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NCD - BNA Audio Greenboy Dually

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Zoomie, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Did the 4.5 hour trip to Nashville and back in one day. I am all hopped up on the New Gear junk.

    Thought I would post about my experience ordering a custom cabinet. This was my first order, and I thought some people find my experience helpful if you're on the fence about going custom versus high-end production.

    A little background about me. First, I am a no-talent local hack. Bong, bong, bong player with no real chops per say. I have a couple of positive traits. First, I have a decent ear. Second, I worship drummers that can keep good time and will kill myself to lock in and live in the pocket. Finally I have good time.

    Played 10's for the last 20 years or so but found myself pining for 15's. I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the switch so I bought a 1972 Sunn 215s. After taking it to one band rehearsal, I was told to never return with 10's again! rofl. I had have to baby the cab for fear of setting it on on fire with the Kilo. All this lead me to start reading everyone's reviews on Greenboy and fEARful cabs.

    I play pretty simple music. I don't need orange juicers right now. I am kind of an old school guy and love me some old school tone without mud. Further, I don't miss the farty days yore.

    With that said I stumbled across Mark Robertson's (BNA Audio) build for Chris. It took my breath my breath away. After reading about other's experiences with BNA, I decided to contact him and place an order.

    I knew I wanted a Super twin 15. I also knew that I didn't need a six or a juicer. I explained to Mark that I had very simple tone and sonic needs.

    I was torn between 3015's or Faital 15PR400's. After reading JohnK's Faital report, I asked what Mark thought. Mark agreed that while the 3015's are very impressive, I would be an idiot if I failed to give the nod to the Faitals.

    Other than that, I made a decision to let Mark handle the aestetics. While I loved Chris' cabinet, I didn't want a carbon copy. I explained to Mark that I was comfortable giving him free reign to finish out the cab any way that he wanted, with one exception. No hot pink. I guaranteed that I would purchase sight unseen.

    My reasoning behind letting Mark do his thing was simple. Custom builders will happily accept orders and build every detail to your spec. The problem with this process is that the builder doesn't have any emotional buy-in. Sure, you will receive a fantastic sounding cabinet, but in the end, the builder has no emotional buy-in. OTOH, give the builder the latitude to make some creative decisions and you get his/her very best work!

    Poor Mark was both giddy and horribly stressed about the process. He was giddy about the finished product but wasn't sure if I would would love it, or just find it acceptable/satisfactory. It seems that Mark is deeply passionate about wanting every single customer to be ecstatic about their purchase. His sincerity and passion are both refreshing and contageous.

    On Thursday, I received a text saying that my new baby was done and to start driving early Saturday morning.

    Mark told me to me to meet him over at his friend's photography studio. They were working on beauty shots for 4 different cabs, including mine.

    After that we grabbed some lunch and talked about real life and bass life. One of things that I noted about Mark is that he spends most of his time complimenting those people that he respects....Greenboy, Don Barry, Mike Arnopol. Here is guy building these incredible cabs, but he prefers to talk about other builders and all the cool things that they are doing. A very humble guy.

    After being prodded a bit, Mark shared his music journey. I was specifically interested in his jump TO upright. If you ever chat with Mark, ask him about it. It may be one of the best stories ever in terms of who he is as a human being.

    Next, we ran over to the music studio to meet another TB'er. His real name is Tom. I do not know his TB name. He was there to pick up not one, but two cabs. Greedy Bastich! I helped schlep cabs although picking up his Bassic 15 was ridiculous. It is not only easy to one hand, but I felt like I could throw it across the yard.

    I sweet-talked Tom in to letting me fondle his Lakie 5502. I have been pining for one but was concerned about neck feel. Let's just say that Tom is responsible for helping me to put another dent in my disposable income. My wife thanks you, Tom!

    Sadly we cut in to Mark's pre-rehearsal time for a pick up gig. We just told him to just give 'em a whole lotta 1-5 and toss in some tasty right hand tidbits every now and then to wow the crowd.

    All in all, I just can't say enough about Mark's professionalism and concern to give people the highest quality product possible.

