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The great cab conundrum

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I’m about to hit go on a new cab. I’ve been thinking about this for over a month, going round in circles about which one to buy. I need help!

first off I am having to do this without testing the cabs out first because I can’t find stock of the ones I’m interested in.

my current gear is is Tc bq500 and ampeg 410

heres what’s in the running:

1. Barefaced (any suitable) big baby, big twin, super twin, super compact, 210.

I like the story of Barefaced, and I like that Alex is on these forums. I think Im leaning towards the big baby, I just worry that it won’t be loud enough. I’d be happy to buy another amp to get some more wattage to it.

Would I regret not getting the big twin? It’s the size and extra cost that’s holding me back at the moment.  I honestly can’t see me playing any more big venues, probably mostly pubs and the odd outdoor festival.

i have heard stories of peeling tolex - wich I guess would only affect the 10” cabs anyway. Can anyone confirm this is fixed?

2. Darkglass 212 - this is a nice looking cab, and budget wise is where I’d wanna be for a 212. My worry is there doesn’t seem to be a lot of people using them. The review from basstheworld.com got me interested

3.tc rs212 - again a nice looking cab. Hardly any stock, are they still in production?

4. Markbass 212 - cheapest and they make fairly decent gear. I could probably test this one.

my reservations, particularly with the tc & markbass, is they won’t be an upgrade on what I’ve already got. I want that wow moment, can I really expect to get that from the barefaced?

other cabs that have caught my attention are EBS, Bergantino, Vanderkley, Eich, but I really don’t know enough about them.

Thanks in advance from a very confused bassist!

 

 

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With the sort of money you intend to spend, you really ought to head for a well stocked shop and try the alternatives. Your "Wow" may well be someone else's "Umm" - we all have different tastes and expectations.

I wouldn't buy anything untested or untried. I would also respectfully suggest that your head, which retails for around the £200 mark, may not do justice to the better cabs you list from companies such as Barefaced, Darkglass, Bergantino, Vanderkley, Eich et al.

It claims an output of 500w, but that's into 4 ohms and TC is known for, er, optimistic quoted power outputs. They will work with it,  but it won't be optimal. If you intend to upgrade it at some point, then consider a high end cab. If not, the money may be better spent on improving the head first. A speaker, as the final link in the chain, can only pass on what it receives.

Either way, I wouldn't buy on the basis of recommendation alone. That carries a high risk of disappointment and endless upgrading (we've all been there). Possible to take a day off work and go shopping? If you visit a shop during the early part of week, you can take your time and the staff will be able to give you personal attention and advise you, which may not be the case at the weekend when they're busiest.

Make a day out of it, try out some new toys, have a nice lunch and spend, spend, spend.

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If you’re in the UK there is a pair of Vanderkley 1x12 cabs in the for sale section for a very reasonable price that would be well worth considering.

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Dan Dare - sensible advice. I have been to a couple of shops to try and test some gear. Both poorly stocked because bass amps & cabs are ‘difficult to shift’. With regard to barefaced, I don’t think they are in shops. Tottenham court rd in London May be an option.

The head will be updated either now or in the near future.

nobatron, I could only find the Vanderkley 212 in Dorset

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5 minutes ago, alexa3020 said:

nobatron, I could only find the Vanderkley 212 in Dorset

I’ve PM’d it to you. Worth mentioning the sale has nothing to do with me

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If you're thinking of changing your amp head, it may be worth doing that first. To my way of thinking, the head determines what kind of cab you're looking for. If you can get the sound you want using just your head, then it's best paired with a cab that's fairly flat/neutral/transparent (more like a bass-capable monitor/PA speaker). But if you need a voiced cab to shape the sound the right way (and you normally mic your cab on stage), then you want something more traditional.

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If matching the amount of sound the Ampeg 410 makes then I’d be looking at a 212 from the selected cabs. The Barefaced Big Twin or Super Twin would be plenty enough to cover what you need. Other than that the Markbass cab would be more similar sounding to the Ampeg.

But as others have said, maybe two smaller cabs such as 112s or 210s. I use two Ashdown RM210s and it’s much easier to cart these two smaller lighter cabs about than one heavier cab, plus stacked I can hear them better as well (the speakers in them are diagonally arranged so they are squarish in shape so stack nice and tall). They wouldn’t sound too far from the Ampeg if you want to recreate the same sound. 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve seen Ashdown have released some ABM neo cabs and new rootmaster heads. I should be able to try these as my local music shops stock them. I quite liked the rootmaster head I tried

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4 hours ago, alexa3020 said:

Dan Dare - sensible advice. I have been to a couple of shops to try and test some gear. Both poorly stocked because bass amps & cabs are ‘difficult to shift’. With regard to barefaced, I don’t think they are in shops. Tottenham court rd in London May be an option.

