About two weeks ago, we played a show at this smaller place with low ceilings. The bar is maybe 6 feet in front of the stage. I of course was rocking my 50 watt half stack with 4x12 and having a hard time hearing myself, so I turned up louder than usual. Our bass player has her 300 watt SVT running into an 8x10. We're not a quiet band. Some people were plugging their ears. Other people just went outside. The owner of the club said, I love you guys! But you're a little loud.
We decided to make some changes. I broke out my open back 2x12 cabinet. The speakers are basically the same as my 4x12 - one G12H30 70th and a Vintage 30, there are just one fewer each. I have the volume set significantly lower on my amp (10 o'clock instead of 1 o'clock) but can hear myself well at practice. The bass player turned down and our drummer is trying not to hit so hard. We can hear the vocals more clearly in practice and the kick drum isn't getting lost like it was.
This weekend we played the same club again and no ears were plugged, the bar stayed packed and we had a great show. I could hear myself very well along with the rest of the band.
This is strange for me, I have tried to switch from 4x12s to 2x12s before. In 2008 I sold my longtime beat-up but fantastic sounding Marshall cab from 1987 in favor of a 2x12 and played only ONE show before I bought another 4x12.