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Joker's Mini Stack Shootout: Epifani 1x10UL vs. Acme B1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Jun 28, 2003.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    out of curiousity, and pure GAS, i got myself a pair of Acme B1's the last week, and after a good long testing period that consisted of three long rehearsals, and two semi-serious sit-down taste tests with a bud at a local rehearsal hall, here are my findings:


    as y'all know, i'm very enamoured of my Epifani 1x10 ultralite pair. no where else have i found a 1x10 pair that sounded as huge, yet are as light as these puppies.

    but with a pair of 1x10 Acme's, i was reminded of how only Acme's 10" cabs can really hit a juicy thick Low B and make it punch like a body blow to the midsection.

    lets get right to it.

    specs wise, you can check the websites for the Epi 1x10 UL's, and the Acme B1 1x10's.

    you've already heard me go on and on and on about the Epi's, so i'll go into the Acme's a bit. FYI, the Acme's i'm demoing are 4 ohms each, side ported, and weigh 10 lbs. more. the weight is a bit noticible, but still, nothing to write home about. and unlike the fully sealed Epi, the Acme has a right sided port that's maybe 5" in diameter.

    not a big deal, but in a cramped situation when i'm literally knocking my knees against the drummer's floor tom, the Acme can be a bit problematic in finding enough room to let the port breathe.

    right off the bat, the Epi's are by far LOUDER. at a rated handling of 250-300 watts vs. the Acme's 175 watts, and with a 99dB sensitivity vs. the Acme's 90dB, the Epi simply crush in the volume catagory. i could easily play with a friend's funk outfit with 3 piece horn section and "loud-ish" drummer. the Acme's, on the other hand, just barely make it past that burly drummerboy.

    but also keep in mind, the Acme's are 4 ohms each, instead of the usual 8 ohms that the Epi's are. thusly, the Acmes add up to a 2 ohm load vs. the Epi's 4 ohm load. figure it'd make the most of my Clarus. but even despite the impedence and wattage, the Acme's just arent nearly as loud as the Epi's.

    tonally, things get interesting...

    With my Kern IP777, the Epi 1x10UL pair shined, and IMHO, a Kern/Epifani setup is to die for. they just complement each other soo beautifully. that dark, yet thick and rich milkshake like kern tone, accented by the more clear as a bell, sweet and chewy Epifani sound made for an addicting combo.

    But, the Kern with the Acme sounded a little too laid back for me. not quite as inyourface or chewy as with the Epi's. rounded edge feel, with a slightly attenuated midrange sound. i never understood why Vanselus always insists that the Acme's to him sound a little too pretty and restrained, and i think i'm starting to understand that. not that this is a bad sound, but i just preferred the more upfront, chewy and sinewy texture the Kern had with the Epi. the abundance of mids in the Epi were very apparent, compared to the Acme's.

    still, both sounded fantastic with my Aguilar DB680 preamp. i could dial in whatever tone to compensate for whatever with the parametric EQ thru the Acmes. for the Acme 1x10 pair, add some narrowly banded low mids for punch, as well as some wide banded upper mids for cut and chewiness, and you've a killer fingerfunk tone. if there ever was a preamp to be mated to the Acme's, its the DB680.

    but in general, i can hear a very chewy midrange and airy crisp highs in the Epifani's, which make for a detailed sound. very present, and yet still open sounding. the Acme's on the other hand, are a tad darker, and have a rounded blunt edge feel to the highs. not quite as soaring or defined and detailed, but more sweeter and rounded off. both cabs are still forcefully punchie in their own ways!

    now, the really interesting part...

    the Epi's only reach a depth of 45hz. kinda makes the low B's to my Elrick and Sadowsky sound more flabby than tight, cause i seem to hear more of the string's rattle and extraneous noise, rather than the low B itself. i'm being a bit obtuse, but hopefully y'all get the picture. whereas the Acme's seem to make the Low B free from the excess string rattle, due to the more prominent fundamental string tone. the Low B is by far punchier. quite amazing actually, and was instantly reminded of my old B2 2x10.

    the Low B tone on the Epi sounds fine, and is pretty nice actually. had i not ever heard the Acme, i wouldnt been perfectly happy. Heck, who wouldnt?!?!? its a freakin' Epifani after all! its just that the Acmes make the Low B sound sooo much more natural and "tangible". Andy really makes you rethink how your Low B could sound like, and all from two small 30 lbs. boxes!

