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The Return Of The Infamous F115

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by monsterthompson, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I now officially have an up-and-running F115. This is the one started by Mike Arnopol, and finished with the help of greenboy and a local Good Samaritan.

    The old thread about this got a little ugly and locked down, so I'm almost expecting this one to have some issues, thus I'm keeping it out of the overall greenboy threads. I think all the "Mike is a good builder" points have been raised. I'm not here to say that all his cabs are represented by my experience, but instead to tell my story about my particular cab.
    YMMV (and I hope it does)

    As a recap on some of the points raised before, and a few not raised in the last thread. The repair/tweak list had the following items:
    - The big issue was a woofer replacement/re-cone from the factory.
    - clean the debris out of the tweeter.
    - vacuum up sawdust, woodchips and metal filings in the cab.
    - remove a forest of long 23-gauge wire nails that missed their target and were sticking into the interior, ready to impale the incautious.
    - add a baffle-to-rear-panel strut approximately per the plans.
    - remove semi-random bits of foam from the cab interior and line it with Ultratouch. also, remove a few bits of polyester fill from the midrange enclosure and line it with Ultratouch.
    - properly seat the T-nuts.
    - add spacers to the grille to prevent the cone from hitting it.

    I saw several interior photos of the cab in various states of repair, including the tweeter debris and original foam fill. The most obvious issue to a casual observer is that there is only one port divider, instead of the two which are the standard design. Each of those two dividers is to connect to internal bracing which is intended to run the internal border of the cab, like a girdle. No such connection existed, and the internal bracing was incompletely routed (I guess horseshoe/hand grenade close was good enough). To be fair, the bracing that runs by the mid chamber was incomplete, but it is almost compensated for by the fact that the mid chamber wall acts as a brace. Regardless, it was not to standard plans. Now, I don't know if that is placing too fine a point on the issue. I can't say it is 98.4% or 92.7% as good as if it would have been done to spec, and heck, it could even be better. My point is it was not to spec. It was pointed out to me that the cab had a bit of a natural ring/resonance which was probably more pronounced than a standard fEARful cab.

    Aside from that, the real issue is how it sounds. First and most importantly, the "phantom" buzz is gone. The tone is crystal clear. It is a touch less wooly/spongy when contrasted against my Mesa PH115 (my only other cab). It is also smoother and more even across the entire range. It is a tad polite when paired with my Mesa Buster 200 head. I can EQ and pedal in the grit I want/need. I also notice it to be a bit more aggressive/articulate when used with my Monique. Interesting that it tames one amp but enhances the other. I'm still just running things as living room volume, so I'm still curious about how it will perform when pushed. I'm sure the "lack" of lows might translate to boom-free.

    I'm impressed at how it handles my Nash PB63 through each amp. The high/mid gank isn't as pokey and the lows aren't as bloomy. I think this is where it shows the "what goes in is what comes out" character. I still need to pair up with my JB 63. I usually run the P for more rock and thumping 1/8ths, and the J for more melodic, articulate runs (a sledge vs a scalpel). However, the P is less sledg-y with EQ setting I was using with the PH115.

    I still need to toy with the switch and tweeter level.

    I will say that the form factor is a bit less than ideal for me. As I've posted before, I have a physical handicap which limits my strength and range of motion on my left side, from the neck down. The single handle on the "top" makes it a bit awkward for more than a few yards of carry, even though the weight is pretty reasonable. In a perfect world, I'm not sure if a 212 or 2X112 would be better for the schlep. Despite the limits of my left side, a two hand carry is possible, and holding it closer to my torso helps my stability.

    I have mixed feelings about this cab. It was such a pain in my life to get to this point, and it isn't a silver-bullet solution for my needs. Though, I've greatly enjoyed working with the greenboy community on this issue, and the "scar" is a bit of a war trophy. It is still new, and I'm on no schedule, so time will tell if it stays in my hands or if I pass it along. For now, I'm enjoying the satisfaction of having it "done" and I do like the sound I am getting. . . but I'm a GAS-y guy with limited space, and a bigger gear budget than I "need."
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Monster I'm glad you have a working cab finally.
  3. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    I second this!
    I wish you all the fun with your new cab
  4. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Are you satisfied with the end results?
    Sounds to me like other than the wasted time, people came through to make it right.
  5. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Satisfaction with this is hard to put my finger on.

