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Bergantino vs Barefaced vs Vanderkley - New cab decisions

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So, after many moons using Markbass, I think it's time for a change and I'll be putting my stack up for sale to free up some funds. Thread to appear later today.

So, What I'm after is a 2x12 one cab solution like most people it would seem. Preferably light (naturally) with as faithful a response as you can get. In an ideal world, what I want is the signal which goes in sounds exactly like what comes out. I appreciate that's not possible, so I've settled on the 3 brands above as possibilities. As they all cost about the same, I'm not bothered by that aspect of the equation.

So with this in mind, I come to 3 choices - Bergantino HDN212, Barefaced Big Twin 2 and Vanderkley 212LNT.

From my own point of view they each have their plus and minus points. Bergantino (it was a CN212 I'm basing this on) had a very pronounced low mid profile and maybe less treble extension? This was in the cab shootout as played by Lozz at the SE bash a couple of years ago. My thoughts on Barefaced are of the cosmetic variety and I just don't dig on the looks. Yes, I'm that shallow and I admit it. I played a prototype one at the SE bash in 2013, and thought the dispersion was great, but not using anything that resembled my own settings it was difficult to gauge quite how it was relative to me. Lastly Vanderkley. I've heard that some think they're a bit bright. Is that accepted wisdom? Having played Al Krow's 2x10 I was very impressed. I also had a go on another 2x10 at last year's SE bash. Very loud.

The treble extension is very important to me as I quite often play 12 or 8 string basses, which are distorted in the upper edge for more bite. That is the acid test for me and indeed my own unique criteria which probably nobody on the forum will look at as something they would use to subjectively measure something.

I can't really try before I buy and I won't have any gigs for some months due to holidays of the various bands I'm in. I'm just wanting the switcheroo to happen before everything kicks off again. I appreciate that everyone will have a tendency to recommend their own stuff, however, has anyone moved between all or some of these? Thoughts? Opinions? Missed anything?

All advice is welcome.

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5 minutes ago, Wolverinebass said:

In an ideal world, what I want is the signal which goes in sounds exactly like what comes out.

Based on this I would say Barefaced. They're the one cab that with the 12's I couldn't give you and description of their voice. They're just very flat, and I'm often really surprised at how different, different amps can sound with the same cab. The treble extension with the BT2 is also really nicely executed. 

The Bergantinos have probably more of the colour I prefer, but they are coloured, which isn't really what you're after based on that quote. 

Not much experience with the Vanderkleys, I was always recommended against them for one reason or another at the time of buying. 

Barefaced it is in my view!

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Watching this with interest.  As a long time MarkBass user but on a 2 x NY121 basis I'm looking if a swap out is on the cards.  Perfectly happy with the current MB sound though so it could still be a like for like renewal. 

The only cabs I've experience with in your line up above is Barefaced - really couldn't get past the flimsy construction in comparison to the MB but couldn't argue that the sound wasn't good.

Edited by martthebass

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My back wants me to like Barefaced, but 40 odd years of playing through cabs with ‘baked in tone’ mean I struggle to hear what my brain wants to hear with the ‘clean’ output of the Barefaced range.

i haven’t tried the Bergantino, but have played through the Vanderkley albeit at low volume, and I loved the sound. Very creamy and musical sounding, even with the matching amp set ‘flat’. If I was to be persuaded to move away from my SWR Goliath, then the Vanderkley would be top of my list.

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47 minutes ago, Wolverinebass said:

faithful a response

I stopped reading there. I've been very satisfied with my Acme cabs since I got my first Low-B2 pair back in 2005. Since power now costs nothing, the downside of the Acmes is more or less negated. Even the Peavey IPR I used was very good (and light) so you don't have to go for the big bucks Crests, Powersofts, Demeters etc.

http://www.acmebass.com/mobile/index.html#page3

On the other hand, I know other companies have also produced very high-fi, very portable cabs in the 13 years ( :o ) since, but back then, the alternative was Eden, SWR, or Euphonic Audio. I liked the electrical engineering approach that Andy has. I have engineers in the family and I learned to go for the tech specs, never mind the marketing. :D 

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The Barefaced Big Twin is a monster, I suggest you take a listen to the Gen 2 if you can, they've come a long way since the prototypes. 

Yes, the looks are a bit spartan, and they do not have a "signature" sound, but if you;re looking for a cab that'll show off your amp and bass tones, I haven't heard anything that works quite as well. I ran 5 string fretted and fretless through mine and did all the tone shaping in the pre, including wedges of distortion and filter effects, the variable tweeter (compression horn in the Gen 2) allows you to set the cab up for a room without having to mess about with your sound.

Never had a better stage sound.

Edited by WinterMute
Dumb f*****g profanity filters...

