Xsonics 212cf review and comparison

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by johnnybass01, Mar 28, 2013.


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  1. johnnybass01

    johnnybass01 Supporting Member

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    Sparks NV
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    Edorsing artist: Brubaker Guitars
    I have had my xsonics 212cf for a little while and am at a point where I can do a review and comparison
    I wish to also start by saying that I am not an xsonics endorser, and that this review is based on my own personal experience and this is my personal opinion.( nothing more) and I am not interested in what any graph might say I base this all on my ears.
    First for a little background on my band settings .
    I play with an original hard rock trio , and my other band is a modern / hard rock 5 piece band , two screaming guitars and a very heavy hitting drummer.
    So some are wondering what am I doing a comparison against well here goes the glasstone lil g.
    I am also really not wanting to step on any toes or hurt any ones feelings , I am just going to tell it like it is for me at least.

    The first thing I want to talk about is build quality.
    The xsonics cab has a build quality I would compare to say a euphonic or a bergantino, it's finished in a nice duratex coating , and the general fit and finish are what I would expect on a cabinet it this price range , very solid and well built. It also does not have a removable back or front baffle , it has been simply designed to be very solid. This shows through when it is pushed to high volumes.my amp doesn't vibrate on top of it or move around at all. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 10.
    The lil g on the other hand is a carpet covered cab and that is fine, the back panel is removable and that is needed for access to the drivers and I can understand that, what I didn't like or understand was that the front baffle was also removable, it was simply screwed in. This could be that maybe he uses the same size box for a lil g 210 I'm not sure?
    I just didn't like the fact that this was a part that should have been glued in IMO. It seemed to me that this would allow for a lot of air flow to escape around the baffle. This made me rate this cab a 7 on a 1 to 10 rating.

    Now for the true test SOUND!!!
    The lil g is what I would call a good sounding cab to me and again this is IMO IME .
    It is pretty full down low and has some nice highs and in a jazzy or bluesy lower volume setting it is probably great for most. But there were a couple of things that I personally didn't like at higher volume rock settings. If I pushed it , it would start getting that nasally midrange bazooka thing going on like a Schroeder does IMO! I was also able to get it to flub on the lower register say low b to d then through some parts on the register it would be like I just would literally disappear , and couldn't hear myself at all. I don't know why it does this and then again maybe it's just my needs but it didn't fit for me. Here again I am not trying to bash anyone's product just stating my experience.

    I have been trying to get a solid working single cab light weight set up that would suit my needs of quite a while .
    Cabs I have used and moved on from are GK NEO 212, EA NL210, EA CXL112, GENZ BENZ NEOX212,Bergantino 112. Aggie 112.
    I don't have every cab I have ever used listed in my profile and probably never will. These cab listed did sound good but they were either to cumbersome and bulky to live with or in the case of the 112 units I would always need to carry two so it would kill the whole point of a one cab solution.

    So now I will get to the xsonics 212cf , first off I would like to say that nick from xsonics is awesome to deal with and was a pleasure to talk to. We talked about my playing style and what might fit my needs the best . When I took the plunge for the 212cf he left it open to me that if this cab couldn't fill my needs he could take it back and put me into the bigger 215cf.
    So let me get on with it. This cab straight rocks , it has a very even response from top to bottom. The low end is definitely big and articulate I don't think I could ever get it to hit the wall so to speak, the mids are very full and round and I never feel I am going to get lost in the mix. The highs have a brilliance and transparency that never get brittle or offensive. The crossover point feels like it is right where it should be. The thing about this cab that is impressing me the most is that I can really change my tone just by digging in. When I do this it gets really aggressive and turns into something all its own. To my ears the design of this cab really does justice to the eminence 3012HO. I built a couple of thiele ported single 12's a couple years back using a 3012HO and just really didn't like them , they were to aggressive in my design. I this design they feel very well balanced. If I had to give a tonal comparison it is very close to the genz benz neox 212 . But IMO it sounds way better ,and at 41 pounds and easy to carry it will win that contest at least for me . And as far as volume goes this thing can easily replace a 410.
    And again these are just the real world comparisons of one working bassist this is all IMO IME
    For me the hands down winner is the Xsonics 212cf !!!!
  2. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Location:
    Stax 1966
    Disclosures:
    Play guitar.
    Thanks for the review, I have been waiting for someone to A/B the Glasstone and the Xsonics. As someone who has been using the 3012HO drivers for some time now, I was curious as to how they sound in a small box, especially two of them. Both cabs get glowing reviews, of course, and both get the usual comments like, " this cab really can take the watts " and the like. Not sure what drivers the LilG uses, but, I have been advocating the 3012HO drivers as great drivers for bass. Hopefully, more reviews like yours, A/B'ing the two designs will pop up more often.
  3. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    St Augustine Florida
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    My thoughts exactly. These cabinets are NOT a gimmick design. They are real world cabinets for real world bass players.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2000
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Disclosures:
    Brubaker Guitars
    Glad the new cab is working out. A couple of things...

