2 x10" vs. 1 x 12" ??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by hepmike, May 27, 2005.


  1. hepmike

    hepmike Member

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    first let me say that there have been some other posts recently where the question was asked "do you prefer a head/cab, or a combo" and it seemed to me more people indicated a preference for the head/cab setup. i don't understand this- from a gigging standpoint (unless we're talking about a combo that is freakishly heavy, such as Rivera's) i've always subscribed to keepin' 'em small & loud. Why? when you're playing a club that's only going to throw 1 SM57 in front of 1 of the speakers in your 4x12 cab anyway, what's the point of hauling it? sure it would sound better to you, you'd get more "mid-range swirl" for stage monitoring, but i don't see how any of that translates to any difference in sound out in the club?
    i suppose if you're playing a club so small that they don't even mic your cab, "filling things out" with a multiple speaker setup makes sense...but i digress.

    my real question is this- what are your personal ideas about 1 x 12 combos (or cabs) vs. 2 x 10's? i realize that the type of amp, speakers, the way it's setup, etc. will influence this, but in perfectly constant conditions, which is preferred and why? 2 x 10's move more air, right? but (as a negative) wouldn't they generally also be brighter than 1 x 12"? i've never found a good combo of 10's that could get as 'round' as 1x12; they always seem to be way too bright and loose in the bottom.

    the reason i ask is i saw a posting on HC for a Bad Cat 2x10 the seller indicates "Smokes" the 1 x12, and while i'm aware this is likely hyperbole, i was wondering if anyone else agreed with this generalization...
     
  2. lanesmat

    lanesmat Member

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    I went to the trouble of hacking up my Rivera Jake combo by plugging up the 12" baffle hole and cutting it for 2x10s. I love the improvement (for my sound) and was well worth the effort.

    I found the 12" V30 I had in the amp too midrangy/bright/harsh for my taste on the Fender channel. I just love that Super Reverb vibe, and the 10's just do it for me. If I wanted more of the Fender Deluxe kind of sound (which is what it was orginally IMO), then a 12 would still be the way to go. The 12" Celestion V30 works pretty good for the Marshall channel, but I still like the punch the 10's give me on this channel better.

    One other thing, I think 2x10's will have a more "3D" or "open" sound, if you will, than a single 12". I hear that also in my rig. OTOH, a 2x12 probably would give you same "3D" thing.

    There are certainly strong opinions on this, but I've been a 10" fan for many years, so I could just be stubborn :rolleyes:

    Scott L.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>my real question is this- what are your personal ideas about 1 x 12 combos (or cabs) vs. 2 x 10's?<<

    I've owned and gigged with both (in my case head and cab combinations, which I prefer for reasons I will discuss below), and while I have a few opinions, I don't think one is "better" than the other; they're different.

    While a 2 x 10 cab will have more surface area than a 1 x 12, thereby reinforcing certain frequencies, a 10 inch speaker has a different frequency response from a 12 inch speaker. These response differences are going to show up regardless of whether you double up on the ten inchers or not. And of course, the response curves are going to vary quite a bit from speaker to speaker.

    Ten inchers can indeed go very low; I had a Mesa 4 x 10 bass cab that sounded deep as hell; however, most of the ones I've played for guitar, however, aren't designed to have a lot of low end. Instead, they're designed with more midrange punch. This is a deliberate choice on the part of speaker manufacturers, who want to offer ten inch speakers, not as a "lesser" speaker than a twelve, but as a tone alternative. Nothing wrong with selling a player a 12" cab AND a 4x10 or 2x10 cab for reasons of tonal variety, eh?

    In the context of a band, a nice punchy midrange sounds great with the right amp. I had a Mesa Blue Angel paired with a Mesa 210, loaded with alnico magnet speakers that was absolutely fantastic, IMHO, a great combination with that amp.

    Then again, the average 12 inch guitar speaker goes fuller range, has less of a mid punch, and often is designed with more of a low end punch coupled with an upper midrange/high frequency spike. So the resulting tone is going to be different. Not better, not worse, just...different.

    On to the issue of combos v cabs - again, personal choice. I like heads and cabs for these reasons:

    1. I can mix and match speakers to gig/session needs. If I'm doing a rock track, I'm probably going to use a different speaker than I would with a blues track, or a jazzy track, etc. In fact, this is exactly what I do.

