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Xsonics 215cf Review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by buffalobillh, Mar 25, 2013.


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  1. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I am the proud owner of a new Xsonics 215cf, and I just wanted to relay my experience with it. I’ve been playing for 30 years, and I have used 4x10’s, 1x12’s, 2x12’s, and 1x15’s. I never owned a 2x15 cab, but I’ve played many times through a 2x15 stack, as well as my own 1x15/4x10 stack. Overall, I like the 2x15 sound (as long as it’s not tubby or flabby), particularly with upright bass, but I don’t want to pack around a 90+lb cab around. I used a GK MB212, which is a great combo, but it still lacks the output and breadth of sound I sometimes need. Enter the 215cf.

    P3160881_zps45db5f69.

    I sold the 212 and my Dietz 1x15, and I ordered the Xsonics 215cf. I did lots of research into cabs, lots of phone calls, emails, pm’s, etc. I originally was going to get the 212, but after speaking at length with Nick at Xsonics and Dennis Michaels, I decided to try the 215cf. With a 72hr return policy, I had nothing to lose. Boy… was I glad I did. This cab kills.
    I got the cab on a Friday. It came with a cover with some sweet embroidery.

    XsonicsCover_zps5daf13cc.

    I played it only a couple of minutes at home that night, and it was scary loud. I played it on the job the next day, and it performed like a champ. The amount of power I had at my fingertips was more than I needed that night (Streamliner 900 had plenty of reserve). I like the sound of my upright and electric bass through the SL900, and the cab produced the sound of my bass exactly as I wanted. I stood the cab up vertically, and it did not lack for low end. I hammered the low B on my Lakland 5502, and the room shook. I could feel it in my feet. No flab, no tub. Just a big, massive hammer with clarity. The high range was wide and strong, not wimpy at all. Every bit as intense as the massive lows. I’ve played the 215cf on a couple of jobs since, and I’m still blown away by it. The tweeter is not brittle or harsh at all. It provides some sparkle. I like the sound without it, but it really sounds good with it. Even with an old school upright bass sound the tweeter does not deliver the wrong kind of highs. Sounds superb on electric bass. I’m not a skilled slapper, but it adds a very pleasant high to pulls and pops without going over the edge. I didn't know it, but the cover also doubles as a child's sleeping bag. Or as a cool ninja costume for Spongebob Squarepants. :ninja::ninja::ninja:

    P3160880_zps421981b9.

    The cab has tilt-back casters and a strap handle on top to pull it along, plus a recessed side handle to help with loading or one handed carry. The wheels do not rattle. With the cab in both the vertical and horizontal positions, the wheels are in firm contact with the floor. I love the blue color, but you can get black or some of the other colors Nick offers. If you need a road-ready cab, call Nick and let him tell you about what he’s got in the works. If I start doing more traveling again, I’ll be upgrading.

    Xsonics215cf_zpsd725543e.

    You might be wondering why a guy playing lots of upright bass needs a 900w amp and 900w cab. I play mostly western swing and classic country around Texas. I play large dancehalls, festivals, and outdoor events. This is not a jazz trio in a tiny lounge in NYC, although I do play some jobs like that. I have to keep up with fiddle, guitar, steel guitar, piano, and drums. I have to lay down a bottom that can be heard and felt in large venues, even with PA support. I do lots of doubling on upright and electric (and sometimes tuba). My gear has to handle it all.

    P3160879_zpscc203af8.

    I like the fact that on the jobs where I don’t need my upright and I only have to bring either my NS bass or electric bass, I can strap on my instrument, strap on my amp, grab my cord bag and pedals in one hand and the cab in the other and make one trip in. Those hotel jobs and high rise jobs that you load in through the kitchen, take the service elevator, go down the hall, etc. (we’ve all played those PIA type jobs at one time or another) - I love that I won’t have to make a second trip for a large, unwieldy cabinet.

    Graphs, charts, etc.? Not really my forte. I don’t discount the science. In fact, I like science, but I’m a real player playing in real situations needing real solutions. All the science is fine, but what ultimately counts for me is where the rubber meets the road - performance - and that is where this cab delivers.

    215cf_zps10a64d08.

    So YES, 15’s are NOT obsolete. The giant, heavy 215 cabs, however, are not the only "big" solution when considering that this cab is available. Even so, Nick has other cabs if 15’s aren’t really your cup of tea. An 800w 212, an 800w 210 with a very small profile (pay attention all you upright players), a 212 w/ a 5” mid, a 215 w/ a 5” mid…

    Unconventional configuration? Not graphing correctly? Not following current trends? I say GOOD! It’s about time! Haven’t we, as a community of players, generally wanted lighter, smaller, but more powerful gear? Now you can buy a 5lb amp and this 50lb cab that produces more sound than that of a 60lb amp and a 100lb cab. Hello? Anyone out there? This is where the rubber meets the road for me.

    As players, we have a cabinet in the 215cf that delivers great sound at low volume or very high volume, is player-designed, has wheels that aren’t noisy, is easy to move, is easy to load/unload, weighs only 50lbs, comes with a 3 day trial, and comes with excellent customer service. And Nick is simply one of the nicest guys around to talk with and do business with. What else do you want? If this list of criteria describes your needs, then you are a fool not to try one of Nick’s offerings. If it doesn’t do it for you, then no harm/no foul. Nothing to lose. As for me, I’m sold. I hope to have some video or audio samples at some point along the way.
     
