Global Bass Online                                                                   January 2001

Home Up Outline Jan. 2001 Search Discuss this issue

Wayne Jones

 

Up
GlobalBass.com
Global Bass Station
Global Bass Search
Global Bass Archives

 

The Quest To Build The Better Bass Cabinet

~The Story of Wayne Jones~ Bassist & Speaker Enclosure Builder

When we first start out as players, unless guided by someone more experienced, we invariably waste a lot ot time and sometimes a lot of money chasing equipment until we come across The Right Stuff.  Many if not most of the artists that appear on our pages act as endorsees for both up and coming builders and manufacturers and the more established ones as well.

More often than not, however, most of these artists are still in 'Search Mode".
Most of them confide in us that much in as all as they appreciate the equipment they have received and are happy to tell others about the stuff, there is still a part of them wondering if the next bass, the next effect, the next pickup, and definitely, that next amplifier or cabinet, will bring them closer to Tonal Nirvana.

Some people eventually reach a point where they begin the think that the ONLY way they will ever have any control over when they get to their goal is if they build the equipment themselves.

That brings us to the story of Wayne Jones, established studio musician and club player is Melbourne, Australia. "I've been about 25 years pro now, full time as a bass player. I started off as a drummer.

I used to be into Soul and that sort of stuff when I was about 15 or 16. I dropped my apprenticeship as a boilermaker/welder and went pro at 16. You don't know what you're gonna do when you leave school. You say to your parents you want to be a drummer, and out you go!

Global Bass:  So steering yourself towards being a Boilermaker would at least let you live there for a couple of years until they figured out what was really going on.

Wayne Jones:   In those days, we were virtually pioneers. There was no education in modern music. It was all Classical. There was no where to go to learn Pop, Jazz, Blues, anything like that. You virtually had the records and that was it in those days.

GB: Is there a sense in Australia that in some ways musically that you are very much at the other end of the world musically? 

Wayne:  Well, we always have had, but because there is such a healthy live scene here, you would have 'gig chops' from hell! I've played four, five nights a week for years. It used to be stuck with an attitude of inferiority because of leading nations like America and England.

Before they would have faith in Australian musicians here, the public would more look to Overseas, but it has turned it's head right around. Finally.


GB: You have a lot to be proud of.

Wayne:   In lots of ways, and we always have, but it's been a small country, population and finance-wise for the Arts, so people just end up leaving.

I've done sessions for music for movies at bare minimum rates but there is nothing to cover any royalties on what you do here as a session player. But because of the shrinking of the world now, they can't control it so much anymore. Things are coming more into line than what they were, more than they ever have been. Consequently, the scene here has changed from a really healthy touring pub circuit, as we used to call it, to just the bars and some clubs and the international touring acts.

Australia doesn't seem so much cut off anymore. But we are a long long way away! (laughs)  Melbourne has a pretty healthy scene, it's probably the best. Sydney is second. It's not that healthy here at the moment, but we had it so good for so many years, I guess we can't complain.

GB:  Are you doing a lot of work these days, a lot of live playing? 

Wayne:  There are actually five of us that do most of the work in the city. All the freelance stuff, up till September I was, but I have done bugger-all since. Shows you how the scene has dropped since then. Freelance players are a bit out in the cold. The live band quality has really gone down. Touring acts aren't touring here so much, they are touring overseas, which is great.

GB:  What about doing commercials and work along that line? 

Wayne:  That's all just in-house stuff now. Computer studios etcetera. It's gone a lot towards corporate. If you want to live comfortably off playing, then it's corporate work you want.

GB:   So it's a time of great change in Australia.

Wayne:  Craig Calhoun, a friend of mine and one of my endorsees,has been composing for cable in his studio in Sydney, and playing in his own corporate thing, but he is getting concerned as well.   I've even found myself doing a couple of days work in call centers. It's customer service on the phone. It's what's going on here. That's the change, but on my part some of it is my own doing.

GB:  In what way?

Wayne:  A couple years ago I just took stock of all my skills over the years. Where am I gonna go, I've done everything here. I could go overseas and do some touring with an international thing. That's the next challenge for me.  I decided to make these boxes with all the experience I had.

GB:  >From a business point of view, if things are in flux, this might be good timing for you to do this. Time for you to be changing. If you can get this rolling for yourself, this will at least take care of you from a financial point of view.

