best wood for a cab

Discussion in 'Cabinets & Speakers' started by kamran, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. kamran

    kamran Well-Known Member

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    hey im thinking about building my own 412 cab, and was wondering what type of wood you guys would recommend. price isnt too much of an issue but nothing outrageous. im looking for tight bass, punchy mids, and smooth highs with a nice warm sound overall. i know speakers matter more but the wood also defines the tone a little of course. so what would be the absolute best wood to use for this cab?
     
  2. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Birch plywood as thick as you can afford.
     
  3. kamran

    kamran Well-Known Member

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    hmm. is there a reason? or does this simply sound good? sorry i dont know much when it comes to how wood interacts with tone and such. i only have a very basic understanding.
     
  4. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    The volume of space in the box will dictate low end response. The trick to any box is to make it as stiff as possible. Any unwanted vibrations will take power away from the speaker.

    Birch (void free) is a standard choice, because it is very road worthy. Now some manufactures build the "box" out of birch and the rear and front panels are high quality particle board called MDF or Medite. Particle board does not flex and it makes the best baffles. However, you must use "T-Nuts" in the baffle to secure the speakers.

    You may think solid wood would work, but it's not a good choice. Old fender combo's were made out of solid wood and that is because plywood hadn't been developed yet. I wouldn't want my speaker box to have wood knots in it.

    I will say that building a 412 cab is a lot harder than it looks. It can be time consuming. There was a member who built a nice one at his school, but it was a lengthy project and he had access to all the right tools. I mean after you build the box, you have four, precision holes to cut and tolex or carpet to install. Then there is all of the hardware. I'm assuming you have a solid wood working background and all of the necessary tools.
     
  5. kamran

    kamran Well-Known Member

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    hmmm. well i do a lot of stage production work (for theater, not music) so im used to working with wood. i think making the box wont be a problem, but the holes will be tough. never the less i think i can build a pretty decent cab if i really try. hopefully itll be good enough (at least) to replace my MC412 (decent cab for the $ actually) for practices. then for shows i can bring them both and... MARSHALL FULL STACK :naughty:

    back on subject... is this MDF hard to come by? or can i pick some up at any home depot? perhaps ill have to order some from a custom audio shop or something?

    oh and btw i already have a slant cab, so would it be smart to go for a straight cab this time?
     
  6. Rick O'Shea

    Rick O'Shea Member

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    MDF is very standard and generally consistent from different manufacturers.

    It may be harder to get good birch plywood in usable sizes for a cab. Remember, it's not an appearance grade birch veneer on a poplar veneer core(or worse particle core) that you want. It is a birch veneer core, typically called baltic or russian birch. In retail stores, I've only seen it in 2'x4' pieces approximately 1/2" or 3/4" thick.
     
  7. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    That's essential, but be aware that you should approach this as a "fun" project because by the time you're done with sourcing the right materials, making the design, building the cabinet, tolexing it and buying 4 speakers, you'll be out a LOT more money than just buying a used 1960 cabinet which sell for $300 and up. And that's assuming you bill your own time at nothing.

    That being said, I'm sure if you get a really nice result, your tone will sound that much better because you know it's coming from your own handiwork! Good luck!!

    Ken
     
  8. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    As Marty has said, Birch ply and MDF baffles is a good combo.
    Personally I have built 4X12 cabs and used a double thickness speaker baffle out of birch ply. I have never used MDF in any cab, but my son custom builds sub enclosures for vehicles out of MDF.
    You can get either at Home Depot or Lowes.

    I use birch ply because it is extremely strong (road worthy) and fairly easy to work with. You need to be careful as it can have a tendency to warp easily when you use thinner varieties. The other reason I build my own is to build cabs to my own dimensions. For example, a typical Marshall 1960 cab is 15 inches deep, I prefer a bigger box 16 inches deep. To me it adds a bit of low depth with certain speakers, shaving off a bit of high-end. YMMV...
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  9. wkcchampion

    wkcchampion New Member

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    Birch plywood or pine. The rest is cheapo!
     
  10. Luvverly Joobly

    Luvverly Joobly Active Member

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    I have had cabs made from Ply, pine, mahogany and mdf. My personal prefered choices were:

    1. Mahogany - Very warm and woody, a rich complex tone that adds an extra dimension. Very sweet sound... more expensive.

    2. Pine - Brighter than mahogany, but still adds a nice sparkle but more picky about the speakers.

    3. Birch ply - the industry standard, more roadworthy and robust. I found it lacking overal clarity and sparkle but adds some thump.

    4. MDF - Meh... keep it for Hi-fi speakers.

    All subjective I know, but I would take mahogany every time if I could. Real wood seems to add that extra depth and dimension, however, where this works for me it may not work for chugga chugga heavy riffs.
     
  11. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    That's where I was heading with my comments. I have the tools and I do build cabs, but I will snatch a good deal on a solid made cab. I did buy a 1960A cab with G12T-75's for $300. So it is a reality. Four Eminence speakers are going to be around $320. You could easily exceed $400 in parts and materials.
     
  12. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Just to play devils advocate here, what you are creating is a new cab though.
    How much is a NEW 1960 a or b cab?
    Probably will come out less to build one especially if you have all the materials and tools to do it. Personally I won't buy a cab with Celestions in it.
     
  13. MartyStrat54

    MartyStrat54 Well-Known Member

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    Well Micky...you know me. I sold the 75's and now the cab is home for the Black Powders and Tonespotters.:fingersx::naughty::fingersx:
     
  14. wkcchampion

    wkcchampion New Member

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    Current Chinese ones or also Pre-Rolas and Rolas??????
     
  15. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    NO Celestions. Ever.
    After hearing them in comparison to the Eminence I wouldn't even purchase a pre-Rola. Sure if someone gave them to me maybe, but I am never purchasing another Celestion.

    Ever.
     
  16. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    It's fine to have your favorites, but when someone posts a blanket statement like "all xxx suck" yet they are an industry standard for professionals, I wonder if it's the equipment that's really the issue.

    Ken
     
  17. Micky

    Micky Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Whoa. I never said Celestions suck. They may be fine for you.
    What I said is I would not purchase one based on my experience.
    I also said your mileage may vary. (in previous other posts)

    Don't ever lump me into the troll group like that. Don't put words in my mouth.
    Same way Line6 amps may sell well and you may like them, but I am not gonna buy one.
     
  18. wkcchampion

    wkcchampion New Member

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    that makes sense. It's the same for me with other things...
     
  19. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    Granted, but Celestion makes a lot of different speakers with different characteristics and sound. What is common to all of them that isn't as good as Eminence?

    Ken
     
  20. IbanezMark

    IbanezMark Senior Member

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    If you're looking for good quality ply, you can also check out anything Marine-grade.
    Marine ply will be quite expensive, but it is solid core and is glued up in many layers.
     

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