#1
hi guys,
i hear the term open back speaker cabs and closed back speaker cabs,so what differents does this make to the sound/tone of a speaker cab, please explain ????

all the best, bluesfloyd
#2
Open back gives out less bass. Maybe a harsher sound and that's about it.

Preety sure I'm overlooking some stuff so others can come and explain better
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#3
Some seem to forget about ported cabs in discussions like these.
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#4
Quote by bluesfloyd
hi guys,
i hear the term open back speaker cabs and closed back speaker cabs,so what differents does this make to the sound/tone of a speaker cab, please explain ????

all the best, bluesfloyd


Open back cabs have less focused bass and tend to fill an area easier than closed back.

Closed back cabs tend to handle bass better but are more focused and directional. These cabs can also be tuned


Ported cabs can be tuned for exact speakers and speaker type to get the best sound. You get the punch of a closed back, with better dispersion similar to an open back
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Oct 15, 2015,
#5
ive found that the total character is mostly on the amp itself and speakers, overall cab, but the back baffle etc can have an affect. my avatar can convert to open and closed and i think the closed gives a slightly more "direct" tone with a bit tighter bass. slightly. not a huge deal.
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#6
They both have their purpose. One thing that is nice about open-back cabs is that it fills the room a little bit better. That has done very well for me in small solo or duo low volume gigs without a PA. I set it 18 inches away from the wall and the sound disburses better. I strongly prefer closed back on just about everything else though.
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#7
Quote by timbit2006
Some seem to forget about ported cabs in discussions like these.


Ain't many out there for guitar.

First, they're always closed-back cabinets.
Second, most "ported" cabinets simply have a hole or two drilled into the baffle with no regard for what they actually do.
Third a real ported cabinet involves design around one speaker ( or a couple that have virtually identical characteristics); stuffing them with other speakers can actually increase the chances of blowing out the wrong speaker.


They're a bit more complicated for a manufacturer to build, and most manufacturers prefer something that can simply be "production-lined" for maximum profit.
#8
Open back speaker cabinets sound good ONLY to the guy playing them. Most audiences aren't close enough to get the reflections off side/back walls that the guitar player does. If you mike an open-back combo, you'll be sampling just the speaker cone itself anyway. Open back tube combos are common because they allow the tubes to have a bit of air flow.

If you separate the head from the speaker cabinet, the tube area will still be open-back, but the cabinet will often be closed-back. While there are some sonic differences, one of the main reasons for closing the backs back when was (ready for this?) to to protect speaker cones; to keep random objects from falling into the speaker cabinet when transported and to eliminate one possible direction that speaker and wiring damage could come from.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 16, 2015,
#9
exactly what dspellman said. why not have a focused sound? after all, you are focusing sound on the crowd and the PA mic. so really, why not? in my eyes, is having a tight bass ever bad? for any music? meh not really.

also, open back cabs leave the speaker vulnerable. if you have a cloth grill, i find myself laying he cab on its back a lot, risking the speaker too.

seal up that back with wood, and that back is bullet proof. less worries, more focused tone, not really any downsides???

im pretty much a closed back guy.

that, and my avatar conversion cab left me with a peice of wood with screws sticking out (opening up the back meant removing the wood peice). what the heck and i supposed to do with that peice of wood? cant use it for anything. may as well screw it back on.

really, for me, closed was 110% benefit and open was just a hassle.
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#10
i disagree with most all the negative comments on open back speakers. i have been playing for quite some time now with open and closed back cabs and i still use both for various reasons.

comments like "Open back speaker cabinets sound good ONLY to the guy playing them", "open back cabs leave the speaker vulnerable" are very strange comments to me. i have quite a number of recordings using different gear and i have never had issues with open back cabs specifically sounding bad. there is also plenty of very good professional guitarists that can play with any equipment they want and they choose open back cabs as their gear of choice.

i have never heard someone say "that tweed deluxe [or blackface twin] would sound so much better if he ran an extension closed back cab with it instead of the internal speaker"

i have also never had an issue with speakers being damaged in open back cabs (not to say they couldn't be damaged, but this is not an epidemic or even common problem from my experience). i certainly don't see open back cabinets as a 'hassle'.

like most situations like this, i recommend you playing as much gear as possible to make your own decisions. but generally open back cabs have less low end and can be louder (due to projection from the front and back of the speaker), closed back cabs are more directional in it's projection and tend to have more low end. speakers in a closed back cab also have some extra complicated physics due to the internal air space of the cabinet effecting speaker movement (i won't get into all that).

