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Cab preference..Birch or Pine?

Preference between these two?

  • Birch

  • Pine


Results are only viewable after voting.

krall

Member
Messages
924
Preference? Reason why? I've pretty much always used older 60's Fender pine cabs (mostly Bassman's)..I've been offered to trade it for a modern Orange PPC 212 (2x12 closed back w/Celestion V30s)..I'm tempted because I like the look of the Orange cab and reviews indicates it a good one.. Two drawbacks..It's much wider and heavier than my Bassman cab (currently loaded with Webers)..

But, i'm overall curious what the members here prefer their cabs to be made of, wood-wise..
 
Messages
5,111
Guitar amp cabs are generally just empty boxes with little or no effort made in designing acoustic properties into them. I'd be more concerned with the performance of the speakers than the cabinet material, frankly.
 

krall

Member
Messages
924
I'd be more concerned with the performance of the speakers than the cabinet material, frankly.
True, but i've read that pine is more "flexible" than birch, and projects the sound differently. I've never had two similar sized (but different wood) cabs loaded with the same speakers side by side to A/B..
 
Messages
5,111
Ply is pretty rigid stuff whatever the wood used, and acoustically 'dead'-particulary in hefty guitar cabs. Remember we're not talking sophisticated hi-fi here, but hefty boxes built to be able to carry equally hefty speakers. Not much sublety involved.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,747
birch.
durable.
tested.

I figure 13 ply's of slow growth birch would be the most durable wood out there.
 

rhythmrocker

1966 Battle of the Bands
Messages
2,888
Pine. I like the resonance and light weight.
You might like it too after a lifetime of carrying around a Twin (my first inception) and/or a Stereo Rig with Mesa cabs stage left and right (my second inception) and/or setting up a full P.A. for the band (dual stereo amps, mains, separate AUX sends[3] for the monitors [separate 2x10 EAW monitors], mics, and love all those cables, blah blah.)

I like smaller & lighter things now, and so do my hips-but that's me.
 

mcdes

Member of no importance
Messages
7,549
Not to hijack, but if said cab was mic'd up close, would the wood the cab is made of have any influence on the sound at all??
 

dspellman

Senior Member
Messages
8,309
Neither wood has all that much to do with the final sound of the cabinet. You don't get traditional British Marshall sound out of a cabinet simply because it's birch plywood, nor does pine produce Fender. And just as surely, the plethora of plastic cabinets hitting the market in pro audio isn't use for its sound *production* properties.
As snakestretcher put it,
Guitar amp cabs are generally just empty boxes with little or no effort made in designing acoustic properties into them.
Woods, in guitar cabs, are chosen more for cost, strength and durability. Birch plywood is a reasonable choice for larger cabinets, pine's okay for smaller ones. If you're looking for lighter weight, look to the folks who have paid some attention to the construction itself. As an example, EAD and Barefaced Bass have been producing bass cabinets capable of output in the mid-130's dB and lows down to the 35Hz range (meaning, high volume and ported) using a pair of long-throw 12" speakers, a 6.5" mid and a tweeter for highs, and they've kept the weight down around 57 lbs. For a bass cabinet with those credentials, that's quite impressive. Bear in mind that these cabinets outshout a 4x12 (by lots) and weigh about a third to a half what a 4x12 runs (with speakers). These cabinets are capable of handling 750W - 1200w.

Pro audio speakers like the Carvin PM12A have 350-500W amplifiers built into a cabinet that holds a 12" speaker and a horn. The cabinets have fly points, stand cups and carry handles as well as external sound countrols. In this case the final weight is just 27 lbs and the cabs are drop tested to 8 feet without damage. Plastic shells. And yet they'll reproduce British Marshall sound and American Fender sound just fine.
 

pedalcr8z

Member
Messages
3,444
Has it not been stated by the most notable of Tweed builders that finger joined pine cabs add to the 3 D swirly effect? :huh
With that said my Rambler (which I believe is a birch cab?) also possesses that quality.
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
5,924
I am sorry break it to these folks, but the goals and uses of full range speaker systems and bass guitar cabinets is not at all similar to what happens in lead guitar cabinets and the sounds they produce. The wooden boxes they are in make a big difference. The tones in my Marshall 1960TV are not to be found in any full range speaker system or any bass guitar rig. Those systems need the boxes out of the way when they are pushing these high output/high wattage drivers, guitarists require the box to provide much of the resonance and dispersion.

