ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: 1 2 [3]   Go Down

Author Topic: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.  (Read 32748 times)

Arjan van Gog

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 94
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2010, 10:53:13 am »

Quote:

I don't doubt that "really good" cabinets made from plastic could exist, it just doesn't seem like anyone is making professional grade, high end cabinets out of plastic yet, or am I just not aware of them? It probably is the future!


I have absolutely no expertise in this matter but could it be that the really professional grade, high end cabinets are not made in sufficient numbers to justify making a mould (or possibly many moulds) for prototyping? It must be a lot easier and cheaper to design and prototype a cabine in wood and be able to translate that to a production line and know it's going to sound exactly the same.

Perhaps some conservatism and acceptance issues are also at play: if customers perceive plastic as inferior it's dangerous for a manufacturer to go against that. This by itself may explain why there supposedly are no high-end plastic boxes (I wouldn't know if they exist or not). And customers perceive plastic as inferior because there are no truly high end offerings so you end up with a self-confirming circle.

Personally and FWIW I really like my FBT MaxX4a active speakers made from plastic which I certainly consider to be of 'good quality' (lightyears ahead of the first generation 15 inch EONs I used to work with many years ago). But I sure don't mind that the accompanying MaxX10sa sub is made of birch plywood, somehow it does seem more 'professional', especially for a sub Razz .
Logged

Bennett Prescott

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8924
    • http://www.adraudio.com
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2010, 11:40:25 am »

More than one company makes a high end box out of "plastic" as an extra-cost option.
Logged
-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Bob Leonard

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4669
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2010, 12:15:36 am »

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 10 November 2010 09:41

Chuck Simon wrote on Wed, 10 November 2010 08:26

I have a little GK bass amp with an aluminum cabinet.  It sounds amazingly good for it's size.  Any thoughts on Aluminum as a cabinet material?


I think I recall some small rat shack speakers in a metal box.

Back in the '80s a tech working for me was into DIY speakers, and he played around with wood that had metal laminated on the surface. As I recall, the metal was pretty thin and probably didn't change the character of the box.

For lead guitar amps the box is a large part of the sound so even the type of wood used matters, for a bass guitar amp the desired output is generally cleaner so it seems a very dead box would be preferable. A wood cabinet flexing, is absorbing energy that would otherwise come out the front as sound pressure level. So metal would make great sound reinforcement speaker cabinets if it wasn't so heavy and/or expensive.

JR


John,
You're absolutely correct in your statements concerning guitar cabinets, but I would carry that one step further.

It's no mystery that older, pre 1967 Fender cabinets cost good money, and the reason being the wood construction. Not plywood, but pine board. And to add to that mystery there are a number of fender cabinets manufactured with pine board sides and dense particle board fronts, covered by a baffle board with very open meshed grill cloth.

Some of these baffle boards, specifically the Super Reverb with it's 4ea. 10" speakers, do not have round holes in them. The tops and bottoms of the holes are shaded about 1-2". As time changed, and Fender put less effort into their cabinets, so did the tone. Of course, none of this is a mystery, but it does prove that Leo had more than a passing knowledge concerning cabinet construction.

Enter the world of plastics. My experience with plastic speakers goes pretty far back to a point when I carried 4ea. EV SX500+ cabinets. I loved the sound, but time told it's tale on those cabinets to a degree far worse than wood. I could live with that, but I found some anomalies I couldn't live with.

Repairing the common plastic cabinet, driver, etc., requires the removal of huge numbers of screws, and I suppose I could live with that also. Plastic cabinets are usually harder to handle I suppose due to the handle positions and type. Plastic cabinets tend to "pump", or expand and contract while in use. Plastic cabinets tend to produce condensation inside and out when used at night outside or when the weather cools. The tone of plastic cabinets will change as the temperature changes. And most of all, the EV SX500+ was and still is the ugliest, hardest to handle speaker ever made.

Wood has tone to it. Harder woods, such as ebony, will brighten the tone of an instrument. Harder materials, such as plastic and steel, will brighten the tone of a speaker cabinet. But, who's to say that isn't a part of the design. Just some of the reasons I don't like plastic cabinets.
Logged
The roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd.

Jason J Raboin

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 206
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2010, 02:02:09 pm »

Maybe not state of the art, but I would consider Technomad speakers to be "professional".  They are made of plastic.
Logged

Scott Hibbard

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 381
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2010, 02:47:03 pm »

...and I would second the fact that some "plastic" speakers are pretty damn good. Example: FBT HiMaxx40a - simply a cut above most other plastic speakers and a fair number of wooden cabs.  But I would have to say in most cases, the best of the best are wooden cabs

ScottH

Logged

Frederik Rosenkjær

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 520
    • http://www.blackburst.dk
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2010, 06:04:22 am »

Plastic cabinets are not all created equal. An example of plastic beginning to appear in high-class cabinets are d&b E- and T-series.

I'm leaning towards the plastic domain having the ultimate advantages in the hands of the best. d&b says that plastic has allowed them to make shapes that are not possible with wood, which I understand is also the reasoning behind the horn baffle in the Danley SM60.
Logged

Tim Terral

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2010, 06:05:16 pm »

I would be curious as to the difference in audio quality, if any, between the two QSC models - K12 and KW122. Same drivers, amps, crossovers, etc. Seems this would give a good indication of what the potential differences between plastic and wood enclosures, at least with these particular components. I have seen a number of comments about the K12 and HPR122i and a few on the KW122, but have not found any direct comparisons between them. If the wood cabs do not sound appreciably better for the $300.00 premium, then the K12 would be the choice for my situation - local weekend acoustic band.
Logged

Sean Chen

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 276
Re: Wood vs ABS Plastic for speaker cabnets.
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2010, 06:13:22 pm »

Hello,

Based on my experience and personal assessment, box material matters a lot for subwoofers.

As for tops, if it doesn't need to produce bass, then it won't matter as much.

I believe one day some company will come out with composite enclosure that will sound better than wood enclosure. Maybe some thick foam core with CF laminates...

I have personally custom built a wood box that sounds really bad: going too thin on the material trying to save weight. It resonates audibly a few overtones of my intended tone. So yes, wood can sound bad too.

By the way, plywood is a composite made of natural layers.
Logged

Dave Dermont

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2011
    • http://www.geocities.com/livesound101/
Anecdote about wood vs WOOD
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2010, 06:23:14 pm »

Once upon a time, a guitar player friend of mine was preparing to go on tour.

He owned four Marshall cabinets, two full stacks. Both were loaded with the same model and vintage Celestion 12" speakers.

He wanted to bring the best sounding cabinet of the bunch with him on tour, so he set everything up in his garage, and did some listening tests.

The tests were absolutely unscientific, it was all about what he thought sounded best.

Strangely enough, one stack sounded "better" than another. Closer examination found that the better sounding cabinets had plywood backs. The other cabinets had particle board backs. This was the only obvious difference in the cabinets.

As guitarists are apt to do, he took the top cabinet of the better sounding stack on tour with him.

Of course, this has little to do with sound reinforcement loudspeakers. I just thought I'd share.
Logged
Dave Dermont - Chief Lizard, LAB Lounge

WARNING: Dates In Calendar May Be Closer Than They Appear
Pages: 1 2 [3]   Go Up
 

Page created in 0.053 seconds with 18 queries.