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2 "EA" VL108 or 1 VL208?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by macmrkt, Feb 17, 2005.


  1. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    After all the positive talk on the VL208 and LDS custom cabinets, I decided to try the new 3 way LDS cabinet based on a single 8" driver. It's coming with NEO drivers and is due in a week or so. If this single cabinet sounds good for DB use, I may want to go a step further. My question is for those that have VL108's and VL208's - what would you prefer for the best DB sound...a pair of VL108's or a single VL208? I run a variety of Acoustic Image heads. Thanks!
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the VL208 is the better choice - I use one a lot and all the DB players who have tried it (including several Jazz pros) have been really impressed .

    It's not just two 8" speakers though, it also has two 5 and a bit mid range drivers and a tweeter! It's also to do with the way it is constructed and the speakers positioned. :)
     
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I am very interested to hear how you like that cab. My guess is that it will have more low end than a VL-108, if Don is using a long-throw neo 8" driver. Those things have ridiculous low end! As for one VL-208 versus two VL-108's, I have never actually tried this comparison. My music room is a mess right now (moreso than usual), but I will try to do this experiment for you. My suspicion is that the sound will be quite similar. The two VL-108's will have two tweeters to the VL-208's one, but other than that, the driver array is the same.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not quite sure what you mean..is it a three way cabinet with an 8" driver and two other smaller speakers? I'm interested to hear how this turns out.
     
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Here's the beast, Chris:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Just the people I was hoping to hear from when I made this post! :hyper:
    I'm starting to learn how to read the opinions of those with more experience than me on such matters, and learn from them. That's what led me to AES/New Standard and the AI/Acme combinations - all of which are keeping me and the band very happy.

    Of course, why stop when you are content! The next holy grail, from numerous hifi TB'ers, seems to be the elusive VL108/208s. I got drift of these too late - and they are all gone (to somewhere in Ohio, I heard). My EA CXL experience was so-so.

    Then I heard good things about Don at LDS. When I saw that 1x8 3-way photo, I had to get one. His prices are silly cheap. Don suggested I try it with all NEO drivers - I'll have his first in this configuration when it arrives in a week?! It's 14" cubed (extra cab depth is usually good for hifi sound in my experience) and 21lbs. I'll run it with either my Clarus SL or Focus and my DB's. If it shows promise, the next logical step would be to get a second one, or have Don make a 2x8/2 mid/1 tweeter version. I guess that should be under 40lbs if all NEO. Hence my question about 2 VL108s versus 1 VL208 for DB. By the way, he says that his cabs will be much easier to drive than the VL's.
     
  7. I had considered this route before I came upon a used VL-208. But those of you (Bowlus and others) who know more about this stuff than I, what are the chances that having the same speaker configuration will yield the same sound? I would guess there are so many other variables, including EA's secret (?) transmission line design.

    By easier to drive, do you mean "will work well with a less powerful amp than would be ideal for the VL cabs"? (knowing that they are power hungry)

    As it is highly unlikely that I will find a VL-108, I am probably going to get one of the LDS 1x8's for situations where I need a little support but the 208 would be overkill.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    There's a decent chance that they will sound very good. The main problem I've had with my Falk 1X8's - which are not nearly as sopihistohmuckated but still very good - is that they are rear ported. In some spaces they sound like heaven, and in others (particularly on the very backs of stages and in corners) they sound out of control. The LDS 108 has the same speaker configuration as the 108 (and hopefully, a tweeter control), and is also front ported, if not transmission line. The big test is how tight the bass response is, and whether the low freq's get boomy as the volume goes up - avoiding this boominess is what sets the VL 8 series apart as far as I'm concerned.


    Two like minds with an identical GAS problem...
     
  9. I don't have a problem. What's your problem? You think I got a problem? ;)
     
  10. I spoke to Don earlier today, and he said they do have a tweeter control!
     
  11. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The CxL-112 sounds significantly different from the VL-series, IME, so don't use that as your measuring stick for all EA Cabs.

