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Mini Cab Combo Shootout

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tombowlus, Oct 11, 2004.


  1. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Okay, I am obsessed with bass gear. That's no surprise. I have come to grips with this affliction, and now I am always trying to find ways to satisfy my extreme curiosity in what I hope is a somewhat beneficial manner. Therefore, after participating in several threads recently regarding different combinations of smaller cabs, I bring to you, Tom Bowlus' Mini Cab Combo Shootout!

    Here are the competitors:

    [​IMG]

    For those of you who don't know these cabs by sight, from left to right, they are:

    Bergantino EX112/HT112
    Two EA Wizzy's
    Epifani T-112/T-110UL
    EA CXL-112/CXL-210 (I know it's not quite mini, but I threw it in anyways - plus, I don't have two CXL-112s)
    EA VL-110/VL-208

    Yes, it's an "EA-heavy" group, but that's the kind of guy I am! :D I chose these particular combination of cabs based in part upon recent threads, based in part upon common configurations among other TBers and the observed synergy between particular cabs, and based in part upon my own personal preferences. I will point out that I have some other single "mini" cabs that are very worthy (Hevos Midget, EA VL-108, ACME Low B-2), but I wanted to keep this comparision to just combinations of mini (or almost mini, in the case of the CXL's) cabs.

    I should, of course, say that these are all excellent cabs in their own right (if I didn't feel this way, I wouldn't bother keeping them all around!), and personal preferences will vary greatly among different players. My observations are my own, and your opinions will certainly vary from mine. For testing, I used both my rack rig (Eden Navigator, QSC PLX 3002) and my iAMP 800. Except for use of the "Deep" switch on my iAMP 800, all EQ settings were set flat. I tried the Navigator with Enhance off or set at 12 o'clock, and ultimately left it off for testing). I would have also used my Walter Woods, but Todd VanSelus is playing with it right now. :p The overall sound was somewhat different, as you would expect, but the relative results were the same with either the rack rig or the iAMP. While I have used most of these cabs with URB to good effect in the past, I didn't feel like breaking out the doghouse for this one. Most of my testing was done with my favorite axe - 1991 Gibson Thunderbird IV - but 5-string response was briefly tested with my modified DeArmond Pilot 5 Deluxe (the short answer here is that all combos will reproduce the low B to an extent that is consistent with my overall impressions listed below).

    Just for yucks, I am going to present my findings (in random order) without telling you (up front) which combo is which. This way, you can see if you can guess which combo I am talking about based upon my stated observations. Humor me here, folks! :p

    [Edit: I have put in the actual names and done away with the A, B, C thing to make this more readable now that the guessing game is long over.]

    Epifani T-112/T-110UL: This combo had the deepest response overall, with a hint of mid scoop, but you probably wouldn't notice it if it wasn't being compared to other, midrange friendly smaller cabs. I'd call it "polite" in the mids, more than "mid-shy." Definitely the biggest low end, though, and very nice high end. Somewhat of an "old school vibe", but not so much as with the Bergs. Really likes being driven hard. With the "Deep" switch on the iAMP 800 engaged, though, it became too low end heavy.

    EA CxL-112/CxL-210: This was both the tightest sounding and the thinest sounding of the group. Clarity was razor sharp. With the "Deep" switch engaged on the iAMP 800, though, these two cabs really come to life and handle the extra lows without any problems. Set flat, though, it was by far the smallest sounding combo of the group. With the "Deep" switch engaged, and with the volume cranked, though, it became a monstrously full and loud rig. Ultimately, a very flexible combo, but needs EQing.

    Bergantino EX112/HT112: This combo hit the "old school vibe" right off the bat. The lows weren't earth shaking, but output was respectable for the size of the cab ("Deep" worked to provide excellent fundamental support at lower volumes, but I wasn't comfortable using it with higher volumes). Articulation throughout the midrange was punchy, if not ultimately as clear as some of the others. Low mids up through middle mids are its strength. Also a little bit polite in the upper mids, but not so much as the Epi stack. Very punchy overall, especially in the heart of the midrange. Slightly "roundish" sound, overall.

