Can't Decide... 4x12 Or 2x12?!


Silver Supporting Member
On the chance that the OP comes back: 4x12.

A Marshall 4x12 is the voice and look of hard rock/metal. It's a staple.

I have all kinds of amp options, but I will always retain a 4x12, until the day I die. I gig with one regularly, in all sizes of venues. I've never gotten flack for it. Not once. In fact, now that I think about, I've gotten more heat for showing up to gigs with a 1x12, even when that was perfectly adequate for the situation.

Tony Done

Welcome to the forum.

How loud are you going to play? Maybe someone else can comment on this, but I would have thought neither option would be the best for bedroom volume, unless you want to deafen yourself and your neighbours.
There are some meaty sounding 2x12s out there and with one you don't really feel you're short changing yourself in the least.

The general opinion may assume 2x12s inferior to 4x12s, but then it all comes down to the specific objects of comparison, I think.
I would recommend getting two 2x12’s. I find they give a nice full sound if you can spread them out a little. And you can experiment with different angles during sound check to see what works best for the room you’re in. Also it’s usually easier to move around.

But the bad thing is this is definitely the most expensive route. If you’re on a budget you’ll definitely get the most bang for your buck with a 4x12


Silver Supporting Member
Hey guys, I hope that ya'll can help me out. I am 17 and I am trying to decide if I should get a 4x12 or a 2x12.
The amp head that I am getting is an EVH 5150III EL34 50W Tube Head.
I know that I am going to be playing in some places that will be un-miced or miced, because I am just starting out with live gigs.
The main music I play is Metal.
Is the 4x12 worth the extra money?
If your main thing is Metal, you might want to consider a Diezel VH4 amp instead of the 50watt EVH.


Silver Supporting Member
Bought a 4x12 and din't care for it. I took the speakers and made two 2x12, one horizontal and one vertical.

Much happier now!


I vote 2x12s

PA systems are so good now, throwing a mic in front of them is just fine. Bands like Baroness and The Sword are loud/heavy and do it all with smaller cab set ups.

Other band mates should be taken into account as well. My buddy was a drummer and you could never hear him over the 3 amp stacks his mates were using (unless he had mics galore on his set up). Granted he always played real light/soft. Just something to think about.

Personal preference wins out in the end though.


Silver Supporting Member
I'd go with the 2x12. I had a 4x12 a long time ago. Money was tight and I had to sell it. When the time came to put together a new gigging rig I decided to try a 2x12 and have been much happier. It's way lighter, takes up less space, and sounds great.

A 4x12 seems like it would be cooler, and maybe it is if you have roadies and are playing giant venues, but I thought it was a pain in the butt.


I have both, but use the 412 the most. I keep trying to bond with a 212, but the 412 always sounds better to me. Volume isn't the issue. Both can be played quietly or to loudly.
It really comes down to how easy is it for you to haul a large cabinet around. If you have lots of stairs I would look to something smaller. And if you get a 412, get some wheels on it. It really isn't a pain to move around at all then, and you can use it to roll in some of your gear.


2x12 is the correct answer. I own both but unless I decide to join a Kiss tribute band a 4x12 is ridiculous. First off 4x12 don't start projecting correctly till about 20 to 30 feet and is totally wasted and inefficient in a small club. Trust me you will look like an asshole.
I'll put my Friedman 2x12 or Glaswerks 2x12 up against my 68 Marshall or mid 70's or any of the numerous Bogner 4x12's I've owned over the years. Most of the stacks you see live are dummy cabs and they mic up a smaller cab behind the stage. Used Orange 2x12's go for $400.00 and my Friedman was about $700.00 new. 4x12's came about because of weak PA's back in the 60's . Pete Townsend approached Jim Marshal about making a louder cab and the 4x12 was born.


Depends on a lot of factors so no simple one size fits all answer. Do you need to transport it and how often?Stairs? Do you have help at home loading? Vehicle size. Speaker wattage.
I have a 4x12 with greenbacks because at 25w you need 4 to handle some amps. If I were using V30’s I’d go 2x12. Just got a 1x12 Orange for use with smaller heads and easy carrying and have a 2x12 also bit if I had to have just one I’d go 2x12. Just watch the weight, some are still very heavy, a Mesa vertical 2x12 at 72lb is amost as heavy as my Marshall 4x12 at 79lb.


When i was 17, the only reason to not get a 412 was if you couldn't get one.

Now i'm 56, it's 212's and 112's all the way. :rolleyes:


Gold Supporting Member
4x12. You’re 17 and will use it for metal gigs, it’s a no brainer.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve played a metal show in my life where someone didn’t use a 4x12. Everywhere from basement shows, to small clubs, to big stages they are ubiquitous.

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
To me this 2x12 sounds better than that 4x12 for hard rock.
That comes down to the speakers and the sounds I'm going for more than the configuration. G-12 65s vs 1971 Greenbacks. (sacrilege?)

So a crappy 4x12 or a 2x12 with under powered speakers, or the wrong speakers for the job at hand would make a big difference.

Remember the OP wants to play metal gigs. What would you look for?
Finally, as mentioned, I paid as much for this 1966A 2x12 as 4x12's were going for. But it's matched to the head and is a great pair.

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