    The rear panel of the Lil G does not need to be removed to access the drivers. The front baffle is removable as part of the design. As far as a lot of air that might leak at the front or rear, that's interesting. I'll leave it at that.

    I think there are pics of the Lil G 210 in the Glasstone thread, they are clearly not the same box.

    The Lil G 212 uses Fatal Pro 12PR300 drivers.

    Congrats.
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  6. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    It's interesting that both designs seem so similar in architecture. Both make no unusual claims except for making T/S parameters obsolete with apparently T/S predictable cabs.

    On another front we have big E making some scifi-like announcements with similarly audiophile-like insistence that the cab must be heard to be appreciated. Apparently no measuring system yet devised can account for the incredible performance.

    One of the big E youtubes hints at the "carrier sub backwave" phenomenon being real. Highs bending around corners? I'll have some of that! An A/B of that with a regular cab would go a long way.

    In the case of big E action is repeatedly promised to bring measurement to bear.

    How about these xFile and gMan cabs?

    There is movement afoot to apply very basic measurement to any and all volunteered cabs thanks to the dhsierra1 mixed cabs analysis effort.

    Do the xFile and gMan cabs measure according to normal protocols?
  7. KJung

    KJung

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    IMO, since the Xsoncis and the Glasstone cabs really don't make any technical claims other than 'they sound good' (which many seem to agree with), I find their marketing, etc. just fine. No harm, no foul. No crazy claims that I can see, and the performance seems to be quite good. Who cares if there is some band passing going on, or if the low end doesn't extend as much as it might with those drivers in a more traditional larger box. So, IMO, all good there, and I guess for those few who 'want measurements' on those cabs, there are other options if it bothers you.

    However, +1 on the Big E's, with those IMO quite ridiculous claims (or at least, unsubstantiated). If you are going to base your entire product proposition on 'breaking known physical laws' or whatever, you better be able to prove it. And, while the reviews of those cabs seem to be positive (for the most part), I'm not seeing anything in the reviews that doesn't match the more traditional performance of other multi small driver cabs.

    Two different situations there IMO.
  8. Jim C

    Jim C Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Well said.
    Everyone gets to have their opinion and there really is no sonic truth when creating new sounds. Accurate reproduction is another story.
  9. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    St Augustine Florida
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    I have had my xsonics 212cf for a little while and am at a point where I can do a review and comparison
    I wish to also start by saying that I am not an xsonics endorser, and that this review is based on my own personal experience and this is my personal opinion.( nothing more) and I am not interested in what any graph might say I base this all on my ears.
    First for a little background on my band settings .
    I play with an original hard rock trio , and my other band is a modern / hard rock 5 piece band , two screaming guitars and a very heavy hitting drummer.
    So some are wondering what am I doing a comparison against well here goes the glasstone lil g.
    I am also really not wanting to step on any toes or hurt any ones feelings , I am just going to tell it like it is for me at least.

