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Mesa Subway 115 v Barefaced BB2 v Vanderkley 2*112


Pirellithecat
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Impossible question I know, but, I wondered whether anyone could describe the characteristics of these three speakers?

I find the Barefaced BB2 and the Vanderkley pair to be excellent and somewhat similar in terms of the tonal palette - and this with a number of different amps.    I interested in checking out something a little more "old school"/  perhaps a little less "HiFi".  Since getting the Vanderkleys I've moved from electric folk/rock/jazz to more Blues and classic rock and away from Warwicks and Ibanez towards Fender P and PJ basses.   All with flatwounds. 

I don't really fully utilise the tweeters on the cabs as, whilst nice to have for quieter more melodic stuff, they're a bit wasted on the louder heavier stuff. (And my high frequency hearing aren't all they should be!)

I have played the Mesa Subway 15 inch and 12 inch (together) and liked the sound - but it was in a store so not loud, and I was really there trying out a bass so maybe didn't pay sufficient attention.

The other option, but one I haven't heard, would be Barefaced 2 *10's which I know have a following here - however I have never heard these and as they would have to see off a 100W guitar stack -  might I  need a couple?

I have also found that I like the modular approach, so two VDK's are far better than one, and a BB2 with a VDK better than one (of either) on it's own.   (I felt that 2 BB2's would be a bit over the top and I wouldn't really need another tweeter!) 

And that's where I am, a bit old school, a bit (too) loud and looking for a nice "organic" bass sound that doesn't fall apart when cranked up to reasonable levels.  Oh and something I can lift!

Any insights gratefully received.

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With respect to the Barefaced 210 idea this may help - there are other videos with other basses in their YT page:

Two 210s will keep up with everything, you may find with the right amp that you only need one. They are superb cabs. A few years ago I AB’d one with an Ashdown 2x12 which I owned and the low volume tone from both was near identical, but the 210 just kept going louder long after the Ashdown ran out of excursion. I used to gig that Ashdown with a pair of guitarists using a Marshall Mode 4 with 4x12 and an Engl somthingy with 2x12. And a loud drummer. If the Ashdown could keep up, the Barefaced definitely can.

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I use a pair of Subway 15's and absolutely love them. I use them in a very old school way (I would say) but they are just awesome at that job. I guess I've had them around 3 years or so (when they first came out).

I had a pair of Barefaced Compacts for a while but didn't get on with them. They seemed flimsy and too hi-fi for my taste (or bad ears).

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I have done the single super compact (1x12) thing, then two super compacts, back to one super compact.  In the end I missed the fuller sound of having 2 speakers so bought a super twin as it's the best of both worlds, 2 speakers, one cab and not that much bigger than a single cab.  I also think it looks better than stacking two cabs vertically.  Small footprint onstage (remember them!)

If you did want more of an old school sound, the 210 would be a good option.  You can stack 2 horizontally, as intended and it looks pretty good.  Having 2 cabs will cost you more obviously.  2 super compacts s/h will cost roughly £900 and a super twin will be around £650 for essentially the same thing.  Having 2 SCs/210s gives you a more flexible, modular set up and the Super twin is a fantastic one cab solution.  

Barefaced have 30 day trial/money back guarantee if you wanted to buy it brand new.

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I know my ears aren’t the best these days, but I can hear ‘old school’ in all these cabs. Go back to the 60’s and 70’s and listen to the likes of Wilton Felder with his Precision with old flats and many others on those sessions and IMO you’ll hear the SC and BB2 as well as the Two10.

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Thanks All,

Anyone else have experience of the Mesa Subways?   If I move on from the VDK's then it'll be in the less modern/hifi direction and that won't be in the BB2 (excellent speaker that it is!) direction or any of the Barefaced 12 inch offerings, as they appear to me to be similarly voiced.  

The fullness of sound from the Mesa's was the thing that tweaked my interest, so really I'm interested in finding out whether that really is a characteristic of their sound in the real world (as opposed to an hour noodling around in PMT with them.) 

And the idea of 2*15 Subways wasn't something I'd thought of but ............. now you mention it  Mr Browning .........

So, anyone else used the Mesa Subway cabs? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, been and gone and done it.

Mesa Subway 15 now sitting next to the Vanderkleys.

Both excellent speakers.

Mesa more suited to the 70's rocl/blues stuff than the VDK's and, if my memeory serves, the BB2.

Clearly need to wait to play with live noisey band, but early signs are good!

