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What to think of ACME...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lam90, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. lam90


    Jan 21, 2003
    Just wondering what people's opinion of ACME Low B-4 and Low B-2 were?
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Probably a great subject for a search.

    They're flat in response...dull sounding to some (like me but I'm keeping my B2 anyway).

    They need TONS of power. 700 watts into my little B2 wasn't too much.

    They're not a great rock cabinet...although my friend Lonnybass swears by his vertical array of 4 ohm (Series 2) B2s powered by Alembic F1-X and Crown CE2000.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
  4. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Greetings from the land of Lonnybass and the B2x2 supertower. I figured this was a great inaugural post for me to contribute to the world of talkbass.

    As my good friend Bill mentioned, B2's and B4's are severely power-hungry enclosures. My setup delivers 700 watts of power each to a pair of 4 ohm B2's - and I wouldn't feel comfortable using any less wattage. So, you definitely need to shop for a powerful amplifier, and also need to consider how it will fit into your rack for convenient transport.

    You may know that Acme speakers are designed to be extremely transparent. The benefit to their power inefficiency is that the enclosures can cleanly and effectively reproduce the fundamental 31 Hz frequency of a low B string (most non-boutique enclosures I've seen roll off at about 50 Hz). It's definitely a tradeoff to cart around a big power amplifier, but you're not going to find a more portable and light speaker that can compete with a 15" or an 18" sub.

    It's important to remember a certain philosophy about Acme's - since they are so transparent and clear, you will hear precisely what your preamp, rack effects and bass sound like. While their lack of coloration may be distracting in certain environments, it is definitely a bonus for one simple reason - you can hear EXACTLY what is being sent out through a DI to a house mixing board. Once you get the hang of it, you'll really have tremendous control over the sound.

    Of course, you're going to have to rethink your EQ setup, primarily in the mid-range. If you're into distorto punk rock with lots of weird overdrives and distortion, these probably aren't the ideal speakers for you. But if you're a funk/fusion/jazz/rock type of player, the accuracy of Acme's is pretty amazing.

    As I mentioned above, I use a pair of 4 ohm Acme B2's. This configuration allows me to stack them vertically, horizontally or side-by-side based on the stage configuration and what kind of sound dispersion/throw that I'm after. This system is tremendously versatile and offers a number of setup options.

    Feel free to ask me any questions. For your reference, my full system is outlined below:

    -Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner
    -Alembic F-1x Tube Preamp
    -Korg DTR-2 rackmount tuner
    -Behringer Ultra-Q 5 band parametric equalizer
    -Behringer Multi-compressor
    -Crown CE2000 stereo power amp
    -2xAcme B2's

    Best of luck, and let me know how it goes.

  5. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    What LonnyBass said. My current rig:

    Atlantic surge protector/line filter
    SWR Grand Prix
    PLX 2402
    2 x 4 ohm Low B-2

    Deep as you could want in a 2x10, reasonably portable, very flexible.


    Oct 16, 2002
    New Orleans
    What chucko58 said. My current rig:

    Demeter pre-amp
    Rane PE-15 Parametric
    QSC PLX 2402
    (2) 4 ohm Acme Low-B2s "on end";)
  7. morebass!

    morebass! I'm all ears Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    Hello bassworld. This is my inaugural post. I just sold my 2 Acme B-2s after using them almost exclusively for 6 years. I bought them unheard right after the Bass Player Review in '96. Like everyone says they require lots of power, are flat and uncolored and are nice and small. Two things I can contribute are: 1) I found that I couldn't hear myself onstage with them very well - the uncolored sound doesn't cut through very well in a loud setting and seems to project far for 10" drivers. When I would use my 25' cord and wander out into the club during sound check I would hear myself fine but up close the sound would get lost in the drums. Listening from afar would also tell me that I was cranking the midrange too much. I'd set the mid attenuator at about 50% for both cabs because cutting it anymore would make it more difficult to be heard. 2) You really need lots of power. My Crest V900 with 450 watts per side at 4 ohms wasn't enough. Clipping was easily attained if I wasn't careful. I'd suggest twice this amount of power. Much of the power is used producing the extreme lows that most speakers roll off so you could reduce this need by rolling off the lows on your EQ, but then why get Acmes?

