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Compare and contrast: Acme B4 v. Fearful please

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Steve, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I did the search thing. Didn't get much satisfaction there.

    I tried to register over at the fearful board but I guess I was too slow or the man over there was a little quick on the trigger deleting my application. In either case that's a little more overhead than I need for one answer so, I'm asking you guys.

    I use Acmes, I love Acmes. I'd love them a little more if they had a little less low, low, low and a little more efficiency.

    I get the sense that Fearful will do all that while still retaining the honesty from 50hz up. Getting 20 or so pounds off the lift wouldn't be a half bad byproduct either.

    So...educate me. The comparison to the B4 is my main interest as opposed to the B2 or 12" boxes.
  2. I'm not a huge fan of either of those cabs (pure personal taste), but I've owned and gigged both (well, 2 x B210... pretty much the same thing).

    I very much prefer the fEARful voicing. BIG down low, but less extended into the 'power sucking problem area' that I hear with the Acme's. Much more present upper midrange response (actually, a bit too much for me personally, but better than the upper mids disappearing, which is what I found with my Acme's when really cranking).

    The fEARFul is MUCH louder per watt, and there is ZERO issue with cone creasing and having to use external hi pass filtering and massive power, that I found with my Acme's.

    One thing, though, with the fEARFul is that, IMO, you really need some pretty good EQ control with the head. Those components were designed for PA use. The driver has no lower mid bump, which IMO needs to be dialed in with some contexts. Also, the mid driver has no attenuator and is goosed pretty well hot, with some peaks at around 2K and 4K... very bright and aggressive.

    Of course, the fEARful weighs about half of what a B410 does. It only comes in 8ohms, so you benefit from either a bridged power amp, or a head that puts out at least 500 watts into 8ohms.

    Both nice cabs that have a unique sound that some love and some not so much.

    You might consider one of Duke's TC115's. It is not as big as the fEARFul down low (and definitely rolled off much higher than the Acme), but has a similar smoothness up top to the Acme, and is a small box that comes in 4ohms... sounds great with the typical 500 watt into 4 micro.
  3. Im gonna hop in on this, I actually own Ken's old 15/6. Additional disclaimer I have not played through an ACME.

    +1 Neither of these cabs is going to be for everyone. IF they meet your tonal goals fantastic, but there are a lot of sealed 810 players out there, these are not those cabs.

    +1 what I like is that even with out dialing up the bass the 15/6 is very low end present. When you dial up the bass its fricken huge. For my tonal goals I would describe the upper mids as "very present" which is a good thing for me. On some 410s there is a dip in this range right before the tweeter kicks in. Some work with this very well, others try to dial it back in and get a harsh tweeter sound which lends to a lot of people not caring for tweeters. Liking what the cabs do here will be a personal preference.

    +1 again

    Some people think they NEED huge power with the fEARful cabs. This is not the case as they have fairly good sensitivity. The difference is that they CAN handle that huge power with out crapping the bed like some other cabs. I run my PF-500 with my 15/6 (350 watts at 8 Ohms) and it gets plenty loud for anything I will use that cab for. (1515/66 in the wings)

    I think this depends on your tonal goals. I get by just fine with either my PF-500 or my Classic 400 with dont have extensive EQ's. On the other side a GEQ or parametric EQ turn these cabs into a tonal chameleon.

    Mostly +1

    As I said before you dont have to have huge power, but the cabs dont have a problem using it either. At 35 pounds or so my 15/6 is a breeze to move, and as far as volume is pretty much king in its weight class.

    If you like the ACME you might dig the fEARful as well.

    Duke's cabs are great as well, something else to look into if a 4 Ohm cab is your deal right now.
  4. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I really don't have much issue with Acme. The low, low can get a little problematic in some rooms but it's easy enough to deal with.

    I really like the sound of my instruments and they really don't need any help from a cab voicing. If I want a voiced cab, I have a Berg 322 and a HT212.

    What I want is a cab that I can't hear a hole between the woofer and the tweeter and I'd really prefer to not hear the sound of a horn crossed that low.

    I can get what I need into an FOH or a mix desk easier than I can a voiced box because they always seem to add too much somewhere or take away something that I'm looking for.

    Berg is about the only stuff I can stand for any length of time and then it's really only the 322 I like.

    I have enough amp horsepower to pretty much vaporize anything instantly if that's what I wanted to do.

    It'd be nice to have something that would function with my Little Trace Elliot AH200 when I felt like messing around with that which Acme WILL NOT do.

    Anyone have any sense of what fearful would equal the max output of a B4? Not that I need that but, I hate to see cones jump. It gets inside my brain when I'm trying to work.
  5. I like the transition between the woofer and mid driver on my 15/6, no tweeter. I do have a tweeter on my 1515/66, but I actually dont use it much, I dont need it and most fF users who dont have it dont miss it.

    I would say a either a 15/6 or a 12/6 might meed your volume needs, but a 15/6 is going to be more sensitive.
  6. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    A couple things here;

    With a 15/6 you can get a crossover with selectable mids, which will pad them back if you find them a bit much.

    a 12/6 with the alphalite 6a has much more tame mids...I use a 12/6/1cube with the aplha as a standalone sometimes and LOVE it. On top of my 15sub, it's unreal :)

    I think most (certainly not all) people who claim to not like horns, have been listening to most commercial piezo tweeters, which can be really harsh and crossed over too low. I love horns now, esp on doublebass.

    The TC115 is also a VERY good cab. I bought one before I got into the fEARful thing. Personally, I like the 12/6/1cube a little more for most of my work, but I cannot find fault with the TC115AF. Smooth and pretty sounding for sure and Duke is a class act :)
  7. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I'm one of those guys. I've had a pair of Low B-2s for about a decade, and recently had Barry Audio Design build me a fEARful 15/6/1 out of lightweight plywood. I play 5 and 6 string basses in standard tunings in rock, blues, and jazz.

