common question i know, i've done my share of googling but haven't found a thread going into detail of the differences live.
I'm looking into buying a 4x12, and i am aware of the basic differences but what about live? I'd like a straight cab for that extra bass control but my band plays small gigs in clubs and theaters mostly, so the stages we play are rather small, and ill obviously be close to my gear the whole time. In my past experience, most of the "sound techs" were completely clueless so i've had to rely mainly on my own equipment for my sound.

Will i be able to hear myself playing ok or will i just be feeling it on my ass? also for those with experience, how well does a straight cab project the sound towards the audience compared to a slanted?
I would pick slanted since it will direct the sound a little more towards your ears, but it really won't make a big difference.
the differences are subtle, probably too subtle for me to go into, but i will

as phoenix mentions, slanted cabs offer an offset of the top speakers so they can be pointed slightly upward to hear better. you will see similar considerations with combo amps that have an angled baffle. i personally see this as the biggest advantage worth mentioning.

straight front cabs will be more beamy and directional, some people will run some kinda round 'scattering deflector' (this can be as simple as a layer of tape on the grille of the amp in front of the speaker) to help break up the intense directionality inherent with any closed back design.

the next consideration is internal volume of the cab. the more internal volume of a closed back cab, the better low end performance you'll get (this is not a hard rule, but a generality as more internal volume will generally lower the resonance freq of a speaker and therefore provide better low end response). a straight 4x12 will probably have more internal volume than the similar angled 4x12, so it is claimed the straight 4x12 will have more low end response.

there has been claims of more volume in an angled 4x12, mainly because internal sound deflection in the cab also plays a role in sound intensity (sound bounced around internally in a cab can effect the sound projected out the front). the thought process is: an angled cab offers more odd angles internally which cuts down on certain standing waves in the cab.

mutual coupling. there is a tendency for speakers producing the same signal to 'couple' and intensify the output and this is a result of constructive phase interference. there is limitations to the phenomenon, for example: the biggest volume/loudness benefit is below a certain crit frequency based on distance between speakers. one stipulation to get the most benefit from mutual coupling is that all the speakers need to be on the same plain, if you offset any speakers at different angles then more destructive phasing interference is introduced. this would have the result that angled 4x12's cancel out some the extra low end that a straight front 4x12 would benefit from.

in reality, these are INCREDIBLY subtle effects compared to how a 4x12 will interact with a room. they are also minimized if the cab is mic'd (the the FOH PA guy will be adjusting levels and EQ anyway and might even be controlling your monitoring). so while this might have been an interesting read it really doesn't have much bearing to actual performance.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Oct 13, 2012,
What's cool about slants is you can put them sideways so you get a straight that projects at different angles. A straight is gonna be the same no matter how you do it.
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I like straight cabs. You can stack anything on them.

There really isn't much difference sound wise. Just a slight difference in projection. Not enough of a difference for me.
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