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Bergantino vs Barefaced vs Vanderkley - New cab decisions

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Trip to Bass Gallery in Camden a possibility (and take a 12 or 8 string along)? You'll be able to A/B a VK with BF there. 

I swapped my VK210 MNT for a VK210 LNT which as well as handling twice as much power is  also just a touch darker which is more to my liking and maybe to yours. 

My favourite cab in my stable is actually my Mesa PH212, but it's not light. 

You're, of course, very welcome to pop round to try both the above (and you may decide a 210 is enough - it will obviously shave a few pounds on weight, and likely on cost too :)) 

The other 212 that I think could nail it for you is the Tecamp. I was pretty impressed when I first heard my MB LM3 head through that - made me realise it was the MB 1x12 cab that was the key thing to improve on, not the MB amp head. 

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2 minutes ago, WinterMute said:

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.

So what was the consideration? Not a big enough reason to change? The cost to change? Preference for coloured tone over flat response?

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As an ex-MB cab user I would say you would be happy with any of these cabs, they're all a considerable upgrade. I went for a BF S12T which I've had for about 7 years. It's a great sounding and extremely light cab. But I'd bet either of the other two would be stonkingly good too.

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Just now, EBS_freak said:

So what was the consideration? Not a big enough reason to change? The cost to change? Preference for coloured tone over flat response?

The Big Twin doesn't have a coloured tone, it is essentially a boutique FRFR cab, so I saw no reason to shift over, despite the QSC being cheaper. 

My rig was also louder with better dispersal onstage, the only downside being the size of the thing, although it;s a one hand lift into the car.

So not enough gained benefit to change.

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1 minute ago, WinterMute said:

The Big Twin doesn't have a coloured tone, it is essentially a boutique FRFR cab, so I saw no reason to shift over, despite the QSC being cheaper. 

My rig was also louder with better dispersal onstage, the only downside being the size of the thing, although it;s a one hand lift into the car.

So not enough gained benefit to change.

OK - so you were A/Bing against the QSC. Which model? - I would look through the FRFR thread if it was mentioned in there but it's probably just easier to ask you. I'm quite intrigued about the dispersal onstage as I would have thought they are quite similar? Are you talking about the high end frequencies? 

The Big Twin is a flat-ish response as you say - but not like a DSP flattened cab. But could understand why you haven't seen enough reason to change given what you've said.

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Just now, EBS_freak said:

OK - so you were A/Bing against the QSC. Which model? - I would look through the FRFR thread if it was mentioned in there but it's probably just easier to ask you. I'm quite intrigued about the dispersal onstage as I would have thought they are quite similar? Are you talking about the high end frequencies? 

The Big Twin is a flat-ish response as you say - but not like a DSP flattened cab. But could understand why you haven't seen enough reason to change given what you've said.

I'm a bit suspicious of DSP in monitor systems generally, I don't like it in studio monitors. The QSC I tried was the K12 and I also tried a couple of FBT and Nexo wedges after the idea was floated in the FRFR thread (which I don't think I contributed much to TBH.) I've spec'ed RCF PA's but never tried one against a backline rig.

Dispersal wise, the wedges are fine if you're static, but move around any and they get a bit hit and miss I find, the vertical stacked cab design favoured by BF (and others) provides better coverage on larger stages. I'll freely admit I've never used a wedge based FRFR in anger on a stage mind. It's not the HF, it's the LF and the low mid that is projected really well by the Barefaced, I find most cabs with a tweeter or horn will chuck enough HF at you as not to be a problem.

If I was looking at small venues or a very portable system I think the FRFR route might have merit. I have a PJB Super Flightcase in the studio now, which works brilliantly as a monitor and a recording option as I don't record loud.

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I have a FRFR system, a Vanderkley 210LNT and a Barefaced Compact.

I use a range of DI pedals and Helix through the FRFR, I use an EICH T1000 through the Vanderkley, and I’m looking for a valve head to pair with the Barefaced.

