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Berg Ht112 + LMII vs. Markbass CMD 121H: initial impressions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bassflute, Sep 29, 2008.


  1. Bassflute

    Bassflute

    Jun 24, 2006
    Vancouver
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    Borrowed the Markbass unit from the store to A/B it with the Berg.

    The Markbass 121H sounds lovely by itself; lots of bottom, crispy bright top, crisp, fast, clean, but some of the gutsier lower midrange stuff was missing in droves, and their EQ points in the amp miss it completely. This became readily apparent when I initially plugged the Berg in as a second speaker, and noticed how it filled out the sound a whole bunch of stuff that was lacking from the 121 by itself; the punchy, ballsy warm and grindy stuff that us bass players, at least electric players, love. And no, I was not just awestruck by the volume change, being used to running 2x12 cabs for almost 5 years now (Aguilars first, then the Bergs). There is a profound and fundamental difference in the sound and performance of these speakers, the Bergs having the clarity, warmth, and intelligibility midrange in abundance.

    So I then began to A/B them individually, and noticed other things that weren't immediately apparent; the 121H crapped and farted out quite early on loud, back-pickup transient attacks that the Berg handled with aplomb. The Berg cab does compress eventually as well, but no where near as soon as the Markbass cab, and this in spite of the fact that the 121H cab is quite a bit bigger in every direction. And while the Berg compresses, it did not ever distort in the ways the Markbass did, and this from its own internal amp that was designed for it, running at 8 ohms.

    Don't get me wrong, this is FAR from a bad cabinet/amp, in fact for the price, size and weight, it is one of the best there is, but for someone who has lived with the Bergs for a couple of years now, it is just difficult if not impossible to find fault with these cabs, and easy to find faults with all the others I've tried since. It becomes a question of 'well, these are nice BUT, the Bergs do x and y so much better...' It's like owning a Mac - you become an evangelist after a while, and just want the whole world to change because you know there is a better way. It's too bad Jim Bergantino is such a teeny little company, with minimal marketing budget, because his speakers, especially these small 12" ones, are simply amazing.

    Another thing I found a bit unnerving about the Markbass woofer is how much it moves - it obvously has a very soft suspension, is producing some very low transients that are not getting through audibly, and kind of reminds me of a sub-woofer in the trunk of a car audio rapmeister-system, which leads me to believe this speaker would eventually:

    a) fail quite readily from overexcusion if you try to pump too much bottom end out of it.

    and/or

    b) become very fluffy and woofy after several years of use.

    The Berg, which I had directly beside it, hardly moved at all by comparison, still tight and accurate in spite of the fact that they have been well-used at several hundred gigs, plus rehearsals, and have been pushed quite heavily on occasion. They have showed absolutely NO signs of straining or failure, even when running at loud blues-gig levels with the E(vil) WT 800B bridged mono @ 4 ohms at (they claim) 1100 watts.

    The Markbass stuff is nice, great sound, lovely as a soloist but I seriously think it would get absolutely buried in the mix.

    Damn, it's hard to beat those little Bergs. I'll be getting a pair of 112ER's shortly, so if you think I'm a eulogizing pain-in-the-*** right now, just wait!

    :spit:

    But give me a break; it's tough being right all the time, you know.

    Jim Bergantino is a genius. And thanks to Tom Bowlus for turning us all onto them. He's right once in a while, too, except on the subject of flooring.

    ;)

    Cheers,
    Cameron

    BTW: I sent in a suggestion to Jim that he do a limited edition run of Bowlus Signature cabs, using that carpet from his basement...
     
  2. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Double LOL! First off, I think that people knew who Jim Bergantino was before I started espousing the virtues of his cabs, but hey, I'm happy to help the cause (though no, I do not get a kickback or any other form of compensation from Jim, as some have implied!).

    As to the carpet, Jim and I have joked that if I ever do recarpet the basement, I'm going to have him recover a bunch of cabs for me using that fine, fine material. ;) :p :cool:

    Tom.

    P.S.
    If you like the HT112, then yes, you really need to hear both the HT112 ER and the AE112! :bassist:
     
  3. smakbass

    smakbass Smakkin basses for 25 years..

    Aug 6, 2002
    Vancouver Canada
    I havent heard much about the AE112 but I was in club bass today and tried the ae112 (and the 210) and was real impressed Im an ht112 owner now but will be adding the ae112 and ditching my markbass std 112
     
  4. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Wow...I've been waiting for that combo to come the U.S., but am pretty happy with using one or two Aggie GS112 cabinets along with my Little Mark II...based on your experience, sounds like I should simply enjoy what I already have...
     
  5. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I've said this before. Markbass heads and Bergantino cabs may be a sonic match made in heaven - I've heard neither - but man, the visuals are pretty bad.
     
  6. Bassflute

    Bassflute

    Jun 24, 2006
    Vancouver
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    played one at a gig last night with a ht112 on top, bridged mono through the Eden 800B...

    Unbelievable. The low end extension is phenomenal. He's kept the best of the HT112 and added deeper lows, still without the mud factor. Simply astonishing. I'm playing in a rare club with very good acoustics (in fact, great acoustics). I'm definitely upgrading my cabs. Nothing wrong with the original HT112's, especially for 4 string players, but for 5 and above, man the ER's are really cool.

    You wouldn't think an extra 6 - 8 hz would make much difference, but man does it ever.

    I can just imagine the new IP's; I wonder if he's tweaked the DSP for the new cab?

    Everybody should sell everything and get some immediately. These are the best sounding little cabinets ever (they already were - now, devastatingly so).

    Cheers,
    Cameron
     
  7. 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 DSP for the IP112 ER is definitely different than that for the IP112, though I have not heard the IP112 ER yet.
     
  8. stranger0

    stranger0

    May 10, 2007
    Give me my cab back lol

    Mark
     
  9. smakbass

    smakbass Smakkin basses for 25 years..

    Aug 6, 2002
    Vancouver Canada
    hah possesion is 2/3 of the law go back and play your trace
     
  10. stranger0

    stranger0

    May 10, 2007
    quiet upright boy!
     
  11. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I have 3 HT112's (nice cab) and used one or two the F1 and LMII. I'm using a 121H right now. I actually hear these cabs oppositely. The regular HT112 is a great box but the basic dimensions just prevent alot of low end/low mid response. People have been trying to dial a strong low mid response into this box since it hit. It does stay clear and tight at extremely high levels and it is amazing in bad rooms (esp for upright).

    The 121H is naturally "big" sounding and the low end/low mids have a forceful/visceral quality (due to the cab depth) that the HT lacks. The 121H is more like the Series I Epi UL in this respect. It is also well voiced for the LMII. The tweeter has a woodier/airy quality more like the UL112 than the HT112 bullet tweeter.

    This is not to diss the HT112, which is, again, a great cab.
     

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