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Jus Lukin

Barefaced FR/FR?

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This question quite possibly answers itself, given that the phrase 'uncomprising studio monitor accuracy' is used on the webpage, but how are the tweetered Barefaced cabs for full range/flat response? I'm looking at the Big Twin 2 primarily, and the main goal is a flat response, however I'm also intered in using a degree of amp simulation for certain situations, such as Sansamp's VT and other classic valve amp emulation pedals to get more of an ol' school sound without having so many amps and cabs!

Anyone used them with amp sims? Cheers!

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Haven't done it myself, but asked Alex at Barefaced the same question a few years back and he thought it would work really well. In the end I decided I wouldn't be looking for much other than the "emulated" tone, so went with something closer to that with a Two10 and Orange Terror!

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I've owned the Big Twin II. I've sold it so that I can buy some FR800's, but very sadly my car broke in the meantime leaving me with no cab and zero cash. (F'd off!) - I will be getting a Big Baby II in the meantime for sure.

What I [i]can [/i]tell you though, having tested the theory, is that the Big Twin II is the BEST cabinet I have tried for reproducing full spectrum audio. I've played CD's and digital audio through it and have been frankly astonished at how good it sounds when you crank it up. Like the very best in PA gear but better suited to us bassists. Finally a cabinet with a decent tweeter and crossover in it that is designed for [i]that[/i] purpose. If I could have kept it (i.e. funds were not an issue) I absolutely would.

Placing 'amp sims in line with this cabinet will be very well received but if there's one thing it will reveal, and that's SISO - feed it with the good stuff and that's what you'll hear back, just like running cab sims in to a PA or studio monitors.

There are a few that have struggled with the Big Twin II and I reckon that is due to not being used to the apparent 'lack of colour' in these cabinets that can shape a bass tone. Sometimes experienced when plugging a bass straight in to studio monitors with no EQ etc.

I do have a couple of cabinets here that are well know for their colour and yes they sound absolutely epic, I gigged them last night and very impressive they were too, but if you want a carte blanche to start with (PA type fold back) then this is the way to go personally. You also have the huge bonus of being able to use the Big Twin II or BB2 as PA cabinets, keyboard monitors or even cabinets for Kemper/AxeFX/Helix guitarists too.

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The problem with a 2x12" + tweeter configuration is that, even if they are flat on axis, they will exhibit a large midrange suckout off axis unless the HF unit is crossed at a fairly low frequency, which is not the case here. Above-axis suckouts are going to be a problem too.

A well designed PA cab that can handle bass guitar (which probably means a 15" bass driver) could be your best option, or alternatively, look for a bass cabinet with a midrange driver. The latter will not give you the ultimate sparkle you can get from a tweeter but it should give you a decent power response at bass guitar frequencies.

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The problem with a 2x12" + tweeter configuration is that, even if they are flat on axis, they will exhibit a large midrange suckout off axis unless the HF unit is crossed at a fairly low frequency, which is not the case here. Above-axis suckouts are going to be a problem too.



Are you talking specifically about the Big Twin II or 'general bass guitar cabinets with a tweeter in'? I'm not sure if you are referring to my post. Edited by Dad3353

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I was talking about 2 x12 tweetered cabs in general but the Barefaced one is no different. I wasn't commenting on your post, Dan, as I don't disagree with anything in it. I am just coming at this from a slightly different angle, i.e. the off-axis performance.

Edited by stevie

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Hi

My Band mates have said the addition of a BT2 to my set up was a game changer for me !! It has never let me down.
In my opinion there are no realistic off axis performance issues, if indeed there are any for anyone else that have listened to either of the bands I play in.
I generally set the tweeter to approx. half way.

Also I have also used it (with the tweeter set to fully on) to play iPod/iPhone music for my Daughters party (17h Birthday) & I thought it sounded excellent (as did he neighbours !).

It's worth a try if you can try one out easily - have a look on the Barefaced website for a map of users

Jason

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Very interesting, thanks chaps, and sorry to hear of your predicament, dood!

So in the simplest terms, the cab should have a markedly flat response. However, the off-axis reponse is an interesting factor. Obviously a point-source is the best solution for distribution within the limitations of the driver itself, but part of looking at Barefaced is because of reports of very good horizontal distribution compared to other similar designs. It will never be perfect, of course, but I had begun to get the impression that a Barefaced cab would be an improvement in off axis respone compared to similar cabs due to the driver design. Certainly for the hi-fi tones the best distribution possible is good. When emulating the sound of a 4x12, then distribution will be vastly improved anyway, as while the tone is great they do 'beam' considerably!

Vertical distribution isn't such an issue as the final plan is to in fact stack two Big Twins, bringing the drivers up much higher, and in fact placing the top tweeter about ear height for me. The idea is to actually be able to play even quieter in tight spaces due to better self-monitoring for myself and the band, whilst also having unshakable power when needed. The visual impact of a monolithic rig is of value sometimes too, but not really the point of this discussion!