    I don't want to diss the Acmes, as I've gotten some good use out of them, and haven't had any of the problems that others have reported from overdriving them. However, I agree with Don that there's a rather blatant mid-bass hump in the Acme sound, and the mids could be clearer. I'd describe the Acme midrange as sounding strained, i.e. thin and distorted, and the high end as "reserved".

    The fEARful sounds much less colored to my ears. I haven't noticed any lack of low bass, in fact the fEARful produces quite a bit of rumble without any special tone control tweaks. I don't miss Acme's claimed response down to 31.8 Hz - IME they don't really have any advantage in this area against a fEARful.

    My fEARful 15/6/1 weighs 51 lbs. on my uncalibrated bathroom scale - about what a single Low B-2 weighs. It's bulkier than one Low B-2 but smaller than a pair. I have no trouble hefting it in and out of my car.

    I haven't yet had the chance to gig the fEARful, so I can't yet comment on how it behaves at "war volume". The fEARful 15/6/1 is much more efficient than a single Low B-2 - and slightly more efficient than a pair of them. Based on my rough SPL calculations, the fEARful should ultimately get louder than the Acme stack, and do it with less power! And if the 15/6/1 ever comes up short on volume (unlikely), I'll simply add a fEARful 15sub.

    Yes, a prebuilt fEARful 15/6/1 is more expensive than a Low B-4 and about the same as a pair of Low B-2s. But you are paying for modern neodymium driver technology and a well-tuned design, and you will get a more portable, more versatile, and louder rig. You can build it yourself from a Speaker Hardware kit and save a couple hundred bucks, depending on how much woodworking you are willing to do.

    Disclaimer: I am not getting any consideration from Barry Audio Design or greenboy for this posting. I paid the going rate for my fEARful and my Acmes.
  8. fEARful will easily keep up with a B4 with probably half the power.

    I know what you mean about a 'horn crossed over low'. I was actually kind of worried when I bought my Thunderchild112 (I bought the first one produced), since there is nothing I hate more than bass through a 12/horn or 15/horn PA cab... harsh, clanky, whatever.

    I also know what you mean about the HT322.. that is a special cab. I gigged the modular version for a while. A little too hi fi for me... sounded like a low mid dip and lots of sizzle coming out of that horn. Sweet box though!

    Let me tell you, the top end of the Thunderchild sounds WAY more 'paper cone' than most of the mid driver loaded cabs, including the fEARful IMO. Just smooth as silk, and Duke uses an amazingly complex crossover that smooths the dips and peaks. Wonderful top end on those cabs.

    Another very nice rig is two of Roger Baer's ML112's. He uses a Faital mid driver, which is a bit sweeter sounding than the 18Sound mid driver spec'd for the fEARfuls. It really does just sound like the driver extending up all the way. Very nice. Low end is similar to the fEARfuls (not quite as big), but it has a bit more brightness and 'attack' up top.

    Lot's of great stuff out there.

    Interesting on the Acme 'mid mid hump' that a couple of people mentioned above. I never really noticed that... just a lack of upper midrange and brightness when you pushed the cab... that little mid driver and tweeter couldn't really keep up with that big low end to my ear. Maybe all that sub bass was masking it. The new Acme Neo 12's... they have a LOT more going on in the midrange to my ear than my old B210's.
  9. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    I know the OP asked specifically for a comparison with a B4, but here's a cross post of something I wrote on the fEARful forum:

    "A couple years ago, after building my 1st 12/6 (Alpha mid; no tweeter), I did an unscientific/subjective direct comparison between it and my 4 ohm Acme B2.

    With the same bass guitar/amp/settings/relative listening position:
    The fEARful seemed "bigger" and more pleasing in the lows.
    The fEARful's mids were much more pleasing to my ears.
    There was more apparent "loudness" from the 8 ohm fEARful than from the 4 ohm Acme. I would expect at least as much difference in "loudness" comparing a pair of B2s to a 15/6.

    Also, the 12/6 was lighter and less awkward to carry.

    Sold the Acme and haven't looked back."
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    +1 to all of the above. I had a first generation B2, now I have a 15/6/1.

    The Acme had more extreme low frequencies and sounded too thick much of the time (mid-bass bump?). It didn't have the midrange clarity I wanted. Even though it sounded great alone, it got lost or was too boomy in the mix. And it ate power. Lots of it.

    The fEARful is very clear sounding all through its range. Every other (conventional) bass cabinet I try sounds congested in comparison. That clarity can be too much for some applications, and you might want to dial in a low mid bump, maybe cut a bit in the high mids. Even though there are big fat lows, they never seem to get boomy, since they are extended but pretty flat (as opposed to having a hump in the response).
  11. Ken- I think that's your best post to date about your experience with the fEARful. Very fair and descriptive.

    I personally have yet to find a weakspot with my fEARful 1212/6/1. But I have a plethora of EQ options with my Shuttlemax 12 and a Sansamp BDDI for 'old school' tones. It did take a while to dial down the 18-Sound mid.

    Like most of the fEArful crowd, I freely admit that it's not for everyone. But it certainly IS my cup of koolaide.

    So many cabs, so little money. The Acme is on my list of cabs to have just to experience. Along with the TC115 and the Baer cabs.

    We are spoiled by a wealth of riches. Some seriously good choices out there. This is a great time to be a bass player!
  12. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Definitely think the tc115 fits a sweet niche. Replaced my 15/6 with one but still use a 66 for bigger stuff.
  13. Oh Yeah!!!


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