the speakers in these cabs also sound very different, so the pairing of the speaker to the cabinet makes a big difference. for example, i like G12M-25 speakers in closed back cabs, don't really like them in open back cabs. but i prefer my old jensen speakers in open back configurations better.

if you are playing more modern metal or heavy rock based music then people tend to prefer closed back cabs (this is not a rule, it is just tendency, i have seen plenty of these musicians still use open back cabs).

edit: i do agree that ported cabs for guitar are pretty much nonsense.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Oct 18, 2015,
#11
For me it depends totally on what you are playing. For blues, open backed cabs work really well - for metal, not so much. It's mostly about how you want the bottom end to perform.
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#12
Quote by gumbilicious
i disagree with most all the negative comments on open back speakers. i have been playing for quite some time now with open and closed back cabs and i still use both for various reasons.

comments like "Open back speaker cabinets sound good ONLY to the guy playing them", "open back cabs leave the speaker vulnerable" are very strange comments to me. i have quite a number of recordings using different gear and i have never had issues with open back cabs specifically sounding bad.
i have also never had an issue with speakers being damaged in open back cabs (not to say they couldn't be damaged, but this is not an epidemic or even common problem from my experience).

edit: i do agree that ported cabs for guitar are pretty much nonsense.


Lemme rephrase, then. (Note that neither I or anyone said they "specifically sound bad." Those are your words )

Open back cabinets never sound the same to an audience as they sound to the guitarist standing/sitting right next to them who's also hearing the sound off the back of the amp, off the walls and floor near the amp. If you're the guitarist who sets the amp for the best possible sound, you're hearing "good' sound while the audience is actually hearing something OTHER than the "best possible sound."

I have a 2x12 open back tube amp that I think sounds great. Closeup, miked, and at some distance. But it's still true that it sounds its best only when I'm standing next to it, and not the same to the audience.

I've seen people toss all kinds of things into the backs of their open-back amps. Cables, screwdrivers, guitar straps, amp channel changing pedals, more. It's just a convenient place. It's not the smartest thing, but it happens. It ONLY happens with open back cabs because it *can't* happen with closed back cabinets. I've seen the speaker damage that can result. Real world stuff.

And finally: Ported cabinets for guitar aren't nonsense. Cabinets with random holes in them are. The Mesa Thiele cabinet, when used with the speaker for which it was designed, isn't nonsense. The Atomic Reactor cabinets, ported for a specific Eminence speaker, aren't nonsense. I have a pair of cabinets designed specifically around the 12" Eminence Delta ProA that are ported. They take advantage of that speaker's 52Hz resonant frequency. With an ordinary 7-string running a B string at 62Hz, and other tunings dropping below that... That's not nonsense.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 18, 2015,
#13
Sure, close miking the cab will reduce the difference - but it's still there. An open backed cab will have looser bass regardless of where the mike is. Sure the audience won't hear the spill out of the back but the bass will have a looser sound to it.
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#14
yes but for me, a closed cab can do everything well...open, it can, but like you said not as much stuff if you want to go from clean to hard rock / metal. so closed seems more versatile.
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#15
Quote by dspellman
Lemme rephrase, then. (Note that neither I or anyone said they "specifically sound bad." Those are your words )


i never said you did, i only attribute your own quotes to you. i said "i have never had issues with open back cabs specifically sounding bad". i am not trying to play a word game here, i am not trying to attribute something to you that you did not say so you can stop acting so defensive.

Quote by dspellman
Open back cabinets never sound the same to an audience as they sound to the guitarist standing/sitting right next to them who's also hearing the sound off the back of the amp, off the walls and floor near the amp. If you're the guitarist who sets the amp for the best possible sound, you're hearing "good' sound while the audience is actually hearing something OTHER than the "best possible sound."


closed back cabinets never sound the same to an audience as they sound to the guitarist standing/sitting right next to them. all cabinets sound different depending on environment and location of listener. this is why they are generally mic'd at bigger shows or run through the PA.

you know this. i am not telling you anything you don't know. thinking about how you will sound to the audience is a factor whether you use open or closed back cabinets. it's not like closed back cabinets have some magic that makes them sound the same to everyone and open back cabs don't.

