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Understanding Speaker Cabinet Designs

September 23, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 



guitar cabinet factory 4x12Lesson #1

Ask a group of guitarists what their favorite instrument, amplifiers and effects are, and each one will surely ramble on for hours about his gear of choice. Ask that same group about their favorite speakers and cabinets, however, and many of them will likely respond with a simple “I dunno.” The sad truth is that even though cabinets and speakers play major roles in shaping the tone of a guitar sound, they are often overlooked by players.

The overall sound of a cabinet is the result of all the components that go into building it and how they’re put together. Once you acquire the knowledge of what goes into building speakers and cabinets, you’ll start to understand exactly what you like and dislike about different cabinets. In this lesson, I’m going to focus on defining the components and materials that go into building speakers and cabinets as they relate to the sound they produce. My hope is that at the end of the two lessons, you will be well informed and on your way to identifying what you preferences are and what speakers and cabinets complement your playing the best.

With very few exceptions, cabinets are made out of wood. Plied birch wood is far and away the most common choice, though some cabs are made from particle board or a combination of the two. Sonically, birch is great because it strikes a very desirable balance; it’s rigid enough to produce punch and definition while being soft enough to sound warm but not floppy. Remember that the cabinet acts as a resonator for the speakers just as the wood of a guitar acts as a resonator for the vibrations of the strings. Birch is also super durable and is well suited to withstand the vibrations, abuse and travel that a cabinet is likely to endure. Read more

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