Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

My 2x10 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
    If you haven't guessed by my other post today, I had some free time over the weekend, and the wife and kids were out of the house. :bassist: :hyper: So, I was able to shake the house a little bit, and while I was at it, in addition to running through some mini cab combos (Mini Cab Combo Shootout , I broke out my 2x10's and did a little head to head.

    Here were the contenders:

    [​IMG]

    Again, if you don't know them by sight, they would be:

    EA VL-210B
    EA CXL-210
    ACME Low B-2
    Accugroove Tri 210L

    These cabs were all used with my iAMP 800 (I had put the rack rig away by then), and I played through my Thunderbird, primarily. I did briefly play my 5-string through them, but as I had used all of them with the 5 before, I didn't spend a lot of time with the 5-string. Quick answer: they all do the Low B thing quite well, and do so consistent with the more general observations below. I'm not going to make you guess at my results on this one. ;) Here is what I found:

    With EQ's all set flat and all tweeters (and mids) were all the way on - which is, of course, "flat" for the ACME and Accugroove, but "boosted" for the EA cabs, the cabs in the photo are arrayed from left to right in the order of the tightest low end, and greatest overall perceived clarity, to thickest low end (and least perceived clarity).

    There were two big surprises for me, here. First, was that the CXL-210 was slightly more warm/round than the VL-210B. The CXL-112 is a very cutting and clear cab, and I thought that the CXL-210 would be between the VL-210B and CXL-112 in this regard. To my surprise, though, the CXL-210 takes a good bit of the edge off the CXL-112, and the VL-210B (with two mids and a tweeter, versus the CXL-210's single coax tweeter) has the edge in overall clarity, but is slightly thinner sounding than the CXL-210. This is even more intriguing given my prior comparison of my CX-310 to two VL-210's. In that scenario, the CX-310 had more cut and clarity, and equal "heft" and "weight." I can see why one VL-210 might sound thinner where two did not, but I am not sure why the CX-310 would have more perceived cut/clarity than the CXL-210. My guess is that it is, indeed, a perception thing, where once you stack two VL-210's, the low end beefs up to the point that perceived cut/clarity is reduced. I don't know...

    The other surprise was that the Tri 210L was even thicker in the lows than the Low B-2. Accugroove cabs certainly are known for being full, rich, and phat, but the Low B-2 is the king of thick 2x10's (or so I thought!). Granted, the difference between the two was not huge, but nevertheless, I had expected the ACME to have the deepest, fullest, thickest low end, and was surprised when the Accugroove bested it in these regards. [For those desiring truly collossal tonal girth, I should point out that the Whappo, Jr. has even more low end weight than the Tri 210L!] Along with this, the ACME had more upper midrange and high end clarity than the Tri 210L. Keep in mind, this is with everything set totally flat, EQ-wise.

    Overall, the two EA cabs were more similar than different, and the ACME and Accugroove cabs were also more similar than different. The EAs, had a thinner, cleaner sound, but could easily add bass boost to crank out truly massive low end. The ACME/Accugroove cabs appear to be designed from the opposite end of the spectrum, where you start out with a full, rich, tone, and cut low end if need be. Set flat, the Low B-2 or Tri 210L would be the kind of cabs that I would bring to an outside gig, or a room that is known for being a bit on the thin side, whereas the EA's are better suited for situtations where you might have to fight some boominess in a room or onstage. The latter seems to be more common for me, although I have played more and more outside gigs of late.

    I guess there is a third surprise. The perceived loudest of all three cabs, with the gain set equal? The VL-210B. This came as quite a surprise, especially since the Low B-2 is a 4 ohm, and the Tri 210L had its Accuswitch set to 4 ohm. Both EA cabs are 8 ohm models.

    I am not sure if these types of "shootouts" are at all helpful to the rest of you, but I do have people ask me about comparisons between these cabs, so I thought I would share.

    Take care, Tom.
     
