my comment about DJ music). Live music you can easily end up with mountains of mud. Plenty of (most?) bass players use rigs that have their -3db above 50 Hz, even those using 5 strings. I play bass and have no use for those nasty fundamentals. Most small club bands I see are mixed WAY too muddy. I'm often complemented on the clarity of my mixes - and yes, I do usually run "sub hot" with plenty of chest thumping kick (which is 70Hz+). I run a Maxxbass processor that gives me apparent extension down to 20Hz when running recorded music but generally bypass it during the live show:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_fundamental

Greg C.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 03:46:08 AM »
I'm often complemented on the clarity of my mixes - and yes, I do usually run "sub hot" with plenty of chest thumping kick (which is 70Hz+).

My subs are low passed at 50-60Hz, so most of that 70-80Hz mid bass attack is coming from my tops ;) I think the mud you speak off can happen with any rig and is not symptomatic of high quality subwoofers with very low frequency extension or making use of that extension. If find the biggest problems with mud outside of room issues has to due with poorly tuned systems and/or low quality subs with one note or resonance issue from poor design. Of course, the issue of preference always comes into play even with a good rig and some people simply don't like to feel that much low end or extension no matter how un-muddy it is. I can guarantee you most of my mixes (I say most because sometimes you can't help a poorly equipped or poorly trained band) are not muddy but sound and feel very powerful. Most of the bands and audiences love it. But I do it when it's appropriate. I don't crank the subs for old school blue grass (but i will for the young modern "blue grass"), I don't crank them when it's not what the artist wants or when I can sense the audience might not appreciate it. Other times, it's hammer them into limiting with the high pass off if that's what's called for. And for 5 strings bass, the low B sounds/feels amazing with good subs that have the headroom to reproduce the note cleanly.

I run a Maxxbass processor that gives me apparent extension down to 20Hz when running recorded music but generally bypass it during the live show:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_fundamental

While I agree psychoacoustics can be fun and useful at certain times, they're not a true substitute for moving real air. As the old saying goes, "there's no replacement for displacement." ;-)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 03:48:23 AM by Greg C. »
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 05:14:18 AM »
Well, I doubt you're carrying around a system such as you describe to the < 400 cap venues I'm typically in? And I'll re-iterate that the "gold standard" of bass rigs (Ampeg SVT w/8x10 cab) isn't flat below 50 Hz never mind down to the 32 Hz of that B string you're fond of ;) . I've yet to have any bass player complain about the LF extension of my PA. On the contrary they are happy that out front they can hear what note they are playing for a change. Heck, when providing for an ampless band all my monitors are HPF'd at 100 including the one(s) the bass player is using - the backwash off the "subs" fills in the 50-100 nicely :) . I will admit that in the privacy of my own home I'll occasionally play through my stereo solo which goes down to 20 and enjoy it but I'd never want that sound playing in a band as I'd not cut through - mud city :( .

RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 05:20:10 AM »
While I agree psychoacoustics can be fun and useful at certain times, they're not a true substitute for moving real air. As the old saying goes, "there's no replacement for displacement." ;-)
I disagree. I put a MaxxBass in a dance club install where they were blowing their subs every 2-3 months and not only did it "cure" that but now you can hear and feel those 25 Hz bass drops just fine that were inaudible before :) . Their subs are a pair of Cerwin Vega 18" folded horns which can't go below 50 Hz without damaging themselves.

Greg C.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 05:18:52 PM »
Well, I doubt you're carrying around a system such as you describe to the < 400 cap venues I'm typically in? And I'll re-iterate that the "gold standard" of bass rigs (Ampeg SVT w/8x10 cab) isn't flat below 50 Hz never mind down to the 32 Hz of that B string you're fond of ;) . I've yet to have any bass player complain about the LF extension of my PA. On the contrary they are happy that out front they can hear what note they are playing for a change. Heck, when providing for an ampless band all my monitors are HPF'd at 100 including the one(s) the bass player is using - the backwash off the "subs" fills in the 50-100 nicely :) . I will admit that in the privacy of my own home I'll occasionally play through my stereo solo which goes down to 20 and enjoy it but I'd never want that sound playing in a band as I'd not cut through - mud city :( .

I'm not trying to imply that what you're doing isn't good or not getting the job done - only that there is another world out there beyond the old school 40Hz cutoff. Let me ask you this: have you ever had the opportunity to mix on a high end powerful rig with deep subs? I'm not talking about anything Cerwin Vega (mediocre at best) makes. I'm talking about big stuff by companies like L-Acoustics, top end EAW, JBL Vertec, d&b AudioTechnik, etc. It's a real eye opener when you do. To me it was sort of like The Matrix - the world you never knew existed being revealed.
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 07:01:52 PM »
I'm not trying to imply that what you're doing isn't good or not getting the job done - only that there is another world out there beyond the old school 40Hz cutoff. Let me ask you this: have you ever had the opportunity to mix on a high end powerful rig with deep subs? I'm not talking about anything Cerwin Vega (mediocre at best) makes. I'm talking about big stuff by companies like L-Acoustics, top end EAW, JBL Vertec, d&b AudioTechnik, etc. It's a real eye opener when you do. To me it was sort of like The Matrix - the world you never knew existed being revealed.
In the rare cases where I'm in a room (or outside) where I'm not fighting room modes AND mixing a band that is modern rock I will punch in the MaxxBass and can get what you describe goin'. It just isn't appropriate for classic rock. Keep in mind it's rare where I can tune a system to the room - often I can't even soundcheck with the mains up (or even at all) :facepalm: .

