#1
Probably my 3rd cabinet thread over the year, but I think I'm finally onto something. When I tell people about my setup, the first thing they suggest upgrading is my cabinet. I currently have a Raven Classic 4x12. I really had just bought it on a whim because I had purchased my first amp head, my cute lil Orange Tiny Terror, at the time and needed a cabinet to play it through. I couldn't hear a big difference between any of the cabinets I had tried out, they all sounded the same and had the same volume to me. The Raven was the largest and cheapest, so I went along with it.

I have a good $400 to spend right now on guitar equipment, and personally I'd like to buy better pedals or even a used Epi Black Beauty, but if the cabinet will improve/alter my sound so much more, I'd rather go with a better cabinet.

So here are my questions:

1. How much does a speaker cabinet really affect your sound? Compared to the amp or guitar?
2. Is there really a huge difference between a $200 4x12 cabinet and $1000 4x12 cabinet, other than name brand and price?
3. Any suggestions on cabinets for under $400 that would suffice the upgrade? I prefer to go used and mostly play Classic Rock, Blues, and early Metal. I may use it for gigging every now and then.

Current Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio 60s Tribute, Orange Tiny Terror, Raven Classic 4x12, Big Muff Pi, Starcaster Chorus, Vox V847 Wah, MXR Custom Badass 78, BBE American Metal, and a DeltaLab DD1 Delay.

Thank you!
#2
Mmmm, for under $400 you're probably not gonna get a whole lot better, unless you find a really sweet used deal. But you'd have to find that yourself.

As for the difference it makes, its more in the speakers than in the cabinet, as far as I know. I'm sure the type of cabinet makes some difference in sound, but I haven't tried enough to say. Mostly I'd think it would be a matter of construction and how long its going to last before it falls apart. (If two cabs have the same speakers but they're different prices I mean.) Speakers on the other hand do make a big difference, but there's a lot of personal preference involved. A lot of people make a big deal about V30's, and they're in a lot of cabs, but I don't really see what the fuss is about.

Long story short, either save up more, or put your money elsewhere, $400 probably isn't going to cut it.
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#3
1.) A lot. More than a guitar imo but less than an amp. It holds the speakers and pushes the air. That is what people hear.

2.) Yes there is hugh difference.

3.) Mesa, Marshall, Orange, Framus, Avatar, Lopoline, Vadar, Splawn, Port City, (some of those used of course). Remember, most speaker cabs you play at a store will have speakers that are not broken in. They will sound sterile and they will not sound all that much different.

If you want me to tell you that your Raven cab is fine and you should spend your money on pedals than I can do that too.
#4
Speakers do make a pretty big tonal difference. Cabinet construction/ size plays a role too, like a bigger cabinet will USUALLY have more low end, but speakers are much more important. I would look into a used 1x12 or 2x12 for your price. Look at jet city maybe. They have some nice stuff. Another option to consider is upgrading the speakers in your cabinet.