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AccuGroove Bass Player review (not AccuSwitch related)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J.Wolf, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I'm curious how other folks who own, or have at least played Accugrooves feel about the accuracy of the Bass player review of the tri210L and the BD 212. As far as their claims regarding the accuswitch, thats something I'm not really referring to, and there is another thread with which delves deeply into this issue here

    After reading this review several times, I'm still unclear as to how Bass Player came up with something they mentioned repeatedly in their article. I don't find my Accugrooves to have "muted highs" at all. I know some people here have said that they do, and I'm not arguing with their opinion at all. I will say that they have different sounding highs than other "hifi" cabs I've played through, but in now way do I equate that difference to mean "muted". It isn't surprising to me that the highs sound different, their approach to cab building and use of components is totally different. My suspicion is this: Many cabs are voiced to have an accentuated high end, to enhance the high frequency output, and then are labeled by the industry, not neccesarily the manufacturer, as being "flat" souding. Many of them sound great, really great. But maybe that hyped high frequency tone has become the measure for what people consider to sound clear, and even(ironically) flat. If that is true, then Accugrooves really don't have muted highs, their true flatness is percieved as muted in relation to other cabs that have become the standard for flat response somehow. I remember when everyone thought the Eden 410XLT was flat sounding. I guess it did, at the time.

    One thing that still puzzles me is: I have talked with alot of Accugroove owners, about their impressions using their cabs in a gig environment. Many of them have mentioned how much easier it is to hear themselves on stage, and how their tone sounds so much clearer, and more detailed, at the same volume. Now I know clarity doesn't just equal brightness, and that midrange frequencies are a major factor in "clarity", but treble response is a large part of what people are talking about when they mention clarity and detail. If Accugrooves have muted highs, why are people hearing themselves so much better in a band setting? That doens't make add up to me.

    Also, I'll say this. I don't think Accugrooves are the ultimate plug and play cabinets. To me, they are a truly blank pallette. Their beauty, and, in truth, their value to me, is in their flexibility, and their capacity to achieve such a wide range of tones. I have to believe that Bass Player is judging these cabs on a plug and play basis. I know alot of people are plug and play bassists, and I'm not dissing them, but a vast number of us see value in tweaking our sound, and discovering new and unique tones. This is something that many Accugroove users I know agree with: Accugrooves have a very wide range of usable tones, and once you get used to them and how they work, you discover the depth of what they are capable of. To me, thats the ability to go from ultra shrill trebly tone, all the way to pure subsonic rumble, and everything in between. Look at Accugrooves list of users, and listen to their tracks on the site, do most of those guys have tone with muted treble?

    OK I'll shut up now :hyper: , but I would like to know if Accugroove owners/users find their cabs to have muted treble response, and, if they have an easier time hearing themselves in the band and on gigs due to what they consider "better clarity".

    Thanks for taking the time read my rant....

  2. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC

    Good point. And yes, that's true for me. EBS and SWR are not my cup of tea for myself, although I think Marcus and Michael Manring have incredibly gorgeous tone.

    Thank goodness no cab is for everyone, we'd all sound pretty similar :)
  3. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    "Hey everybody, another thread opened up about Accugroove's cabs! Hey....this one's not about the switch! What gives?!?! GET 'EM GUYS!"


    J/K :D

    To make a comment relevant to this thread, I happen to like the sound of soft dome tweets myself. I wonder if Accugroove would offer a custom job with 4 of those little guys instead of two. That'd be pretty cool. Probably would make a few people who like zing happy too!
  4. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    I think that their wording might have those sort of connotations, but might just be inadvertant (sp?) neutral choices.

