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So I just A-B compared the cabs I have. . .

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by geshel, Dec 14, 2002.


  1. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    . . .in my living room, at moderate levels. I figured I had them all laying around, and I could use the parallel mode on my QSC to make a good A-B test setup (ability to quickly switch to the other speaker at the same power level).

    The cabs involved:

    Acme Low-B1 - three-way 10" compact cab. Ported cabinet bass tuning. 15.75"H x 15.75"W x 13.5"D, 31 lbs. 4 ohms

    Euphonic Audio VL-110 - three-way 10" compact cab. Transmission-line bass tuning. 18"W x 14"H x 14"D, 37 lbs. 8 ohms

    Tech Soundsystems CT2000 - two-way 2x12" very compact (for a 2x12) cab. Ported? cab (one 12 is front-facing, the other mounted on a diagonal baffle. There are gaps around the driver on this baffle, effectively very shallow ports). 21"W x 14"H x 16.5"D, 50 lbs. 8 ohms

    Peavey 210TX - two-way 2x10" cab, standard 2x10 size. 24.5"W x 16"H x 17"D, 60+ lbs. 4 ohms

    The test setup:

    Hanewinckel 6-string neck-through with Bartolini electronics -> SansAmp BDDI (blend all the way "direct", level all the way up) -> QSC PLX 3002 in parallel mode. All mid/tweeter attenuators on cabs in full "up" setting.

    So, here are my impressions:

    1. VL-110 v. Low-B1

    At first, I was suprised because the Acme was the same volume as the EA. Then I remembered that the Acme is 4 ohms and the EA is 8. So, that means about a 3dB difference between the two, plus or minus a couple dB maybe. I was only using my ears, but with a comparison method I think is pretty accurate: put one cab on the left, the other on the right; adjust gain until the sound is coming from the center. The knobs on the QSC run about 3dB per click I think. The sound was at center w/ the same setting on each channel. Given the Acmes are rated at 90 dB 1w/1m, I'd say if I saw a spec for the EAs indicating 93-95 dB I'd believe it.

    Anyway, tonal differences: the EA had more midrange, the Acme a bit fuller bass (in around the 50-60Hz range). I couldn't hear any significant difference in the fundamental range on the B string - at least it didn't jump out at me. I think the Acme probably does have more output down there, but it wasn't so noticeable. The upper mids and treble on both units both seemed pretty equal - couldn't hear any gaps, and neither was harsh. The Acme sounded more "clear", but this could just be the difference in midrange level between the two.

    I'd be hard pressed without a known-quality monitor speaker or test equipment to say which one is more tonally accurate.

    2. VL-110 v. CT2000

    The Tech cab is a good 6dB louder at least (I should have compared it against two EAs but didnt'). It's also got a very bumpy frequency response. It has a big bump in the 80-100Hz range, very little upper midrange, and when the tweeter is up a very sharp, brittle high-end. The upper-bass bump probably is similar to the non-XST Eden sound. It makes for a pretty thick tone, but I can't stand it. Note that I'm not even using the EA as a baseline - these qualities are so strong that I can state pretty surely they are there.

    I've heard some people (JMX, you out there?) say that Tech cabs are "hi-fi" sounding. Not this one, at least with my definition of "hi-fi".

    3. Two VL-110s v. Peavey 210tx

    It'd been a while since I played through the Peavey. It sounds pretty good. It's got a bit of a scooped midrange (somewhere between the Acme and the Tech, closer to the Acme I think). Again the bass seemed a bit "fuller", around 60Hz, than the EAs (though, stacking the two EAs brought up the bass there a noticeable amount). I'd rate the EAs sound as better, as the midrange was more to my liking, and I think it'd be a lot easier to bring up the bass a tad on the EAs then it would be to bring in the midrange with the Peavey. The bass on the Peavey was also a bit "softer" than the EAs, laid-back I guess.

    The Peavey was also about 3dB louder than the EA stack. If you took away the CT2000's big upper-bass hump, it'd probably be comparable in volume to the Peavey.