    I would think that this would be the case.
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I bet he can get in the same ballpark, but there really is something to the EA transmission line design. Their cabs have a deep, tight low end that I just don't get out of any other cabs. The VL-series is especially good in this regard.

    Yes, they are probably more efficient, and would not take as beefy of an amp to drive well. The VL-series really do like a good deal of watts per cab.

    Tom.
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes that's what I meant when I was talking about how good the VL208 sounds - it's not just about the speakers, but the way they are all put together with the design!

    To me, that is why they sound good!! In my experience - inefficient cabs = good, clear, uncoloured sound, suitable for DB - efficient cabs = slight distortion/compression, coloured sound, good for "Rawk"!! ;)
     
  14. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    I agree 100%, execution of any design seems to matter at least as much as the design itself. I'm an Anglophile when it comes to home audio gear and your efficiency v. accuracy rule was the law of the land for a long time. But there have been notable exceptions, (Robin Marshall avoiding complicated dividing networks with the original Epos speakers for example) so I'm hoping Don has something up his sleeve.
     
  15. THanks for the reply, Tom. To follow up on Bruce's idea of what inefficient vs efficient implies, Don is offering the 1x8 in standard and "Ultralight" versions, the latter using a neo and having a 96-97 db rating, compared to 92 for the standard. Hypothetically, of course, might the standard be better suited for URB use?
     
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I cannot say without actually hearing them. I would expect that the standard driver has more/deeper bass, but the neo driver might have more upper mids. Which is better? It depends upon your instrument and your tonal preferences.

    But I do totally hear what you guys are saying about efficiency versus accuracy. It is a balancing act, and there are (usually) trade-offs to be made. I am a bit of an audiophile, myself, and my home speakers (Thiel CS3.6's) are not terribly efficient, and are bears to drive (often presenting < 2 ohm load, when dipping into the lower registers).
     
  17. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Okay, I tried this combination (two VL-108's vs one VL-208) for you. I didn't have my upright handy (haven't been playing it much, lately), but I grabbed an electric bass and my Walter Woods Ultra, and went to town! The two setups actually sound more different than I would have expected. The single VL-208 was deeper/fuller sounding, and the upper mids were a bit more polite. Highs were slightly less (and I had all cabs set with mids on full and tweeter on half), as you would expect. Conversely, the two VL-108's had more upper mids and more high end, and as such sounded more articulate. In truth, I liked the midrange articulation a bit better with the two VL-108's. It certainly wasn't too much, though I would probably back off on one or both tweeters. The more full, deep sound of the single VL-208 was very nice, though, and the overall presentation was more mellow, but also with more heft. The two 108's were more focused. They also stacked higher than the 208, so you'd get your drivers slightly higher (though still pretty close to the ground).

    While I was at it, I also tried out my new (to me) Accugroove Tri 208. This cab is larger than the two VL-108's stacked, but actually looks about perfect sitting underneath the WWU. This is a very inefficient cab, though it is very accurate. To even think about using this in a live situation, you'd need something with a good deal of power into a 4 ohm load (Focus, iAMP, or Woods would be good bets, Clarus might cut it). It sounds closer to the two VL-108's than it does to the VL-208, but it has that Accugroove thickness to it. It is not as deep or full sounding as the VL-208, and has more midrange going on. The same holds true for the two VL-108's, though the comparison is closer in both regards. The highs are quite smooth, and excellent overall. I get the impression that this might be a phenomenal upright cab, as its voicing seems very well suited to the range of an upright. I will have to break out the Kay and give it a whirl...
     
  18. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Thanks Tom...it's great to have a audiophile bass tester on staff! Your results seem to make sense, with the coupling effect of 2 loaded 8's in one cabinet. Don tells me the NEO 3 way 1x8 LDS will be ready to ship by the end of this week most likely. I'll run it against my Acme B1 and report back. If it's at all promising, I'll be after Don for another or his version of the VL208.