    I know that from reading hours and hundreds of pages of hi-fi stereo speaker reviews that there is a pretty widely accepted gamut of high-range 'sounds'. the 'soft-done textile' tweeters have a more 'laid back/smooth' sound when compared to the metal bullet tweeters, and then you have the klipsch-type horns/tweeters, etc etc....

    so they all have their own type of output of the same high-range material, can be for all intensive purposes, equally accurate, but still sound different.

    some people love the brighter, more in-your-face sound of the metal bullet tweeters because it sounds clearer to them, and more lively, some people love the smoother soft-down tweeters because they experience less ear-fatigue after many horus of listening.... etc etc

    I've used both soft dome tweeters in my stereo, and metal dome bullet tweeters, and really like both, but for their own strengths and weaknesses.

    at the same time i dont blame them for their choice of wording if they used "muted", because if you put it in a more compartive context to whats out there, it sounds reasonable.

    those are my ramblings...
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    A big +1 to that. As many of us have said... it's a great time to be a bassist. So much high quality stuff running the entire range of tones from old school grind and grit to 'flat' to sizzly and modern. It's all good! I feel like a kid in a candy store! :hyper:
  6. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    Definitely not "muted" highs, no way. Only if you're used to boosted high end cabinets. I've never heard a better cabinet for bass, or for music for that matter. You can just turn the treble knob up a touch you know...I do.
    This shows up Bass Player for the hacks they are. No one who has owned one would agree with them. They should stick to production grade gear.
    If you have PA support like most gigs, unless you are micing your cabinet only you and the front row will be hearing your cabinets sound...the rest will hear the PA. So it makes sense to have the same relative sound coming out of your cabinets and through the PA.
    Coloured speakers are for guitarists. :cool:
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I think that's an unfair comment to BP. I actually think most of their reviews are relatively accurate. You mentioned that no one that owns one would consider the treble muted.... well... of course. What about the rest of us that tried them and decided to buy something else. Lot's of different playing styles and tone preferences out there :confused:
  8. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    I think owning one is far different to trying one...how many Accugroove owners have sold them for something else? I still think it shows any tonal deficit in the gear before them. Each to their own, but I plan to get another one, they have so many applications music-wise. My other bass mates are in awe of the El Whappo, especially for bass.
    Maybe I was a bit harsh on Bass Player, but they were absolutely wrong about the highs from my viewpoint. I use it everyday. They used it how long??
  9. kazuhank


    Nov 12, 2002
    Portland, OR
    +1 Prior to reading this review I was feeling that BP no longer reviewed gear subjectively. It seemed that everything was earning 'rave' reviews. It was nice to see them point out what they were observing during their review. We all hear things differently, and the Accugroove 2x12 Bill Dickens(?) cab that I have used several times (a friend of mine owns one) has always sounded fairly dark in the highs to me. That's not GOOD or BAD, just my perception which I guess falls in line with the BP reviewer. As always, YMMV. :)
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Valid point. I'm always griping about not opining about gear until you have some gig experience with it. The key is... you love it, and that's all that matters. I do personally find the treble a little 'muted' sounding in my limited experience with their line of cabs... but again, soft dome tweeters are a different sounding hi end... not better or worse than others... but not particularly my preference for the tone I'm trying to achieve. The treble response is the only reason I haven't bought the otherwise IMO wonderful Whappo Jr. I guess that's why there's so many different pieces of gear. I feel about my Epi410UL and Schroeder1210 like you feel about your Whappo. Cool.

    Except for the Accuswitch debacle, I actually thought the BP review was quite positive.
  11. jacove


    Apr 12, 2003
    Aalborg, Denmark
    I haven'r read the article, but I own a EL Whappo and to some extent agree that the high-end is a bit "muted" compared to other high-end cabs, actually that was one of the reasons I bought it...I'm not sure that high end is so important to presence on stage, when I owned my HT332 Bergantino I had WAY too much treble, sweet treble though, but I couldn't here myself. Playing a NV610 with VERY muted high end, I have a lot of presence and cut...I think there is more to the picture than high end when talking about presence and being able to here yourself...
  12. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    So you couldn't add the treble you needed back in via your bass or amp EQ? Did you find that harsher than your cabinet tweeters natural sound?
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm a recent Accugroove convert. After playing a Tri112 I had to have it. They are expensive, and I'm more than happy to sell a bunch of my cabs for it. Why? The cab responds to EQ like no other. So out of the box, it may not be what you're used to. Similar things can be said for EA. On the other hand, if you're used to a more colored tone that is pleasing to your ears then the Accugroove may not be the cab for you. It can get the colored tone by EQing your amp or preamp, but if you don't want to hassle then this might not be the amp for you.