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In the last 10 years I've only played Bergantino and Barefaced. The Berg tone was particularly impressive and I felt I'd reached a whole other level in bass sound when I got them. IMO my Barefaced cabs are another level again, they are monsters for sound and get even more positive comments than my Bergs did, and they generated a lot of praise. IME people do notice the bass player, if you sound good enough! The BF cabs are lighter and I need fewer of them to cover all levels of volume that I require. If my rig was stolen I'd happily replace it with either, but a BF rig would be at the top of the list. 

I'd expect all of these cabs to sound totally different to your Markbass rig. You might find that a little off putting, maybe not, but the difference will be very noticeable.  IMO the difference was a revelation to me and the extra tone and clarity gave my bass playing a boost. I've not heard an amp that didin't sound good through either Bergs or BF cabs.  

You can go down to Brighton and try Barefaced cabs in the factory. If they have a demo unit on the shelf you can borrow it. You can send the Barefaced cabs back if you don't like them. You can't audition the other cabs and you'll be stuck with them if you change your mind.

I'm sure that if I heard one I'd love the VDK. At this level there are no bad cabs, just preferences.

 

PS

Sorry, but Barefaced cabs are not flimsy. Don't confuse light for "flimsy". They are as solid as any standard designed cab. If you are careless enough to damage a BF cab you'll have done more damage to a regular cab. I carry all my gear and don't have access to roadies. In 10 years my cabs have never even been scratched. Good covers and care are all that is needed.

my 2p

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FRFR. Line out from your preamp of choice (or amp, just don't use the power stage), into...

RCF 735A or RCF 745A. Will smoke all the aforementioned cabs, especially on treble extension.

Edited by EBS_freak
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Well, in engineering, you mostly have tradeoffs. :) You can't make a car with an internal combustion engine with the performance and mileage of a Tesla Model S, or make a car with the performance of a Ferrari, capacity of a lorry, and the mileage of a Honda Civic.

Let's see: the RCF 745A is, compared to the Acme Low-B2:

*more expensive

*considerably bigger

*louder. Much louder.

It's impossible to say one way or another regarding the fidelity. Acme docs state the freq response to be 

"Frequency response: +/-3 dB 41Hz to 22 kHz -6 dB at 31 Hz" While RCF says:

45-20000 Hz and the curve shown in the specsheet makes me speculate the RCF -6dB frequency is likely the 45Hz stated.

The customer is left with assigning value on the different engineering goals and choosing the product where those goals are pursued at the expense of others. :) 

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Does Acme publish a frequency response curve? Or Bergantino and the others? That's your first clue.

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21:48 is where it's at. Check that.

This guy does a much better explanation as to why these boxes are simply ridiculous for the money that they are.

 

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

PS

Sorry, but Barefaced cabs are not flimsy. Don't confuse light for "flimsy". They are as solid as any standard designed cab. If you are careless enough to damage a BF cab you'll have done more damage to a regular cab. I carry all my gear and don't have access to roadies. In 10 years my cabs have never even been scratched. Good covers and care are all that is needed.

my 2p

I appreciate your comment Chris but in 30 odd years of playing, a BF cab (a compact gen1) is the only cab I managed to crack the shell on and bust the handle off.  I'm sure construction has improved since the early days of production but it managed to put me off them as a brand.

Edited by martthebass
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Only checked the spot you recommended. I saw nothing in the way of explanation. They made no claims to have solved the engineering tradeoff between cost, weight, efficiency, and fidelity. Also, it's marketing material :D Disregard marketing material, go for the tech spec.

From what I can see, it's an active 2-way speaker, and they've baked in equalisation to counteract the response curve the drivers and the cabinet create, resulting in a flat frequency response curve in the advertised spectrum. Expecting any passive speaker enclosure to match such a setup is unrealistic. Afaik, only a theoretical model speaker can have a flat response.

This does not mean they are being dishonest or doing something underhanded. Genelec and other studio monitor makers have done this for decades, and it's the only way to get a very flat response curve: use equalisation to counteract the unevenness all existing drivers and enclosures by necessity have. The curve I saw in their own materials does not put Genelec to shame, so we know it's probably a good compromise between fidelity and roadworthiness.

I'll amend what I wrote and say, instead:

Regarding fidelity, the higher price of the RCF includes a power amp and built-in equalisation, resulting in a fairly flat response curve between 45 and 20k Hz, while the Acme Low-B2 goes deeper, but does require a power amp to drive it, and probably requires equalisation to match the flatness of the RCF. In practice, I imagine few will benefit from either the extra flatness of the RCF or the deeper low end of the Acme. NB the video does show the RCF responce falling off a cliff under the advertised response spectrum, not that every driver / enclosure known to man doesn't do that.

