There comes a time on many bass player’s careers when a standard 4×10 speaker cab just doesn’t cut it anymore. Whether it is the improved lower reach – or just additional girth you are looking for – 10-inch speakers just won’t cut it. The only solution is to swap your speaker cab for one that packs a bit more heat. The options you have in this regard are somewhat limited.
There are 12-inch speaker cabs, and then there are 15-inch cabs. A lot of bass players opt for the latter. If you are wondering why, the answer is pretty simple. Bigger speaker equals more warmth and tone width. Today we are going to show you some of the best 15-inch bass cabinets for the money. We’ll go over each model and talk about what it has to offer. With that said, let’s dig right in.
1. Fender Rumble 115 Cabinet V3
Fender’s Rumble series has been around for quite some time. Ever since it was first released, it shot up in popularity rather quickly. People recognized the type of value these amps and cabs brought to the table, launching the Rumble series into stardom basically overnight. Fender’s Rumble 115 V3 speaker cab is probably the best bang for the buck cab that features a 15-inch speaker. While it only comes with one of these beasts, you are getting more than enough punch for your money.
When you open it up, you will find a 15 inch Eminence speaker that is rated for 300 Watts (continuous). The cab also comes with a compression horn that features an attenuation switch. In other words, you can choose if you want to close the horn, open it up, or attenuate it. Rumble 115 V3 comes across as a great cab for gigging due to its lightweight construction. Take that and combine it with what is truly an affordable price tag, and you end up with a great solution for a performing bass player.
2. Ampeg Portaflex Series PF-115LF
Ampeg is one of those brands that has a long history of making quality bass amplifiers and cabinets. Their expertise and rich heritage cane be seen in almost any of their modern designs. One that really nails what bass sound is all about goes under the name Ampeg Portaflex PF-115LF. This cabinet is fairly simple in design but packs a lot of heat. Ampeg chose an Eminence LF series 15-inch driver for this build, which should tell you exactly what kind of performance you can expect to get.
The whole cab is rated at 400 Watts RMS at 8 ohms, and it gets you that power to the last Watt. Once plugged into a decent head, you will experience what it means to move air with style. The lower end of the range comes out so rich and defined, even though its width is more than obvious. On top of that, the shelf is ported so you can expect even more extension in the lower end. While it’s not the lightest thing out there, Ampeg Portaflex PF-115LF is still a great choice for gigging.
3. Peavey Headliner 115
Those looking for an abundance of raw power will find a great bang for the buck solution in Peavey’s Headliner 115 speaker cab. This thing is massive, features thick MDF construction and few layers of carpeting on the outside, but it simply rocks. Peavey wanted to deliver a rock solid core performance without focusing too much on minor details, which is exactly what budget users are looking for. The inside of this cab reveals a single 15 inch Sheffield speaker that offers some 500 Watts at 8 ohms.
With that said, its peak output reaches as high as 1000 Watts. For the money, that is a pretty solid figure. Right next to it, there is a pretty large port that adds another layer of girth to this already powerful setup. While calling Peavey Headliner 115 light would be an overstatement, Peavey may have sacrificed a bit of mobility for a more heavy duty construction. In other words, this is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a reliable gigging speaker cabinet.
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4. Seismic Audio 215
Until very recently, budget users were extremely limited in their choice of speaker cabs in general, let alone 15-inch units. That is not the case anymore. One cab that proves this is Seismic Audio’s 215. This thing comes with not one, but two 15 inch speakers. The combined power output maxes out at 600 Watts RMS while it can reach some 1200 Watts at its peak. Seismic Audio 215 is rated for 4 ohms mono, which isn’t really the most standard configuration.
However, it gives the power and the width of tone at borderline ridiculously low prices. One thing that comes up sooner rather than later when you’re discussing budget cabs, is how reliable they are. Fortunately for us, Seismic Audio has designed the 215 to be a beast. You’d still want to be cautious when handling this cab, but it is capable of withstanding whatever wear and tear are associated with frequent stage use.
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Opting for a 15-inch speaker cab is still considered to be a risky move. This is only amplified when you want to get that tone on a budget. The good thing is that you have some options, as we have seen above. All of the cabs from our list will get you into that 15-inch territory and get you all of the benefits this entails. However, you have to be realistic with some of these models. As long as you are aware of their limits, you shouldn’t really have any issues even with the cheaper ones. Hooke any of the cabinets above to a decent head and you will be moving a whole lot of air in style.