    As a human being, I find myself bummed out that he lives so far away. We got along so famously that my wife and I intend to return to do a night on the town with Mark and his wife. I know that my wife will go ga-ga doing the lower Broadway shuffle. Mark said he would be honored to host.

    In my opinion, there has been no better time in history for we bass players. We mere financial mortals can buy boutique cabinets.

    If you're in the south and looking for a super cab, call Mark and pick his brain. If you live elsewhere, do some homework and find out if Mike Arnonopol, Don Barry, JHawke, or any of the cutting edge small builders are in your area.

    I am only going to toss up one pic of the cab. Perhaps Mark will be kind enough to post up the beauty shots when he receives them. In the mean time, he is working on a matching cab for the Kilo. And he is going to help me locate an upright to help corrupt me further.

    Thanks Mark !

    Oh, I guess I need a DISCLAIMER:

    The OP did not receive any compensation or renumeration for this post. He spoke from the heart about Mark, BNA the some of the other custom builders. Had Mark done a crappy job, the OP would have happily talked smack.

    In addition, the OP not only paid full retail, but was so ecstatic with the final product that he threw another 90.00 on the fire to compensate the builder for Paypal fees, unseen costs, and a show of appreciation for putting his blood, sweat and tears into building the OP's Dually.

    Finally, the OP does acknowledge a budding bromance with Mark at BNA.

  2. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    I'm glad Mark's great. Now tell us how your Faital-loaded Dually sounds! :^)
  3. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Thats a great looking cab! Mark has been knocking them out of the park recently!

    A huge +1 to picking the brain of the builder closest to you, or getting on the greenboy forum to ask questions. There is absolutely no competition between any of the builders. They bounce a lot of ideas off each other and I have seen them refer business to other builders when logistics or specific build needs were more appropriately handled by a different builder.
  4. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Point taken. It is Sunday morning. It is too early to draw the ire of the police.

    At reasonable volume it sounds astounding with the Kilo set dead flat. But, I am in the living room playing solo.

    I have rehearsal Tuesday night. I'll run it at gig volume, warm her up a bit, and post report then.
  5. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Looking forward to the tone report! :bassist:
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Nice lookin' box. I guess it's essentially a double Bassic. I have an Arnopol composite Bassic with the same driver-it kills. The Faital is very musical in the mids. I bet you'll be VERY pleased. How much does your cab weigh? Mine weighs well under 25lbs (closer to 20). When I pick it up my brain does the sort of double-take that happens when you lift a large, hollow plastic rock :)
  7. Me too! Especially with the Kilo, which seems to be one of those severely underrated heads that are out there.

    Great post, OP.
  8. Road Bull

    Road Bull

    Jul 24, 2011
    Seattle, WA.
    Great looking cab man!! Can you post some more pics from other angles showing the sides and finish? I can only imagine that it sounds amazing.

  9. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    So glad you're happy with your Dually, John! As far as hanging out goes, the pleasure was all mine. I love sharing greenboy's amazing designs, but making new friends is the real icing on the gravy :)

    BIG +1 to choosing the right builder, preferably nearest to you. A more local(ish) choice is so helpful should you need any troubleshooting and support for your cabs.

    I haven't had the pleasure of connecting with every greenboy builder, but I can say with 100% certainty that if you choose Barry Audio Design, jHawk Customs, or Mike Arnopol, you are in very good hands. I know first hand that these builders are the best of the best as craftsmen and more importantly as humans. As far as the 'no competitive zone' idea goes, that kinda starts from the top down. greenboy is someone I am very close to at this point. It's a very rare day that we don't speak for an hour or so, so I'd like to think I know him pretty well. It just isn't enough to build the best bass cabs for him. It has to feel right on a communal level.

    Another thing I'd like to point out is that BNA isn't just me. I have a partner, Justin Herlocker, who does all the electronics and is a highly skilled woodworker as well. Sometimes he spends more time on a build and sometimes I do, but we're pretty in sync as far as build quality goes. I really wouldn't want to do this without him.

    Beauty shots for the cabs should be turning up shortly. Once the photographer gives me the finals, I'll get them posted.

