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The Big Bad Single Woofer Boutique Cab Shootout. This is happening!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mmbongo, Mar 25, 2018.


  1. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Finally, I'm in a unique situation of having a handful of some of the most popular and sought after single woofer cabs at my disposal. There will be no big box discount store cabinets here, only top quality boutique cabs. By the end of the week (Good Friday), I hope to have in my possession:

    Mesa Boogie Subway 112
    Mesa Boogie Subway 115
    Barefaced Super Midget
    Barefaced Super Compact
    AudioKinesis Changeling 112

    Please no "well this is useless without having a Brand X cabinet in the shooutout" posts. Use that time packing up your Brand X cabinet and shipping it to me if you want it in the shootout.

    This is also a reason why I don't think I'll do a traditional review of each cabinet. Even though I don't at this time have every one of these in my hands, I can tell you they are all top notch cabinets at the top of the heap of modern bass cabs. I can also guarantee you that each one has a tradeoff. Not one of these is going to work for everybody.

    So I'll do it like this...if you have specific questions on how any two of these compare, post it here. By the beginning of April I can give you a good idea and list the pros vs. cons of each shootout.

    I can use either a Mesa Subway D800 or Quilter BassBlock 800 amp. I have some of the best overdrive pedals on the market...Darkglass, CAL Grizzly, Source Audio Aftershock, and TC Spark if you want to know how they behave with overdrive.
     
  2. fast slapper

    fast slapper

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    Best lows - Subway 115
    Best overall sound - AK C112 (Is this the one with the horn on top?)
     
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    The AK cabs with the horns are the Thunderchilds (Thunderchildren?). This is the Changeling which has dual mid drivers instead of tweeters...one front firing one one rear firing.

    And I'll tell you what....your assessment is pretty accurate! But as with everything..there is a tradeoff. The AK goes deeper, but it's not as loud as the Mesa. The AK also has 4 tuning ports that are configurable. All ports open is the deepest. Two ports plugged is about as deep as the Mesa 115 (but not as loud remember). All ports plugged is sealed and not as deep. With the AK sealed, it has similar lows as the Subway 112 and BF Midget.

    Also remember none of this is scientific. Just how I hear things and I will post my honest assessments.
     
    DukeLeJeune likes this.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Also, please post ideas for categories that may be important to you.

    For instance...which of these is the easiest carry?

    That would (so far) come down to the Super Midget or AK Changeling. The SM is the smallest and lightest, but has the worst handle. Also, the handle is on the side and not the top. And, the gravel like finish on the Barefaced cabs will rub your knuckles raw. The AudioKinesis is bigger and weighs about 8 pounds more. However it has the best handle design I've ever seen on a bass cab. The handle itself is super heavy duty and very wide so it does not cut into your fingers. And, it's countersunk down into the cabinet in it's own little cutout. The AK is actually a pleasure to carry around, but you can sling the SM around like it's nothing.
     
    Jason Hollar and DukeLeJeune like this.
  5. fast slapper

    fast slapper

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    Those Faital mids are sweet. Will probably put the one I have on the back of one of my diy's.
     
    DukeLeJeune and mmbongo like this.
  6. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    My Super Compact is looking like it will indeed be here on Thursday!
     
  7. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    "Bass cab design is tradeoffs, Highness. Anyone who says differently is in marketing." - from The Princess Bride (poetic license invoked)

    I would guess that the woofer in the Mesa Subway 115 is about 4 dB more efficient than the woofer in the Changeling 112T. To give some perspective, that's kinda like going from a 200 watt amp to a 500 watt amp.

    The reason the Changeling 112T goes deeper is, its woofer enjoys the luxury of a bigger box, relatively speaking. If Mesa offered a "Tall" version of their 115 (and maybe they do??), it might well have sufficient internal volume to go just as deep if not deeper. How deep a cab goes trades off against how compact it is. Imo the Mesa's cab size is right at the sweet spot (big enough for a good low-B, small enough to offer excellent sound-per-pound).

    And my observation with 12" and 15" Kappalite-based woofers in cabs that "on paper" look like their low ends should be virtually identical, is that the 15's seem to hit a bit harder.

    Can you tell I like the design choices in the Mesa Subway 115?? The fact that a big successful company offers this cab through retail outlets at such a reasonable price is scary for us mom-n-pop boutiquers.
     
    RColie and agedhorse like this.
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Spoken like a true master! And yes the Subway 115 is something special for sure. But the Changeling 112 is no slouch of course, and has a completely different voice. The Changeling is a much smoother, juicier sounding cabinet. And of course there's a pretty big difference in the price of those cabs :)

    BUT, there is something you don't know.....because you see, I am not left handed!
     
    DukeLeJeune likes this.
  9. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    So why are you smiling?

     
    mmbongo likes this.

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