Lets compare, I have a 15 watt speaker and a 30 watt speaker in a box that weighs about 42 pounds. If I let my 40watt guitar amp pummel this with all its got, you can't hear a drum set or bass player (500watts into 2x15) or PA system (800watts for vocals keys and kik snare), but if I turn down to almost the minimum and just use my pedals to get there, everyone is OK. I think the birch cabinet is doing just fine, thank you. Please show me the guitarists with tube amps using plastic cabinets, with the onstage pics to prove it (AXEFX doesn't count).
 

jimpridx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,532
In open-backed cabinets, there is clearly a sound difference between pine and birch, especially in larger cabs. A broad-ranged speaker that enhances the low end will also enhance the natural overtones of pine in a larger cabinet more so than birch ply, but it's not as noticeable in smaller cabs. My general rule of thumb is to use pine or birch for smaller cabs based upon preference, but in larger cabs it's usually better to use birch ply not only for the sake of stability and strength, but for reducing the inherent overtone qualities of pine as well.
 

eddie101

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,655
Subscribed! I'm in the market for 1x12 cab but can't decide whether I should go with birch or pine. Good thread!
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,243
As with just about everything gear-related...it depends.

Birch ply for closed back and larger cabs, pine for open back an smaller cabs. Pine is just contributes "too much tone" to use in a bigger, closed back cabs. IME, it has its own sonic orientation and can interfere the speakers or amp's sound in a negative way. In those kinds of cabs, I prefer birch ply because it's more sonically neutral.

But in smaller or open back cabs, pine rules, IMO. Sounds more lively, warmer and often bigger.
 

krall

Member
Messages
924
As with just about everything gear-related...it depends.

Birch ply for closed back and larger cabs, pine for open back an smaller cabs. Pine is just contributes "too much tone" to use in a bigger, closed back cabs. IME, it has its own sonic orientation and can interfere the speakers or amp's sound in a negative way. In those kinds of cabs, I prefer birch ply because it's more sonically neutral.

But in smaller or open back cabs, pine rules, IMO. Sounds more lively, warmer and often bigger.
What would be your opinion on my closed back Bassman 2x12? Would you consider it a "smaller" cab?

It sounds great with the Marshall, btw..But the other guy wants it to pair with his Fender amp..And if the birch Orange cab is as good/better, I might do the trade..(due to distance between us, I cannot A/B them)
 

eddie101

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,655
As with just about everything gear-related...it depends.

Birch ply for closed back and larger cabs, pine for open back an smaller cabs. Pine is just contributes "too much tone" to use in a bigger, closed back cabs. IME, it has its own sonic orientation and can interfere the speakers or amp's sound in a negative way. In those kinds of cabs, I prefer birch ply because it's more sonically neutral.

But in smaller or open back cabs, pine rules, IMO. Sounds more lively, warmer and often bigger.
Have you tried mahogany (1x12 cab as shown below) then? It sure looks pretty but does it sound, uh, pretty?


 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,243
What would be your opinion on my closed back Bassman 2x12? Would you consider it a "smaller" cab?

It sounds great with the Marshall, btw..But the other guy wants it to pair with his Fender amp..And if the birch Orange cab is as good/better, I might do the trade..(due to distance between us, I cannot A/B them)

I had one...hated it. But I don't recall if that was mostly because of the farty old Oxfords or because of the cab...I wound up putting some JBLs in it but this was a looooong time ago and I don't quite remember. But if I was building a cab like that today, I'd probably make it from birch ply.

In fact, I did make a 2x12 cab from birch ply a few years ago, but I modeled it after my AC-30, which was a bit bigger and open back (has two pretty good-sized rear baffles with about 5" gap between them). This is a GREAT sounding cab. My favorite 2x12.
 

rockonomics

Member
Messages
516
I think you'll find that modern pine cabs use birch ply for the baffle and back. So this thread isn't really beneficial. Birch ply is usually the cheapest plywood available and quite often the outer layers are the only part that is birch with the rest being whatever is left over and cheap.
 




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