If you can only choose 1 MESA Subway cab...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hafizimran, May 26, 2018.

  1. hafizimran


    Dec 7, 2014
    I’m pretty set on the D800+ but only have enough funds for ONE MESA Subway cabinet- either the 210, 112, or 115.

    Here’s the thing- I’m really more of a guitar player who is picking up the bass for a project. So although I can try all the cabs at the store, I stilll wouldn’t know what to look for in terms of what constitutes “a good sound”.

    With that in mind, I’m thinking maybe I’ll rattle off a few keywords and hopefully they would enable you to advise me as best as possible, please:
    - Bedroom/Home Studio playing 95%
    - Live playing 5% (<200 pax events)
    - Fender P-bass
    - Music Man Caprice
    - Flatwounds
    - Motown (“What’s Going On”)
    - Neo-soul (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu)

    Please don’t recommend Bergantinos, Barefaced, fEARful, etc. I’m in Malaysia so it’s either Ampeg, Fender, TC Electronic, or MESA. Shipping and taxes of these exotic cabs would be too prohibitive.


    Ps. Yes, I have searched. There is that one HUGE thread on MESA that’s like 4,000+ posts or something. I just can’t read through all that. I hope you understand.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  2. Snowglo

    Snowglo Pro Aris et Focis

    Nov 15, 2013
    U.S. Military endorsement since 1984
    I just picked up my first piece of Mesa gear a couple day ago...D800+, and may get matching cabs in the future (have fEARful now). After reading all 600+ pages of the Subway Owners thread, you should get the 1x15 SW cab.

    Although, if you don’t gig that much and play small venues when you do, I’m certain the 1x12 will be sufficient. The 15 has a tad more bottom and sounds (second hand experience) like a better single cab choice.
    Evil Funk and JaseyT like this.
  3. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    My Walkabout 15 combo is magical. I definitely vote for the 15
    Datsgor and hafizimran like this.
  4. TrevorG

    TrevorG Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2012
    I've only tried the 15 and 12 but I voted for the 2x10. The 12 was fabulous -quite punchy and very clear but all the other 2x10 cabs I've tried of the same quality sound tight, punchy and aggressive.
  5. MyMusic


    Jun 1, 2010
    Dover, De
    I don't know all of the tech terms but the 115 just sounds best to me.
    lomo and hafizimran like this.
  6. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    Because you state the vast majority of the time will be used for "bedroom/home studio" playing, that rules out the 115 for me. Reason being is that I don't believe it does as well compared to the other two choices for low-volume. Plus, it's can be a difficult speaker in terms of resonance in the home.

    So that leaves the 210 and the 112 for me in your situation. Although the 210 has slightly better wattage rating over the 112 (500 vs 400 watts), the Subway is rated for 400 watts at 8 ohm. So you'll give up some headroom for safety. However, that's not enough for me to take the 210 over the 112.

    12" bass speakers are situated right in the sweet spot between 10" and 15" sounds. I would go with the 112 for now, then add another 112 later when funds allow. With a choice between the 800+ and one 112 or two 112s, you'll handle anything in the future.

    The Subway amp is an excellent amp, although I lean towards the tone of a Tonehammer. There is no denying that Mesa has one of the best warranties in the business, if not the best.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to tell the president of Aguilar to step up their game and make their warranty transferrable like Mesa.
  7. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I'd vote the 15. But, I can tell you from past experience (non-Subway), when a single 12 sounds really, really good, a second 12 will absolutely blow you away. You cannot go wrong either way. I have not seen the 2x10 to compare (sorry).

    Of course, I am saying that after getting one Subway 15 and then purchasing a second to match. One by itself sounded really, really good. The second is enormous. We play outdoors quite a bit, often with a cheap p.a. provided and often with no p.a. support for the bass, so I opted for the 15's. YMMV
    imabuddha likes this.
  8. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I like the SW115 better than the 112. Side by side at the exact same settings the difference is hard to miss. My best description is that the 115 is the biggest and fullest sounding 112 cab I ever heard. It is extremely well balanced with a very full and authoritative voicing across the full spectrum of frequencies. I find many single 15's more focused on say mids or low end, but the SW115 is unique in that it speaks evenly from lows through mids to highs.

    However, for just studio and home playing the SW112 is more than sufficient and is an excellent 12" loaded cab.
    In fact for small restaurant/coffee house gigs, the 112 would hold its own just fine. The 112 can get nearly as full sounding as the 115 (at reasonable volumes) if you're not afraid to put some power to it and use the EQ. The SW 112 is a robust design that is more capable than you might think if you just leave all the amp controls flat.

    I have no experience with the 210. While the 112 would work nicely for your current needs, I voted for the 115 because it would do just as well plus give you additional capability when you play out. The footprint on these cabs is same so the only dimensional difference is additional height.
  9. hafizimran


    Dec 7, 2014
    Good people of TalkBass, you guys are the best. Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions.

    I think I cleared about 40 pages, and yes, I read that most comments lean towards the SW115. But I gave up soon after. You are clearly made of harder stuff than me. Haha!

