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2. Mixing Speakers

Something I get asked a lot is what speakers should I mix together. I guess the first thing is to figure out if you even need to mix speakers... It's definitely not something you need to do but the advantage is the ability to blend two different flavours.

There are arguments that say we shouldn't do it as it gives an uneven spread of sound but I say forget that, at home you'll probably be sat in one spot and on stage, the energy of a live performance will be enough to have you thinking about other things. There is however a big advantage if you do any recording.... you'll find you have two sources to mic, and it's often hard to say which speaker you'll prefer in a mix, so having two will open up options.


As far what speakers to mix goes, there are a couple of things you'll want to watch out for. Power rating is determined from the weakest speaker, so if you have a 20 watt speaker mixed with a 100 watter (which can be done), you'll only have a 40 watt 2x12... the idea being that you'll blow the 20 watter first. You'll want to keep sensitivity ratings the same or very close (the sensitivity rating is effectively how loud a speaker is). In practice, a small difference may not really be noticeable until you put a mic in front of the cab but it is something to think about.


Mixing sizes of speakers is something you can do, that can be super interesting, especially 12s and 15s. I particularly like this as there isn't a massive choice 15s so finding the right 12 can add a certain flavour that you are missing. 10s and 15s do act slightly different to 12s though; the larger speaker can sometimes seem a little slower and generally have a larger scope when it comes to technical specs.


I'd also recommend not straying too far in styles of speaker. I'd be tempted to avoid using a purely vintage toned speaker with something more modern. If the gap is too far you may struggle to make them cross over and meet anywhere, those speakers may also benefit from different styles of cabs.... this said, some "vintage" toned speakers are so commonly used that they actually become contemporary sounding.

Oh and impedance, except in rare circumstances you'll want to use the same impedance speakers, but I wouldn't worry too much about series or parallel wiring... there are people who say otherwise but guitar sounds are dynamic and I wouldn't let it stop you.


So to sum things up you don't have that many restrictions on power but remember to work from the weakest speaker, use the same impedance speakers, wire them in parallel if you can but don't worry too much, use the same or similar sensitivity rating and if you choose two related speakers that you like you'll most probably find pleasing results.


I've added a video below with a couple of my favourite speaker mixes on.


Until next time, stay cool, hang tough and riff hard.




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