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This is one of those things people say on forums all the time. An 8" speaker in a properly designed enclosure will sound just as big as a 12" in an open enclosure.

The majority of amps / cabs I have seen are open back or just have 2 slabs of wood in the back. I've never seen or heard an 8" cab in a tuned / ported cab before. If an 8" speaker can sound like it is much bigger in a properly designed cab, I would build one. You can get the theile parameters and figure out the box size and port size for specific speakers.

Has anyone seen examples of small tuned cabs sounding huge?
 

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I dunno. On the one hand, it is nigh impossible to count the number of speaker cabinets used for listening to music, that have an 8" woofer and have full bass. On the other hand, such 8" speakers are generally designed to specialize in low-end and lower mids, and are often of modest efficiency, in service of very specialized bandwidth.

I have a very nice 8" JBL 2110 (no longer in production) in my tweed Princeton, and it has a lot more bass than the 8" Jensen the amp came with (indeed, bandwidth at both the top and bottom). Does it sound like a 12? Not really. On the other hand, it's an open-back cab that's not big enough to accommodate a 12. If I plug the amp into a different cab with a 12" Jensen, it sounds bigger. Not a LOT bigger, but bigger. I have, unfortunately, never installed that same 8" in a larger cab. Which is why I say "I dunno".
 

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Quilter makes an amp with an 8 inch speaker which, I believe, is intended to be used as a live performance amp.
I have not heard one but have been curious as to its viability.
 

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Derrick Bell can Mod that princeton to a 12"
 

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Tuned port cabs are relatively heavy and somewhat larger for the say an 8" driver. As such and in many cases, the notion of a tuned port cab for an 8" driver is a bit of non-starter as they would simply have the heft and a good portion of the size of a cab with a larger driver. This is probably why we don't see more of them designed/built for smaller drivers.
 

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Quilter makes an amp with an 8 inch speaker which, I believe, is intended to be used as a live performance amp.
I have not heard one but have been curious as to its viability.
The speaker is certainly designed to be able to handle the high wattage of that amp, though I imagine the speaker is more of a convenience than the ultimate intent. IN other words, the assumption is that you'll plug the amp into a larger cab, but if you don't have one handy, there's an 8" if you need it.

We tend to forget that most 8" speakers are generally assigned to budget practice or student amps. And, as budget amps, the manufacturer adopts every conceivable strategy to keep production costs low, simply because there's not much profit to be had when an amp retails for $79.95 and sells to the retailer for much less. One of those strategies is keeping the cab size small, such that it uses less material, has a lower shipping weight, and smaller packaging and shelf size. Simply adding one inch in all dimensions to your basic Fender 15G Frontman amp would increase the cab volume substantially, and add more bottom. Stock, it measure 7.25 x 13.25 x 12.5 = .69 cubic feet. Simply adding one inch on each dimension hikes that up to .92 cubic feet. And that's ignoring the thickness of the wood and however much internal space is taken up by the amp and speaker.

That's not to say that the speaker dimensions and cone size have nothing to do with tone. Rather, we simply tend not to provide 8" speakers the opportunity to show what they can do.
 

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No I have not seen or am aware of a 8" speaker enclosure tuned to sound like a 12 inch speaker enclosure.
I've heard a few and there is a difference as one would expect.

I see 8" speakers used widely in Bass cabs but that's another ball game.
 
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