I had a great day spending time playing through a bunch of cabs and amps with Steve. The net result of this day is that I am hopelessly in love with the NV115 and pining for a pair of them...
The good news is, Jim is definitely going to build them!
What's that? You want more details than that? So be it...
Steve brought both iterations of the NV115. One used the original Eminence 15" driver, and the other uses a modified Eminence 15" driver that is more efficient. Both use the new 6" driver that varies slightly from the one found in the NV215 and IP153. This particular driver is also a closed-back design from Eminence (so no need for a separate chamber), but it extends a couple kHz higher than the NV215 6" driver.
The cab with the original Eminence 15 was definitely more "vintage" sounding than the new design, and not as loud, overall, or as big, down low. I can see where some folks would prefer it, but I think that most folks would agree that the new Eminence driver is the way to go. The "old Eminence" cab has a bit more "low-mid to middle mid" presence, and is perhaps a tad more "punchy" sounding.
The "new Eminence" cab has a bit more going on the upper lows to lower mids, and is decidedly bigger sounding down low. It seems a bit more "refined" in the upper mids, as well. Some of this may be attributable to the fact that the old Eminence cab had an attenuator on the mid driver, and the new Eminence cab did not. Again, Jim's final plan is to skip the attenuator. The new Eminence cab is still very focused and punchy, just not as "punchy in a boxy kind of way" as the old Eminence cab (and note, I am NOT saying that the old Eminence cab sounds "boxy," just that the new Eminence cab is a bit more smooth through the mids, while still being what you would call focused and punchy).
Comparing the two new NV115 cabs to the NV215 was a real eye opener. I am in love with the NV215, and it sounded glorious today. But compared to the newer cabs - particularly the one with the new driver - I have to say, I preferred the slightly more extended, and more "open" high end, the superior balance and even presence through the mids, and the slightly tighter and more focused lows of the NV115. The NV215 did have a slightly more full sound, and there were some overdriven tones where the slightly reduced top end was perhaps helpful, but overall, there wasn't much the NV215 brought to the table that you couldn't get out of the NV115 (or two - more on that in a second). The same could not be said for trying to coax all of the NV115's virtues out of the NV215.
Using both of the NV115's was like swinging a wrecking ball! Two of the new Eminence equipped NV115's would definitely eclipse the total output and low end "heft" of the NV215, despite the added volume of the NV215. Amazing! I would have never thought that a sealed cab that was so relatively compact could have the low end depth and output that the NV115 puts out.