    2. I can keep the head in the control room of my studio, and run a speaker cable into the recording booth where the cab could be miked up. This makes a lot more sense to me than running back and forth from room to room while operating my recording rig, though to some degree I do lose that guitar pickup/speaker/feedback interaction (I get a little of it from my monitors, it isn't quite the same though).

    3. If I'm going to gig/do a session, I would rather make two trips with two lighter pieces of gear than one heavy one. This is the deal breaker for me with combo amps.

    4. The head/cab is easier on tubes (vibration).

    5. If one breaks and needs repair, I still have the other to use.

    6. Finally, I can sell/trade a head and keep a cab I like, or vice-versa. I have often done this.

    The truth is, however, that you can of course do all of this with a combo amp, using an external speaker out. Since this is purely a matter of personal preference, I'm not trying to tell you the head/cab is a better thing than a combo. Just explaining my preference.

    :)
     
  4. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    In general I've really disliked 2x10 combos.
    I really liked my 2x12 combo.
    I would rate the 1x12 combo in between the 2x10 and 2x12 for my personal preference.
    But .. a 2x12 is huge and heavy!
    Now besides that I do think that seperate cab design might do a better job.
    I have a Burt V2x10 that is incredible and a Mad Sound Detuned 1x12 that is even more awesome!
    But I also had a 1x12 Bogner Cube that was a sorry excuse for a cab compared to those two.
    Who knows .. It might just be a case by case thing :D
     
  5. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I don't think I can formulate a general response to the 2x10 vs. 1x12 question. There are too many variables. Maybe i'd be able to say which I preferred if the choice were down to one particular pair of cabs, but even then I'd probably have to try them with a variety of heads before making a decision.

    I also prefer head and cab configurations, for all the reasons cited above, plus the fact that I tend to prefer the sound of closed back cabs. Closed back combos do exist, but they're relatively rare.
     
  6. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    Say I have two identical dual EL84, 18W, non-MV combo amps, with the only difference being one has a single 12", and the other has two 10"s. With the volume and tone controls set at noon, which one would/should have more volume than the other, even if it's only negligible? :confused:

    I realize there are many factors to the tone hitting one's ear, but I'm looking to buy one of these amps for home use and want to get the quieter one. I will be using a Hotplate with it, and plan to attenuate as little as possible, as I don't want it take too much tone away like it does when I attenuate heavily on my bigger amp.
     
  7. e-z

    e-z Member

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    I would say get the 1x12. I e-mailed Bob Burt about the 1x12 vs. 2x10 question. I mentioned that I would be using it for some gigging and some (home) recording. He recommended his 1x12 detuned cab. I have one on order. You should check out his stuff and let him know what you're looking for sound-wise. He can make you whatever you want.
     
  8. Madison

    Madison Member

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    I'm really on a 1x12 kick lately, a very quick & responsive setup. Using one loaded with a Vintage 30 closed back, and another one open back with a Cele Alnico Blue. Easy to transport and surprisingly good volume.
     
  9. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Actually I think he's getting a combo.
    In my experience the 2x10's were more "focused" or "directional" so it sounded better standing in front of it and a big drop off if to the side of it. 1x12 sounds more "expansive" to me and hits a larger area.

    Volume all in all I think 1x12 is louder then 2x10 but I can't say that for sure.
     
  10. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    Right you are!!!
    Thanks for insight on dispersion. Makes sense to me. Since this will pretty much be for home use and I'll be standing very near to it (and probably mostly in front of it), I guess the 2x10 would work fine.

    But I still would like to know which one in a combo puts out more volume and which puts out less (both with identical chassis and identical settings).
     
  11. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    Any help here? I realize the combo's cabinet will be different for each set, and the frequency response of each speaker is different, but I'd think one configuration would be louder than the other. Or would it?
     
  12. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    One more nod for a 1x12 over a 2x10. It's all a personal preference thing and this is my preference. I love the sound of a well tuned 1x12 open back enclosure!

    :)
     
  13. Tube Guy

    Tube Guy Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll see if I can help here.

    Although they're only indicative, manufacturers SPL figures will give you a reasonable indication. 2 10" speakers will have 3db more output than one.