Wayne:  And then I could have the means to finish my CD or go to work in the States for a while or in England for a while. That's why I put myself out of work in a way. I didn't realize I was getting most of the work anyway! I purposely took the time from playing and put it into the speaker box business. What we have achieved with this ten-inch speaker blew me away. No one else has ever done what these things sound like. As a musician to blow yourself away, if pretty good! They are a hi-fi monitor virtually. The Subs are low and tight,and the rest of the  frequencies are crystal clear. I offered it to a couple companies in England.

GB:  You would offer to sell the rights to these speakers.

Wayne: Well, the reason for doing that would be for my own future and my kids. I wanted to play bass as a musician. If you have the skills and can pass them on to somebody else who can benefit,and take it further than us the right way,why not.

GB:  Are you still actively looking for companies that will pick this up?

Wayne:  Not anymore really,but we haven't closed the door on a good offer. I got together with Clem (Giuliano) when I got back (from England). Clem was an ex-student. He's got a bit of the musician in him and was looking for some kind of business to get into. He was supportive of me all along, when I went to England, financially as well. It cost me a fair bit to take two cabinets over there for a meeting with these people. (Laughs)

Click on the 3-stack to read Mark Peterson's review of WJA

These people, I used to endorse their stuff and I got them going here in Melbourne with all the musicians. It's a big company, but they had no money. I wanted to be bought out and they just wanted to make `em.

So when I got back, Clem just said to me, "Come on in", and together, just the two of us, we have sunk over $80,000 in the last year.  The problem is that they are so expensive to produce, which is why if they were retailed, they would be around$2000 USD each. Here in Australia they would be around $2500 AUD . So no retail,and direct to their door, they are $1250 USDollars all Inc.(Freight Duty etc.)

I sent out a proposal to retailers in Canada and the U.S, of course they were scared, because they didn't know what it was. Of course, they were gonna ask for consignment.

GB:  Yeah, they want to take no chances. So to make sure I have this, they would be around $1250 USD

Wayne:  That's from us, to their door, with everything paid for. It's a modular system though, they are best purchased in pairs. So for the two cabinets you are up to about $2500 US.

GB:  They are getting up there in price, but recently in an interview I was talking with a distributor and he was saying that for speaker cabinets, this is where a lot of bassplayers actually start to scrimp a bit on the money. They go to great lengths to buy the best bass they can afford, the best power amp, change their strings as often as they can, buy the best effects and then they will go out and pick up a $300 cabinet.  Like the home stereo, I can't help but wonder if one of the most important parts of the 'chain' in the creation of music, just like it is in the reproduction of music in a home audio system, is the speaker assembly.

Wayne:  I think that the stage things are in the world, cabinets are getting much more efficient in what the bass player requires. Big companies like Epiphani, GlockenKlang. It won't take us long once players get to see what we have done.

GB:    This is what I am getting to. Perhaps people need to chance their thinking, if they want audiophile sound, they are gonna have to pay for it. But they will never be sorry that they did, their search will be over for the best cabinet if they invest the necessary money in an audiophile cabinet.

Wayne:  We are just now working at the stage of getting them into shops, although if it keeps working on the Internet, we'll just keep going. But there is nothing like having cabinets in the shop for a player to go and play.

GB:  The endorsees you've chosen.with Brent Anthony Johnson, how did that come about?

Wayne:  I was in London at the time, staying with my Australian singer friend. I had my own little site up on the `net that is now incorporated into the bigger site and Brent was reading through my list of endorsements, for things like Status and things, and he had been wanting a Status endorsement for years. He just emailed me, ask me how the hell I got the Status endorsement and we got to be friends over that.

We got to talking about what each other does and he told me he wrote for Bassics etc., and then bang, I've got the story right now.

GB:  You had been playing for a long time, never quite finding however 'just that sound' in any of the cabinets you used. I imagine however that in all that time you had a picture in your mind as to the sound you wanted, the voice you were after.

Wayne:  Most bass players have that sound in their head, the sound they really want.

GB:  Did you do the usual, different strings, picks, amps, pickups, boiling strings, different speaker configurations.

Wayne:  Oh yeah, you name it, I tried it. I've used Acoustics like Jacos, H & H, Orange, Fender, HiWatt, Gallien-Kreuger, EV's, Trace-Elliot (I was their clinician for a year). Along the way, my old man was a wood machine person, building caravans and stuff, so we actually built a couple, for the lack of finances.

