why are amps covered in tolex or other cloth?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jamiegold, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. jamiegold

    jamiegold Member

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    combos and cabs in particular. we'd never cover an acoustic guitar with a blanket, but we do it with amps why is that? may be a dumb question, or even irrelevant given amped volumes, but don't tolex and other coverings muffle the sound of amps when, if they are made with real wood like guitars, they might resonate too and add something to the mix. please and thanks for your takes. and happy family day in ontario and elsewhere.

    jamie
     
  2. KWCabs

    KWCabs Member

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    You're speaking to the choir here :) Your assumptions are absolutely correct. The only real reasons for it are to be make it seemingly more durable (ie takes scratches and the like better) and it's a lot faster and cheaper to cover up their plywood than to stain and or finish it.

    Now don't get me wrong though, as much as I love wood and making hardwood cabinets, I do like the look of tolex sometimes too, there are some great color combinations out there that builders have used and make some very attractive pieces, but in that case, it's a shame that music uses our ears instead of our eyes lol.
     
  3. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Tolex is durable, and helps protect the amp and keep it looking relatively good for a longer period of time.
     
  4. dmagalhaes

    dmagalhaes Supporting Member

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    Why do you cover your couch or chair with fabric when you could just sit on the foam?
    Seriously???
     
  5. willc68

    willc68 Member

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    This has kind of baffled me too.
    Sure I understand it is to give the cab protection but these days I wonder why companies do not just finish amps the same way that that they do guitars.
    I think they would look much better too.
     
  6. VA_siCkBoy

    VA_siCkBoy Silver Supporting Member

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  7. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    I dunno... it baffles me too.
    :sarcasm
    [​IMG]

    The significance of light tolex covering in damping a thick plywood or MDF is really, uh pardon the pun, insignificant. Yeah, it would make a difference in a violin or guitar but unless you show me a speaker cab that has equally thin walls as bodies of acoustic instruments, let alone a cab with very, very minimal bracing (which is used for damping vibrations to begin with) let's just drop this discussion, shall we.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  8. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Most amp/cab manufacturers don't use furniture-grade hardwoods for the bulk of their production lines. Ever see what happens to MDF when you get it wet? It swells, and eventually disintegrates. Baltic birch plywood isn't exactly something that looks outstanding with a coat of Danish oil, either.
     
  9. rockonomics

    rockonomics Member

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    This. There are other alternatives such as dedicated speaker paint. http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coatings/
    Truck bed liner is something that works well and is waaaay more durable than tolex.
     
  10. Bubba_Leon

    Bubba_Leon Member

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    There is a renaissance of cabs that have no tolex on them. Companies like Emperor, and TRM make them tolex free. They look awesome too.
     
  11. Jon@Home

    Jon@Home Member

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    Unless the box was made of solid wood you have the edges to deal with, and from a woodworkes point of view, plywood edges are not pretty. Same with MDF and this stuff is very vulnerable to moisture as mentioned. So I would think covering the box was to hide the edges and provide some moisture barrier. Or more than likely one amp company did it and everyone liked the look and copied it ......
    Jon
     
  12. Tonesmiths

    Tonesmiths Member

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    Since the speaker only reflects off the interior of the cab it doesn't make much of a difference. If there was tolex on the inside, that would be a problem.
     
  13. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    And while we're at it, why not remove the speaker grille, too? Talk about blanket over the sound........
     
  14. Onioner

    Onioner Member

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    I've got almost all finished wood cans and heads, the latter home made, and the former from TRM. I won't pretend that I do it out of some sort of acoustic concerns. I just like the look of finished wood.
     
  15. xtian

    xtian Member

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    Vinyl is beer resistant.
     
  16. Bubba_Leon

    Bubba_Leon Member

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    Very good, and valid point!:agree
     
  17. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

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    I guess some of you aren't gigging these, in and out of car trunks, etc.
    That's what amps were originally made for...
     
  18. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I don't personally mind a nicely done tolex cab. I'd love to have a hardwood one, but...

    I've noticed that finished hardwood cabs are significantly more expensive. I'm guessing that's one reason why the telexed cabs are more popular.
     
  19. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Peavey Vyper 15: $99.95

    With optional hand-rubbed Bubinga cabinet: $599.95


    Yeah, I don't think little Billy would be seeing the hardwood version under the Christmas tree....
     
  20. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Acrytech sample kit ordered.
     

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