  2. IvanMike

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

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    awesome review - i just wish i could see the pics!. I can see most pics on tb but these and some others have been showing up as the dreaded red x's
    this site needs more of these type of direct comparison reviews. To me a review is cool and all, but nothing beats head to head listening. Amazing how many preconceived notions are blown away when you do this, even when you own all the items in question and are experienced using them! Based on your two reviews you certainly found this out this weeekend.
    I'm still waiting for my test results on the small cab shootout. :D
     
  3. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Thanks Tom!

    That's the impression I've had between the cabs mentioned differences too.

    All great cabs, but unique in their signature & stronger points.

    Which ones do you think work best or against each other?


    cheers,
    ~S~

    PS: I love the handprints on your TV screen in the backround, looks like my house, LOL...
     
  4. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Can you explain what you mean by this?

    You know, I missed that! I guess I am so used to seeing "little" handprints around my house that they have become invisible to me. I say "little" because those handprints are from a 2 year old! He's going to be a very big boy one day!
     
  5. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    Tom,

    What I meant was which 2 would you "pair" together for a total top to bottom coverage in sound & fidelity.

    Would the EA VL & the Accugroove "get along great" or "murder each other"?...

    ~S~

    PS: I know those weren't your hand prints...
     
  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
    You know, that is a good question. In general, I have been pairing up "like" cabs, so that what is good for one, EQ-wise, is generally good for the other. Two VL-210's with a boatload of watts behind them can knock down walls, and still be tight as all getout. Conversely, the Tri 210L usually gets paired with the Whappo, Jr., and these two present a huge, thick wall of sound that goes on for days. If the EA's need a little bass boost, there you go. If the Accugrooves need a little low-mid cut, or a treble boost, badda bing badda bang, there you are.

    As far as mixing and matching, I guess I have done a bit of that, too. I used two VL-210's and a Whappo, Jr. once (the fridge really made the rig, though):

    [​IMG]

    These complimented each other very well, and as you would expect, it was thick yet tight, with all EQ set flat. Now that you are making me think about it, perhaps a VL-210 with the Tri 210L would be a killer rig. I did a brief A/B shootout between the Low B-2 and the VL-210 at practice, and for a couple of songs, I ran both the ACME and the EA through my iAMP 800. This also paired up fairly well. The 4 ohm rating of the Low B-2 put it close to as loud as the higher efficiency VL-210.

    Another combination that works well, IMHO, are EA VL-series cabs with Epifani cabs. The full, deep lows of the Epi's mate well with the clear, cutting EA's. The VL-series actually has some deeper notes that the Epi cabs, but they are not as prevalent. When you mix them, though, it seems to extend the lows of the Epi's and/or boost the low end output of the EAs. The combined effect is very nice, and the midrange presence of the EA's fills in the "holes" in the Epi sound:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    NICE!

    I've been considering adding an Accugroove 2x10L to my stable OR a Dickens 2x12 w/the 2x12 sub...


    ~S~
     
  8. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Either one would be great, I am sure. Based upon Mark's descriptions, though, I almost shudder at the thought of the low end girth of the Dickens 2x12!!! With a sub, you could level buildings!!!

    You have either an El Whapp or a Whappo, Jr., don't you?
     
  9. DEVILMAN

    DEVILMAN

    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    I had the El Whappo with the Whappo Grande, I liked them but didn't love them. Maybe I should've given them more of a chance? I still have the option of re-aquiring them for a great price, but the 2x10L sounds nice(light too) & the Dickens cabs really have me itching. My current "live stack" sounds killer & covers my needs ATM. I also have a Mesa Diesel 1x15(EV) & a 2x15(Eminence) that I drag out for an "old school" type of sound. I'm always mixing cabs together for different textures depending on what & where I'm playing. The Dickens 2x12 or a Whappo Jr. with a Dickens 2x12 sub seem to be a "cover all bases" type set-up, we'll see...


    ~S~


    PS: Your cab collection KILLS!
     
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Excellent reviews Tom (as ever)!

    However, missing from both your mini combo and 2x10" shootout is an investigation into maximum loudness. We know you have a PLX 3402 and aren't afraid to use it - the question is, can you clear the surrounding blocks or arrange some deal with the police whilst the testing is in progress?

    You think I'm joking don't you?

