Front Loaded Vs Rear? Sonic differences?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Bluewail, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. Bluewail

    Bluewail Tone curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm curious about what the pro's and cons might be of front loading vs rear loading of a speaker in a cab. Specifically, I'm curious about a 1X12 open back cab but if the differences are more marked with other designs (multi speaker, closed back, etc) it would be interesting to know the skinny.

    Thanks,
    Vince
     
  2. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    I have always found that rear mounted sounds smoother on the topend and fatter
     
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  3. Bluewail

    Bluewail Tone curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I should add that my intuition tells me front loaded would be less directional and my experience seems to be that rear loaded enhances bass response but I've really not had enough experience to say for sure.:confused:
     
  4. teefus

    teefus Silver Supporting Member

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    i think it depends on the speaker. i have owned a few riveras and, iirc, they front mount certain rivera branded celestions and rear mount others. everything i have right now is rear mounted so i have nothing to compare it with.
     
  5. macula56

    macula56 Member

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    i have an avatar 212 cab that come set up for front mount. i tried it and found that it sounded pretty good but it's sounds better rear mounted. better bass response i think. sounds tighter as well.
     
  6. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    It's hard to say without a true A/B test with exact circumstances except for how the speakers are mounted.

    My 2x12 Avatar is front loaded with two ceramic Weber California 12's with the aluminum dust cover which is known for adding high frequency.

    The cab is fat and warm but that can be EQ'ed out with most amps.

    I have a 2x12 JDesign loaded with two Weber 12's, a 12F125 and a 12A125, both are supposed to be "brighter" speakers. However, that cab has more boom than the Avatar so maybe the rear loading does impart some bottom and more warmth.

    That said, I love the tone from the Avatar and it has no issues at all with brightness of anything like that at all. Very warm cab.

    I like the JDesign too however.

    Maybe we should all have one or more of each ;)
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    forgive my total ignorance, but could someone explain what front loaded vs. rear loaded means?
     
  8. Erik

    Erik Member

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    I'd say it depends on everything. My Earcandy Buzzbomb 2x12 is front loaded and ported...it sounds great!!! The bass response is very tight and deep...and as previously mentioned, the overall tone isn't very directional. I've said it before, it put my other 4x12's in storage.
     
  9. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    Mounting the speaker from the front of the baffle by putting the magnets through the cutout versus mounting the speaker from inside if the baffle.
     
  10. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    how would that make a difference in sound?
     
  11. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    It makes a huge difference in the tone...Front loaded cabs are generally more present and in your face sounding, but not as directional...Rear loaded cabinets are warmer, have a bigger bottom and low mids, but are more directional if they are closed back...I've used both types over the years, and Way prefer rear loaded cabs...But, then again, I'm an old school Duane Allman style of guitarist
     
  12. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    interesting. Any theory as to WHY this makes a difference?
     
  13. Bluewail

    Bluewail Tone curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    My developing theory :NUTS , pure speculation actually, goes like this.

    Front loading places the speaker such that the baffle edges no longer act as a lens and so dispersion is improved and beaming is minimized.

    Front loading also means that an in phase speaker is pushing away from the cab and the cab resonates differently than if rear loaded. There may also be some effect of having the entire speaker frame pulling forward on an the initial attack of the wave form vs. pushing.

    This matches my experience with this front loaded Mesa cab i have. In phase (pulling) the sound is punchy, but the bass is quite lead. Flip the speaker phase (pushing) and the tone darkens considerably and some of the articulation is lost. It's almost like front loading gives you more of the speakers sound and rear loading gives you more of the cabs sound. Now I want to try that phase experiment with a rear loaded cab and see what happens.
     
  14. trdlasvegas

    trdlasvegas Member

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    That's all hogwash. Fliping the speaker phase (wiring) will have effect. Front loading or rear loading will have no appreciatable difference on the sound, unless the baffle board is 2" thick. Then you would be changing the inside volume of the cabinet by moving the speaker in or out.
    Also the standard 3/4" baffle board lip will not cause any "lens effect" at the frequencies a guitar produces in a guitar amp.

    If the speaker is mounted correctly you won't hear any difference from a front load to a rear load.

    -Tony
     
  15. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    I wonder if there is any effect from the fact that front loading has metal to wood (baffle) contact while rear loading is the paper surround to wood contact thus having a softening and shock absorbing effect?
     
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  16. trdlasvegas

    trdlasvegas Member

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    A properly mounted front loaded speaker will have a gasket between the metal frame and the wood baffle board, just as a rear loaded speaker has a gasket between the frame and the wood baffle board. The gasket ensures the speaker makes a air tight connection. This is a lot more critical on sealed and ported hi-fi speakers. On a guitar speaker, we worry more so that they are tight and don't rattle, which the gasket helps with.

    -Tony
     
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  17. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    Some things are better mounted from the front... speakers are not one of those things IMHO. :eek:

    When it comes to speakers, rear mounted tends to be less 'in your face' and more 'musical'. Just my $0.02 of course.
     
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  18. Bluewail

    Bluewail Tone curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    Well there seems to be two schools of thought - it makes a diference and it doesn't. At the risk of having to wash my hog (which brings up the question of exactly what to use in hog-washing but that's for another thread), there most certainly is a difference. I just don't fully undrstand the acoustics/physics behind it. FWIW, i'm in the rear-mounted camp as well. :horse
     
  19. SkyIsCrying

    SkyIsCrying Member

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    I was reading this topic and decided to spend an hour or two and see if there really was a difference.

    I have two cabinets. One is a custom 1x12 Slant Front, 1/3 open back. The other is a Seismic Audio Luke 1x12 V. with a 1/3 open back. Both are 1/2" birch plywood. I tried 2 different 12" speakers. A Celestion Creamback (UK Made, not Chinese) 75w, 8Ω and the other a WGS Retro 30 75w, 8Ω. The Retro 30 is a fairly "deep" sounding speaker also, compared to the Creamback.

    On both cabinets, both speakers sound smoother, not as "in your face" and both sound slightly fatter with the rear load. The front load sound more directional and somewhat "brighter", though not in a tinny way. I tried both the speakers, front load and then rear load in both speaker cabinets. Same same.

    I guess neither can be called the right way, it's a personal preference thing. I prefer the rear load for both speakers in both cabinets. Other cabinets could vary.
     
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  20. TEPR

    TEPR Member

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