Also my entire system fits in my Scion xA hatchback - the clientele I service can't afford to be paying me to own a truck or to even haul the trailer usually. My largest subs are Rog 186 18" folded horns that can keep folks back 15+ feet at full boogie, ~ 140db@1m :o . http://www.speakerplans.com/index.php?id=186horn

Different worlds you and I :) .
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 07:04:14 PM by RoadRanger »

Greg C.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 08:53:18 PM »
In the rare cases where I'm in a room (or outside) where I'm not fighting room modes AND mixing a band that is modern rock I will punch in the MaxxBass and can get what you describe goin'. It just isn't appropriate for classic rock. Keep in mind it's rare where I can tune a system to the room - often I can't even soundcheck with the mains up (or even at all) :facepalm: .

Also my entire system fits in my Scion xA hatchback - the clientele I service can't afford to be paying me to own a truck or to even haul the trailer usually. My largest subs are Rog 186 18" folded horns that can keep folks back 15+ feet at full boogie, ~ 140db@1m :o . http://www.speakerplans.com/index.php?id=186horn

Different worlds you and I :) .

Fair enough. But don't poo-poo my observations until you've had a chance to experience a full blown rig. I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised. Even A list classic rock bands are using these rigs to their fullest potential on a daily basis.
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 12:48:14 AM »
I've been to too many big "classic rock" concerts where they were mixed like them annoying "boom boom" cars that drive by shaking your windows. Sorry, that just ain't what older rock sounded like. OTOH I don't mind modern music mixed that way if that's what it is supposed to sound like. Also the venues I'm in generally frown upon you vibrating their bottles off the shelves LOL. YMMV.

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2013, 05:33:33 PM »
I've been to too many big "classic rock" concerts where they were mixed like them annoying "boom boom" cars that drive by shaking your windows. Sorry, that just ain't what older rock sounded like. OTOH I don't mind modern music mixed that way if that's what it is supposed to sound like. Also the venues I'm in generally frown upon you vibrating their bottles off the shelves LOL. YMMV.

This will be the last post I'll make on the subject. I'll submit that the reason "classic rock" sounded the way it did was not due to choice but rather limitations of the technology of the day. Both PA and vinyl records couldn't go that low. Records cut with frequencies down really low could cause the stylus to skate and skip on turntables. The Beatles had to really fight with EMI to get the high pass filter lowered when they went to master and still couldn't get everything the wanted. PAs of the day couldn't go down that low either. Many of the classic rock bands that tour now wished they could have had that extension and headroom that's available now. So though you may not like it as a matter of preference or because it's not the way you're used to hearing those bands, it doesn't mean that's the way the band wanted it to be. I've mixed a ton of bands over the years and still do. In many cases, the classic rock type bands like and want the extension. Some don't because they too wanted it to sound like days of old. It's all good either way.

My personal preference at shows of most relatively modern genres is to be able to actually feel the music, not just hear it. It puts me more in the moment when I get enveloped in the lows so long as it's not masking the tops excessively. To each their own.
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RoadRanger

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2013, 06:12:53 PM »
Most important frequencies for "feel" is the chest wall resonance at 50-100 Hz :

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Re: Bass Cabs as Subs
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2014, 12:59:12 AM »
I'm presently using my pair of 34 lb GK 212MBE 2x12 cabs powered at 600wrms each as subs when I don't need more. They are the 4 ohm versions and powered with a Behringer NU3000. The drivers 8 ohm neo 300wrms GK.

I used to do something similar. I had a pair of JBL JRX-125 mains (which for what I was doing sounded great on their own), and for larger rooms with raised stages, or outdoors, I added a pair of Avatar 212 bass cabs, each about 1/3 in from the sides of the stage, tucked along the front of the stage to use the floor and stage knee wall as a great big folded bass "horn." People loved it, and it sounded great. I was mixing almost all kinds of music, but mostly classic and alt rock. No mud, just thump.

I think the JBLs would go down to about 35Hz on their own, and that's about where the Avatars bottomed out, too. The JBLs were by no means flat that low, and the Avatars really helped to even out the range without really pushing amps too hard.

My current rig is a bit more modest -- a pair of 15+horn cabinets on sticks (Peavey PVX15) and a Mackie 18" powered sub. It rocks well enough, though the mains can sound a little boxy in some rooms if I'm not careful with the main EQ. The next audio project is to build a pair of 15" psuedo subs. I've designed the L-slot-ported boxes with a resonant frequency of about 30Hz, and the drivers I'll be using start their rolloff at about 40Hz. In theory, they should be pretty solid in the 40-100Hz range, and I'm expecting to cross over right around 100Hz or so.

I cart my PA gear around in a Hyundai Elantra Touring (i30), along with my keyboard rig. It's a tight squeeze, but I get it there! :)
Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.
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