Open Back vs. Closed Back Speaker Cabinet?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by castpolymer, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    My Lady had 4 cats when my first practice amp hit the door-with CLOSED back. Now, I'm with a Lady that likes big dogs like me...

    Not knowing much at the time combined with the Punch or Closed sound + Long Haired Cats drove my decision.
     
  2. booncrusher2000

    booncrusher2000 Tele-Meister

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    :D please share some of that stuff man!!!!!! like far out """ groovy"" solid"""" way out man .............like toasty ...........moondoggy -daddy-o:rolleyes:
     
  3. Dark13579

    Dark13579 Tele-Meister

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    I am also getting a bH HD head and getting an avatar cab loaded with either a greenback or a hellatone 60(broken in V30) can't decide yet. I am going for the Hendrix sound so open or closed???
     
  4. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    castpolymer,

    If you only play at home, then it's not going to matter much.
     
  5. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Really. That one sentence accurately answers more than fifty percent of OPs on the forum. It should be a sticky: READ THIS FIRST! ...If you're just messing around in the den, does it really matter?
     
  6. dreamyguy

    dreamyguy TDPRI Member

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    Blackstar HT-5 + 2x12 cabinet = open back OR closed back?

    I can relate to that... but still need some guidance here...

    I'm on a budget (of sorts) and about to get my first amp. Long story made short: I've played guitar for 18 years but only made the shift to electric earlier this year. So.

    Right now almost any amp would be overkill to my skills, but I do have a pair of ears and can appreciate well played/sounding music. Moreover, I do believe I have a "tone" I'd like to reproduce. Style-wise I'm very flexible, but progressive rock is the thing that make my hair stand.

    King Crimson, Gryphon, Camel, P.M.F, Gentle Giant, Focus, early Genesis, Anthony Phillips and East are but a few of the many big names I worship. Änglagård, Solaris and Wobbler are among the most recent progrock bands that have earned my listening time as well.

    I do like rock/blues like Blind Faith, Jimi Hendrix, The Bluesbreakers, Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Deep Purple, etc.

    Needless to say, I do enjoy the work of contemporary guitarrists like Vai, and love the work of the Travis Larson Band (you should hear it, start with "Sticks and Stones"!).

    But the technical thing...............

    Right now I'm not going to grab a powerful head nor combo because I'll be playing mostly at home (...right now). I also want the amp to be valve-driven, so in a few words, I can't afford a decent valve amp. I'm therefore forced to settle on a low-wattage amp that is versatile and has a great tone. Where I come from it can only mean the Blackstar HT-5, a 5W valve amp with loads of features AND tone.

    I thought of getting the combo for now and eventually take whatever next step I'd need to. The combo has a 10'' speaker (celestion G10N 40), quite a good speaker in it's class, designed for small combos. But I would like a Celestion Vintage 30, and they are 12''. That forces me to go for the head and combine it with a cab. If I'm going to do that, then I'd go for a good quality cab that already has the Celestion V30. But thinking long-term-wise, a 2x12 is always going to be better than a 1x12, perhaps even better than a 4x12 since I don't have a van nor any ambitions of playing in a stadium.

    That brings me to something I haven't mentioned. I CAN squeeze a good 2x12 cab into the budget, but that would be a squeeze for the sake of long term investment, not because I can afford to throw away money. It would most definitely empty my rainy-day piggy! When I'm ready to "grow out" of my sleeping room, it would be great to only need another head and combine it with the existing cab.

    Jess... you get the idea of how messy this is getting.

    So what would a 5W tube amp which needs more headroom & low-end (characteristics that aren't easy to change with such a low wattage) need: a closed back or an open back 2x12 cab - in the light of the sound I like and mentioned above?

    Hope you guys can give me some advice, cos I can't afford to make mistakes on my budget. My wife is already very skeptical about the whole story... :oops:

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
  7. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I thought castpolymer was the guy buying the cab.
    At any rate, my advice to home hobbyists is to get a convertible cab(or build one), one that has a removable panel so that you can use it as a closed cab or an open back. Problem solved.
     