    As an example, I have a Savage Macht 6W which has 2 Jensen 8" Alnicos, each rated at 92.5db (1watt, 1 metre). This give 95.5db total. This sounds way quieter than a typical 100db 12" yet does not sound honky as I would have expected and has reasonable bass. Even though I think a good 12" would sound better I am sold on the low volume of this combo.

    To get that fuller sound I have a Celestion Blue and a Heritage G12H which I intend to put into an open-backed 2x12. This will give 103db, fully 7.5db more than the 2x8, equivalent to running a 30W amp thru the 2x8s. I plan on trying a hotplate with this cab as well for extra volume options. I've already tried this setup by running my Savage into the speakers of a 65 combo and it sounded excellent. Throw in a speaker switcher and you have a unique alternative for the clean headroom vs middy lead tones combination (a bit like the Lonestar Special with its 30W and 5W switchable power amps).

    So back to the question: The answer is it depends on the ratings of each speaker. The 10" speakers I looked at recently were 100db and so would sound louder (twice the ampolifier volume) than a 100db 12".

    I'd highly recommend trying 2 8" speakers in a 1x12 cab as an option for volume flexibility/ reduction.
     
  14. Stevo57

    Stevo57 Supporting Member

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    What 8 inch speakers are in your Macht 6?
     
  15. hasserl

    hasserl Member

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    Just considering the size of the drivers isn't enough, this also depends on the efficiency of the drivers used. Two less efficient 10" will be less loud than one more efficient 12", and vice versa of course.

    Also, I don't agree with the idea stated above of two 10's being more directional than a single 12, IME it is the opposite. Two 10's will be more airy and open, while also having more of a punch. The 12 will be more directional, but 12's don't have that punch, or quick response, that 10's have.

    Ulitmately in your case I would look to which driver has the tonal qualities that best match the amp your going to use them with. You have a lot more choices in 12" drivers than 10". And with an 18 watt Marshall type amp I would be looking at a 12" cab so I could use some of those classis 12" drivers that sound so good with those amps.

    If you were looking to use them with a Fender style amp maybe the two 10"s would be a better fit.
     
  16. Tube Guy

    Tube Guy Silver Supporting Member

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    Hi Steve

    Jensen AlNico P8R-8 25W

    In a small 1x12 combo these do not have the honky sound you'd expect. However they do seem to affect the decay/sustain of notes - don't whether this is due to the cab or speakers though. Notes rang for longer with the Savage through the speakers in a London combo.

    I think a small 2x8 would make a great low-volume option as an alternative to an attenuator, especially if the main cab/combo is a 2x12.
     
  17. Dave B

    Dave B Exit... Dual Stage Left Silver Supporting Member

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    Hasserl,

    I had a non-MV Budda Twinmaster 2x12 combo with V30's for a few years and unloaded it when I got a DS30 head/1210 cab. I recently got rid of the Dual Stage and was thinking about going back and getting another Twinmaster.

    I know they made them in a 2x10 configuration with Mojotones, and a 1x12 with a V30. I'm looking to get the 'quieter' of the two when the volume is set anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up.

    I attenuated heavily with a Hotplate before. I used it like a MV (which it wasn't designed to do - l didn't know much back then), and didn't realize how much I was losing. I'd still use it to take some of the level down, but don't want to kill the signal and rob the tone like I did last time below the -16 dB line.

    So in my case, which do you think will be throwing off lower SPL's, the lone V30 or the dual Mojotones?
     
  18. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

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    I use a 2x10" cab with a Sundown head. The speakers are an Emi Ragin' Cajun and a Legend 105. This is a great combo of speakers, very full sounding, lots of bottom, yet they stay tight. They can both handle 75w each, so they hold up to the 100w amp with no problem. I don't play cranked anyway. It's darn loud too, both speakers have about a 100dB sensitivity level.

    Haven't noticed much directionality problems, I do play with the cab up on a stand tilted back. I like the sound of 2 10s!
     
  19. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    my experience has been the total opposite.

    2x10's are more present onstage, while 1x12's shoot the sound right out into the audience, nearly bypassing me.
     
  20. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    This sort of problem isn't necessarily due to it being a 12" speaker. It's possible to solve it with a different 12" speaker. I have two different 1x12 amps. One has the V30, the other an Eminence. The tonal character (in terms of frequency emphasis) is quite different between these two speakers, and it follows the speaker if I swap them between the amps.

    This may be speaker/cab dependent. I have a 1x12 and it is quite focused/directional.
     

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