Which is the best speaker for my bass amp?
February 13, 2008 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Bass Amp Filter: 2 x 10 or 1 x 15?


For live performances, I'm thinking or purchasing the new Ampeg BA600 combo amp which comes in both a 2 x 10" speaker version and a 1 x 15" speaker version.

My main experience has been with a high end 4 x 10" speaker and separate amp, which I love, but for me in the end it's all about the deep low end. I play sixties and seventies style funk and soul music and I really dig that traditional fat sound. I know, I know, I should buy a vintage tube amp. But if you forget about that for a moment, which speaker should I choose in my new combo amp?

(and, yes, although I should probably try it out first, I still appreciate your advice).

posted by IZ to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A 15 is going to have a better "punch" in my opinion and is not going to just flick the sound to the back of the room. My vote is always for 12's over 10's and 15's over 12's with bass amplification.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:46 PM on February 13, 2008

I run a SWR Super Redhead 2x10, with a five string, and I have absolutely no problem getting a full range of sounds, from a deep bass boom to a fat funked up. The low B isn't overpowering, but I only use it sparingly anyway. I used to run a SWR Basic Black 1x15 combo and I did have a few problems getting enough midrange punch for my liking.

Just my opinion. Like you said, try the amp out with your own instrument.
posted by uaudio at 1:51 PM on February 13, 2008

2x10 won't be as muddy as the 1x15

This is certainly true but you said,

for me in the end it's all about the deep low end. I play sixties and seventies style funk and soul music

Muddy may be what you are looking for. Like everyone has said, including you, you've got to play your set up through it to really know.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:11 PM on February 13, 2008

1*15 would be my choice.

2*10 not as warm as a 15"

at a gig it will probably be di'd anyway, so...
posted by mattoxic at 2:14 PM on February 13, 2008

The bass player in my band is constantly messing with his amp setup, so I've heard him through 2x10's, 4x10's, 1x15's, and various combinations of the three. I like his tone better when he has 10's in the mix, it is tighter and cuts through great. However, you lose that feeling you get in the chest when the bass really hits you. That doesn't seem to come unless you're running at least 1 15" speaker.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:15 PM on February 13, 2008

The 15" will kick out low frequencies better than the 10" because it's larger and can move more air. If all you care about is deep and fat go with the 15". However, because of its more massive cone it can't reproduce higher frequencies very well. A pair of 10" speakers is a solution to this problem, the smaller cones can reproduce higher frequencies and the combined surface are of the two is about the same as a single 15". If you like a brighter tone or play slap go with the 10" pair.
posted by waxboy at 2:20 PM on February 13, 2008

Best answer: The 1x15 has a surface area of 176 inches.
The 2X10 has a surface area of 157 inches.

I really, really am sure that you will be happier with the 1x15, especially, if like most Ampegs is has an adjustable horn via L-Pad.
posted by sourwookie at 3:28 PM on February 13, 2008

Best answer: but for me in the end it's all about the deep low end. I play sixties and seventies style funk and soul music and I really dig that traditional fat sound.

Test both amps if you can (gig or a practice would be best, but hard to arrange) but it definitely sounds like the 1x15" is the better choice for you. I vastly prefer 15s over 10s, though my personal preference is 12" guitar speakers in a sealed cab (my current cab is a custom made 6x12").

You can always add a 2x10" if you you want something that cuts through a bit more, though any decent 15" should have adequate response through the mids and if it has a horn you're set for more modern styling as well. As a bonus, you can find some pretty light and relatively compact 2x10 cabs these days.

At the end of the day what you like is most important. My only sound advice is don't be afraid of mids, which really define how people hear the bass notes (something distinct versus low-end smoosh).
posted by 6550 at 6:03 PM on February 13, 2008

I've been lucky enough to play through an A/B setup of SWR amps and switch on the fly between the 15" and 2x10". I was surprised at much preferring the 2x10" cabinet, even though I've always picked stacks of 15"s for my own rig.

The 2x10" had better low end. My guess would be that there's more webers per ounce of cone (or per inch of cone), which gets the air in a coupled cabinet moving faster and more accurately. Dunno, I was surprised.
posted by lothar at 6:26 PM on February 13, 2008

It depends on what you're doing, and where you're playing.

If you're playing in situations where you're not going through the PA, get the 15". It's the only way you'll get any serious thump. My one beef (as an audio professional) with 15"s is that they bleed a hell of a lot worse than 10"s, and if there's no gate on the kick mic, they take that mic over. It's a huge pain in the ass. However, if the bass isn't getting mic'ed, then the kick might not be either.

If you're going through the PA, get the 2x10. It'll cut through a little better so you can hear yourself (especially if the monitor mixes are bad/nonexistant). Additionally, the pair of 18"s the sound guy has on the floor are crossed-over, compressed, and are each getting their own amp channel. They'll make even an Ampeg 15" look like a toy.

It's already been said, but make sure you've got a direct out, that it's XLR, and that it works. No sound guy wants to throw a mic on a bass amp, either live in or the studio.

My personal favorite bass rig is an SVT head through the 8x10, but that's a little overkill for most clubs. Best damn bass sound around, though.
posted by god hates math at 6:27 PM on February 13, 2008

For what it's worth, my big rig is 2 x 10 + 1 x 15, biamped. Hartke speakers.

I'll second g.h.m. -- it depends if you are going thru the PA or not. The 2 x10s are likely to give you better definition for your notes on stage... let the 18s on the PA do the heavy stuff.
posted by omnidrew at 9:03 PM on February 13, 2008

Every bass player I've played with (almost every) swears by 10" speakers. Our last bass player drooled over a 4-10 cab I had which I sold. Basically what he told me is that for stage, it s tighter, punchier and more defined. Since we always mic or use XLRs from our gear, the board EQ was able to thicken it up in the house mix with no problem while on stage, the boom wasn't so overwhelming.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:21 PM on February 13, 2008

Best answer: THE 60s/70s funk/soul studio bass amp was an Ampeg B-15.

Get the 15.
posted by tremspeed at 12:42 AM on February 14, 2008

2x10. It will have the mid-range kick for projection. When you play live (or record) a DI will take care of the bass end (generally for recording the DI=bass, the mic=punch).
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:13 AM on February 14, 2008

No sound guy wants to throw a mic on a bass amp, either live in or the studio.

Certainly not true in the UK. The combination between the DI and Mic is incvaluable (as long as the signals are in phase).
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:14 AM on February 14, 2008

(...for recording that is, not live)
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:14 AM on February 14, 2008

With the style you described, I'd start with the 15. I say that even though it models my own set-up to a certain extent and I'm forever thinking about adding two 10s.
posted by safetyfork at 3:58 AM on February 14, 2008

For the big, fat, traditional sound, you want the 15s. You might even want a 2x15 cab. But, even if you go with the 1x15, you can always add a 2x10 to it later for more high-end clarity (read: modern sound).

Some 2x10s are amazingly deep, but I'd still go with the 1x15 for the sound you say you like.
posted by wheat at 1:02 PM on February 14, 2008

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