The FRFR is in the car more than any other - it works on any size stage and sound engineers love it.

The Vanderkley is just a glorious sounding cab and the T1000 has volume for days. It’s just so nice and rich..

The barefaced is light and adept and totally different to the others. Put it up for sale but changed my mind as it’s a brilliant cab.

Conclusion? I’m no bloody help to you whatsoever, I’m a gear head, I like to mix it up.

 

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Had a reply typed, then misclicked. 

Don't see a reason to be snarky even if I don't swallow marketing hype. RCF offer a good product, they have for years. They have not made a quantum leap out of the weight, cost, efficiency, fidelity field. They are still subject to the conflicting design goals, but yes, the points one is able to reach in the 4-dimensional space are better now than earlier. That's nothing new, materials and processes evolve over time and this has always been the case. I've used them a lot back when I lived in Finland and the spec was 'sound reinforcement that doesn't break the back or the budget.' And RCF and Yamaha were my first recommendations for small-scale sound reproduction.

I'm not an engineer, never claimed to be. I'm just a former gearslut.

For my back and money, the Acme were a good pick, and having used them, I can recommend them. They are a passive 3-way speaker that have an 'accurate'* response and wide range. Can't recommend stuff I don't use. For gigging, I'd in general recommend passive speaker setups unless you are very sure you can get a replacement cabinet during a weekend in time. Woofers can and will blow on passive and active setups, but that's something that is hard to prep for, unless you have spare woofers with you.

The more electronics you have in a speaker cabinet, the more you're subjecting those electronics to wear and tear. The sound reinforcement company I used to work for went with passive line arrays and subwoofers and separate power amp racks, partially for this reason, partially for scaling. A woofer is a much more robust electrical component than most non-mil spec circuit boards. I'm sure there's an absolutely bullet proof and cheap circuit on a board somewhere, because people make knives out of pasta and chocolate, these days.

I still think my summary mostly holds: the most relevant stuff is portability and price, many solutions are high enough fidelity and put out enough 'volume' to hurt yourself. I'll add that reliability, replaceability, ease and cost of repair are important, too, depending on where you live.

*if very accurate is your goal, then PA loudspeakers are not the right place to look anyway. You want good mastering monitors.

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10 minutes ago, nobody's prefect said:

Had a reply typed, then misclicked. 

Don't see a reason to be snarky even if I don't swallow marketing hype. RCF offer a good product, they have for years. They have not made a quantum leap out of the weight, cost, efficiency, fidelity field. They are still subject to the conflicting design goals, but yes, the points one is able to reach in the 4-dimensional space are better now than earlier. That's nothing new, materials and processes evolve over time and this has always been the case. I've used them a lot back when I lived in Finland and the spec was 'sound reinforcement that doesn't break the back or the budget.' And RCF and Yamaha were my first recommendations for small-scale sound reproduction.

I'm not an engineer, never claimed to be. I'm just a former gearslut.

For my back and money, the Acme were a good pick, and having used them, I can recommend them. They are a passive 3-way speaker that have an 'accurate'* response and wide range. Can't recommend stuff I don't use. For gigging, I'd in general recommend passive speaker setups unless you are very sure you can get a replacement cabinet during a weekend in time. Woofers can and will blow on passive and active setups, but that's something that is hard to prep for, unless you have spare woofers with you.

The more electronics you have in a speaker cabinet, the more you're subjecting those electronics to wear and tear. The sound reinforcement company I used to work for went with passive line arrays and subwoofers and separate power amp racks, partially for this reason, partially for scaling. A woofer is a much more robust electrical component than most non-mil spec circuit boards. I'm sure there's an absolutely bullet proof and cheap circuit on a board somewhere, because people make knives out of pasta and chocolate, these days.

I still think my summary mostly holds: the most relevant stuff is portability and price, many solutions are high enough fidelity and put out enough 'volume' to hurt yourself. I'll add that reliability, replaceability, ease and cost of repair are important, too, depending on where you live.