    Myself, and others just love the sound of a WT400 going through a Eden 210 cab. There's nothing you have to do to get the Eden sound that we love. On the other hand, the Accugroove is capable of getting those sounds. If you don't have the proper EQ capabilities or abilities, then it won't. For example, a passive bass through simple preamp with no EQ capabilities may not be able to get the tone you want.

    All cabs have their inherent tones, but EQ can help. Some talk about how the GS112s lack mids. But when I run a parametric through it and boost the mids, while opening up the volume, it has nice mids to it. The same can be said for many amps. Some just do it better than others, or react in different ways.

    For me, I love a bass with an onboard preamp. The Accugrooves react like no other cab. I intended to try it out for 15 minutes to see what the hype about them were. Next thing you know, it was 2AM in the morning and I was playing it for hours. I had so much fun tweaking the onboard pre of the various basses I played through it. Each bass had it's own distinct character through this cab, and the ability to tweak tone was just phenomenal.

    I did want to check out the muted highs that people talk about. Flat, I would say the highs don't jump out at you like a bullet or horn tweeter. On the flip side, it doesn't have as much either. I would characterize it as smooth. But, if you crank the treble on your preamp or amp, you can get plenty of highs and make it hiss like any other bullet tweeter depending on how you tweak it.

    Anyway, the cab alone made me think I didn't need some of the other cabs I have. It just has great tone tweakability. Get another Tri112 or Tri110 and I'm done (I think). It's not cheap, but it makes downsizing less tragic.

    The guys in the company are real nice folk to work with, and very responsive. An additional plus when you are forking over "is this really worth it" amount of money for a cab.

    There's plenty of cabs out there to suit people's tastes. I love alot of cabs, and appreciate their individual characteristics. But for my needs at the moment, the Accugrooves work for me. Would I cry if I had to use an Epifani, EA, Schroeder, Bergantino, SWR, Eden, etc.? Nope. Compared to the choices 15 years ago, this is heaven.
  14. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    It just wouldn't seem to come alive for me in the upper treble. I tried the cabs with an iAmp800 and also and Eden (I believe it was the WT400). Again, it wasn't that it sounded bad... however, to put it in context, I play a Celinder Update and really like the Marcus Miller type sizzle.... that's about as bright as it gets. I just don't think that's the cab for that sound... which I think is what BP was trying to say. But.... the bottom was out of this world, and the mid punch was very, very good.

    A previous poster made a great point that having a lot of treble response is not necessary for a clear articulate sound (just listen to Anthony Jackson or Jimmy Johnson, or Lincoln Goines :bassist: ). However, if you do like that type of 'Marcus' sound.... it takes IMO an incredible amount of hi treble volume to project that sort of sizzle through the cymbals and guitars out into the audience (of course, if you you PA support, that's another deal). There's nothing more frustrating than going into a club and hearing a great bass player funking with his/her thumb and only hearing mushy low end. After many years of listening, I realized that to get that type of sound projected out into the room, you really needed some stupid treble response. I've gotten good feedback that I seem to achieve that goal on most gigs. Unfortunately, a full room of people seems to absorb more treble than lower frequencies, so it's always a battle. I sometimes wish that wasn't my sound preference.... I would save a lot of money on strings!