    The first thing I want to talk about is build quality.
    The xsonics cab has a build quality I would compare to say a euphonic or a bergantino, it's finished in a nice duratex coating , and the general fit and finish are what I would expect on a cabinet it this price range , very solid and well built. It also does not have a removable back or front baffle , it has been simply designed to be very solid. This shows through when it is pushed to high volumes.my amp doesn't vibrate on top of it or move around at all. On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 10.
    The lil g on the other hand is a carpet covered cab and that is fine, the back panel is removable and that is needed for access to the drivers and I can understand that, what I didn't like or understand was that the front baffle was also removable, it was simply screwed in. This could be that maybe he uses the same size box for a lil g 210 I'm not sure?
    I just didn't like the fact that this was a part that should have been glued in IMO. It seemed to me that this would allow for a lot of air flow to escape around the baffle. This made me rate this cab a 7 on a 1 to 10 rating.

    Now for the true test SOUND!!!
    The lil g is what I would call a good sounding cab to me and again this is IMO IME .
    It is pretty full down low and has some nice highs and in a jazzy or bluesy lower volume setting it is probably great for most. But there were a couple of things that I personally didn't like at higher volume rock settings. If I pushed it , it would start getting that nasally midrange bazooka thing going on like a Schroeder does IMO! I was also able to get it to flub on the lower register say low b to d then through some parts on the register it would be like I just would literally disappear , and couldn't hear myself at all. I don't know why it does this and then again maybe it's just my needs but it didn't fit for me. Here again I am not trying to bash anyone's product just stating my experience.

    I have been trying to get a solid working single cab light weight set up that would suit my needs of quite a while .
    Cabs I have used and moved on from are GK NEO 212, EA NL210, EA CXL112, GENZ BENZ NEOX212,Bergantino 112. Aggie 112.
    I don't have every cab I have ever used listed in my profile and probably never will. These cab listed did sound good but they were either to cumbersome and bulky to live with or in the case of the 112 units I would always need to carry two so it would kill the whole point of a one cab solution.

    So now I will get to the xsonics 212cf , first off I would like to say that nick from xsonics is awesome to deal with and was a pleasure to talk to. We talked about my playing style and what might fit my needs the best . When I took the plunge for the 212cf he left it open to me that if this cab couldn't fill my needs he could take it back and put me into the bigger 215cf.
    So let me get on with it. This cab straight rocks , it has a very even response from top to bottom. The low end is definitely big and articulate I don't think I could ever get it to hit the wall so to speak, the mids are very full and round and I never feel I am going to get lost in the mix. The highs have a brilliance and transparency that never get brittle or offensive. The crossover point feels like it is right where it should be. The thing about this cab that is impressing me the most is that I can really change my tone just by digging in. When I do this it gets really aggressive and turns into something all its own. To my ears the design of this cab really does justice to the eminence 3012HO. I built a couple of thiele ported single 12's a couple years back using a 3012HO and just really didn't like them , they were to aggressive in my design. I this design they feel very well balanced. If I had to give a tonal comparison it is very close to the genz benz neox 212 . But IMO it sounds way better ,and at 41 pounds and easy to carry it will win that contest at least for me . And as far as volume goes this thing can easily replace a 410.
    And again these are just the real world comparisons of one working bassist this is all IMO IME
    For me the hands down winner is the Xsonics 212cf !!!!
    __________________
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    Last edited by johnnybass01 : Yesterday
  10. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tulsa
    I am simply amazed that there are so many small, loud and great sounding cabs out today. I can put something behind the seat in my compact truck and carry an entire room with it!, and with the really small and powerful amps. It is just really great. As well, i used to really fight with my gear, both physically and mentally, to keep tweaking the tone I wanted and not damage or fart out anything at the same time. This new stuff I just set it and rarely even worry if I might be pushing it too hard - it seems so much easier now to focus on the music and not the gear. Though much of my stuff just completely confuses the standard "Guitar Center" musicians seeing it. Nothing wrong with that stuff, but I always get questions like "what kinda bass is that, 'Lakland", and what kinda cab is that, 'Xsonics' - oh" - "Genz Benz, are you sure there is 600 watts in that little thang?".
    Just a really fun time to be a bassist. And i really do thank TB for showing me all the different stuff out now days, even if I have to wade through the lab coats always questioning everything. That has its place too, but hopefully in another thread preferably.....
  11. toothguy

    toothguy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    +1. Very well said.
  12. johnnybass01

    johnnybass01 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Location:
    Sparks NV
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    Edorsing artist: Brubaker Guitars
    As you can see in this pic ImageUploadedByTalkBass1364579028.438149.jpg
  13. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Expectation Is The Root of All Suffering. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Very interesting review. Thanks for taking the time.