*if very accurate is your goal, then PA loudspeakers are not the right place to look anyway. You want good mastering monitors.

I'm not being snarky. As I've stated before, I'm not even an RCF fan... it's just those particular two cabs, the 735 and 745, that stand out from the competition. They are unique in their offering and why they should be thrown into the mix whenever a potential alternative is sought. They are a great option for a FRFR cab... or even a cab if you aren't looking for FRFR. I still don't quite know how they can pass those speakers through a distribution and dealer channel for the price that they do, given the drivers that are inside them. I don't think they have made a quantum leap out of weight, cost, efficiency, fidelity etc etc. It's what I state, for what they are, their performance is incredibly high - and noticeably so than their competition. They aren't particularly anything, they just hit the sweet spot for pretty much all attributes (although their looks are a bit marmite for most).

We could argue passive vs active til the cows come home. It's been covered off on the forum many times before... but as a quick summary, you say passive speakers... but if you carry two passive cabs and an amp, and I carry two active cabs, I'm already a spare amp ahead of you. Active electronics in cabs obviously have to be fit for purpose... and in terms of scaling, daisy chaining an active array is easier than a passive as all you are doing is daisy chaining. As I say, positives and negative for both... probably not a discussion for this thread.

For full disclosure, I'm an IEM user, so I don't really care what is happening as long as it sounds good in my ears. The PA, whatever it may be, whatever brand, can look after the projection to the masses. I don't like unnecessary sound on stage - the bleed you get from it f((ks everything up.

You are right about mastering monitors... but I didn't pick p that requirement from the OP.

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17 minutes ago, EBS_freak said:

 I still don't quite know how they can pass those speakers through a distribution and dealer channel for the price that they do, given the drivers that are inside them.

Am I misremembering that at some point, there was a connection or maybe even identity in the ownership of PowerSoft's and RCF's parent companies? This would explain the pricepoint vs. quality. I would imagine it would take a company like Yamaha with a similar horizontal value chain benefits to compete.

From their own timeline:1998 "RCF becomes part of an international group until the end of 2003 when previous shareholders take over the company again "

I'm probably wrong, but I seem to remember that this corporate group also had a power amp manufacturer and RCF active cabs got a vastly better power amp section during that time.

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2 minutes ago, nobody's prefect said:

Am I misremembering that at some point, there was a connection or maybe even identity in the ownership of PowerSoft's and RCF's parent companies?

The amp maker is db. They make very respectable power amps. I know, I know, corporate accounting practices and antitrust regulations mean that they are not allowed to sell their amp modules to RCF under market prices, but, you know, it's not always straightforward to appraise a custom spec power amp module for active loudspeakers... ;) 

https://www.prosoundweb.com/company/dbtechnologies/

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The vertical integration helps - they also make their own drivers. Another important aspect is that the market is much bigger and more competitive than the bass cab market, and margins are therefore much thinner.

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It's one of those things, they'll all be good, but you just have to make the best guess, if you can't try them. Everyone is just going to say what they use is best for X reason. 

FWIW, I had a VK 212MNT. Don't be put off by it being rated at only 600w... It's a hugely loud cab and took all a 900w amp had to offer. With very strong lows and clear highs. I went back to Markbass however, and for what I want it does the job far better. Its obviously not a better cab, just better suited to what I need. 

Edited by [email protected]
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7 hours 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... 

A number of the BF cabs are rated as going down to 30Hz which covers off a low B ie its theoretically perfect for 5ers! But how much volume do we actually really hear at that very low end? 

A related point is that the consensus from the "sound experts" seems to be start HPFing at 50Hz (or higher) to cut out the low end crud. 

If any cab can deliver decent volume at that low end without it being a "mush", I'd be very interested. 

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36 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

A number of the BF cabs are rated as going down to 30Hz which covers off a low B ie its theoretically perfect for 5ers! But how much volume do we actually really hear at that very low end? 