Perhaps to discuss the distribution element in the simplest​ way, I am currently using a pair of Markbass 1x12's stacked vertically. Is it likely, as seems to be claimed, that a single Big Twin would provide an improvement in general distribution over the MB cabs?

And if using the same line-array stack arrangement, would PA speakers also have the same issues with distribution as the Barefaced might?

Thanks again!

Edited by Jus Lukin

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The problem with a 2x12" + tweeter configuration is that, even if they are flat on axis, they will exhibit a large midrange suckout off axis unless the HF unit is crossed at a fairly low frequency, which is not the case here. Above-axis suckouts are going to be a problem too.



Except the Big Baby 2 and Big Twin 2 do not suffer from a large midrange suckout off-axis because of the way they're designed. I don't know of any bass cabs with midrange drivers that have more consistent polar response than the BB2 and BT2. We would not have replaced our previous 3-way Big Baby and Big Twin models with the BB2 and BT2 if they did not have at least as good off-axis response (and other performance improvements).

From all my experience, testing and feedback from other bassists I've found that adding a midrange driver to a bass cab creates a whole load of problems which you can't design out, they're inherent to the concept. However it is impossible for the DIY/hobbyist loudspeaker designer to solve the problems with 2-way (woofer+tweeter) designs because it requires designing a better woofer and you can't do that without the buying power to get a production run made, hence adding a midrange driver is the next best solution.

Edited by Dad3353

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Thanks too Jassthebass, I must have been typing when you responded!

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Lots of claims with no actual proof as usual, Alex. Two 12" drivers will start to beam below 1kHz and there's no amount of marketing hype that can fix that. I notice Jason only lives a few miles away from me. I'd be quite happy to measure his cab and we'll see exactly what kind of off-axis response they have.

What exactly are the problems with using a midrange driver, Alex? Bergantino, Vanderkley, Greenboy and Duke Le Jeune seem to be happy with them.

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Lots of claims with no actual proof as usual, Alex. Two 12" drivers will start to beam below 1kHz and there's no amount of marketing hype that can fix that.



This is absolutely not true - it is only true if a driver is 100% pistonic and that is NEVER the case. The radiating area of a driver only behaves pistonically at very low frequencies - once into the midrange the behaviour is very complex and by controlling how it behaves you can control the dispersion. If your claims were true then guitar cabs would be completely unusable.

What exactly are the problems with using a midrange driver, Alex? Bergantino, Vanderkley, Greenboy and Duke Le Jeune seem to be happy with them.



Inconsistent shifts in polar response across the frequency spectrum, changes in frequency response at higher level due to crossover issues, inconsistent dynamic response, often lower sensitivity, reduced tolerance of power amp clipping and thus greater need for amplifier headroom, etc etc. Hardly any of Bergantino and Vanderkley's production has been of cabs with midrange drivers, there are probably more Barefaced cabs out there with them and the only Bergantino cabs I can think of with a midrange driver is the NV115 and 215 which are far from accurate response.

Edited by Dad3353

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Passive FRFR makes no sense - a powered cab with the DSP in it to make it as flat as you would ever want is surely where your money would go if you wanted a true FRFR setup. For the cost of some of these "bass" cabs - and I'm not just referring to BF, Berg and Vanderklay, you could start looking at some serious FRFR PA tops that would yield some incredible performance.

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This is absolutely not true - it is only true if a driver is 100% pistonic and that is NEVER the case. The radiating area of a driver only behaves pistonically at very low frequencies - once into the midrange the behaviour is very complex and by controlling how it behaves you can control the dispersion. If your claims were true then guitar cabs would be completely unusable.



That makes no sense, Alex. Beaming is not complex. It depends on the diameter of the diaphragm. Sure, you can alter it a bit by allowing the cone to break up, but that’s not normally desirable. Unless you fit a whizzer, phase plug, build a bending wave cone or fit some kind of horn, you’re stuck with beaming at the wavelength equivalent to the diameter of the cone.

Guitar speakers follow the same laws as other speakers. You can get a bit more off axis as a result of cone breakup, but that’s it.

A good hi-fi/studio monitor will cross a 6” driver to a tweeter no higher than 3kHz to maintain a reasonable off-axis performance. Whereas we are talking here about a system with two 12” speakers with a cone area equivalent to an 18” driver, which will start to roll off on the vertical axis no later than 750Hz, if memory serves. The only way you are going to get decent off-axis performance from a 2 x 12” setup is by using an expensive compression driver, like RCF do in their PA speakers, or by crossing over to a midrange driver.
A 2 x 12” cab crossed over to a cheap tweeter is still going to have a big off-axis dip in the midrange – and no amount of marketing BS is going to change that.

Some people might never notice the off-axis dip unless it’s pointed out to them, and even then it might not bother them. That’s fair enough. I’m just pointing out the facts as I see them.