    I also find it most illuminating that at high volumes on the B string the Little G loses its ability to reproduce the notes properly... despite some posters' frustration with that statement. :D I think that, as someone already said, its because the two drivers share a tiny patch of internal volume.

    If I were a buyer looking for a new compact cab, the xsonics 215, berg cn212 and fEARful 15/6 would get a hard look as a one cab solution.

    Besides B string issues and air escaping from baffle issues at high volumes, I also don't like the evangelical design of the 't' in the name glasstone. I don't liked to be preached at when looking at a bass cabinet. :eyebrow:
  14. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Location:
    Davenport Iowa
    I've got one of the Xsonics 212cf cabs and it does just what it is supposed to . Nick wanted to have a very small cab that was light and could do gigs by itself and have great tone . Seamonkey is right about the rules for sound and his post supports that , Nicks cabs are a comprimise that just happen to work great for his original goal of small and light . They don't try to bend any rules and he doesn't make any crazy claims about what they do . He has stated that they don't get super low .They don't go super low like my fEarful cabs did but when you play a low B it comes through with some decent authority and you can tell what note it is . It's for sure not the fundamental but the harmonics and the ear sure make it sound focused . Mine gets very loud , louder than my 15/6/1 did but it also has two drivers .

    Seamonkeys views are valid but they kind of miss the point of these little cabs design , very small gigging cabs that sound large and deep and loud enough to use stand alone in most band settings . Sure they are a comprimise compared to a full sized cab but they sure sound great in a band mix and I for one think they are great .
  15. 5port

    5port

    Joined:
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    Location:
    LI,new yawk
    "In fact I don't play a fearful, nice cabinets though, and they do fall into reality of Theile-Small, as do many other manufacturers of reputation."



    To me this makes the Xsonic cabinets even more interesting. Where do I sign.
  16. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    I actually didn't miss that point. I did say one implementation is "better" or "worse" than another. There's choices and trade-offs
  17. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    St Augustine Florida
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    The 212CF delivers what it promises. Light Loud fat sounding compact 212. Is it as low as others, no...does it get the job done in a very pleasing manner ...yes it does that too. is it an end all...NO IT ISN't. But neither is any one else's.
  18. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Location:
    Davenport Iowa
    Fair enough . For the record I am a major Kool-Aid drinker and endorser and love the fEarfuls still and consider all that BFM said gospel . I only traded my 15/6/1 for the Xsonics 212cf for the size and weight and I'm glad I did . I just haven't heard of another cab this small and this light that will support a full band by itself on any stage except maybe the Lil G .
  19. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tulsa
    I would love to try side by side the Glasstone, Xsonics 212cf and the 2155cf in a live situation to really hear the differences. My guess is I would be happy to finish the set with any of them, I just happen to have the 2155cf. I also tend to choose a potential buy from talkbass with people that just describe things from their ear, actual gigging performance. I purposely steered clear of the fEarful stuff because it always sounded more of a lab experiment in sound than a gigging description - not that they aren't great, I am totally sure they are. I just have always preferred to hear gigging stories and not Theilreisf hypothosis or whatever it is called. This is why I looked so close at the Glasstone and Xsonics. All great stuff!
  20. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I asked if these two conform with normal measuring protocols. There is going to be a whole lot of amateur measuring going on soon.

    The big E makers claim theirs cannot be measured but working on new techniques. I'm just curious.

    From what I read, both little ones move both cones away from the inside of the box, X mounts the slot one backwards, G mounts it conventionally. So they are very similar designs at least as much as one normal ported can is very similar to the next . You'd think that would be well understood by now.

    I'm still hauling oldschool cabs and not getting any younger. I have as much interest in new light powerful things as the next greying bassist.
  21. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    St Augustine Florida
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    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    Johnny, I give you permission to love your cabinet...

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