A related point is that the consensus from the "sound experts" seems to be start HPFing at 50Hz (or higher) to cut out the low end crud. 

If any cab can deliver decent volume at that low end without it being a "mush", I'd be very interested. 

There's a Tannoy mid-field mastering monitor and the abovementioned Genelec 1022a and it's successors, can attest to zero mush at monitoring sound pressures.

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I too used Markbass very happily for many years, had 2x10, 4x10, 1x12 (x2) and 1x15(x2)  and have held onto a couple 1x12s. Still great stuff but Vanderkley and Barefaced are in a different league, which their price would suggest

I visited Bass Direct a few years back and did a direct comparison between Bergantinos and Vanderkleys, and I went for the Vanderkleys.. I have been using Vanderkleys for about five years. I recently acquired a preowned Barefaced Super 12T which is a superb one cab solution and I now have trouble choosing between this and two MNT112 or a single LNT210.

I visited Barefaced in Brighton and did a direct comparison between the Big Twin and Super Twin. The Big Twin was probably the best single bass cabinet I have ever heard, but as I am nearly always DI'd hrough PA,  I went for the portability of the smaller cab, but sonically the Big Twin Is quite a bit more impressive.

Barefaced cabs do use relatively thin ply, but are very rigid and well braced. If you respect them and dont hurl them about they are robust enough and really easy to touch-up. The pre and after sales service at Barefaced is excellent .

Vanderkley cabs use thicker ply, have less bracing and do seem more robust. I have always preferred tough carpet covering to Tolex, but the 'lumpy' paint on Barefaced cabs is a doddle to maintain. 

Vanderkley use custom Faital Pro drivers, Barefaced use Eminence drivers wound to Alex's specs.

Both companies give exceptional service.

A difficult choice, unless you get both!!

Edited by BassManGraham
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@BassManGraham

Very helpful post thanks - you seem to have covered most of the bases (excuse the pun).

Does seem that folk who have both VK and BF (e.g. you and Bridgehouse) are very happy with both. We three all have the VK210 LNT and none of us seems to have a bad word to say about it - I actually think that would be a good additional option for the OP to keep under consideration as well as the 212s he's looking at.

Although I do love the quality cab options you have in terms of two 1x12s, a 212 and a 210; but it's very reassuring to know that, as far as a great cab goes, I can stop 'looking' and focus more on making the most of what I've got!

Out of interest, what's the rest of your signal chain in terms of amp and bass (and any favourite pedals if these feature) that you play through your VK210?

Edited by Al Krow

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18 hours ago, Muzz said:

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...

That is very true.....always switched off, totally unnecessary imho

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13 hours ago, Al Krow said:

A number of the BF cabs are rated as going down to 30Hz which covers off a low B ie its theoretically perfect for 5ers! But how much volume do we actually really hear at that very low end? 

A related point is that the consensus from the "sound experts" seems to be start HPFing at 50Hz (or higher) to cut out the low end crud. 

If any cab can deliver decent volume at that low end without it being a "mush", I'd be very interested. 

The Big Twin absolutely does, it's really remarkable how good they are at reproducing the B string. As to volume, in terms of raw SPL, the BT2 puts out roughly the same level per watt as an 8x10 or a very good 2x15, and that includes the extended LF.

I really can't praise Alex's work enough in this respect.

I'm a veteran studio engineer, been recording and building studios for 30 years, and bass response has alway been a big issue for me, I'll only use a HPF where the recording has noise in the LF, I do set a very steep HPF at about 23Hz on kick drums and bass instruments in a mix but only if I have bass issues.

To be honest, most "studio" monitors don't reproduce much below 50Hz, and those that do accurately are very expensive, and then the room comes into play as well, it's a minefield.

Notable monitors for me currently: Unity Audio Rocks Mk2 and Mk3, Amphion One 18 and Two18, both of which will set you back nearly £3k a pair, but both have excellent LF reproduction. I don't like using a sub in the studio, but I have a ATC 2.1 hifi system, go figure.

