The sound of a speaker cabinet is always produced by the combination of the enclosure AND the speaker!
Accordingly, speaker X may sound superb in cabinet Y but might deliver disappointing results when installed in cabinet Z.
Does a closed-back cabinet have more punch than an open-back cabinet ?
In a closed-back cabinet, the enclosed air volume counteracts the movement of the loudspeaker membrane, resulting in a more controlled cone action than in an open-back cabinet. This in turn usually produces a more defined (bass) response. However, the disadvantage is that the speaker membrane travels a shorter distance and will therefore move less air than it would in an open-back cab. This means that the closed-back speaker cabinet is “not as loud” as an open-back enclosure, and in particular, rolls off low frequencies much earlier. Thus, a closed cabinet has clearer bass reproduction than an open-back design, but sound pressure level and bass frequency content are lower.
But front-loaded speakers have more punch than rear-loaded speakers?
No. While there is a difference between front- and rear-loaded speakers, it is negligible as far as guitar and bass cabinets are concerned and really only discernible with measuring equipment. All claims to the contrary should be regarded as marketing hype.
Does the Tolex affect the sound of the cabinet ?
Every element of a speaker cabinet design has an effect on the sound, including the Tolex. But again, the differences are too marginal to be of consequence.
How does the grillcloth influence the sound ?
The type of grillcloth used can potentially have a significant influence. If it is very dense, high-frequency sound waves are absorbed to a greater extent – i.e. the speaker cabinet has less top end. A thinner grillcloth material, on the other hand, will absorb less high-frequency content.
Does the XL-Front affects the sound compared with the Standard Front ?
No. It just affects the look of the cab.
And what about the wood and its impact on the sound ?
Cabinet walls built out of thick and stiff wood (e.g. birch) will be less resonant, i.e. less prone to vibrate with the sound waves, than walls made of thinner or lighter kinds of wood (such as poplar).
The resulting sound impression is that rigid materials give cabinets a more defined and also more focused projection than softer materials, which in turn exhibit a more expansive, three-dimensional feel and softer-edged bass response.
The greatest advantage of low-density versus high-density wood – poplar and birch, in our example – certainly is reduced weight, which makes the poplar cab much more portable and easier on your back! It is also the main reason why many of our customers choose poplar cabinets.
Speakers wired in parallel or in series: Which is better ?
This is another question without a simple either/or answer. We recommend hooking up speakers in parallel as this results in less high-frequency damping than serial wiring, due to the parallel circuit’s impedance curve. On the other hand, overly bright speakers can be tamed down a bit by wiring them in series – then again, you could just roll off some highs using the tone controls on the amp.
Do loudspeakers need to be “broken in” ?
Generally speaking, loudspeakers can be used straight out of the box, but depending on the type, the speaker’s true voice will only fully develop over a certain “break-in” period. The simplest way to accomplish this is to play the speaker at moderate volume for several hours. We strongly advise against using other methods, such as treating the cone or surrounds, without in-depth knowledge of the processes involved. This can have an extreme impact on the speaker’s tone – for better or for worse.
AlNiCo, ceramic or neodymium ?
There are number of myths surrounding the different magnet types used in guitar and bass speakers, and many players swear by AlNiCo as the stuff that vintage sounds are made of. Yet theoretically speaking, this is essentially nonsense, given that flux is flux, no matter what generates it. Theoretically. However, it seems that speaker manufacturers aim to cater to these expectations by developing products that are consistent with the existing myths. So it might not be such a bad idea to look to this “guitarist lore” for some practical orientation, after all.
One of the main differences between the three magnet types besides the price is weight. Neodymium magnets are very light and can therefore be used to build extremely powerful, low-weight loudspeakers.
Mixed speaker configurations – What’s the deal ?
One musician will swear by it, the next one won’t. Loading a cabinet with different speaker types aims to compensate for one model’s weaknesses with the strengths of another. This can be successful, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. We believe it is better to use a single speaker type that delivers the desired sound to begin with. This also avoids certain problems that come with mixed configurations: For instance, how will you mic up the mixed speaker cabinet on stage, and how do you blend the different signals in the mix to replicate THAT sound?
And how do I find the right speaker ?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, and life isn’t made easier for any of us by the sheer number of different loudspeakers available on the market today. In a sense, there are too many. Most of us are overwhelmed by a vast selection of speakers that often sound very similar, if not (virtually) identical, and just have different labels on them… Then again, we’ll just have to live with it.
The descriptions of our speaker cabinets usually include a list of recommended speakers which will work well with the respective cab and which have a proven track record. It is a good reference point if you are not inclined to experiment.