The head will be updated either now or in the near future.

nobatron, I could only find the Vanderkley 212 in Dorset

Whereabouts are you? As you mention Dorset, I'm assuming the South West. Don't know what's available in your area, I'm afraid. Barefaced are in some shops. If you're heading for London, I wouldn't go to Tottenham Court Road. It's not what it was. The Gallery in Camden carries BF and all the other brands you list. Anderton's in Guildford carry most of them, as do Bass Direct in Warwick.

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2 hours ago, alexa3020 said:

I’m in Cambridgeshire, so Camden is the easiest of the shops you mention.

thanks

 

Nick Smith (Doctor of the Bass) has a shop in Peterborough.

He's a member here so you may be able to PM him if you can't find him on google.

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You really need to try them

If weight is an issue for you then do be aware that the "lightweight" badge on the Darkglass cabs is rather disappointing - a lot heavier than their rivals. Some of them are still heavier than the old Marshall VBC412 cabs I used to use 20 years ago.

 

I have 12 inch and 10 inch based cabs from Barefaced and they are VERY different in tone. I like them both and I'm still in the honeymoon period for the 12 (Super Twin)

 

My thoughts though, after playing alone and with backing tracks / CDs etc is that when playing alone without any other noise at all I probably (it's very marginal) prefer the 10 inch cabs. But when other stuff is going on I definitely prefer the 12.

My Super Twin is very new though and it hasn't loosened up yet so my views may well change.

 

 

In the past I owned a pair of Mark Bass 1x12 cabs and they had a very warm sound that when paired with a MB head as well didn't cut enough for me. I sold them went with Berg HD112, then to Berg CN112 (didn't like them but a lot lighter than the HD112) then Barefaced One10 (pair - kept them) and the BF Super Twin. Before the Mark Bass 1x12 I was using a pair of the massive Marshall VBC412.

 

The Mark Bass cabs were the least impressive of all of those. But I don't know what music you play - they might be perfect for your needs - and also the newer model 2x12 might be quite different to the older ones. I don't know.

 

 

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12 hours ago, alexa3020 said:

I’m in Cambridgeshire, so Camden is the easiest of the shops you mention.

thanks

If you have a day out at the Gallery, treat yourself to lunch at Castle's Pie & Mash, just up Royal College Street from them. The oldest remaining P&M shop in London. I go there once a week and it's ace.

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15 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

If you have a day out at the Gallery, treat yourself to lunch at Castle's Pie & Mash, just up Royal College Street from them. The oldest remaining P&M shop in London. I go there once a week and it's ace.

Older than Manze's Pie & Mash? They were 1902.

My dad (classy as he was) took my mum on a first date to Manze's.

 

When she saw the liquor she refused to eat any of it! It's wonder I'm here at all! :D 

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51 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

Older than Manze's Pie & Mash? They were 1902.

My dad (classy as he was) took my mum on a first date to Manze's.

 

When she saw the liquor she refused to eat any of it! It's wonder I'm here at all! :D 

Heresy, it’s the liquor that makes Pie & Mash so great.

 

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On 16/08/2020 at 20:04, alexa3020 said:

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve seen Ashdown have released some ABM neo cabs and new rootmaster heads. I should be able to try these as my local music shops stock them. I quite liked the rootmaster head I tried

In my local Pirate Studios practice rooms they have Rootmaster heads and Ashdown 410 cabs. I can confirm that they sound great.

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On 16/08/2020 at 17:22, alexa3020 said:

I like the story of Barefaced, and I like that Alex is on these forums. I think Im leaning towards the big baby, I just worry that it won’t be loud enough. I’d be happy to buy another amp to get some more wattage to it.

We have a one month trial period. If it isn't loud enough send it back. There's no better way to find out if a cab works for you - you can't crank any bass or guitar rig up loud enough in a shop to hear the truth.

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1 hour ago, alexclaber said:

We have a one month trial period. If it isn't loud enough send it back. There's no better way to find out if a cab works for you - you can't crank any bass or guitar rig up loud enough in a shop to hear the truth.

Got to be the best way as a customer to try a cab, and from a retailer point sell a cab.