    EA Wizzy's: At similar volume settings, this was the loudest combo of the group. Articulation was very good from top to bottom. Overall clarity was a shade behind the other two EA combos, but in the same ballpark. Low end was surprisingly strong, and just barely behind the Epi's. With "Deep" engaged, it became huge, but still manageable, and could be used even at higher volumes. Also very punchy, but more of a high-mid punch, when compared to the Bergs. A very balanced combo, but with an extra layer of upper midrange presence, and a hint of warmth.

    EA VL-110/VL-208: This combo had it all - strong lows, balanced mids, smooth sweet highs, and ability to be driven very hard without breaking up. You could probably dial in the sound of almost any of the other combos with these two cabs. The "Deep" switch was pretty much unnecessary, but if used, it worked much like the Bergs, and again, I wouldn't use it if pushing the volume really loud. The only complaint of this combo compared to the others might be that since it seems to hit on all cylinders across the board, it doesn't have as much "personality" as the others.

    So, do you think you have them all figured out? Let 'er rip!
     
  2. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Caveat: I have never heard ANY of these cabs!

    Combo A: Epifani T-112/T-110UL

    Combo B: Bergantino EX112/HT112

    Combo C: Two EA Wizzy's

    Combo D: EA CXL-112/CXL-210

    Combo E: EA VL-110/VL-208

    Well?

    Alex
     
  3. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Two out of five! Not bad... ;)
     
  4. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Don't feel bad, your vote mirrors my own. Two out of five stinks though!
     
  5. Nice collection Sir! And that's only part of them... yikes. To bad you didn't have the WWU to include, but I know you prefer the iAmp.
    I stink at multiple choice question but I'll be the first to step up to bat.
    Also the only cabs I've tried are the Bergs.

    A. EA Wizzy
    B. Either Bergs or EA110/208
    C. EA110/208
    D. EA CXL-112/CXL-210
    E. Epifani T-112/T-110UL
     
  6. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, I don't actually prefer the iAMP 800. But I do feel that it is a relative toss-up with the WWU, and to me that's pretty impressive for a unit that's half the price of the Wally Ultra. Of course, it's about three times the weight!

    But, I must be the bearer of bad news...

    0 for 5...
     
  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
    Reading over my comments with those votes in mind, I do think that you are much closer than 2/5 would imply. In fact, if I hadn't done the experiment myself, that might be just how I would have voted.
     
  8. Rod B.

    Rod B.

    Jun 11, 2002
    Montana
    I've never had the pleasure of hearing any of the cabs, so this is totally a guess and without any foundation whatsoever. But I want to play anyway!

    Combo A - Bergies

    Combo B - Epi

    Combo C - 2 EA Wizzy's

    Combo D - EA CXL-112/CXL-210

    Combo E - EA VL-110/VL-208

    (edit for spelling)
     
  9. All right ... this is like the BAR

    a. Epi
    b. EA110/208
    c. Bergies
    d. Wizzy
    e. Clx

    If I get zero again I resign from this thread. Also I realize my second submission won't count for the grand prize.
     
  10. i've never played any EA gear.

    A: Epifani T-112/T-110UL
    B: Two EA Wizzy's
    C: Bergantino EX112/HT112
    D: EA VL-110/VL-208
    E: EA CXL-112/CXL-210

    robb.
     
  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    A. Epifani T-112/T-110UL
    B. EA CXL-112/CXL-210
    C. Two EA Wizzy's
    D. EA110/208
    E. Bergantino
     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hey - Who's that?
     
  13. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    One out of five. :D
     
  14. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    High score so far! 3 out of 5!
     
  15. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    2 out of 5
     
  16. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    2/5
     
  17. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I don't know, but he's kinda creepy looking! :eek:
     
  18. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    hows this?

    A. Epifani T-112/T-110UL
    B. Two EA Wizzy's
    C. Bergantino
    D. EA110/208
    E. EA CXL-112/CXL-210
     
  19. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    A: Two EA Wizzy's
    B: Bergantino EX112/HT112
    C: Epifani T-112/T-110UL
    D: EA CXL-112/CXL-210
    E: EA VL-110/VL-208

    Tell us what he's won Jay! Did I get "any?"
     
  20. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    2/5