  8. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    SS Closed amps makes sense for improved bass (tube amps need air flowing).
     
  9. imsilly

    imsilly Friend of Leo's

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    I have two random cabinets lying around that I used to use with my amp heads and I have to say that I liked the closed back one more. Both cabinets were filled with modern ceramic speakers and that could be the reason why.

    I mostly use combos now, which tend to be open backed and I like how they sound. I agree that greenbacks can suck in open backed cabinets like in combos. I had an AC30 with them and it wasn't a great partnership. Alnico Blues on the other hand I have loved in openback cabinets and the Alnico CTS in my Super Reverb sound lush too.

    I'm not knowledgable enough to come up with technical reasons why this is so I usually go with the rule of thumb that when I'm looking for a more complex, vintage sound I go Alnico in Openbacks and when I want a harder, modern sound I go Ceramics in Closedbacks. I won't claim that is always right, but it's better then nothing.

    So what the above posters have already hit upon it is the whole rig that will determine your choice between open and closed back. The amp, the speakers, then cabinet size, etc all will interact differently with cabinet itself.

    Which amps will you be using, which guitar, which style of music?
     
  10. dreamyguy

    dreamyguy TDPRI Member

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    I guess you got a point there, for I've read in a few other posts stating that celestion blues and golds (alnico-based) don't do well in closed backs. Their character is of a different sort... a hardcore vintage, one could say.

    But ceramics do well either way, depending of what one is after.

    I settled on a Blackstar HT-5 amp. Its features, price and most importantly - the tone - really didn't make it too hard a choice. My only dilemma was if it was going to be a combo or a head. I wanted more "boom" (low end) and headroom, so a cabinet with at least one Celestion Vintage 30 was the only choice in case I went for the head - because I really love the V30 sound.

    A guy at a guitar store which had the same setup at home and shared the same music taste helped me make up my mind, so I settled on a 1x12 cabinet, namely a Orange PCC112, which has a closed back and the V30. ;)

    My music is a bit of all, excluding metal. Progressive rock is the core, so it can get hard, but that's surely not the focus... Guitar is a Custom Epiphone LP Silverburst Limited Edition, pretty much stock if not for the lowered action. I'm seriously thinking of changing my humbuckers to Gibson Classic '57s, to make justice to the amp/speakers. Upgrading the pots might be a good idea as well, to get more fine-tuning from the pickups. I've read that pots alone can either muddy or improve the tone a big deal.

    I didn't get the gear yet, it has just been ordered. Thanks for all who bothered giving their 2 cents :)

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
  11. 3 Chord

    3 Chord Friend of Leo's

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    Push your amp up against the wall and see if you can hear a difference. It's not the same as a closed back but it is somewhat close.

    Keep the curtains away from the tubes!
     
  12. patrickhowell

    patrickhowell Tele-Meister

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    Closed back, Vintage 30, and rear-loader cabinet all add up to make a VERY directional cab... You might want to check out something like the Weber Beam Blocker
     
  13. dewey342

    dewey342 TDPRI Member

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    Looks like this is an old thread but I'm curious to know, if I will get enough bass response from this setup:
    I am putting a Marshall 1987 chassis in a combo. I'm having the cabinet built like the reissued Marshall Lead & Bass combo. It will measure 29" x 24" x 10", and I am loading it with (2) Heritage Celestion G12-65 15ohm speakers. There freq range is 80hz-5000hz with a resonance freq of 85hz; the sensitivity is 97db.
    I have lately began playing through the "Hi-Normal" input of my amp and working with styles like: Scotty Moore, James Burton, Roy Nichols.

    I have a pair of Classic G12H-30/85hz and a pair of Heritage G12H-30/50hz beside the G12-65's but now combo cabinet to test them with yet. Will be a couple weeks yet.

