Micing: Open vs. Closed Back Cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jamison162, Jan 21, 2008.


  1. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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    I've always prefered the sound of an open back cab. In a room, to my ears, it just sounds better. But in a live setting, esp. a pretty large venue with massive sound system, it seems it really doesn't matter what you hear on stage, what matters is what they hear (or don't hear).

    So with that said, I've noticed that most pro acts use closed back cabs with their heads....but of course combo's are 9/10 open back. To me this seems like it would give you the "better" miced signal/tone since nothing is lost out the back. All frequencies are projected forward, more lowend and fuller mids.

    Anyone ever consider this aspect primarly when choosing your cab configuration? I guess you can always double mic an open back cab (front and back).

    Discussion/Experience......
     
  2. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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  3. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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  4. gtrfinder

    gtrfinder Member

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    It really depends on where you are playing (as you stated), and how much work you want to put into it.
    I've used open back cabs 90% of the time, either in combos or with a head, and I've never really noticed much of a difference to the times when I used a closed back cab. For reference, though, my closed back cab was a Bogner Cube, so that might skew things a bit.
    Most of the larger places I've played have had pretty big stages and sound guys that were always in a rush to mic up things. The difference to me was pretty minimal, and it always seemed I heard the monitors more than my amp anyways.
    I've never miced the back of a cab live, only in the studio to get an out of phase sound to mix in with the front mic.
    Good luck.
     
  5. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

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    It really depends on the stage size and your monitoring system. You can get great miked sounds from combos even on the largest stages or you can use frequency compensated DI units that emulate a speaker/mic combination and tap the speaker output of your amp. This can give you sometimes better results depending on the DI of course than than using mics on large stages with high volumes. The closed back/open back issue is not that important if your monitoring system (in ear plus subwoofers or sidefills?) works. The sound coming out of the speaker close miked is pretty much the same. Most of the times you see a wall of Marshall 4x12 cabinets on stage for example, you can rest assured that the majority is set up only for cosmetic reasons and not even connected at all.
    Rene
     
  6. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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    Well, I understand what you guys are saying, just a different angle. My main point was considering the tone coming from the front of the cab itself, which would be the signal/tone the house board receives and the fact that a closed back cab gives a stronger, fuller sound out the front than an open back.
     
  7. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

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    This is what I wanted to tell you. There really is no significant difference between open back or closed back cabs that are closely front miced if you are using the same speakers and amps. The sound that gets amplified through the PA will be practically the same. A closed back cabinet does not sound differnetIf you use frequency compensated DI from the output of your power amp section you would not have to worry at all. Check out the Hughes & Kettner Red Box MarkIII or the Palmer PDI-9 Junction. They are inexpensive and give you in most cases better results in combination with large PA systems than a miced signal, be it from a closed back or open back cabinet. Don't get me wrong here, in a studio recording situation you can get very different results from a closed back or open back cabinets. You want to capture the room sound and use the proper microphone placements to record the 80hz "boom" of a 4x12 cabinet to get it right. In a live situation this would not work nor make sense. We are talking about a sophisticated techniques and very expensive microphones and gear here. Nobody to my knowledge is using set ups like these on a big stages.
    Rene
     

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