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Bill Fitzmaurice Jack 12

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It was with mixed feelings that I first plugged in my newly-built BFM J12. Obviously I was very keen for it to sound good, after spending all the time, money and effort on it, but also I wanted to be absolutely honest about it if the cab sounded like a badger farting into a biscuit tin. On the moon.

Build thread here:

First test was at home, and solo. I dialled in my usual tone on the amp (top cut, hi-mids cut, lo-mids boosted, about 50% bottom end) and, with no little trepidation, fired it up.

Initially my heart sank because immediately, and even at low volume, there was a symphony of buzzes, vibration and rattles which I took to be the cab about to explode in a mushroom cloud of plywood confetti. But on closer investigation, and by a process of elimination, I found the unwanted noises were actually coming from:

1. My collection of 50s and 60s tin robots
2. My amp
3. A filing cabinet
4. My computer
5. An IKEA uplighter
6. A central heating radiator
7. My studio monitors
8. Other things in the house I couldn't identify.

Very relieved to discover no noises emanating from the cab at all (except for bass!), which surprised me. Realistically I was expecting problems that would need sorting out, but initial impressions were favourable. It go loud! But of course it's pretty much impossible to rate the sound at home in those circumstances.

Next test: a band rehearsal. Line up: drums, bass, guitar, trumpet, tenor sax, keyboards and percussion. The appearance of the J12 provoked mixed reactions, ranging from admiration to derision.

It sounded truly amazing. It doesn't do 'sub'-type bass, (which sucks up too much bandwidth anyway, IMHO), but you can certainly fire a lot of low end/low mids through it -- there's no farting out, rattling or distortion whatsoever. Yet it's super-clear and you can hear every note, even with the top end and hi-mids cut. A very nice, creamy old-school 'low-mid' sound. Chunky, and dare I say it, 'vintage'.

The word that kept going through my mind was 'solid'.

Yet it's precise, very accurate, and sits very nicely in the mix, thank you; but it also has 'presence'; ie everyone can hear every note (even the drummer), without the amp needing to be turned up excessively, which is a seriously neat trick indeed. This necessitates playing more accurately and being right on it timing-wise, though! Which is a good thing!

The band could hear it well from wherever they were standing in the room, and it seems to project the same tone everywhere in the room, regardless of distance. I'm very much hoping it will be able to repeat this trick on a larger scale, ie at a gig. That would be just sweeeet.

I'm using a fraction of the master volume I used with my Warwick WCA Pro 600W 4X10 (4 Ohms) for the same apparent SPL. Yet the J12 is half the size of the 4X10, half the weight, and draws far less power from the amp. It's a huge sound for a small box: 22 X 18 X 18" and 40lb (18kg).

So the amp is not being driven so hard (500W @ 4 Ohms; 300W @ 8 Ohms); the J12 is 8 Ohms, but it all seems so effortless, and it has a more natural and 'open' sound, less 'choked' somehow -- but there's still loads of headroom on tap.

It just doesn't seem to need very many watts through it to get the sound and the volume. I'm hoping this means the amp will run cooler, and therefore be more reliable -- not that I've had any reliability issues with it yet, he added quickly.

It's a one-hand lift, and easily fits in the car boot (VW Polo) without putting the seats down.
It's really a very impressive and efficient design indeed, and so far I'm totally delighted with it!

Next: I'll update this review after I've played a gig or two.

Edited by discreet
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Just read the build thread - fantastic job - well done.

I'm running a pair of Omni 10.5s at present but I'm quite intrigued as to what a Jack 12 is like. I've read reports of the Omnis "chuffing" which is fixed in the Jack design but never had the problem myself.

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Great review Mr D. I've read it on three fora now (is it on any more?) and enjoyed it every time. fanatastic finish you've achieved with that cab and I love the name badges.

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You get a stale jam doughnut for the oldest thread revival known to man

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