    The only thing I can really say about the Faital 15PR400 loaded cabs is, if you love the 'classic' 15's like 140's or EVL's, odds are very good you'd like these even better. They're everything I loved about my 115 and 215 cabs of old, with much stronger lows, smoother mids to highs and tons more SPL handling. I personally play the 3 way cabs like the Fearless 215 or F112 more often because I mostly do loud upright gigs and the extra detail comes in handy, but I find myself plugging into the Bassic for bass guitar practices and gigs more and more lately.
  10. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Here are some additional pics:



    The powder coating on the hardware appears to be very difficult to capture. In these pics, it looks flat gray. It is certainly not gloss but does not look this dull in person. Interesting.

    To answer a few questions. The cab weighs less than 65 pounds but probably not much less. That is the most accurate answer that I have. I'll drag it down to the UPS store on Wednesday and get an exact weight.

    Played the cab a little more and turned it up a bit. Just ran in it one side of the Kilo so she was only getting 350 watts @ 4 ohms. All I can say is wow !

    I'll try and explain my perception of the tone. Please understand that I am not a speaker guy in terms of being able to explain the cab from an engineering perspective. I can only explain what I heard, or think that I heard.

    Grabbed the P that I have been playing regularly and plugged it in to the GT-10B. I don't use a lot of effects. I do use the GT-10B as a kind of sound modeler, EQ minor tweek (or so I thought), and output level. I can then just grab whatever bass I like to play and grab the appropriate patch.

    When I fired up the patch, the first thing that I noticed was that the tone almost sounded like it was trying too hard. The best way to describe it is that it sounded like someone had dimed a multiband EQ. Just too much of everything. I pulled the GT 10B out of the signal chain plugging directly in to the head. I was immediately rewarded with warm, sweet, goodness! It became instantly clear that I was making significant tone changes to the 410's to get what I was looking for. Apparently the Dually does in fact produce what I was looking for in terms of tone because the patches were just over the top. I'll have to re-do all of my patches and frankly, I am not even sure that I will gain anything. Nothing like kicking a 500.00 processor to the curb. Not sure if I am happy about this or not.

    The Kilo was set flat. No OD, no compression, no shaping or pre-set EQ bumps.

    Frankly, it reminded me of plugging in to the B-15N. While I am not implying that head and cab sound like a b-15N, the tone is so inviting and just makes you smile. Good Gravy! Scales even sound like some delicious groove.

    I turned it up to normal practice volumes and it was loud. Too loud. I don't have a db meter, so I can't say if it is louder or just my perception. All things being equal, master volume went from 7 to 5. And again, this is without the GT-10B.

    Clarity of note is impressive. One of things that I was worried about was the cabinet magnifying my style of play. I am one of those bass players that does a lot finger tapping mutes and palm thumps. You know, the kind of habits that drive sound engineers batty. I did have to simmer down a bit, but was not forced to play in studio sterility or with surgeon like precision. The bottom line here is that you can hear every single note played, even on faster runs and grooves. I don't know if this will remain present in the mix, but I suspect that it will be a bit tougher to cover mistakes. Forcing me to tighten up my playing a bit is not a bad thing.

    Bottom end is oh so glorious. It is thick and fat and omni-present, again, without every coming close to muddy. For giggles, I dialed in a click or two of 64 and 125 hz and it brought the thunder ! I think I played every low E groove that I knew. I got stuck on "I'll Take You There." I just closed my eyes, went somewhere, and didnt come back for a while.

    I brought lows back to flat and dialed in some mids. Again, nice and smooth with a warm bump in the mids without being too much of a good thing.

    Played some chords. Dialed in a hair of highs to make them sing. They had all the bottom and with just a touch of sparkle on top.

    Probably the biggest shock was playing with a pick. My 10s were giving me fits when moving from finger style to pick. Everything sounded too harsh. In spite of turning more knobs than the tech on duty at Chernobyl, I was never able to find a pick tone that I admired with 10's. Trying to tame harshness always ended up with compromising high end attack. It was akin to throwing a giant blanket over the cab. Not so with the Dually. I rolled the tone knob back on the P just a hair and was instantly rewarded with the best pick tone to ever come from my play.