    Alex
     
  11. 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 had them most of the way up using one side of my PLX 3002, and darn near all the way up with my iAMP 800. I'd say that maximum useable loudness (where you still have great clarity and good tone, along with more decibels) would go to the VL-210B. Two of them just laugh at my PLX 3002 in bridged mono (3,000 watts)!

    That said, any of these cabs will get stupid loud, and hold their composure while doing it. With both the ACME and the Accugroove, you can get more overall useable volume by dialing out a little bit of the low end. Otherwise, it's almost too thick to be clear.
     
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    almost too thick to be clear

    ooo - I've been that! Depends on the day, depends on the day ...
     
  13. babaseen

    babaseen Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2001
    Boston, MA
    Tom, thanks for the shootout...your descriptions help us get a base line (no pun intended) for how to offer up useful comparisons. Since the EA cabs ranked well...I hope some one nails down a good review or shootout with the NL-210 from EA since this is their latest offering and I'd rather hear some first-hand experience rather than any marketing hype.
     
  14. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Nice review, Tom. You certainly have quite the selection of great cabs to choose from. :cool:

    By chance, do you own any Bergantino cabs?

    Thanks, Art
     
  15. TimmyP

    TimmyP

    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Try the test again with the cabinet under test being the only cabinet in the room. I think you'll find that the sound of at least some of the boxes is VERY different, especially in the bottom end.
     
  16. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Why? The only difference will be that the room volume is slightly reduced by the presence of the other cabs, and that the rear-ported cabs (only the Acme) have to get their port output around the extended baffle created by the surrounding cabs.

    Maybe the bottom weight and tightness of the Acme would increase slighty but I'd expect that to be the only difference and pretty negligible one at that.

    Alex
     
  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'd love to hear an NL-210! If I ever acquire one (which seems likely, given my track record!), I will update this thread. By all accounts, it sounds like it should be another excellent cab from EA.
     
  18. tombowlus

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yup. I own an HT112/EX112 mini stack. See me other thread on mini cab combo shootout.
     
  19. 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, speakers certainly do respond differently when placed close to side walls (or when another cab is slammed up against the side of them), and low end is affected more so when placed close to a rear wall (and of course even more in a corner), but I am inclined to side with Alex and say that any difference would be rather small in this case. At any rate, when I use bass cabs, I am normally in close proximity (and often right up against) guitar cabs and whatnot, so I would think that testing cabs with other cabs next to them is more "real world" like than with just one cab alone in the room.

    I will say this, I initially had the cabs set up in a different order, and then rearranged them to go from tightest low end to thickest low end, and I tested them both before and after rearranging them, and to my ears, I did not hear a difference.

    Now one point that I was kind of waiting for someone to raise is that I am setting the ACME and Accugroove cabs on their side, and that perhaps they would have performed differently if they were set flat. Well, yes, they probably would sound noticeably different with the long side to the floor (as would the EA cabs). But, I was trying to keep everything fairly equal,
    and if I were to bring just one 2x10 to a show, I would set it up vertically. Not only does this get the drivers higher up and closer to ear level, but it also takes up less floor space, I don't have to bend over as far to twiddle knobs (which I actually don't do much anymore), and according to John Dong, a vertical array of drivers will disperse sound in a wider horizontal arc than a horizontal array (which initially seems counter-intuitive, but John's the genius here, not me, and when you talk to him about it, he makes a very convincing, physics-based argument).

    If I had laid them flat, though, I would have thought that all the cabs would have enhanced low end, and this probably would have been more beneficial to the EA cabs than the other two (which had all the low end you could want as it was).

    With all that being said, I would be interested in hearing you expound on your theory, TimmyP. Which cab do you think would be most affected by having only one cab at a time in the room?

    Tom.
     
  20. TimmyP

    TimmyP

    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    The speakers that are not being played through resonate sympathetically with the energy from the one that is being played. If one of the cabinets has a removable grill, pop it off, then play through another cabinet while touching the cone of one of the grill-less speakers. Feel it vibrating? If it's vibrating, it's producing sound. If this sound is at a different frequency or phase than the speaker being played, the sound from the speaker being played will be changed. It always is, and does. Often drastically.