    I'll add that I found that I enjoy a little speaker coloration in my tone and probably lots of bass players do. Anyone raised on 60's and 70's rock, blues or punk might be disappointed with Acmes. When I used one Acme with another cabinet the blend was nice - the big sound worked well with some color from my Peavey 2x10 in low to medium volume situations. I usually play in medium to loud situations so I recently ordered an Avatar 2x12 to use with my Peavey (and came out $140 ahead after selling the Acmes ). My sound out in the house might suffer a little but I'll be smiling on stage.

    The resale value holds up pretty well on the Acmes. I sold mine for $250 plus shipping and could have got more. They weren't too pretty anymore but I had replaced all the woofers in them recently. Oh yeah the port tubes tend to come loose. FedEx knocked both of them loose when I shipped them. It's not too big a deal though because you can glue them back yourself.
  8. j.s.basuki

    j.s.basuki Supporting Member

    May 14, 2000
    Please consider and try Wayne Jones cab before you buy Acme. I have Acme low B2 but after I use WJ is like driving Mercedez after driving Ford.

    My rig is :

    Dem VTBP pre
    Aguilar DB 680
    Glockenklang Bass Art Classic pre
    QSC 3402
    Crest 4801
    2 x Wayne Jones 2x 10
    Ampeg SVT2
    Eden WT 400
  9. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    There might be a price issue here. I mean aren't Wayne Jones cabs like 50 quadtrillion times more expensive than a B2?
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I think the best way to understand Acme cabs is to set the attenuators at flat (-2dB tweeter, -5dB mid, on a B2) and plug a decent CD player into your poweramp, set up in stereo. What comes out from the speakers is the most incredible degree of clarity and dynamics, on a par with good studio monitors.

    Of course you wouldn't want to use them as hifi speakers because the incredibly honest midrange and tweeter units reveal every possible flaw in a recording and demand that you sit up and listen to all the intricacies that you've never heard before. Quite unrelaxing, but very enlightening.

    So if you like the tone that you get when you plug your bass in in a studio, either via a preamp or just direct into the board, then you'll like Acme cabs. If you want biting treble for maximum slap tone or cutting fingerstyle, then you'll either have to EQ it in, or get a cabinet that accentuates the highs. Again, if you like the big low-mid hump that many cabs provide, from Acoustic 1x18" folded-horns to Eden 2x10"s, you'll need to EQ it in.

    The joy of the Acmes is that they are less coloured than any other bass cab out there (with the attenuators suitably adjusted). My natural sound is very much the sound of my '87 Streamer through a TE compresser pedal into a SWR GP, all set flat (with the AE at 10 o'clock) and the Acmes let that come straight through, but when I want to go deep reggae style I just have to subtlely adjust my onboard EQ and change my technique and the change in sound is enormous. Likewise when I used effects, you really hear what they're doing. I've also recently got into playing with a pick and through the Acmes that gives me a whole new set of sounds, from Tom Morello-esque grind and wierdness, to almost Chic-esque funk guitar stylings.

    If you need to go extremely loud, you'll need as many 10" speakers with the Acmes as you would with more traditional cabs, compared to the latest creations which are actually louder with less speaker area. I manage fine with two Low-B2's, which seem to prove as loud as most other 4x10"s I've come across, though they do demand more power for the same volume.


  11. Acme falls into the catagory of hi-fi type bass enclosures. They are pretty much a Studio monitor designed for bass guitar. They are more efficient than a monitor and have much higher power handling capacity. My problem with them is that I ended up EQing them to sound like a bass speaker that needed 1/4 the power. It's all about getting a sound you can work with.....jmho.....:D
  12. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I have two B2's and powered them with 700 watts aside............great sounding cabs! I just needed louder cabs for one of my current band situations.
    Andy Lewis is also great to deal with!
  13. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL

    now i know what everyone else had to endure when i gushed about my Acme's... ;)
  14. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    Lonnybass, et al. After reading an earlier topic ("Purpose of a Compressor"), where "speaker protection" was mentioned as a compressor function, ...I'm wondering... With power-hungry cabs like the Acmes, and so many people recommending 700W or more, would a compressor be MORE necessary/desirable? Or less?