Quote by dspellman
I have a 2x12 open back tube amp that I think sounds great. Closeup, miked, and at some distance. But it's still true that it sounds its best only when I'm standing next to it, and not the same to the audience.


great, i have an open back 2x12 that i have played without mic'ing at gigs. sounds great in the portable recorder in the audience.

i highly contest your opinion on how 2x12's "sound its best" because all someone has to do is state an opinion contrary to yours to challenge this rigorous statement of yours. just because you say "it's still true" doesn't in fact make it true, it actually just sounds like preference and opinion to me and very far from some kinda objective fact.

i prefer to leave these judgements up to the people that choose their equipment instead of telling them how they should feel about it. that is why i suggest the person play the equipment themselves rather than adopt my opinions on the subject.

i swear, this shit is the reason i stopped posting here. it is all about pushing personal opinions to the point of community consensus, a bunch of bull shit group think. so little about telling people to try to stuff, to compare these things and then make up their own mind.

Quote by dspellman
I've seen people toss all kinds of things into the backs of their open-back amps. Cables, screwdrivers, guitar straps, amp channel changing pedals, more. It's just a convenient place. It's not the smartest thing, but it happens. It ONLY happens with open back cabs because it *can't* happen with closed back cabinets. I've seen the speaker damage that can result. Real world stuff.


alright, then why not warn him about putting things in the back of his cab instead of warning him about the inherent dangers of open back cabs. at most a light warning about the dangers seems the most this subject should warrant. the amount of emphasis placed on it does not seem in proportion to the actual 'dangers' entailed.

i know this is only my personal experience and thus counts as anecdotal evidence, but i have been playing over 25 years and have yet to encounter someone destroying their speaker in an open back cab because of stuff they threw in the back. plane crashes and getting struck by lightning happen too, but i wouldn't concern someone with the dangers of such things on a day to day basis.

Quote by dspellman
And finally: Ported cabinets for guitar aren't nonsense. Cabinets with random holes in them are. The Mesa Thiele cabinet, when used with the speaker for which it was designed, isn't nonsense. The Atomic Reactor cabinets, ported for a specific Eminence speaker, aren't nonsense. I have a pair of cabinets designed specifically around the 12" Eminence Delta ProA that are ported. They take advantage of that speaker's 52Hz resonant frequency. With an ordinary 7-string running a B string at 62Hz, and other tunings dropping below that... That's not nonsense.


it is nonsense to me, because that is all over much of the bass players mix range. i don't want my guitar to compete with the bass player, bass is there to fill that range in.

beyond that, most guitars still use standard tuning: ~80 Hz. i don't want a speaker cab resonating a frequency that is not in my original signal and effectively adding junk mono-note low end. once again, this is why i have a bass player in my band: so that my low end actually emphasizes more than one frequency.

so you may want to play a 7 string guitar to use a guitar cab's port to add a bunch of low end i consider junk in the mix, but that sounds like non-sense to me and not you.

see, i am willing to admit this is personal preference. i don't like to do it, anyone using the equipment should make their own mines up for themselves.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Oct 18, 2015,
#16
Quote by gumbilicious

i have an open back 2x12 that i have played without mic'ing at gigs. sounds great in the portable recorder in the audience.


Okay...

Portable recorder.


Quote by gumbilicious

alright, then why not warn him about putting things in the back of his cab instead of warning him about the inherent dangers of open back cabs.


Okay...

I'll put a big red warning sticker on every open-back cab I see. But you should see some of the stuff I've found stuck to speaker magnets and rattling around in the backs of amps. I don't make this stuff up.

Quote by gumbilicious

it is nonsense to me, because that is all over much of the bass players mix range. i don't want my guitar to compete with the bass player, bass is there to fill that range in.

beyond that, most guitars still use standard tuning: ~80 Hz. i don't want a speaker cab resonating a frequency that is not in my original signal and effectively adding junk mono-note low end. .


1. Porting isn't nonsense if you're one of those folks who do play an extended range guitars.

2. You need to understand that a full-range cabinet isn't going to "resonate a frequency that's not in your original signal" nor is it going to "add junk mono-note low end" (whatever that means). Most of us listen to music on full-range speakers. Properly designed, they don't "add" anything that's not in the signal. You understand that, right?

3. Most guitar speakers have a hard time producing a fundamental at even 82Hz (open low E) -- they've begun falling off rapidly at around 110Hz. What you usually get to hear is a set of harmonics that "indicate" to your ear the note you intend. On the other hand, if you have a cabinet that can reproduce right down to 52Hz, then you actually get to hear your "original signal."
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 19, 2015,
#17
those port city cabs sound amazing. im not paying for one. they could just be nicely built cabs with good speakers, but, fact - they sound amazing.

stupid amounts of money. but performance speaks for itself.
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