  15. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005

    No offence really, but the Eden WT-400 may be the limiting factor here. I A/B'd my WT-550 against my Millenia STT-1 and found a major difference in clarity and balance...on the STT-1 all the notes up the neck retained clarity and seemed to have much more volume, overall much more balanced and articulate, Swapping back to the Eden I felt it was missing out on some frequencies, especially in the higher end. I used to love it, but I might replace it with a Thunderfunk now.
    Or it could be just different strokes etc :)
  16. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I dunno,

    For the last year or so, every time I open Bass Player magazine, I get kind of disappointed. The articles are pretty good, but the reviews especially irk me. For example, and this is not a "stop picking on accugroove thing" but they made an issue of how big, and cumbersome the el whappo is in their review of it a while back, and then, they reviewed a bergantino cab of almost identical proportions (the 215 I think, although I may be wrong), and they said, although it was big and heavy, it was still easily manageable. Folks, These are two boxes of almost identical size and weight, and yet one is prohibitively large, while the other is somehow manageable. That is not fair.

    I guess I just think there is a consistency issue, and, without making an accusation, because it would be speculative, It is my own suspicion that they tend to play favorites. They're entitled to their opinions I know, but they do have a responsibility to be impartial and even-handed as the leading bass publication which lots of people unfortunately believe without question. Tone is subjective, but dimensions and weight, those are finite enough to warrant consistency.

    I guess my point is that for a 2 page article, they didn't really address the finer points that most Accugroove players find most valuable. Does that make them wrong, not really. Its just unfortunate I think.
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    My concern with the Accugroove cabs is that I've heard quite a few times that the low end is overpowering.

    Also, in response to the person who said he wants a sound like what is coming out of the PA, when was the last time you saw a PA with soft dome tweeters? If you like the sound of those tweeters than that's cool but I'd imagine that it is only something that the player can appreciate. Once you go through a PA it's a moot point.
  18. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    Good point...the tweeter on the El Whappo would be for the players pleasure in a PA situation. :) PA's are still pretty flat though.
    The El Whappo bottom end is only overpowering if you over EQ it. Eden cabs now, they are boomy. I had to turn the bass down to 10 o'clock to remove the boom. (100Hz I think on the WT series)
    I'm not a tweeter expert but I like the El Whappos, much less hiss than the Eden's for instance...I don't hear anything lacking for my taste.

    PS I read you liked the Millenia preamp EMJazz, you said it sounded like that tone in your head...try a STT-1 out through an El Whappo, I'm sure you'll be impressed!
    I've really gotta get off here and do some work...
  19. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Well.... I'll take that STT-1 off your hands! That must just be a wonderful thing. I'm a Thunderfunk fanatic by the way... and if you are looking for a small, relatively inexpensive piece of gear that sounds great (probably not like the Millenia, but still very good), I'd highly recommend it. It sounds fabulous with my Epifani and Schroeder, and Dave Funk raves about it with the Accugroove line.

    Also.... regarding the consistency of the BP reviews... I have to agree there.... while they mostly seem accurate to me... there are subtleties that they miss and also some amount of bias does seem to creep in. As we talk about here, it would be cool if they could put the reviewers preference in context.... is he a flatwound P-Bass guy... a Marcus slap hound, an Anthony Jackson 'flat' type guy... etc.

    As we are seeing in this IMO very good discussion (I love this site :) ), once people put their preferences and playing styles in play so that their comments have some context... things start to make sense.

    Anyway... you can all tell that my wife is out of town and that I'm caught up on my projects... I've been a hound on this site all day :D

    That's it for me tonight. See you guys on other threads and posts!
  20. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    The low end is potentially very powerful with the El Whappo, depending on different variables and how you tweak it, but it is also very controlled. I tend to like huge bass for certain gigs, thats me, and the Whappo delivers, but it also has a kind of depth and 3D bigness that nothing else I've heard can hit, at least nothing comparable. And, just like with the highs, I find that I can dial it in very precisely.

    I'm pretty sure some folks here prefer the jr. for it's particular low end response. I think I remember Tombowlus mentioning that he liked the jr. better as a match for some of those amazing tube amps, which I could see. I like the jr. alot, and even though it's considerably easier to move and ample in every way, the El Whappo just has that special bottomless quality I can't give up!