    Oct 16, 2002
    New Orleans
    I'm dealing with that very issue right now. I'm playing in the house band at a blues jam, submitting my rig to every jammer that comes out. I am very worried that the slappers will kill my cabs since I set my bass up with old nickle strings. I EQ my bass with a good deal of highs and if someone comes up with new strings its a drastic differance. I am really glad I have an RNC compressor to keep it tame.
  16. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I'd be absoulutely psyched to pick up a Low-B1 for practicing, instrument set ups, sound tests, and quiet rehearsals. I had a B-2 for awhile and it was amazing.

    .....I've got to stop hangin' around here. My wish list is way larger than my incoming cash flow.
  17. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Great question about the need for using a compressor with power hungry Acme enclosures. As you already have read, compressors are great for speaker protection.

    But in general, it's probably most accurate to not think of the value of a compressor in terms of sheer "wattage." Rather, think of it in terms of "volume/punch management."

    Even though my wattage-craving Acme's draw 700W each at 4 ohms, they are still quite capable of relocating a drummer into the next county, particularly when I drop a low D. A compressor will allow for significant control over these volume spikes, and will generally serve to smooth out variations in attack from note to note.

    So, regardless of the wattage needed to drive an enclosure, a compressor allows these transients to be evened out. This serves not only to protect your speakers, but your hearing as well.

    Don't let the "not loud enough" talk about the Acme's fool you into thinking that a compressor isn't necessary - when EQ'd, these speakers can be clear as a bell.

    Hopefully this explanation was somewhat helpful. Feel free to let me know if you have questions.

  18. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    One note of caution. Over-aggressive use of a compressor and the volume knob can bring average power to speaker-frying levels without ever showing you a clip light on the amp.

    Speakers are generally rated with a signal whose peaks are 10x the average power - and the power in the peak is used as the rating. The 10x peak/average ratio is typical of musical signals in general, but not when you've got the compressor squashing the life out of every note. You could be tempted to crank it up until the clip lights are just barely flashing. Don't do it!

    The final link in this vicious cycle is power compression. As a speaker heats up with heavy use, it becomes less efficient, demanding more power to make the same sound pressure levels. So of course the player turns it up... and soon the speaker is fried.

    As with so many things, compression is best used in moderation. Tame the wild peaks, but be careful about over-flattening your sound.
  19. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    I'm in the opposite direction - I didn't like the ACME's at all for bass - I prefer a more colored, fat and chunky sound for bass, even on jazz gigs or when playing upright.

    But my REAL point is that IMHO an incredibly honest hi-fi is where its AT! I use a Naim Nait 3 with a Naim CD3.5 into Tannoy System 8's - the sound is clear, honest, and reveals EVERYTHING. I've heard things in recordings i never knew were there. The Tannoy's are actually made to be studio monitors, but they sound amazing. Naim's whole theory behind music reproduction is to reveal the emotion and feeling behind the music - no worries about "soundstage", "placement" and nonsense like that - but the reality of the music.

    The funny thing is that i'd probably like the acme's BETTER as hi-fi speakers than in my bass rig.

    but then again, i'm a freak.

  20. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Andy Lewis, designer of the Acme speaker, intended that the enclosures faithfully reproduce the tonal characteristics of the player, their bass and preamp without coloration.

    The Acme's will really let the particular characteristics of each of your basses "speak." It really can be quite fun to hear so much tonal distinction and variety between instruments because the Acme's don't lend their own sound to the rest of your signal.

    I've found that they are ideal for my needs for the following reasons:

    1. They sound incredible AND neutral, allowing my fingers, basses and my Alembic F-1x preamp to "do the talking."

    2. They are light (44 lbs. for the B2), powerful and modular.

    3. They are full range to 31 Hz.

    4. They allow me to hear exactly what is being delivered to the sound engineer.

    5. Their portability and small stage footprint can't be beat.

    Feel free to let me know if you have further questions.