Pine or Baltic Birch for a 112 cab?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Craftmatic, Jul 14, 2008.

Pine or Baltic Birch Plywood for small 112 cab?

  1. Ponderosa Pine

  2. Baltic Birch Plywood

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  1. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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    I recently got a Fargen Blackbird 30 (BFDR-alike) head in a trade. I'm trying to decide if I want to leave the head as is and have an extension cab built or have a combo cab built to put the chassis in. Either way the cab will be approx. 19" X 19" X 10" and will have an oval opened back. The cab builder uses either Ponderosa pine or Baltic birch plywood. He says for an amp under 50 watts to go with the pine.

    Pine is more resonant and lighter, better for blues, roots rock, country - in other words not high gain amps. However pine is soft and I believe is easier to damage.

    Baltic birch plywood is stiff, hard, heavier, strong not as resonant and used more often with higher gain amp speaker cabs.

    I want the strength and durability of Baltic birch plywood because I don't want a soft pine cab that will dent very easily. However I wonder how much I'd be sacrificing in sound with the plywood.
     
  2. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    I wse baltic birch in home speaker cabinets, its hard to beat, when you talk of resonant pine, that is not something that is desirable in a speaker cabinet, you want to remove the resonants or they could really screw up the sound.
     
  3. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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    I forgot to mention that the baffle will be 3/4" birch plywood and the rear oval opened panel will be 1/2" birch ply. So it's the sides, top & bottom I'm talking about.

    And yes I have read threads where people are very concerned with the dents & dings or lack thereof - in the Emporium. I think many of us are always going to be concerned with resale value of our gear.
     
  4. cat

    cat Member

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    I'm currently building a 2 x 12" cabinet out of Radiata Pine with a ply baffle and backing board. Dont know how similar Ponderosa Pine is to Radiata though.

    Check it out here: Speaker Cabinet Build

    Cat
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  5. trey85stang

    trey85stang Member

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    I wouldnt touch ponderosa pine with a 12 foot pole for a speaker cab...
     
  6. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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    That's a pretty strong comment. Could you please elaborate?
     
  7. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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  8. teleamp

    teleamp Senior Member

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    The pine will hold up better than you are thinking, but I would go with voidless plywood. It doesn't have to be baltic birch, just multi laminate, voidless. Using plywood that is not voidless could yield a buzzy cabinet.
     
  9. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    IME, the plywood cab will be much more predictable sounding and will usually sound more to my liking--more even response w/o highs or lows over-accentuated.
     
  10. jedistar

    jedistar Member

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    Plywood is more stable...
     
  11. Nolatone Ampworks

    Nolatone Ampworks Silver Supporting Member

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    I use white pine. I believe for a smaller cabinet it gives better resonance.

    I'm not building larger cabinets yet, but expect I'll use pine for all the way up to 4x10.

    I like using pine too because it brings with it part of the magic of tweed amps.
     
  12. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    in my cabinet builds, i prefer pine with a birch baffle and back panel. i like the added resonance pine gives.

    but in the end, it's really whether you want the cabinet to add to the overall sound (use pine) or if you want the cabinet to "get out of the way" and be a solid, non-additive platform to hold a speaker (use plywood/mdf).

    IMO, a large part of the tweed and blackface (and early silverface) fender sound is the pine cabinet. i've heard the same amp through the same speaker in 2 different cabs (one from '66 and one from '76) and to my ears the cabinet is definitely part of the mojo we talk about when we say "blackface fender sound".


    cheers,
    wade
     
  13. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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    You say that a birch ply cab "gets out of the way" and is "non-additive." But does a birch ply add or subtract anything in a way that has a negative effect on the sound?

    I got rid of an Avatar cube cab because it sounded so nasal and stiff, then again it might've been the weird dimensions (17" X 17" X 15" deep). It was solid as a tank and heavy but both the closed and opened back versions had a terrible nasal, constipated sound (when used with Fender style amp and speakers - I'm sure they are fine with very high gain Marshall-style amps).
     
  14. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    it's my experience that using birch (or more typically MDF) affords one the *ability* to make the cabinet more sonically neutral.

    for example, i've got a set of Event ASP8 studio monitors in my studio. those cabinets are made from MDF and are completly devoid of any cabinet resonance, so that the speakers can do their jobs most effectively. (and they do a fantastic job!)

    that said, while it affords one the ability to do so, it doesn't mean it'll always happen. :D just like every pine cab won't resonate in a "good" way. but that said, i've heard a lot more "boxy" sounding plywood cabinets than pine ones. maybe i just prefer pine.

    as some are wont to say, YMMV. :drink


    cheers,
    wade
     
  15. Craftmatic

    Craftmatic Member

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    My decision is specifically about using an amp that is Black Face Fender sounding. Is your opinion based on something within that ballpark?
     
  16. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, I think the BF fender cabs were pine, IIRC, but I don't know that you can get pine that sounds like that now...maybe you can...and maybe you can't. Personally, I still prefer ply, even with Fender amps.
     
  17. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    I use a lamanent of MDF and Baltic Birch in my home speakers, however they are home speakers and will be subjected to water, which damages MDF, also MDF breaks easily, really would not use it an cabinet.

    The MDF and Baltic Birch does reduce resonances which really are something you want to avoid in the cabinets, it sounds sexy since so many people love their "resonant" pine cabinets, resonances are something I want to avoid, I don't like a buzzing cabinet, which what a "resonant" cabinet is.
     
  18. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    typcially an amp is open backed, so the energy of the back wave of the speaker is going out of the cabinet, so you just need something that is mechanically rigid, in a closed back or ported cabinet the energy of the back wave is hitting the walls of the cabinet, which can cause rattles and buzzing if the cabinet is not rigid.
     
  19. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    i think you and i might have to agree to disagree that "resonant" equates to "buzzing". :roll i don't like buzzing cabinets either.


    cheers,
    wade
     
  20. trey85stang

    trey85stang Member

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    too many knots is the number one reason... next is I have never worked with a piece that didnt warp over time. Stick with clear pine if you want pine.
     

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