First, a disclaimer brought about by the now constantly occurring "eyes vs. ears" arguing in the amps forum:
I am not against science/specs/data, and I will check them out to the best of my ignorant ability when they are available. But, being that I live in an area that has several music stores, where I can buy a cab (or other gear), take it home and try it in the setting I choose...I can live without the specs. To further expand on the "tryout" aspect...Xsonics (and others, like Mike Arnopol's Big E cabs) offer a trial period that gives me that same opportunity to test these cabs how ever I choose. The money I spend occasionally sending something back that didn't "work" for me, is far less than the time it would take me to educate myself to the point where I could truly know what a cab sounds like by reading specs. That time is much better spent spending time with my family, riding my bike, working out, watching a movie, blah, blah, blah, time is money, etc., etc.. IMO
Also any reference to Hz figures are to be taken with a grain of salt, as they are not measured, but guesstimated to the best of my limited ability. Being as this review is wholly non-scientific, and is entirely based on my opinions, I think it's best to label myself as "unreliable" so as to keep the more tech oriented TB'ers from lambasting this review as heresy, nonsense, and plain old crap.
This is the end of my disclaimer...what follows is a self-professed lame review in words, not numbers, of what my non golden ears perceive to be a great sounding cab.
So, being I like gear that is a bit out of the norm (single pickup basses, heads with minimal eq, cabs that have "interesting" speaker configurations), it was hard not to latch on to Xsonics, and their push/pull speaker loading (and, yes I am dumb enough to buy something this expensive, because I think it looks cool): http://www.xsonics.com/
After talking with Xsonics owner, and fellow TB'er Nick via phone and email, I ordered a 212CF. It's a 2x12 box with one 12 firing out, and the second 12 firing into the same enclosure the out-firing driver is in. See the above weblink to get the visual, and explanation.
Xsonic's stated goal was to get the sound of an Eden 410 XLT in a smaller lighter package. This was an easy sell for me, as I love the sound of Eden cabs. They are punch city! Definitely not a ruler flat PA type cab. They are all about upper bass and low mids, with a nice bump in the 80 to 300 Hz range. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's mine. This is the freq. range that can get through the mix without muddying up the bottom, while still sounding solid.
The 212 CF does the Eden imitation very well. It's loud...very, considering it's the size of some single 112's. It doesn't put out a lot of low (sub) bass, but when looking at the size of the cab...that's understandable. For me, it's got enough low end to not seem like it's lacking in that department (for reggae/dub...it's lacking
), but it's got a very solid "punch you in the chest" slam to it. Can it keep up with an Eden 410 in the volume department...I don't have one for comparison, but it would be close, for sure. When you factor in the size and weight difference, it's impressive what this box does for sound output.
A few people have made visual comparisons with the Xsonics, and the older Schroeder 1212's with the angled baffle. There are some similarities for sure, especially if you flip the Xsonics side driver to the inside (which I have not tried). I had a Schroeder 1212R for a long time, and I liked that cab! It seems that style Schroeder went from a love to hate situation with more than a few owners. I always liked mine. but I completely agree about some of it's issues. The biggest was it didn't take EQ at all. Try to add some more low end...nope, doesn't work! Try to EQ out the massive low mid bump...you need more EQ than I ever had!
All that being said, the Schroeders were crazy loud for their size, very portable, and happened to work for me.
The Xsonics has the loud thing down, and the portability is even better than the Schroeder. My 212CF weighs 38 lbs., and I can't think of another cab that could outdo it when considering size and weight. The Xsonics accepts EQ well. You can't add in subwoofer lows...the cab is not designed for it in the first place, but you certainly can add usable lows to fill out the bottom. I don't have any way to measure tech specs, but I'd guess (as the listed low end spec is -10db@44Hz) that this cab is producing usable bottom in the 60's are far as Hz goes. The ports on the Xsonics are much bigger than the Schroeder (which were tiny), so I'm sure that helps give it the better lows. Mids respond well to EQ, also. There isn't the "boxiness'' that the Schroeder had.
I can't say with any confidence that I know exactly what the push/pull is doing as far as the engineering aspect goes, but a few more knowledgeable TB'ers (arjank,will33,rpsands...to name a few) have given a probable synopsis of the design in the Xsonics main thread. It's worth reading. The gist of it is that the side speaker is adding lows, and low mids, but most of the upper mids and above, are being filtered out, as that speaker is not directly firing at you. So the Xsonics gives the output of two speakers where it matters most...in the meat of what most people associate with "bass". The mids and above, are mostly being heard from the forward firing speaker, which is enough, as our ears hear better at those frequencies, anyway, and it also takes much less wattage in that area to balance the lows. Having only one forward firing speaker certainly should help with dispersion, as compared to a multi-speakered box (of the same sized drivers).
In short...if you're using a 212 (or 2x112) or a 410, and want a super portable cab that will keep up volume wise (with a small loss in the sub low end), the Xsonics is worth serious consideration. It hits it's target of small, light and loud, for sure! IMO, and all that kind of stuff.
The cab is constructed very nicely...no complaints at all, there. I wish the plastic corner makers would come out with a corner to fit 1/2'' ply, but that's a cosmetic issue. All my communications with Nick from Xsonics were fruitful, and enjoyable. He's been quick to respond, whether by phone or email.
I'm sure I'll be editing this long post for grammer, etc. I'll do my best to answer questions, but they will all be opinion and experience based...I have no tools (or enough expertise to use them if I did) for any kind of technical specs. Oh, and my idea of "loud" is a Mesa M6 with the gain at 2 o'clock, and the master at 11 o'clock into a SWR Henry the 8x8...not a GK MB115 maxed out.