    Just wanted to hear some opinions-

    Thanks!
    Dewey
     
  14. BrownsBrick

    BrownsBrick Tele-Meister

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    Celestion G12H30 + Open Back cab= Bass & 3-D sound.
     
  15. dewey342

    dewey342 TDPRI Member

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    Hey thanks for the reply Brownsbrick, hope the weather is good there in Oakland!
    When you say G12H30, do you mean the Heritage Greenback or the Classic with the gold/black looking sticker? I think they both have a 50oz magnet but different Hz's.
     
  16. dewey342

    dewey342 TDPRI Member

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    I also forgot to mention my concern that either G12H speaker is rated at 30watts. A Standard 50 watt Marshall puts out around 90 watts when your volume setting is only on "2". After that of coarse is just added distortion and not more power.
    This is why I had hoped these Heritage G12-65watters would sound good and wouldn't have to worry about blowing a $200 speaker.
    I know, I will just have to try each pair in the cabinet and see what I like. I guess the reissued Lead & Bass combo, (1987XPW-Paul Weller) came with G12C Greenbacks which I'm not familiar with the specs on these.
     
  17. BrownsBrick

    BrownsBrick Tele-Meister

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    Hey,
    I've never tried the Heritage, I'm sure they're great too. I love the 70th Anniversary, not sure if mine is a UK one or Chinese or UK with Chinese parts. I doubt they can stand 50 watts RMS by themselves however.

    If you've got a 50 watt amp you might wanna do two of them in an open back 2x12, but this might be a little too much oomf. Another popular thing to do is mix a greenback AND a g12h30. The G12H's ARE more efficient than the Greebacks, So the G12H might take be a little more prominent. Not nessesarily a bad thing, the G12H's are more bassy and the greenbacks seem to have more rounded mids.
     
  18. dewey342

    dewey342 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks BrownsBrick!
     
  19. don jon

    don jon Tele-Meister

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    I hope those 65's sound good to you. I have never tried them, but I wouldn't run the Marshall into those G12H Heritage speakers. The Heritage speakers are (I think) supposed to be built to vintage specs which would make the power rating much less liberal than with modern speakers. I wouldn't want to blow a pair of those.

    But if you don't like the 65's then I can suggest a more reasonable speaker that will probably work wonders in your current setup. Warehouse Speakers has a high powered version of the G12H that I absolutely love in my 212 half-open back combo. It is a little brighter than an actual G12H, but the bass is warm, tight, punchy, and big! The breakup is like a mix between a slightly gritty G1275 and a creamy vintage Greenback which makes it shine in medium to high gain setups. Not to mention it's WAY cheaper than it's British inspiration. It's called the Reaper HP. They have nice sound clips on their site for it, but when I got mine it exceeded my expectations by far. It will easily handle the Marshall's power output also, so it is now my go to speaker for any amps that push more than the real Greenbacks (my favorite speakers) will take. ;)

    Here's a link: http://warehousespeakers.com/proddetail.php?prod=reaper_50

    And BTW, sounds like you have great taste in speakers my friend. :D
     
  20. dewey342

    dewey342 TDPRI Member

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    Well I finally got my combo together! Since I had the cabinet made like the Marshall model 2100 which I believe was sold through mail order catalog between '73 & '76, it had the large check grill cloth and I loaded it with the Celestion Heritage G12-65's. I also changed the 1987 circuit to the 1964 Lead & Bass circuit which as far as I can tell from my research is what was in this combo. The circuit is identical to the 1986 bass model except for a 250pf vs. 500pf capacitor in the tone stack.
    I like this circuit much better than the 87, it has more warmth and not all the tinny sound especially with my Tele.
    Overall the combo sounds great and am very happy with it.
    I was always a 4x12 stack guy in my professional days and wouldn't even consider a combo amp. lol! I missed out for sure just for that "look".
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
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