    By the way, what's the front end and juice behind your Thiels? Do you shop at Progressive?
     
  19. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes, I do shop at Progressive Audio! Great place. I have been a customer of theirs since I first started college at Ohio State back in 1987.

    My source is a Denon 5900 universal player, heavily modified by Dan Wright of Modwright (including tube output stage). My current pre/pro (I have a 2-channel/HT setup) is a Rotel RSP-1066, but that is the admitted weak spot in my system. It's great for the money, but not up to par with the rest of the gear. Still, I am using the multi-channel pass through from the 5900, so it isn't really getting in the way at all. For amps, I have a pair of Theta Digital Enterprise monoblocks powering the CS3.6's. You may call this overkill, but after auditioning a number of amps with my Thiels, the Enterprises just make them sound the best, and the 3.6's will really let you hear the subtleties of the rest of your gear. They are a real bargain, in my mind. I also have a Theta Digital Intrepid powering my center and surrounds, and I have a Velodyne DD-12 sub. I admit to being quite skeptical about getting a Velodyne sub (was leaning towards Thiel), but my room is so messed up, what with high, sloped ceilings, multiple hallways, one archway instead of a wall, etc., that I need the flexibility of the Digital Drive subs. Man, do they deliver! I am a total convert to the DD series. Best money I have ever spent for home audio (well, after the 3.6's).

    Brad also helped me set up a nice little office system here at work. Arcam FMJ CD23T, FMG T21, and FMJ A22 powering a pair of ProAc Tablette Reference 8 Signatures. :D
     
  20. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Very cool. How deep into cables have you gotten?

    You are truly a rare breed - sound production and reproduction 'filer. Did you know many of the best high-end audio designers are bassists? Mark Levinson, Acoustic Energy (Phil Jones), etc...My website has my background in the "about" section at www.macmrkt.com. My day job has always been in and around the high-end audio (now video too) biz. I work on my ears! I know the Theta, Velodyne and ProAc people, and I used to import Arcam for the US back when it was A&R Cambridge. I personally always leaned towards UK gear, having been brought into the business by guys who showed me that Linn/Naim, the BBC and UK engineering were the Gospel truth. When those guys sink their hooks in to you, it's Praise Ivor and nothing less. I used to get a kick out of Mike Myers SNL skits where he kept repeating, "If it ain't Scottish, its S&%#!" But I did the comparisons, and it was mostly true.

    Linn's top field guy in the US in the 1980's was Casey McKee (I think that how to spell his name - he eventually left to run Hales Loudspeakers). He knew more about correct sound than anybody I had met up to that point - by a BIG margin. A pair of ears and an understanding of sound reproduction second to none. A wizard. He was also a bass player. He turned me onto the original Steinberger XL basses - the ones I owned the longest, which for me says something! He also was into Trace Elliot years before they came to the US. But he said the best bass rig he ever played, bar none, was a professional Linn PMS setup that was a one-off system made by the factory. Ironically, they just introduced a series of studio monitors for the first time ever to the public this year, but it's a far cry from the PMS. I'll never forget what he told me about them. The Linn system's low end was based on what they call Isobariks - loading identical bass drivers back to back in a sealed baffle for ultimate bass reproduction. M&K and James Loudspeakers use a similar system. Linn still uses the technology, but only in their ultimate ($10K+) sub. As you know, Transmission Line boxes were mostly heralded by UK builders. That tech got used to great advantage in the VL208 (or so everyone seems to say!) I was wondering if anyone ever used anything like Isobarik's for a BG/DB cabinet, like Casey raved about...

    When I heard Don at LDS was building custom, I asked him if he knew anything about this and would he be game to build one. I never got a response, so I guess he thought I was nuts. Maybe so! But after I try some of his designs, I may want to have him try to see what he can do with one of these concepts. What do you think?