    74hc and ezstep, thank you. These are great insights. I just came back from testing the SW115 against the SW210 (the SW112 will only be available in a week's time). Here's my dilemma. Even in my relative inexperience about bass, I feel the SW115 pumps out a bit more low end. But the SW210 has a bit more immediacy / urgency to the notes. Granted I played them both at conversation volume in the store. Maybe the SW115 will sound more upfront at higher volumes?

    Okay this is very interesting. Right now the poll shows the SW115 being ahead of the other two by a wide margin. So soundwise the SW115 has a wider range than the SW112, but in terms of touch response, do you find any difference?


    I guess I'll probably go with either a SW115 or SW112. My only concern is whether the SW115 would be too big-sounding a cabinet when playing in close quarters like a bedroom or small home studio.

    Thank you for the responses, gentlemen.
    dcheming likes this.
  10. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    For reference, I've owned both the 112 and 115 since the D-800 first came out. I still own the 800 and suspect that with your 800+ you'll be able to fine tune and dial-in your desired voicing even better than I have.

    The best way for me to describe the difference is that the 115 has a heavier/fuller feel in the low register without sacrificing clarity and definition in the mids. The 112 takes some EQing to turn it's clarity and punch into a more full sounding low end like the 115 naturally has. The 115 has that big boulevard cruiser feel without sacrificing good handling in the curves, while the 112 has a smooth ride with very tight, crisp handling at speed (sorry for the car analogy).

    As for high end tone, both cabs share the same horn (I think) and make a seamless transition from woofer to the horn. They both feel plenty present in the upper range with the horn proving nice support to get definition and some air to the tone without being harsh. Note to note articulation is excellent in both cabs.

    I like the deep feel right off the bat that the 115 has. To me the 112 is a great sounding cab, but it's initial impression for me was that it was articulate and clear, not particularly super rich in deep lows. The 112 is not bass shy, but deep bass is something you need to coax out of it (and you can), not necessarily its top strength. Without stating the obvious, the 115 just feels bigger and heavier with almost any EQ.

    The 115 feels capable of much more (volume and low end) than my experience tells me a single 15" loaded cab should. When you first fire-up with it, your sense is that it's going to be able to give you anything you ask from it and still have a little margin left. It's easily the best single driver cab I've used in 40 years of playing bass.

    If you're still torn between the 112 and 115, don't worry, this is one case where you can't make a mistake. I hope that helps!

    Edit: Let me add that you can always HPF and/or EQ out low end you don't want or need with the 115. It's a little harder to create a big cab feel with a smaller cab - although it's easier with the SW112 than many cabs.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  11. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Bay Area
    You want the 15
  12. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    ...like the majority of the rest of us who have heard both! :thumbsup:
    Geri O, bjelkeman and lermgalieu like this.
  13. Cracker7

    Cracker7 Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2016
    Lakeland FL
    FCCF028D-150D-4EF6-9E8C-0F158DC4DF11.jpeg I went with two 1x12s. Amazing
  14. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK?

    I'm in the get the 15 group (I own a 112/115 D800 stack)
    Tonight, I am taking my 112 as a standalone: small stage, big hall, strong FOH support :)
    I could take the 115, but I have played here several times, and they LOOVE the subs :( I need to get an HPF for this, and one other place.
    TOO much content below 100.
    The "wide bottom" of the 115 is actually a hinderance here, the subs the hollow stage...
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  15. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    I’m not alone, but in the minority in tha I don’t like the 112. I own it, [email protected] and the 115. The 112 just never gets me a full bottom end I like. I can see where you’d think the 210 is crisper at low volume, but turn it up with a band and, given the type of music you’re playing, you might find it overbearing in the upper end. In any case, for every situation where I just use one cab (even if I take another one just to put underneath and look cool) the 115 gets the gig. It’s beautifully voiced, heftier in the low end and low mids, in a way I can’t get with the other cabs, and has plenty of well balanced mids and highs.

    If I gave up 3 of my 4, the 115 would stay, and it’s not close.
    Johnny Fingers and Al Kraft like this.
  16. GManfromOz


    Jul 27, 2016
    Why not get all three?

    I've got the 115 112 and the 210 teamed with the D800. The 115 is the pick, sometimes on stage I hear myself and think "that sounds so perfect". 20180105_170216.jpg
  17. D Bopp

    D Bopp Supporting Member

    May 26, 2007
    Alpharetta, GA
    I own the 800+ and 115. That'd be my vote.
    pmad_bass, Jason Hollar and Evil Funk like this.
  18. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK?

    because he stated in the original post that he can only afford one?
  19. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    20180519_183010.jpg with the 12 and 15 you can have good versatility but if I could only have 1 it would be the 15, I plan on getting another 15 in the near future!!
    Johnny Fingers and Al Kraft like this.
  20. Super Bass

    Super Bass

    Feb 4, 2017
    IMG_0121.JPG Really one of my favorite little rigs, I love the 800+ with the single 115.. IMG_1259.JPG Add another 115 and is a killer powerful and still small rig, but really the 800+ and the 115 is really a sweet sounding amp set up for small gigs and recording.
    BassBlue, Evil Funk and mam1862 like this.

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