Edited by nobody's prefect
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Talk to Alex Clabber at Barefaced, the Big Twin goes down to 30Hz, and whilst that doesn't sound like a lot lower than 45Hz, the OP states he uses extended range basses and I know from experience that running bass through a speaker designed for general PA use (the QSC and RCFs etc.) does not give the same response as a properly tuned bass cab, not without using a sub, which is exactly why all PA designers offer a sub...

This is not to say that a QSC K12.2 or an RCF 735A won't be a good replacement for a "traditional" backline, because anyone with sense will know that it is, the wedge shape and size is a good tradeoff if you're playing small venues. It will come down to personal choice, and the OP stated he's looking at backline, not FRFR.

I moved my Big Twin on because I'm not playing live anymore and it was taking up a large amount of room in my small studio, but if I went out live again I'd consider the QSC K12.2, but not before I'd had a serious look at what Alex was up to...

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8 minutes ago, WinterMute said:

Talk to Alex Clabber at Barefaced, the Big Twin goes down to 30Hz, and whilst that doesn't sound like a lot lower than 45Hz, the OP states he uses extended range basses and I know from experience that running bass through a speaker designed for general PA use (the QSC and RCFs etc.) does not give the same response as a properly tuned bass cab, not without using a sub, which is exactly why all PA designers offer a sub...

 

To clarify, when I said 12 and 8 string basses, they're Kings X, Cheap Trick variety (triple and double coursed 4 strings), not the super low E to whatever you'd tune up to. I won't be tuning any lower than drop C in all likelihood drop D being typical of this moment in time, so the massive bass extension is less of an issue than the treble.

Edited by Wolverinebass

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1 minute ago, Wolverinebass said:

To clarify, when I said 12 and 8 string basses, they're Kings X, Cheap Trick variety (triple and double coursed 4 strings), not the super low E to whatever you'd tune up to. I won't be tuning any lower than drop C in all likelihood drop D being typical of this moment in time, so the massive bass extension is less of an issue than the treble.

Fair enough, I tune to B, and have to contend with a guitarist that seems to want to induce continental drift...

Fundamental frequency of an E string is 41.2Hz, it's 31Hz for a B. 32.7Hz for drop C. And whilst fundamentals aren't the whole story, I like a speaker capable of delivering the fundamental of the lowest note I'm likely to play. 

Your milage may vary.

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2 minutes ago, Wolverinebass said:

To clarify, when I said 12 and 8 string basses, they're Kings X, Cheap Trick variety (triple and double coursed 4 strings), not the super low E to whatever you'd tune up to. I won't be tuning any lower than drop C in all likelihood drop D being typical of this moment in time, so the massive bass extension is less of an issue than the treble.

Oh, dang, missed this aspect entirely.

In that case, if you're going to be using the cabs a lot, you'll want to have a decent trial session. I don't believe the tweeter in the RCFs has a settling-in period. (AFAIK all woofers have this to some degree: the suspension needs to be 'softened up' gently before going full bore)

I would not believe anyone telling me the RCFs have what we gearslutz call 'listening fatigue' because you don't get that from most setups. But there are different characters within even very accurate monitors. I've had 3 different Genelec near field monitor setups and one midfield (the reference class 1022a Darth Vader things) and while they are very accurate... Quoting a poster talking about mastering on 1022s at gearslutz because he put it better than I could:

"When I played my first demo on 1022a, I was shocked. It sounded brutally harsh, ugly and flat. Then I switched to O300, and it sounded pretty ok. I started to listen to some reference records I know, and many of them were horrible on 1022. As an APS Klasik user, I thought they were quite honest and revealing, but 1022 is just another level. Only really good quality records sounded well on them."

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Like Chris B, I've played mostly Bergs and BF for a good long while now (tho I've had MB cabs, too), and if I was playing in different bands than I am, and got to sit down and listen to my cab a lot on its own in a Scott Devine kinda way, I'd love a Berg HDN212 just for the hell of it, but my Super Twin does exactly what I need lighter and more easily handled - 40lbs and wheels is genius 🙂. I've total confidence in that whatever I put into it, and however loud I need it to be, it'll deliver. I've run it with Class D stuff, with lots of effects, and with a warm Walkabout, and it produces what I put into it. I've never met a tweetered cab I liked (or at least liked until after I'd turned the tweeters off - the AE112s were an example of that) so my tone goals are different to yours, but I'm sure a Big Twin will do it.

Oh, and we use RCF ART735s in our PA, so I get to play through those (and a sub) a lot, too... 🙂

 

Edit: the 735s are so good we're seriously considering dropping the sub and going for 745s instead, for small to medium venues...

Edit 2: Actually, I have the PA here under my stairs, so I might just dig out one of the 735s and have a play later, just to see how loud it'll go with a bass... 😁

Edited by Muzz
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4 minutes ago, Muzz said:

. I've never met a tweetered cab I liked

Have you tried cabs with domed drivers? I like them better than the piezo tweeters.

