Bass players have a choice of either a combo (All-in-one) or a stand alone bass cab. Either way, the cab (and the speaker within it) are the final link in the bass guitarist’s sounds chain. But how do you choose a cab? What do you look for? In looking for a source of sound advice (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) my thoughts turned to one man, and I managed to track him down…
I first met Mark Wright of Accugroove several years ago. I was so impressed by Mark’s knowledge, passion and the quality of the bass cabs his company makes, that I purchased one. the Tri 110 is still a central part of my rig today.
Mark is passionate about quality bass sound, and is a keen player himself, so I was very pleased to catch up with him… Here is the Q&A from the interview:
What should a bassist’s main considerations be when choosing a cab?
Mark: There are many.
- What type of bass you play? (number of strings, active/passive, etc.)
- Style of music you play? (Hard rock, smooth jazz, country, etc.)
- How many people are in the band?
- How loud do you get?
- What type of venues do you play? (Small clubs, large outdoor gig, etc.)
- Do you also run DI? (PA support)
- What type of amp do you have? (Watts & impedance)
- What can you physically carry? (Portability)
- What can you financially afford?
Which is more important to the sound: Layout (eg 4 x 10 vs 1 x 15 etc…) or manufacturer?
Mark: Neither. We get hung up on the type of cabs or a manufacturer because of other people’s comments, advertising or urban legend. What works for one player won’t work for another. One manufacturer’s 4×10 may sound great while anothers falls short. In the same way a company’s 1×15 may be a killer, but their 2×12 a dog.
The bottom line is that it matters less about the configuration & the company & has more to do with if a cabinet is built correctly in the first place. Many companies build a very simple & basic “get-me-by” box regardless of what their ads say. Therefore you’ll get very simple & basic “get-me-by results”. Find a cab that is designed right, built right & works for your specific needs.
What makes the best cab for a 4, 5 or a 6+ string bass?
Mark: A 4 string player can fully utilize & appreciate cabinets built for 5 & 6 string players, but they do not have to have them. A cabinet built correctly for a 5 string bass, should easily handle a 6 & a 4. That’s due to the 5 normally having a low B string. A 6 normally has a high C added, but that’s easier to reproduce than a low B. The challenge is that the average cabinet is designed for the mass market & for a 4 string. They barely do that well, so they can’t be expected to do much for a 5 string. To reproduce a solid B string you need a cabinet design that gives you tight lows that are not floppy & woofy. The challenge is to not focus so much on the low end that you loose the mids & highs.