    Other surprises off of the top of my head:

    The cab added clarity to the P giving it more note pronunciation, kind of like a Jazz versus a P. No, the P doesn't sound like a Jazz, but note articulation improved dramatically in the P.

    It gave both of the Jazzes some bottom in the best possible sense. Added some low end grunt. I will likely play a Jazz at rehearsal just to hear this in the mix on Tuesday.

    Everything sounds very warm but never found myself grasping for highs. Tweaking highs a bit added depth of chords but other than that, I never felt as if I lost anything versus the 10's. OTOH, it's as if all of my basses suddenly deleveloped an additional 3 foot of a$$ !

    Slight changes in EQ yield significant results. The Faitals seem to be very responsive to subtle EQ changes, Not overly so. Still, I cant imagine not being able to dial in just about any sound that my heart desires.

    I apologize for my ignorance in terms of the technical side of sound. I did my best to describe what my ears heard. I do not have a house full of top end cabs. I have played some nice cabs in my day but our tonal desires change as we move through life so it is very difficult to compare.

    I guess that I have become both a believer and a fan boy. For my needs, this cabinet is everything that I had hoped for and more. I am amazed that I have yet to attempt to really dial in EQ and remain giddy over what I have heard thus far.

    I am curious to see if any of the high dollor basses give up or lose anything using this cab. I'll see if I can't run down a REAL local bassist with something high dollar to play through it and give their impressions.

    For the first time since I returned to bass, I don't feel as if I am chasing tone. Frankly I am happier than a fat kid in a donut shop.

    I'll report back after rehearsal on Tuesday to see how I sound in the mix.

    Be happy to try and answer any questions that I can. And if anyone in the neighborhood wants a test drive, please feel free to run me down.

    /kicks sissy 10s to curb.
  11. Lazarus.Bird

    Lazarus.Bird Mr. Personality

    Aug 16, 2010
    Welcome to the Dually club! I've let lots of local guys play mine, so I don't need to use many words to describe it ;)
  12. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    We had a big conversation about this on Saturday. The Kilo is an amazing head. Big iron goodness at less than half the weight of an SVT. No KT's or L's but it gets close enough for me with the pre.

    I love the thing so much that take it with me for quieter get togethers with a 210.

    I know it is not a popular choice in spite of being the best head that Hartke has ever built.

    I think it's going to be a sleeper and just slowly catch on. Heck, I like it enough to grab a second one just to stash.
  13. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    If only I could play bass like I run my mouth. :D
  14. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Just to give a size perspective, here are owner and builder with the cab. This cab will also kick an 810 to the cub while being way smaller and lighter.
  15. These cabs are works of art.

    That there is science behind them makes them all the more amazing.
  16. Zoomie


    Jan 26, 2012
    East Tennessee
    Hey, Mark, Joshua promised me that he could dial out my ugly in post-processing. Proof that even a respected pro can only lie so much with a camera ! :p

    For size reference, I am a hair under 6 feet and 220 lbs of twisted fat and gristle.

    Mark OTOH, plays a 3/4 size upright which appears to be a mandolin in his hands.
  17. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    I had a comment along the lines of "They only way to make this cab look better is to put these guys next to it..." :ninja:

    But then I would have to post pictures of how my 1515/66/1 transforms from show piece to made of solid gold simply by placing me next to it.
  18. JMac- Wiskerface Designs

    JMac- Wiskerface Designs Terror headcase dude

    Jul 8, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Whoa, Great looking cab!

    I bet it sounds really nice with the Faital Pros, and the excellent work by BNA puts the look over the top.
  19. SoundAndFury


    Apr 13, 2012
    Looks super. Congratulations.

    Just don't think I'd be brave enough to give anyone free reign over appearance and cosmetics.

    Only one thing I wouldn't be 100% comfortable with. That's the strap handles. Think I'd want recessed metal.
  20. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    With the tilt and roll casters/handles you barely end up using the side handles.