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open or closed back cabs


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I'm no amp expert but I happened to have both in the room behind me right now. The closed back seems to have more bottom rumble and the open back is airier if that's a word. The '65 Deluxe Reverb is an open back, and it seems to highlight the high frequencies. When I hooked up the Deluxe to my semi closed back Traynor cab, the sound was warmer and darker...more vintage. When I hooked up the Traynor to the 65 Deluxe cab, it was brighter and more open. In other words I switched the tube section to the other's cab and the sound more or less followed the cab. Of course there is a difference in the speaker used as well and frankly I can't say how much was the speaker as apposed to the cab. The Traynor uses a Celestion Vintage 30, and the Deluxe uses a Jensen C12K. I hope somebody who knows what he's talking about can explain this better!

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This will be as bad as "pickguard / no pickguard"


As a gigging "BAR" musician for some 30+ years I don't like closed back cabs.


1; If you're in a small club and not miking everything and sending separate monitor mixes to everybody (and spending an hour mixing freaking monitors) the drummer can't hear you. Period. He's behind a closed cab. Small 150/250 seat clubs are where a lot of musicians work. A 30 watt combo is all it takes.


2; Closed cabs will trick you. A Marshall 1960A (what I had for many years) sounds totally different from where you are, compaired to 25/30 feet in front of it. When I got a cordless rig back in the 90's and walked out in front of my Marshall 1/2 stack I was shocked at how crappy it sounded.

Sounded good right in front of it. Sounded good miked, but we didn't mike it in smaller clubs.


I prefer combos and gig a Mesa Boogie Blue Angel 1;12 miked "a little". And cranked a little. When I walk out 20/30 feet, I like what I hear, and the sound is good on stage. The smaller tube amps sound better cranked than a high powered tube amp with pre gain going on, and the master down.


Whatever you choose, make it a point to get out front and hear the real picture, "LIVE AS YOU'RE GIGGING".


Don't EVER take anybodys word about "How you sound"....................


God Bless.


Best of luck.



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If you want the science of why they sound different and how - PM me, can't be arsed to post it publicly for all the flack with the 'the covers of your book are too far apart' crap. It is relatively straight foward though:

Closed = less efficient / more bass / flatter response

Open = more efficient / less bass / more resonances

.....assuming the same driver and the same timber.

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A Good example is the southern rock groups Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band. Lynyrd Skynyrd tends to have more of an "In you face" type of tone, they used closed backs. The Allman Brothers Band had a great, cleaner and more defined tone. Granted they used diferent brands and speakers, I prefer the sound of Skynyrd which is why I use closed back. If you want the Allman sound, use EV Speakers, cut a 4" by 4" hole in the back of the cab and face the cab backwards on stage (Marshall Head). Hope that Helped ya out!

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