    1 - I am satisfied, and quite thrilled with how the community came together. This is not a standard "warranty" type product which you can return to the store for a repair or replacement, which makes it feel a little uncertain as a purchase, knowing there are several good cabs on the market which offer that comfort. Instead, the crowd-sourced repair efforts have a sense of community which is quite comforting. It makes me think that if I was "on the road" and had an issue, I might be able to find a local (vs a dealer) who could help with repairs, in the case of an emergency.

    2 - As I said above, I'm not in love with the form factor. I have uncommon physical restrictions, so this is a very "me" issue, not a design flaw. In hindsight, I'd almost rather have the composite 15/6 (with the cleaned up sound).

    3 - As far as the sound goes, things are a bit weird because I'm accustomed to playing through my PH115 and getting a certain sound. I'm not sure that is the "best" sound, just what I am familiar with. I'll go a little sexist, and say that I'm used to a "burlesque" sorta sound; soft, round and curvy with a bit of wiggle and jiggle. The F115 is a bit more "ballerina" sounding; lean, athletic, and precise. I also wouldn't say no to a date with either of them.

    Now, would I walk in to a store and drop $1,200 on one with a clean slate and no history? I might have passed on it after a test drive. However, my time here on TB has helped me listen to things that are outside of my comfort zone and understand the values. Ultimately, it is a tool, and the true test is what I will build with it over tine. It is a bit of a Schrodinger's Cat. Except, I've gotten to cheat the system with X-ray Specs.
  6. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    wow. just plugged my J into my Walkabout into the F115.
  7. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Now, that sounds promising!
  8. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    definitely louder than my PH115. though, in my apartment, i can't test the upper limits... tonight :)
  9. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    and it starts all over again. i'm now getting mechanical rubbing noises from the mid/tweet area. this cab is haunted.

    i also got word from the guy who bought my composite cab (minus the problem woofer). anyone on the greenboy forum might want to check it out, if you are so inclined.
  10. blowinblue

    blowinblue Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    Since this thread was started on the evening of 3/17 there have been a mere eight responses ahead of mine. Four of the responses are by you. This should tell you how the collective TB membership feels about your reopening of this topic. Everything that could reasonably be brought up about your F115 was discussed in the first thread. That thread was closed by the mods. Now you open another thread to talk about the same basic stuff under the smokescreen of an ‘equipment review’. It would have been easy to review the cab without revisiting all the problems with the build. But you’'ve chosen to bring those up once again. Yes, we’'ve all been duly warned about the potential ‘dangers’ of doing business with Mike Arnopol. You’'ve done your job. And we thank you. I, for one, am sincerely bummed about your experience but I humbly suggest that you move on.

    M. M.

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  11. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    It says nothing other than how many folks choose to respond. Not everyone who reads or follows a thread always chooses to respond... just sayin'.

    View count might be a better gauge of interest.
  12. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    Don't mess with the collective. You will be assimilated.
  13. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    ...and the occasional pm.

    i've said all i need to say about the original build issues. i think most people got the point, and the rest weren't to be swayed. i'm not here to argue pro or con, but to explain my story.

    i managed to get a week or two of good use out of the cab, and was hopeful it would continue. obviously, that is not going to happen yet.
  14. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
  15. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    looks like the lows had worked a few screws out. a quick tighten and a bit of hpf, now things are smooth again.
  16. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Man, what an ordeal. :atoz:

    You might want to put some loctite (blue/medium) on those driver bolts. If they came loose once they'll come out again.
  17. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    yeah. i'm at a point where i'm ready to sell it for enough to cover the shipping and buy a thank you gift or two for the help i got, and then move on to a different cab. i'd really like a barefaced, but dealing with potential for warranty and shipping issues over the pond is no fun. i'd be interested in one of Duke's Hathor offerings, but i'm worried about small, custom-ish runs. my Mesa PH 115 is a tank and runs issue free. maybe a Markbass or Peavey could get my attention. i'm even shy about mid-sized productions like Baer and Berg. i've got the cash, but i'm gun shy.
  18. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I had a Barefaced Compact. Great cab. Weighs 27LBS and carries very easily with one hand like a suitcase. Its very different from the fEARful/fEARless stuff with the 3015 (nonLF). Very efficient. Lots of upper mids.

    I ordered directly from the UK. It was a costly but easy transaction.

    The TC 112 from Duke is a great cab too.
  19. Just because you didn't have good luck with one builder is no reason to dismiss an entire line. I've got a cab from BAD which is phenominal, and I've had it pushed VERY hard without fault.
  20. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    A fair point, which I've considered.