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I've had a lot of the cabs discussed above (including MB 12s and 10s and 15s, Ashdown, Bergs and a few different BF), and it's worth mentioning that the 12" BF cabs are IMO less coloured than a lot of other cabs, so a touch of EQ-ing may be needed: if you've got the sound you like through an Ampeg 410, the same amp settings might well sound verrrry different through a 12"-based BF cab - and others, too. I've run a few heads through my Super Twin, and they sound like, well, different heads. I settled on my Walkabout, because I like the sound of the amp, and the cab produces that.

Oh, and on the wattage, the sensitivity of the Super Twin means my 300w Walkabout is more than loud enough for even the loudest of the bands I play in - you might extend the useable life of the TC head, because it should go loud through a 4 ohm ST...

Oh, and it's 40lbs, and it's got wheels, too...but then I'm a glass-backed old crock who has to hump his own gear around...YMMV, and all that... 😁

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for gigs I use a bf super compact with a bf midget. Really easy to carry individually and they stack well. I can fill a small hall with a gk mb200, at a push. Gk mb500 fusion is more than enough for any gig I've done. The midget on its own keeps up with a loud drum kit so fine for rehearsals and really easy to carry. 

The only drawback gigging I've found is I can mess with the eq for quite some time until I get a nice fenderesque thump. I've just got a darkglass head with cab sim built in, you can turn it off if you want clean,  it seems to go well with the bf cabs but no gigs yet, so only tried it in my living room so far. 

Having read the thread I really don't rate trying cabs/amps out in shops. They never sound the same when there's no band. I buy second hand, and if I don't get on with it sell it on. I might loose a bit of cash, but nothing like as much as buying new, and it's a lot less nerve racking. 

Oh, the other thing about bf cabs is they do need breaking in, they sound much better after a few hours of hard playing. I don't know if that's true for all cabs. Good luck! 

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Posted (edited)

Why do so many people think that they can't evaluate a cab unless they use it in a band situation? It seems like a load of tosh to me. In a shop, you can concentrate on the sound and what the speaker is doing, and you can try a variety of things out to see how it responds.

In a band situation, you're concentrating on playing with the band. This myth appears to exist only within the bass community. Do you hear violinists, banjo players or drummers saying this? I don't think so.

Edited by stevie

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38 minutes ago, stevie said:

Why do so many people think that they can't evaluate a cab unless they use it in a band situation? It seems like a load of tosh to me. In a shop, you can concentrate on the sound and what the speaker is doing, and you can try a variety of things out to see how it responds.

In a band situation, you're concentrating on playing with the band. This myth appears to exist only within the bass community. Do you hear violinists, banjo players or drummers saying this? I don't think so.

Never considered it from this pov. I suppose it stems from playing at home and going Yay this sounds ace! Then getting to rehearsal and realising you need entirely different set up when playing with other people. 

Easy to see how people might assume it's the cab doesn't cut it when in reality just needs tone changes to the amp 

Unless it's the volume. If the cab just doesn't go loud enough and retain a good sound then it's fair comment to say it needed to be tried in a band situation I think. 

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1 hour ago, stevie said:

Why do so many people think that they can't evaluate a cab unless they use it in a band situation? It seems like a load of tosh to me. In a shop, you can concentrate on the sound and what the speaker is doing, and you can try a variety of things out to see how it responds.

In a band situation, you're concentrating on playing with the band. This myth appears to exist only within the bass community. Do you hear violinists, banjo players or drummers saying this? I don't think so.

Speaking only for myself Stevie, I’ve found that basses/amps/cabs that I really like the sound of isolated in general don’t work for me in a band setting, I can just never seem to get what I want from them. Knowing that now I’m objective enough to not fall for them isolated, but in the past, until I realised that gear I thought was a bit “meh” isolated worked best for me, trying in a band scenario was the only way I’d establish if gear was right for me. I suppose we all have our own ways of learning and that was mine, did take a while for the penny to drop I have to say.

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On 16/08/2020 at 17:22, alexa3020 said:

I’m about to hit go on a new cab. I’ve been thinking about this for over a month, going round in circles about which one to buy. I need help!

first off I am having to do this without testing the cabs out first because I can’t find stock of the ones I’m interested in.

my current gear is is Tc bq500 and ampeg 410

Can I ask why exactly are you looking for a new cab??

You already have an Ampeg 410, which is a more than decent old school cab that would work fine for most gigs. Personally, I would be looking at getting a better s/h amp first, unless there is some reason that you need to get rid of the Ampeg cab? 

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