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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #156095  by tapestry
 Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:17 am
I recently did an a/b test with a few different JG rigs and what I found was surprising. The main thing that made the SWEET sound was the speaker cab/speakers. Out of the three different cabs I tested only one cab sounded the sweetest. All three cabs we hard trucker 2x12 and all speakers we jbl e120s.

The one that sounded the best was the most used and beat up cab of the bunch. There is even a tear in one of the speakers! Undeniably, this cab sounded best - even when used by all the different rigs. It was more "airy", "wet" and easy on the ears.

The other cabs were clean but very punchy and harsh. We are going to try running some sound through them to break them in a bit and see if that makes a difference.

Just thought I would let you all know!
 #156097  by tcsned
 Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:13 pm
Interesting, that would lead me to think that it was a difference in the individual E120s.
 #156098  by milobender
 Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:00 pm
I'd have to say it's the speakers too. Especially if the boxes are very similar in design and materials. It would be a pain, but the best way to find out for sure would be to remove the speakers from 2 cabs (to include the sweet sounding one) and swap cabs.
 #156106  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:09 am
I agree.

It seems that with speakers, these JBL 12", the warmth and body and "bass" is almost entirely a factor of the cabinet size and design. I think Jerry's settling on that 3-12" very-open-backed cabinet did a few vital things for him. It allowed the cab to be on the floor to get that fullness from "stage coupling", it placed the highest speaker at a place so that when tilted a little it aimed at his chest and NEVER at his eardrums, and it generally gave that extremely thin EQ of his some fatness and warmth and body. I can't really get that with a single 12. A 2-12 gets very close. I bet the 3-12" would be super cool, but I don't have one.

B
 #156108  by ac4468
 Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:54 am
...And not all plywood is the same. The 7ply 3/4" Birch plywood from your lumberyard is much different than a good 11 +ply Baltic Birch. The cheaper has lots of voids and less hardwood in it's composition which has to affect the sound just as different soundboard woods make an acoustic sound different.
 #156124  by TI4-1009
 Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:22 am
ac4468 wrote:...And not all plywood is the same. The 7ply 3/4" Birch plywood from your lumberyard is much different than a good 11 +ply Baltic Birch. The cheaper has lots of voids and less hardwood in it's composition which has to affect the sound just as different soundboard woods make an acoustic sound different.
True, but I think you could make the argument that the harder and denser the wood the more "brittle", sharp/ice-picky the acoustic properties? Softer wood could absorb some sound and mellow-out a JBL type speaker- particularly if you're playing at less than ear-splitting volumes.
 #156126  by tcsned
 Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:02 am
If they were all three Hard Trucker cabs then I would think that the materials would be the same just at varying stages of getting beat up. Maybe they are "Hard Trucker" style cabs of varying construction.
 #156129  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:14 pm
The wood types, materials matter for sure, but by far the HUGE factors are the size, proportion, placement, and volumetric math - has everything to do with the resonance and bass, midrange response, the "warmth" and "body" aspect of the tone.

B
 #156134  by TI4-1009
 Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:04 pm
Good stuff Waldo.

"Material
Dense material such as void-free "marine-grade" plywood, Finnish or Baltic birch type, 19 mm (3/4 inch) or even
thicker plywood is recommended where enclosures will be transported frequently, while high-density fiber or
particle board (not chip board) can be used for permanently installed use."

This is what I recall from my Dead history. They weren't necessarily looking for acoustical properties, they were looking for "indestructible" for 100's of thousands of miles of touring. (but "chicken or egg", they ended up with the acoustic properties of the most indestructible material.)
 #156142  by tcsned
 Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:10 am
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:The wood types, materials matter for sure, but by far the HUGE factors are the size, proportion, placement, and volumetric math - has everything to do with the resonance and bass, midrange response, the "warmth" and "body" aspect of the tone.

B
I totally agree, but it isn't clear from Mik's post whether there were any differences. I assume HT builds everything from the same materials and the same dimensions.