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@WinterMute - that is very helpful indeed, thank you!

Particularly interested that you go for a steep HPF at 23Hz i.e. focussing on the sub-audio range to eliminate the sub audio crud but leave in as much of the audible lows in the mix as possible.

A lot of in house PA systems however have a decent sub woofer, so there is plenty (too much?) low end on tap.

...apologies to the OP this is definitely a side track to the main thread. I'm sure someone will get it back on track shortly! :) 

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I went the other way.  After years of  cheap cabs I went for the cheaper end of Vanderkley's range and was disappointed with the muddy sound compared to what SD seems to get.

So I went for the Barefaced One 10 at first, then swopped it for a Two 10, mated with a MB LM 11 head.  I liked both, especially the nothing weight of the One10 but found the tone too neutral over time, even though the twin is supposed to be coloured. Plus I hated the peeling tolex and general faff of dealing with BF.

When I put my head through a MB 121 Traveller I loved the difference.  I felt I was buying into a designer's considered idea of what would make a great sound from a matched cab and head.

Curiously I might go back to the BF 110 but only because of the weight.  

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13 hours ago, Al Krow said:

A number of the BF cabs are rated as going down to 30Hz which covers off a low B ie its theoretically perfect for 5ers! . . . . If any cab can deliver decent volume at that low end without it being a "mush", I'd be very interested. 

You don't need to reproduce 30hz in order to get a great sound out of a 5 string bass. SVT810's cut off at 40hz and so do many other cabs. 5ers can get a good solid tone , at high volume, out of most cabs.

You want low end without mush? All the top quality cabs should do that, if you EQ them right. BF cabs will always be capable of performing towards the top of that list.

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And don't forget that producing any significant output at 30hz will, in an awful lot of venues, sound godawful...

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Despite the lack of posting, Stevie, Phil Starr and myself are still working on 12" DIY cab designs. One of the things Stevie and I discussed recently was the difference between FRFR bass cabs and PA cabs. 

PA cabs are usually designed to go on poles while bass cabs sit on the ground. A cabinet that measures flat on the floor will seem bass light on a pole as there is no mutual or floor coupling. Therefore many have either low end boost or reduced midrange to compensate. Put PA cabs on the floor and they may seem bass heavy/mid light. Of course if they have DSP then it may be possible to tune the response. 

 

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, WinterMute said:

The Big Twin absolutely does, it's really remarkable how good they are at reproducing the B string. As to volume, in terms of raw SPL, the BT2 puts out roughly the same level per watt as an 8x10 or a very good 2x15, and that includes the extended LF.

I really can't praise Alex's work enough in this respect.

I'm a veteran studio engineer, been recording and building studios for 30 years, and bass response has alway been a big issue for me, I'll only use a HPF where the recording has noise in the LF, I do set a very steep HPF at about 23Hz on kick drums and bass instruments in a mix but only if I have bass issues.

To be honest, most "studio" monitors don't reproduce much below 50Hz, and those that do accurately are very expensive, and then the room comes into play as well, it's a minefield.

Notable monitors for me currently: Unity Audio Rocks Mk2 and Mk3, Amphion One 18 and Two18, both of which will set you back nearly £3k a pair, but both have excellent LF reproduction. I don't like using a sub in the studio, but I have a ATC 2.1 hifi system, go figure.

23Hz is fine for studio work but a higher F3 point may be better live. There are a few reasons to use an HPF live. Firstly to tame room resonance. Each room is different and some are very resonant below 45Hz. Secondly to save the driver from unwanted  excursion. The10-30 Hz region is useless in terms of Instrument reproduction but can cause excessive driver excursion and reduce the headroom available from your amp. The thuminator video is very informative. 

Duke Le Juene from Audio Kinetics says that the F3 point should be twice the fundamental frequency of the lowest string when played open. So 60-80Hz depending on how your bass is strung.

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