    moral of this story? if you like a punchyouinyourgut Low B tones with an overall pretty and sweet bass tone, the Acmes are very hard to beat for you small to really small club goers. also, the price on the Acme's are really great, too~! ;) a killer punchie little Low B rig. but if you need a more present midrange and airy top end in your sound that happens to also easily do battle with a moderately loud drummer, and you appreciate an especially super light carrying weight, only the Epi's will do.

    hope this all made sense given my sleepy exhausted state. i just got back from a quick rehearsal with the Acme pair, which followed, taking out my little cousins who are visiting from DC. i had the tones of the Acme still fresh in my mind, so i wanted to get the writing ideas down before i forgot.
  2. fast slapper

    fast slapper

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    Try one Acme and Epifani together and report back. Seems like it would make a nice fullrange rig.
  3. :eek: Whoa, man, and I thought I wrote long. Yeah, you really need to write for Bass Player. And tell them to review Bag End. Have they reviewed Avatar yet? That would be interesting, but Avatar does not advertise, so you're unlikely to see a review in their magazine if you know what I mean... I glady canceled my subscription, and their website is seriously lacking... :oops:

    Nice cabs, though. I'd love to try out the 2x12. Can I try it at the factory in Brooklyn, or do I have to be invited?

    "I'm not really crazy, it just sounds good.."
  4. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    Yeah not to mention all that complete bull**** about them not letting luthiers write columns. How stupid to reject the collective genius of tobias, turner, and others just for fear of conflict of interest. And now, there's an article with Azola in this month's BP. Grr.
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I dunno about that. The Epi's are more efficient and therefore louder. Fed the same number of watts, you wouldn't even hear the Acme.

    If you could rig it up so the Acme gets fed more power than the epi, then maybe.......
  6. LJW


    Feb 8, 2002
    northeastern pa.

    A useful and informative review.

    Nice picture too.

    Thank you.

  7. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    besides the efficiency, the impedance would be an issue to also contend with: you'd have to hook up both epi's and a single acme for better results. with a more even impedance load i'd say try it... we often use a 115 or 118 as a sub under other two tens (or four tens) why not try it with a 110 capable of some serious lows? yes, there would be a difference in volume but i'd bet that the acme would add some of that lowend to the mix and you'd hopefully get the best of both worlds... even if you can only run in mono at 2 ohms vs. running each side at 4 and being able to adust for intensity differences... as long as you don't go clipping anything to even them out what can it really hurt provided you can handle mixing brands which some people can't? i think at worst you'd maybe not hear the lows as much as feel them which in itself may or may mot be a bad thing. oh, and great review BTW joker, you really have a touch for this! ;)
  8. jivetkr


    May 15, 2002
    These reviews are the best.
  9. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    well, i did think about that, but didnt want to jump the gun just yet, and allow the two separate entities sink in first. i'll try that out in a few days.

    i still have another week with the Acme's, ripe with 2 more rehearsals, a sunday worship, & one other audition. i'll be deciding then whether ot not to keep them, or ship them back to Andy. but, so far, so very good!

    btw, just to be clear, the music i've played with them in are mostly r&b, soul, funk, and motown kinda groups. nothing too heavy nor especially loud. they've been with backlines ranging from just myself, the drummer, and a keyboardist; to a larger ensemble complete with 3 piece horns, guitarist, keyboard, drummer, percussionist and 3 vocalists. with two 1x10's, i've been cruising just fine. plenty of low end to dial in, and the punch brings me thru just fine.

    np and thx to all y'all!

    i've got great access to some choice gear and people, so why not share the love, eh? i aint no Van or Josh, but if i have the chance to share my thoughts, of course, i'll post 'em here!

    btw, dont forget to check out the new Basstasters' Sadowsky and Eden preamp reviews. really interesting to hear the stomp boxes go at it for all you passive guys. hopefully, John East'll send his J-Retro stomp box to the guys too! be interesting to hear the differences between the Sadowsky box and and the similarly inspired J-Retro. and dont forget their very cool new "string" reviews. great stuff comin' outta the Northwest! :cool:
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    Nice informative review, though sound clips to accompany your review would give everyone an idea of what the sound differences are as they relate to them and their tastes and style of playing.
  11. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Great review.