Edited by nobody's prefect

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Never really paid that much attention to tweeter type, as long as i could turn them off...the tones I use don't usually trouble normal bass cab tweeters 🙂

The Markbass ones were particularly horrid, though...

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I'm having a brain freeze. What kind of top end are you looking for? A lost of MTD players like and have a very glassy top end that sounds terrible* on a lot of speakers. I like to imagine having had that tone on my best days. Depending on the sort of distortion used I'd imagine your tone is more, less, or about as susceptible to sounding terrible*. I certainly sounded terrible* on all piezo tweeter setups.

 

*and by terrible, I mean 'not flawless'

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1 hour ago, nobody's prefect said:

Only checked the spot you recommended. I saw nothing in the way of explanation. They made no claims to have solved the engineering tradeoff between cost, weight, efficiency, and fidelity. Also, it's marketing material :D Disregard marketing material, go for the tech spec.

From what I can see, it's an active 2-way speaker, and they've baked in equalisation to counteract the response curve the drivers and the cabinet create, resulting in a flat frequency response curve in the advertised spectrum. Expecting any passive speaker enclosure to match such a setup is unrealistic. Afaik, only a theoretical model speaker can have a flat response.

This does not mean they are being dishonest or doing something underhanded. Genelec and other studio monitor makers have done this for decades, and it's the only way to get a very flat response curve: use equalisation to counteract the unevenness all existing drivers and enclosures by necessity have. The curve I saw in their own materials does not put Genelec to shame, so we know it's probably a good compromise between fidelity and roadworthiness.

I'll amend what I wrote and say, instead:

Regarding fidelity, the higher price of the RCF includes a power amp and built-in equalisation, resulting in a fairly flat response curve between 45 and 20k Hz, while the Acme Low-B2 goes deeper, but does require a power amp to drive it, and probably requires equalisation to match the flatness of the RCF. In practice, I imagine few will benefit from either the extra flatness of the RCF or the deeper low end of the Acme. NB the video does show the RCF responce falling off a cliff under the advertised response spectrum, not that every driver / enclosure known to man doesn't do that.

I'm glad you took the time to look through the video so you have a load of information on which to base a fully considered response. In regards to explanation, maybe you should watch the whole video... but the York notes is that the drivers and the subsequent crossover point that they allow for, are only found in setups that are vastly more expensive. The 4" VC on that horn alone takes it well beyond the specs of cabs that are in it's vicinity. If the 745 is too rich... then the performance of 735 will also outdo competitor cabs. Back to the vid - It's not really marketing material - Trinity take apart every single cab they get hold of so they can show people exactly what they are paying for. They are very fair and point out places where cost savings have been made for example. Going for the tech spec is fine - but the trouble is, not all tech specs are equal - and as an engineer, you should know that. Out of all the published technical specs, there's no independent validation. Think that you cab puts out 140dB. Put that down. Nobody will question it.... and if they do, so be it.

The point is, the OP wanted - " Preferably light (naturally) with as faithful a response as you can get. In an ideal world, what I want is the signal which goes in sounds exactly like what comes out." - and that shout more of a FRFR cab than a passive bass cab that has a sound baked in. As you've stated, the DSP engineers out the inconsistencies in the response curve of, in this case, the RCF speaker... and that in itself is why the cab is flat response.... and in keeping with the OP's brief. I don't expect passive speakers to match a setup... but that's exactly why I offered it up as a suggestion... after all, the OP did request "Thoughts? Opinions? Missed anything?"

And I'm not sure what the fascination with going deep is either... because for the vast majority of gigs, you will want to roll off a great deal of bass in that area anyway... unless you like listening to unprocessable mud.

Your closing statement is probably more fair... and whilst I understand you are clearly a fan of Acme, when comparing size, the 745 actually appears comparable (and even smaller except for depth) than say, the Barefaced offering.

 

Edited by EBS_freak
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35 minutes ago, Muzz said:

Edit 2: Actually, I have the PA here under my stairs, so I might just dig out one of the 735s and have a play later, just to see how loud it'll go with a bass... 😁

Will be interesting to hear your view.. because in the FRFR thread, there seems to be a 100% hit rate (except Al... but he'll get there in the end ;) )- and people who have tried have moved from traditional cabs to PA cabs.

Edited by EBS_freak
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12 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

Will be interesting to hear your view.. because in the FRFR thread, there seems to be a 100% hit rate - and people who have tried have moved from traditional cabs to PA cabs.

I tried it, stayed with the BF Big Twin. My guitarist went FRFR from Valve combo backline and a truss...

As I said earlier, if I go back to playing live I will look at the FRFR options, but I will also look at BF's newest designs, and whatever else the market has to offer.

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