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Any Bag End ELF users on the boards?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mad Subwoofer, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Just wondered if anyone here is actually USING one of these fabled systems? I suppose I'll eventually score an D12E and ELF-M at some point myself. Everyone agrees on how terrific these systems are but how many are actually utilizing them on a regular basis I wonder...?
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I have the pleasure of occasionally running sound on a Bag End system that uses 6 single-18" ELF subs along with 6 TA-15 mid/high enclosures and 6 single-15" monitor cabinets. When powered by several QSC PLX-3402s, this system really puts out deep, full, clear, LOUD full-range sound, indoors or out.

    The ELF system gives really punchy, deep bass. Because it uses sealed, direct-radiating cabinets, the response is incredibly quick without any of the flab or "mystery note syndrome" that can plague ported systems. The greatest benefit of the system (besides sound) is that the cabs are small and light enough for one person with bad knees to set up if necessary.

    The tradeoff, of course, is that the ELF is pretty expensive compared to other subwoofers. I'm also not sure how well they work in serious long-throw situations compared to horn-loaded systems. And you really need a lot of headroom for the ELF to work properly.

    I think they're great for sound reinforcement duty but if you're planning to use it as part of an onstage bass system I could see you getting into a lot of trouble with soundmen if you're not careful. The advanced ELF integrator is supposed to give you response down to 8 Hz and these kinds of low vibrations could cause a lot of problems if picked up by onstage mics. Of course, if you frequently play without good PA support, the ELF will make sure your bass gets heard and felt out in the room.

    After working as a soundman I can finally see why soundpeople want musicians to be reasonable with their onstage volumes-it's impossible to get a good mix when the sound coming off the stage is too loud. Vocals in particular suffer when stage volume gets out of hand and everything bleeds into the vocal mics.

    At the same time, I know as a bassist that I play at my best when I can feel and hear what I'm doing. So it's definitely a matter of balance between your well-documented need for insane low end and a consideration of finding the best overall sound for your band in different venues.
  3. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Consistant ELF user here.

    While I may agree with winston on many of the points he made there are a few that I seem to have a different opinion of.

    The cost. Any true subwoofer system is going to run you $1500-2500. I think the biggest cost goes into the ELF processor, when compaired to a simple crossover. I think Gavins home brewed enclosures may have gotten him in the deep end for less, but out the door systems are going to cost you.

    After hearing Phil Lesh's Meyer Sound rig I've become a fan of their gear. Unfortunatly the size of a 2-18" is far to large for me.

    Power. The ELF S18E-D is rated at 400W @ 8ohms. My QSC 2402PLX is a perfect match, and yet I cut the amp output by almost half to balance the output of my D10BX. Generaly speaking vented or ported subs require a great deal of power, not so the ELF. On the subject of power I recomend auditioning the new Carver Pro xx?1600 digital and pay no attention to the watts spec and just listen.

    While its important to work with sound reinforcment professionals, reducing your bandwidth or tone because of their inabilities is unacceptibal and usually unnessary. Reducing your stage volume, in some circumstances, may be a reasonable request.
  4. My rig is ferociously power hungry but that is the price paid to get down to 23 Hz. Worse, mine really doesn't make all that much noise. Two subs and two 10s are running full balls-out in a large bar venue. My daughter's bassist played my two 1x15 and 2x10 rig in their high school gym last year, and was also maxed out. She could have used another pair of subs, but I only had two at the time.

    This much bottom isn't required at all in a club with good PA support. Winston, are you thinking about the Powerhouse Pub in Folsom.. or Constable Jack's in Newcastle? Both have real nice subs. The Powerhouse is all Bag End, dunno if ELF or not. Even if it was, the sound engineer cut the bottom off my 5-string. It was inaudible from Low E and lower.

    I'm working on a single JBL E-155 18" for venues with PA support. It is very small, 2.5 cubic feet, has no bottom at all, but is real loud and easy to carry around. Great for a stage monitor.
  5. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    The Bag End system I've used is owned by a friend of mine in the West Coast Rhythm Section. A variety of players have run their basses through it-Carvins, Fenders, Ibanezes, ESPs-fretted and fretless, 4 and 6 strings-and have sounded really, really good just going straight through a DI with little or no EQ on the board. Even outdoors the character of the different instruments is easy to hear.

    That's too bad the engineer rendered your low end inaudible. I've come to realize that doing sound is as much a service job as it as a musical or technical one-you're there to make the performers sound the best they can so that the audience gets a good show.

    Despite what others have said here I think the ELF system needs a lot of headroom in a PA setup so that it can punch out the deep, effortless lows that it does so well. We've done shows with less than the optimal amount of wattage and it's pretty easy to get the system to start clipping before reaching concert volume levels.

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