    You'd probably like Tombolus' Epi rig: T-110UL+T-112 w/Walkabout or w/Navigator+PLX.
  12. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Other than the Clarus, which amps did you use to drive the rigs? Based on my investigations into Acmes and how much power they like, I'd recommend using an amp that puts about 400W RMS into each Low-B1. I'd love to know how loud a lone Low-B1 can get - I assume a pair is pretty much as loud as a Low-B2, if not a little louder due to the extra mid & high drivers, so given enough power it should be enough in most situations where loud guitars aren't involved.

    I have a pair of Low-B2 cabs myself and I'm thinking about getting a Low-B1 to use for small jams and practicing at home and wonder if it would be loud enough to compete with a drummer in jazzier situations?

  13. Nice reveiw BTW. I recently purchased a Low B-4 and there's no way Andy's getting it back! I play in a rock/dance band with a moderately loud drummer and have NEVER had a problem with volume, even on two out-door gigs recently (one without help from the PA).

    I would suggest Acme to ANYBODY just on price alone. To take it a step further, listen to the SOUND they make. Very nice! I'm running a Peavey DPC 1400X with a Peavey Max Bass Pre-Amp and the sounds I can get from this cabinet are phenominal.

    My favorite setting so far is a comination of the two channels. I do a little mild eq on the tube channel then overdrive it (keeping the volume fairly low). On the SS side I keep the eq FLAT and use the "shelving" knobs, rolling off some low, adding some high.This adds up to finger-style groove tone to DIE for!!!

    Sorry for the rant but I'm in love with this thing!!!:D
  14. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    According to Acme's website the spec difference between the two cabs is:

    Model---Sensitivity-------Power Handling
    Low B2--93db@1W@1m---350Wrms
    Low B1--90db@1W@1m---175Wrms

    It would take either two B1's or twice the power into one B1 to get the same volume as one B2 (problem with one B1 is it only handles half as much power as a B2).

    If you use the 2x to 2.5x rule of thumb for mating a SS amp, for one B1, your looking at 350W to 437.5W to drive a B1 at a level 3db lower than one B2 with the same power source (while the 2x - 2.5x for the B2 would be 700W to 875W).

    Personally, (based on owner feedback I've heard) I would probably use 600W for the B1 and 1200W for the B2 (or two B1s) and keep a close eye on the clip lights. [Something like a 300W tube SVT would probably work fine for any of the above setups.]
  15. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    OK I've been biting my tongue but I've gotta say it..... every time I see specs like this, I start wanting to build my own Acme copy out of "efficient" Hi-Fi drivers. A lot of that is probably because ACME aren't available in Austr, but I reckon it would work out a whole heap cheaper.
  16. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    well, even with the Clarus, i was getting some good volume. wont compete with a 100 watt stack, but it'll groove nicely with the keyboard, drummer combo.

    but a friend pointed out that maybe my idea of loud enough isnt nearly as loud as some of all y'all. he said, maybe i should tell people to add another bass 100 watts to whatever i suggest. :rolleyes: :D

    as to whether it sounded louder than the B2, its very hard to say. but, you'd think the B1 pair would be louder due to the extra little drivers.

    a single B1 should be cool for combo jazz, but i dunno bout a big band situation. those horn sections could easily do battle with a marshall stack!

    btw, i forgot to mention that my B1's have the inserts for PA stands. in other words, i can use these as PA speakers! cool, eh? our church does an small open mic in our cafe every few weeks, and i'm pretty sure we have one coming up next week. i'm gonna see how these work for that well. should be fun to hear how versatile they are for that!
  17. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    And on Jokey's next Mini Shootout: "Porterhouse vs. T-Bone"... ;)
  18. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Thanks for the great review, joker. I haven't tried those specific models, but your description pretty much parallels what I found between the Acmes (B2 & B4) and Epis (T112 & T212).

  19. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Thanks Joker- once again another awesome reveiw of some cool gear.

    Just outta curiosity- what kind of power amp were you using with each setup?
  20. Another thank you here, Joker.

    Your review gives me a great frame of reference concerning the Epis, as I am intimately familiar with the Low B-IIs. I have a pair of these which I am extremely happy with. For reference I find that the Fafner is an excellent match for Acme's, but I would not want to be caught with less power: conservative 640w RMS into the 2 Ohm (2x4 Ohm) load.

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