Strange projection character of open-back, 2x12 combos?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Crowder, May 3, 2015.

  1. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    My bandmate uses a Blues DeVille 2x12 combo, and I play a Goodsell Super 17 mk2 1x12 combo. Per its reputation, the DeVille is quite a loud amp, so much so that he's bought one of those one-knob attenuators that goes in the effects loop of the amp so he can open up the volume a little without changing anyone's sperm count.

    In our small basement practice space, we have our amps in to be at similar perceived volumes, and it works fine. Then we pack up our gear, set up on a stage (particularly outdoors), and the perceived volume of my 17-watt 1x12 is suddenly enormous whether standing in front of or behind it. Meanwhile his 60-watt 2x12 sounds puny from almost every angle except twenty feet away, dead on in front of it. It's uncanny, and consistent. I'm throttling my amp down dramatically (master at 10 o'clock with a Brake Lite on 2 or 3). He's cranking his up. His tone is drowning, mine is raging.

    What I'm wondering is whether this is just a characteristic of 2x12 combos generally, if it's specific to the Blues DeVille (or its stock speakers), or what. We like the sound of his amp and it presents a good contrast to my sound, so he's reluctant to change anything. I'm curious whether different speakers would help, or whether getting one high-wattage speaker and wiring it up as a 1x12 would make a difference.
     
  2. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

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    May just be that Mr. Goodsell builds a better amp, more speaker and watts is not always louder to the ear, harmonic content matters.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    lemme guess; he's going for scooped, bass & treble tone while you're going for punchy midrange?

    is he using a lot more distortion than you are?

    how are the amps positioned? flat, angled up, positioned up on chairs?

    it's certainly not a characteristic of 2x12 open-back combos to be quieter or harder to hear than 1x12s, quite the opposite.
     
  4. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    This is likely to be contested but I've always disliked 2x12 open back cabs, particularly large, deep ones. Even worse if he's using Celestion H30/V30's that are not well broken in. Imo he'd do better with smaller 1x12 cabs regardless of his speaker choice(s). Or else a quad closed back, if that's his preference.
     
  5. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Perhaps I'm not explaining well.

    The Blues DeVille has almost no projection from the rear of the amp, almost as if the speakers are canceling each other out instead of supporting one another. My amp is almost as loud from the rear as from the front, and it has a semi-closed back cab. We'll turn my amp down (compared to practice volumes) and turn his up significantly, and the drummer will still say he is getting way too much of mine and nothing from the other amp. It's like the Fender amp has fallen into a black hole on stage. But if you walk out front 15-20 steps, the Fender is very loud.

    Assume both amps on the floor, same distance from the drummer, facing the same direction, like so:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

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    Check the speakers for phase.
     
  7. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    That's exactly why I don't like 2x12 cabs, especially bigger open backs, but even big closed backs, I've had bad performance with. I think you've explained your situation very well. I'd been taught this by a talented player, this destructive interference, which zero out each others' frequencies. He said he recommended separate cabs.

    I remained skeptical, until I started with a local band, using a 1x12 combo that sat upon another 1x12. It sat great in the mix and didn't require excessive volume at all. Then I decide to "up my rig" with a large Avatar open back cab loaded with the then very popular V30/H30 combination. I spent some break in time at home with it, but both of those speakers take lots of breaking in to project well. I ran the amp on 4 ohm and sat it on top of the speaker cab (internal speaker disconnected, also a V30) with the two 8 ohm speakers.

    At the next rehearsal, I thought it was just me but I couldn't hear myself. The other guitarist played rhythm on an acoustic, the drummer wasn't especially loud nor the bass. At the end of our rehearsal, the other guitar player and lead vocalist came to me, knowing I was excited about my new cab, and with an empathic tone said, man, where were you; I couldn't hear you at all, especially the highs disappeared. My amp volume was bumped up a couple notches - what the heck. I tried another week of breaking it in but the next rehearsal was the same, only this time the other band members chimed in with their complaints. I went back to my old rig and even eliminated the second speaker altogether. Everyone, including myself was happy. That was the last 2x12 I've owned. A well tune closed back with well broken in speakers, maybe, but not a big 2x12 open for me.

    Eventually I paired two identical 1x12 cabs and it sat wonderfully into the live mix.

    Checking the speaker phase is also a good idea.
     
  8. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I agree with the OOP possibility, I would check for out of phase. The speakers don't know what amp is driving them and a twin reverb projects a lot from the back, as does a pro.
     
  9. tucsonsound

    tucsonsound Member

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    Flip his 2x12 on its side for wider dispersion.
     

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