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Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

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Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby mikehende » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:38 pm

Hey guys, in your opinion or experience, which speaker gives the punchiest bass whether powered or non-powered?
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:01 pm

Regardless of cost? And does the speaker need to be portable?

A clearer definition of 'punch' would help here. You can have very loud bass, which will physically move your chest so you can feel it, but it can also be quite a loose sound. Or you can have a quieter bass that is very tightly defined, with a lot of mid content and with no obvious port resonance or time smearing that can also be called punchy.

The size of the speaker will generally define how low the frequency response extends to, and on large systems you'll often get and 18" sub doing the really low frequencies, with a 15" doing the mid and upper bass frequencies. The smaller the speaker cone, the less the mass of the cone and the quicker it can respond. So smaller speakers can sound tighter and punchier (in my definition of punchy) but larger speakers will go lower and sound bassier.

SPL levels will depend on the power handling capacity of the speaker, its efficiency and the amp power driving it. You could have the same driver in two different cabs with two different amps driving them and they could sound very different, so the driver alone doesn't define the sound but the whole package.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby RichardT » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:24 pm

That’s a very hard question to answer! Are you after accuracy in the bass first and foremost?

Something I’ve learned from experience is that good room treatment (ie sufficient broadband or bass trapping) makes an absolutely huge difference to bass punchiness. It’s hard to overstate how big this effect is. Punchiness is determined as much by how quickly the sound stops as by how quickly it starts.

...or you could be talking about PA speakers...
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:39 pm

I’ve been wondering about this lately, a lot of modern monitors have maybe, 8 inch drivers, tops, and a subwoofer if necessary, but if you look at monitors of old, it was quite common to use a larger bass driver, and no sub.

:think:
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:53 pm

Because monitor design, particularly at the bass end, has improved quite a bit. Nowadays you can take that smaller driver and throw it a lot further without hitting the point where non-linearities start occurring. This means you can make smaller, stiffer cabinets, with faster reacting drivers.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:04 pm

Arpangel wrote:I’ve been wondering about this lately, a lot of modern monitors have maybe, 8 inch drivers, tops, and a subwoofer if necessary, but if you look at monitors of old, it was quite common to use a larger bass driver, and no sub.

In days of old they used huge cabinets with inefficient drivers. They were heard from a distance in large, well-treated control rooms, and they generally needed to go loud.

Few customers these days need or want any of that. Instead, they want cheap first and foremost, in a compact format for use in the very nearfield to sit on a desk and minimise room interaction in untreated space.

Yes, modern bass drivers are more capable, but there's more to it than that.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby AlecSp » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:16 am

Yup, a bit of a daft and subjective initial question, really.

In the world of bass players, it's always tickled me to read posts where bass players naively fantasise about playing a bass rig consisting of a number of 18", or even 21", subs and how cool it would be. Little do they realise that it would be quite nauseating just to have sub on its own...
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby mikehende » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:59 pm

Wonks wrote:Regardless of cost? And does the speaker need to be portable?
A clearer definition of 'punch' would help here. You can have very loud bass, which will physically move your chest so you can feel it, but it can also be quite a loose sound. Or you can have a quieter bass that is very tightly defined, with a lot of mid content and with no obvious port resonance or time smearing that can also be called punchy.

Yes, the latter in bold.

I had always thought that a subwoofer's cab design is what mostly determines punchiness more than any other factor. For example, the EAW SBX220:

https://eaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014 ... S_rev1.pdf

It's description reads "Unique baffle design and advanced transducers maximize low frequency punch"..........

So I am curios about which bass cabs are designed to give punch bass.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:08 pm

mikehende wrote:So I am curios about which bass cabs are designed to give punch bass.
Short answer: expensive ones! :)
Seriously though, low frequencies are the hardest part of the spectrum to accurately reproduce and the old rule of "loud, good, cheap - pick two" applies, just replace 'loud' with 'punchy'.
But as Richard T said above, if you've not got a well treated room in the first place you're not going to hear them properly anyway.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:20 pm

I think we are talking about PA rigs here, not monitors at home. This is the live sound section after all. Though a great PA in a very live room will still sound awful. But probably slightly better than a bad PA in the same space.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby MOF » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:23 pm

PA and guitar amplification isn’t my area of interest, but I remember reading years ago that there was a move away from single 15” and 18” speaker cabinets to four 10” or 12” speakers in a speaker cabinet, the more rigid speaker cones gave greater tonal accuracy and the combined surface area still gave the same volume output.
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby uselessoldman » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:11 am

Just go on youtube and watch some of those monster Indian Bass cabs wow they made my HiFi boooom and yip I have a 320 watt Yamaha Sub and it loved it. and thats even with compressed Youtube audio. Its not just about about size its about the design of the cab.

We had this discussion about Reggae music, there is Bass and then there is subjectively real serious silly Bass. I guess Rave rigs are similar. How much Bass is sensible or is it about showing off and being silly and annoying everyone else in a 10 mile radius who only hear boom boom boom like its an electrical thunder storm on steroids
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby mikehende » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:49 am

Can you link me to the video you're referring to on youtube please?
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby mikehende » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:17 pm

Wonks wrote:SPL levels will depend on the power handling capacity of the speaker, its efficiency and the amp power driving it. You could have the same driver in two different cabs with two different amps driving them and they could sound very different, so the driver alone doesn't define the sound but the whole package.

I was directed to this resource on another forum:

https://data-bass.ipbhost.com/topic/535 ... threshold/

Yes, from what I have read so far, it's not only a cab's design which determined punchiness but all other factors as you've stated. All info though seems to lead to Mid Bass cabs Folded Horn designs being the best for Punchiness, I am wondering if there is any Bass Reflex cab which can give a lot of punch?
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Re: Which 12-18" Speaker gives the punchiest bass?

Postby Dave Rowles » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:03 pm

L-Acoustic SB18. Awesome subwoofer, especially when matched with a Kara II system.

£2,700 ish exVAT, and you'll need an amp for it too.
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