    To recap:

    Volume, increasing:

    Acme -> single EA -> two EAs -> Peavey -> Tech

    Coloration (Overall, each cab had a different character as far as some notes jumping out more than others), increasing:

    Acme -> EA (slight) -> Peavey -> Tech

    Portability (decreasing)

    Acme -> single EA -> two EAs -> Tech -> Peavey

    I can't compare max. volume, and that's a nebulous idea anyway since max volume in the bass will be different than max in the midrange. But, all cabs involved are made with fairly high-power drivers. I'd guess that the Acme and EAs have the longest excursion capabilities - but then, both need it as they have the lowest sensetivities (a common tradeoff).

    I'm definitely keeping the EAs, and probably the Acme as it still makes a good compact monitor-quality speaker if I need one. The Tech and the Peavey are going.
     
  2. tonru

    tonru

    Mar 15, 2002
    thanks for the info,but i'm still about where i was before.
    i've been trying to decide between an EA and ACME 1x10.your review further confirms what i was thinking,so i guess i'm just down to picking one.
    i'm happy to see this particular comparison,it hit my questions right on the head.good job.
    thanks.-:)
     
  3. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I own two CxL-110's and I've found putting them side by side brings out the lows, and low mids alot better than stacking them.
     
  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    Thanks for the post. I clicked on your "my gear" link and I must say that you've got the coolest stable of gear...from basses to rigs.

    I strongly suggest a visit to anyone that hasn't...
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I have a couple of the older EA VL-110's. I'd give them the overall edge as far as tone. The only drawback would be power requirements and the volume limitation. They can't get as loud as my current rig.
     
  6. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Brad,
    what is your current rig?
     
  7. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Thanks BillyB.

    tonru, it's a pretty tough call between those two. However, even though power is cheap these days, I think the "slightly louder with half the power" edge the EA has, is a big one. I had the same kind of thing as Brad - for small gigs (with drums), the Clarus just wasn't enough to push the Acme, but the EA does OK. For loud gigs, the EAs work but mainly because I've got 1kw for them from the QSC. (I used the Clarus and Tech cab at a loud bar gig (still, not *that* loud, no Marshalls or anything), and the amp was farting a lot at 120w).
     
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    You didn't test an Aguilar against an Avatar?
     
  9. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Hava Nagilah? what?
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    It's actually only slightly larger cabs than my EA VL-110s and I've been able to go back to my main head for the last 10 years.

    I'm using a custom built Nahas 400w 1-12 cab on top of an S15-D Bag End single 15. Not only do they sound amazing together, they require very little juice to really get them going. My amp is an Amplified Music Products BH-420, which is about 400w. They can be found used for around $300 and are well worth it IMO.

    I just got in from a Christmas gig at the Natural Museum of History. Great place but the sound in the rotunda leaves a lot to be desired. Very high ceilings and hard surfaces. Even in a bad room my rig and basses sounded great. I took two five strings and the lows were immense but still controlled. As usual not even the slightest hint of stress, even at my loudest.

    I still have the EA's, haven't quite gotten up the nerve to sell them yet;)
     
  11. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    yeah my CxL's sound compressed to me. I love the tone and sound i can get from them, but i would prefer a more open feel to the speakers. If that makes any sense
     
  12. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Is that kinda like the Museum of Natural History?

    :p
     
  13. No, it's the nudists' museum. :D
     
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I meant the National Museum of Natural History;)
     
  15. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    I'd rather go to the National Museum of Naturalist History than the Naturalist Museum of National History.

    Someone say lobotomy?
     
  16. tonru

    tonru

    Mar 15, 2002
    i was leaning toward the EA a little myself,though i really don't have any volume requirements.
    do you know if there's any truth to ACME's not sounding good with octave FX(pedal),etc.?
    thanks for any clarity.
     
  17. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Never really understood that, myself. I don't use those FX much, though. I thought the issue wasn't "sounding good" but about power handling. I don't know why the Acme would handle less power than other vented speakers at subharmonic frequencies. Andy Lewis recommends against it, though.