  2. ErnieD

    ErnieD

    Nov 25, 2004
    Atascocita,TX.
    so glad you've found your sound. Def post some sound/vid clips when possible. Surely researching the Xsonics cab(s) for my needs now. :cool:
     
  3. Ncognito

    Ncognito Banned Commercial User

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hoffman Estates, Illinois
    Owner, Xsonics Bass Cabinets
    Thank you Bill for your review of the Xsonics 215CF. I'm sooooo happy and excited the cabinet has been a "home run" for you and your gigging needs. Keep an eye on the mailbox as an Xsonics t-shirt is coming your way!

    Rock on my brother!!
     
  4. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Congrats and nice review
    Just used my old Peavey 2x15 with ancient Altecs and was thinking that while my 2x12 neo plays louder, perhaps it is the 15's that make it magic.
    And before the scientists reply, let me just say that I've owned and played a ton of 4x10's, 2x12's, 8x10's, my HT322 Berg and none of them sounded like my old Sunn 2x15 with JBL's or this Peavey rig.
    48 lbs. is obscene to be able to move that much air.
     
  5. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    Thanks!

    Yeah, the old Sun 2x15's were in a league of their own (waxing nostalgic a bit), but sure I don't recall them weighing 48lbs. ;)
     
  6. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    Tulsa
    Fantastic Buffalo. I, as well, will be putting a review together for my experiences with my new 2155cf as soon as this busy week is over and a few gigs have been put on it. However, everything you said so far about cab performance and the easy experience of working with Nick are spot on. These cabs kick hard...
    gab
     
  7. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    My Sunn 215B weighed 105 pounds... It used to be my favorite cabinet till Nick created the 215CF
     
  8. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I was knocking some rust off my fretless skills last night (need some more knocking!). Turned up the tweeter and got a nice sheen on top of the sound. Dialed up the mids and a little bass and got a great fretless sound that was punchy, but had bottom-y presence that kept it from being thin. It was a really nice ensemble sound, although a heavy-mid solo sound cranks right out of this cab.

    I also tried the cab horizontally and the coupling with the floor in my living room added lows to the sound such that it changed the character of the sound. Not woofy or boomy at all, just wider and more solid. It allowed me to experiment with the EQ differently, too. I've done this with other cabs, but never experienced that much difference. I see this as a positive thing, giving me greater latitude in different venues to mold the sound into what works for the room. I like options. Vertical is good for my living room, but I see great potential for other places. I've ran it vertically on the job, but I'll start doing some experimenting with horizontal placement. I know from experience that horizontal placement can help on outdoor venues or some of those vacuous places we all play where your sound tends to disperse and disappear. Either way, it will be fun to continue to test it.
     
  9. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    Tulsa
    When you have used it horizontally on a job, were you able to be far enough away to get a good angle to monitor it with? So many of my gigs are on such small stages I wonder if laying it horizontally would be an issue with me hearing it well. Something I will have to experimanet with, it is not like it would take but a second to reposition.
     
  10. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I know what you mean. Sometimes it is tough to stand far enough away to really hear what any cab is doing, and I usually prefer vertical for that same reason. Even so, when I've run cabs horizontally, but I had to stand right next to it, I have simply turned up until I can hear it. LOL

    I have yet to conduct a serious test with this cab horizontally on the job, but that is coming. I've got some outdoor stuff in April in which I will use it horizontally for a set and A/B it against a vertical set. It's great that it is so light and you can move it up or down with one hand to see how it sounds. I'll definitely report my findings.
     
  11. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    Tulsa
    I think this is also where the mid driver plays a nice role in near field monitoring.
     
  12. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I'll be interested in hearing your review. I could always upgrade if necessary... :D
     
  13. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    Bill, I notice you are using "Monster Cables". If you get a chance grab a GeorgeL... perfect fidelity and much lighter and easier on the jack.
     
  14. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    Ok, I'll check into them. Are they roadworthy?
     
  15. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    Steel player I worked with for the last 6 years uses them. I'll ask him, too.
     
  16. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    I bought them as tour cables because the were smaller and easier to handle. The first sound check on these cables the FOH mixer asked if I changed DI boxes. I said no, I changed cables. He told me NOT to change back. I liked the idea of them being solderless so they be fixed easily... In 15 years I have never had to fix one. I use the .185 not .225. No stress on the instrument jacks
     
  17. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    I like the idea of easy repairs, especially on the job.

    I assume by your statement that you feel the .225 is not necessary for signal purposes. If I went this way, methinks I would also need to have corresponding pedal patches to maintain signal integrity.
     
  18. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    Believe it or not the .185 is plenty. I have not had to repair one in the 15 plus years I have been using them. Use 90 degree on the bass end and straights on the amp end
     
  19. buffalobillh

    buffalobillh

    Jul 20, 2005
    Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Samuel Shen Basses, NS Design, D'Addario Strings
    When funds allow, a trial might be in order.
     
  20. Fretlessboy

    Fretlessboy

    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    I think you will be impressed. I love their tone, ease of use and ease of repair... Tho I have never repaired one. Send me your addy via p.m.
     

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