It started to interest me of course, you're always searching for sounds as a player. It just got more Hi-fi over the years. Sounds like Marcus (Miller) and Brian Bromberg's etc.

Most bass players would practice at home in their stereo and say, "Why can't I get that high fidelity on stage?"    Then SWR comes out with something using 10's. The attack was so good out of the 10's but you could never get the full range out of them. Most bass players would use multiples of them but you could still never get
the full range.

I delved into it with a previous design here.they were quite good, but a bit muddy. So I got together with a speaker manufacturer here. Michail Barabasz, he manufactures speakers, but I designed this one myself. He and I put our head together and came up with a design.

    


GB:  So do you see yourself expanding the line, perhaps into different configurations?

Wayne:  Where I would like to go with it is to design an amp next to go with and to make the quality of the speakers. Maybe a power amp and a preamp. Maybe a computer one as well. Configuration-wise, I don't know, maybe I'll bring into some kind of combo.

Presently though, it's designed as a modular system. For a small gig you use one, or you can use two, three, or four. They take so much power.

GB:  I was gonna say that, 700+ watts continuous!?!?

Wayne:  For a Keyboard player to try one Cab,I bridged a Warwick power amp, into 900 watts,with a Mackie mixer, and it didn't even bat an eyelid. No distortion, nothing. After I plugged her in to it, she looked up and me and said, "I have NEVER heard my keyboards so clear!" Not even through EAW Pa Monitors.

GB:  So with that clarity and efficiency, a five string would come across clearer than usual. There would be that reserve to draw from.

Wayne:  In the frequency range of a five string, the B string remains so clear, crystal clear everywhere throughout the range. There's a semi-parametric EQ built into the cabinet, what I wanted was that the less tens you uses, the more midrange you get and the 'honkier' the sound you get. So if you get a good mid range 10, use lots of them and you get a good mid range sound.

If you use one 2X10 box, like an Eden, you get big holes bloody every where else. So, with the parametric EQ, well there is always a 'honk' around 300 to 600 hertz in the cab, when I asked Michail to design the speaker from 30 hertz right on up, I asked him to see if we would maybe get rid of that honking midrange right out of the cab.

So we played around with little braces in certain spots, it just didn't work, in fact it got more complicated. So he said, "Bugger-it, let's just do it electronically!"

We also put a mid frequency semi-parametric in there, we set it between 300 and 600 hertz, and you can back the control off by 12db. We put a notch or a cut of 12db there.

I put it on stage to try it out and I didn't even have to adjust it at all. We cross-braced it to accommodate the mid range wave form as well. We used staggered braces, very small ones, to stop panel movement and to also help with dispersion of the mid range as well.

GB:   So if I were to take my knuckles and rap the cabinet it would produce no discernable tone or note, no sympathetic vibration.

Wayne:  The Cabinet is designed to be totally reflective. The speaker has to produce the sound itself. This was the idea. There are no tunnels, but there is a port just for the dimension of the box. The port is like an Amazon pyramid shape at the bottom. I thought, well, why not be different in everything about this cabinet?

Michail said to me, "Well there are two ways you can go Wayne, volume or efficiency.Which would you prefer? 


I wanted efficiency. I want the sound, I don't care what it takes to drive it, I want that sound coming out of that speaker.


All of our specs are actually underrated. 


GB: So with that in mind, why not show the specs. ?
System Response   33Hz to 20 Khz
Continuous Power Rating 780 watts RMS
Peak Power                             1,560 W
Average                                  dbSPLoct/band @1W @ 1M    98db
High Frequency attenuator flat to -12db Cut
Mid Frequency attenuator flat to -12db Cut
Semi Parametric set at            300 to 600 hz
Connectors                              " Lockable Neutrik Jacks.
Attenuator Housing and Controls    Cast Aluminium
Cab Impedance                      8 OHMs
Dimensions (H X D X W)     340mm x 530 mm x 630 mm
Weight                                    34 Kgs

 

 


Further information can be found at the
Wayne Jones Amplification Site:

http://users.bigpond.net.au/Wayne-Jones/current/intro.html 

 

                                  

Shop at the World's Largest Music Gear Company!

                                       

Home Up

Copyright 2000-2009 Global Bass Online
Last modified: June 16, 2009