Edited by Dad3353

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Perhaps to discuss the distribution element in the simplest way, I am currently using a pair of Markbass 1x12's stacked vertically. Is it likely, as seems to be claimed, that a single Big Twin would provide an improvement in general distribution over the MB cabs?

And if using the same line-array stack arrangement, would PA speakers also have the same issues with distribution as the Barefaced might?



It's difficult to answer without knowing which Markbass cabs you have, but a single Big Twin could bring some improvement.

Stacking speakers that have not been designed specifically for stacking is never a great idea. If you're going for Barefaced, just get one; it will be plenty loud enough. However, a single PA speaker, in my opinion, would be your best solution. Look at RCF to start with. I agree with EBS_freak that powered is a good idea. Edited by Dad3353

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That makes no sense, Alex. Beaming is not complex. It depends on the diameter of the diaphragm.



Honestly, if you truly believe that then there's no point in me continuing this discussion. You're entitled to your own opinion of course, but you aren't entitled to your own facts, and we at Barefaced are not the first company to take advantage of the unavoidable break-up modes in any high sensitivity large diameter driver and manipulate them to our own ends. This is engineering, not physics, and the oversimplifications you like to post are rarely the whole truth and sometimes the opposite of the truth in the real world.

Furthermore we use an excellent compression driver on a large waveguide, nothing like a "cheap tweeter". Regarding some of my other points, I look forward to seeing your example of a 3-way passive crossover that is totally unaffected by voice coil heating.

But the proof is in the pudding - we have a number of bassists using our cabs specifically for FRFR modelling applications with things like Kempers, and they've all been extremely impressed. We also sell an active version of the Big Baby 2, the FR800, which is growing in popularity as more bassists discover quite how good it is. The feedback is out there, the reviews are out there. We have demo cabs available to borrow. We have a one month trial period for all customers in Europe. It isn't in our interest to sell the Emperor's New Clothes as they'd just get returned.

Edited by Dad3353

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Anyone tried the FR800 for guitar use?

I have a Helix and I love it. At the moment I'm using a power amp and a regular guitar cab for guitar use, and 4CM with my DG M900 head and a pair of Retro One10 for bass use.

I would like to reach the mythical position of having 1 rig for both instruments. I am currently investigating a variety of powered FRFR cabs - most of them being PA cabs as the powered guitar specific FRFR ones tend to be far lower in power and have a more limited freq range making them less suitable for bass use.

The FR800 seems like it might do the trick, but I'd like to hear from someone who has tried it on guitar for a variety of sounds.

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Not the FR800, but I no longer play through a guitar amp. It doesn't happen often these days but I've used a Sansamp 'character' pedal through​ my PA speakers, powered by a Little Mark. Sounds great, and gives a nice 'on the edge' clean/drive tone at whatever volume I need.

I have actually played bass through that PA in place of an amp too, although I'd need greater power handling and a lower frequency response to be confident with it as a full-time bass rig. Don't think either of those would be an issue with an FR800!

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It's more about whether the FR800 can get me a great just breaking up Fender Twin type sound as well as loads of bass.



I suspect that's entirely down to the Helix in this instance... Edited by Dad3353

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This has certainly been an interesting thread so far. Thanks for keeping it productive!

I've looked at PA gear in the past but not found the best mix of features. Low response, weight, and price are the main factors to juggle, and I've not found anything which satisfies yet, although​ given the price of the Big Twin, I should perhaps widen my search a little. I've not seriously considered options in that price range so far, so I have a bit more research to do on that front, I suppose.

When it comes to DSP etc, that might be a bit further than I need. I'm still looking primarily at sound production rather than reproduction, so 'passive flat' will probably be flat enough for my purposes. I'll still be EQing for various rooms and bands etc, so fractions of DBs in response curve are neither here nor there. Ultimately I am thinking of running a power amp, so there probably would be DSP for mono/stereo/Y, crossover, HPF, limiter, etc, which is much more useful to me in a real world situation.

So long as I could get an ostensibly 'flat' starting point, which I would use as my 'tone' most of the time and use amp sims to do a passible SVT-8x10, SuperBass-4x12, and so on at a gig I'd be where I wanted to be, with a lot less gear kicking about!

All that said, the height factor is important too​. I would like a 'traditional' stack which I can stand right on top of on a tight stage and still have the top end reach my ears rather than fire past my bum. Stevie mentions that stacking cabs can be problematic- can we expand on that at all? I understand the ideal of a point source, but for a fairly straight forward stack can it be that big of a deal? There will always be phase issues with multiple drivers, but my limited understanding reckons stacking identical cabinets with a line array configuration must be the best solution under the circumstances.

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It's more about whether the FR800 can get me a great just breaking up Fender Twin type sound as well as loads of bass.



If the helix can provide that tone, then the FR800 should be able to reproduce it! As I said, a Sansamp into PA speakers has worked great for me! Edited by Dad3353

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