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Some Random Bergantino Cab Thoughts (AE series vs. HS series)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    so, with all the hubbub goin' on about jim's new AE series, i finally made my little trip to bass specialties to see what the hubbub was about.

    while i love my Sadowsky SA410, its 86 lbs has started to take a toll on me. its fat brown tube sound while quite awesome with most other cabs, still does need a good aggressive cab to allow its tubey nature shine thru in most louder and denser mixes. i tried literally every aggressive cab under the sun, but time and again, the Sadowsky SA410 is its complement in every way.

    enter the AE410, that at least on internet paper, seemed like a terrific lighter weight replacement for the aggressive sounding sadowsky cab. i've seen "aggressive lower mids" and "sounds like a ceramic cab!" bandied about rather liberally, making my mouth water, and my wallet tremble. and given the SA410's bergantino pedigree, it goes without saying that i was hoping for a winner in the AE410.

    with my sadowsky sa200 in tow from my amp tech's central jersey locale, i took a small drive to bass specialties. and while i didnt have my trusty NYC Sadowsky on hand, glenn has a few metro's on hand, where an ash/maple UV-5 awaited me. also, with the DB750 sitting near the AE cabs, it was only fitting that i try the venerable head w/ the berg cabs, which in my recent memory have always been a terrific matchup. and to keep my ears honest, i also brought over a nice passive lakland dj4 bass who's aero pickups have been a long time fav of mine.

    first up, the AE210. used with either my SA200 or the DB750 set flat, and the sadowsky UV-5's preamp set to its midway boost, to my surprise, the little cab actually did sound rather "ceramic speaker'd" to me! the upper mids did sound relaxed and hollowed out without being too annoyingly edgy. and the lower mids and lows did in fact push their way to the front for a meaty sound. the tweeter was smooth and not at all hissy or objectionable. love the script "B" on the cab sidewall, and the tolex finish is definitely eye catching! and the weight? about as easy as neodymium gets. again, another quality bergantino product.

    now, compared to my HS210 which after 6 months, i know rather well, the AE210's mids appear to be bumped from the lower mids into a bit of the middle mids, whereas the HS210 is clearer feeling in the middle mids while still retaining that fatness in the lower half of the lower mids. the HS210's lows definitely feel stronger, more steely, and tighter. while the AE210's lows seemed thicker, burlier, and more filled in all around. the HS's highs were also clearer and more singing to me, while the AE's highs seemed to have a slightly muted effect, which might just be due to its thicker midrange.

    this was all the more apparent with slapping. the HS210 pounded with a steely tough voice that rang out like a clanging church bell. the AE210 is a burlier voice, but against the HS's clarity, seemed juuust a touch mushy mouthed. fingerstyle with either one is still gratifying, with a slight edge to the meatier voice of the AE210.

    still, as impressive as the AE210 can be, my HS210 is still be my champion goto cab for my SA200. that clarity really opens up the thick SA200's tubey voice, while the strong tight lower end really cleans up that tubey lower end.

    moving on up the cab scale, the AE410 and HS410 are as expected similar to the 210 cab comparison, but just MONSTROUSLY louder! these two cabs are easily one of the louder 410's i've heard in recent memory. shockwave after shockwave, these are some serious cabs. said volume also exaggerates the 210s' traits. again, the HS feels tighter and more steely, while the AE is all the more fatter and thicker.

    compared to the Sadowsky SA410 cab that glenn had on consignment, its like melding the two cabs in one! the SA410 does have an even more thicker and aggressive voice than the AE, but its taut lower end similar to the HS cab really tightens up the overall sound making it all feel more responsive and quick under my fingertips. while both cabs sound downright ridiculous w/ the DB750's power, the lower wattage SA200 really comes alive w/ the most aggressive SA410. the AE410 again appears to be too burly, lacking any real punch, and the HS410's low tightness while similar to the SA410, kept making me want that extra bit of kick that the aggressive SA410 has in spades.

    overall, in the end, my SA410 cannot be replaced for my SA200. they were made for one another. and yet, hearing the berg cab line in this way, really opened my eyes to the incredibly awesome engineering that jim & co. bring to the table. i thought the HS cabs were clearer, more hifi, and stronger sounding, while the AE cabs were more thicker, fatter, and burlier sounding. both cabs are beautiful examples of the bergantino sound, and i doubt you could go wrong with either.

    FYI, next up will be my epifani ul112 vs. berg ae112 stack smackdown!
  2. Cool thanks for your thoughts :) Bergantino rules. I can't wait to hear an HS/AE410...
  3. mothra2

    mothra2 Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Nice work....good stuff!
  4. Nice review! From my experience with the HS210, the SA410, and the AE410, my feeling is that your use of the SA200/DB750 really impacted what you heard.... i.e., that the tighter low end of the HS210 series works better with the tube amp and actually sounds 'bigger' than the more extended low end of the AE series. My guess is, the more attenuated the low end, from the SA410 (which is REALLY rolled off) to the HS410 (which is 'moderately attenuated) to the AE410 (which is wider open, but still more tight than big), the better that SA200 will sound.

    It seems just the opposite with most SS heads to me (that DB750 is, as you know, really closer to an all tube amp in the low end than to most SS amps).

    Regarding SPL, the AE is one loud cab... the 410UL (4ohm) is slightly louder with the same wattage input to my ear (or maybe just 'bigger and fuller sounding'... it fills the space better to my ears with a solid state head). Both the HS and AE series seem to be of 'normal' SPL to me compared to Epi, SWR, Eden cabs, etc., but are quite a bit higher SPL than the older Bergantino HT series cabs.
  5. mothra2

    mothra2 Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2006


    I was wondering the same thing given your observations about the DB750, which I agree with. (That said, I've not had the chance to hear any of the AE stuff yet myself)
    p.s. That SA200 really smokes!!!

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