So, in my hands the Mesa goes in the intended direction and has oodles of mid/low bass.

Just need to decide whether to keep the VDK's and whether a nice Mesa Subway 12 might be in order - or indeed another 15"er ..........

But must wait, must, must wait .......... 

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7 hours ago, Pirellithecat said:

Well, been and gone and done it.

Mesa Subway 15 now sitting next to the Vanderkleys.

Both excellent speakers.

Mesa more suited to the 70's rocl/blues stuff than the VDK's and, if my memeory serves, the BB2.

Clearly need to wait to play with live noisey band, but early signs are good!

So, in my hands the Mesa goes in the intended direction and has oodles of mid/low bass.

Just need to decide whether to keep the VDK's and whether a nice Mesa Subway 12 might be in order - or indeed another 15"er ..........

But must wait, must, must wait .......... 

Excellent choice, you won't regret that. I am trying to tell myself a Subway 2x12 isn't a good idea I can picture the 2x15's and a 2x12 powered by the TT 800s.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, after almost a month I am sure that I very much like the Mesa Subway 15.

Moves the tone more towards a "blues/rock" than the VDK's but really I won't know for sure until it get cranked up at a rehearsal.  So, whilst I've not really had the opportunity to try it LOUD,  I have doubled it up with one of VDK's "just for fun".  Fuller sound as you might expect, but not a pairing that brings out the best in both speaker I suspect.  

So, whats the best pairing for the Subway 15;  I've played the 1*12 paired with it (in a shop) which was very nice, but is that preferable to another 1*15 or should I be thinking about a 2*10 or ..??

It's not the absolute volume that I'm interested in, it's more about the tone as the volume increases and the hieght of the rig (and yes I know a stand/box would get the 15 closer to my ears!).  

So, I'd be grateful for any experience of such combination if anyone here can help.  And then I'll start saving and hoping that there will be a chance for live music in 2021!

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Steve Browning said:

I use a pair of 15's, as you know. I confess I don't see how powering different speaker configurations with the same eq can possibly work efficiently. It does seem popular of course.

This.

if you like the sound with one speaker, get a second identical speaker and it’ll be more of the same great sound. Adding different sized drivers into the mix can be quite unpredictable.

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Thanks all.

I was under the impression that the Mesa Subway range was designed so that the different cabs could be used together - but I guess without hearing any given combination it would be difficult to know what the pairing might sound like. As I mentioned I have tried the 12 plus a 15, but only in a shop.  Sounded very good though and didn't give any hint of a clash between the cabs.   Mixing the VDK with the Subway though is immediately "wrong" - well to my ears anyway.

Certainly wouldn't be the end of the world to have 2 x 15 inch cabs - however. I was wondering how additional different Subway Cabs might affect the tone .....  so if anyone has tried this I'd be interested to hear.

 

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5 minutes ago, Pirellithecat said:

I was under the impression that the Mesa Subway range was designed so that the different cabs could be used together

I read that. Also Bergantino 12's and 10's work together, as did my Mesa Boogie with EV 115 and 210. Make your choices carefully and you can find matching cabs.

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3 hours ago, Pirellithecat said:

Thanks all.

I was under the impression that the Mesa Subway range was designed so that the different cabs could be used together - but I guess without hearing any given combination it would be difficult to know what the pairing might sound like. As I mentioned I have tried the 12 plus a 15, but only in a shop.  Sounded very good though and didn't give any hint of a clash between the cabs.   Mixing the VDK with the Subway though is immediately "wrong" - well to my ears anyway.

Certainly wouldn't be the end of the world to have 2 x 15 inch cabs - however. I was wondering how additional different Subway Cabs might affect the tone .....  so if anyone has tried this I'd be interested to hear.

 

Your impression is exactly correct, all models within the Subway line are designed with similar phase response, sensitivity and power bandwidth to work well together. The engineering and math have been done, listening tests agree with the predictions, and it's not influenced by the marketing department.

Note that this is not true mixing the Subway cabinets with other manufacturer's cabinets, nor mixing cabinet models from Mesa outside of the Subway models (for example, PH and Scout cabinets may not mix well with Subway cabinets).

The most common combination is the 115 with the 210, but the 115 with 112 is not far behind.

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Thanks Agedhorse.

Given the difficulty in listening to equipment during the current "lockdown" it's frustrating not to be able to hear how the characteristic sound is changed with the different combinations.   Any clues would be welcome as would more patience on my part!  Terrible thing this need for instant gratification! 

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Subway 112 + 115 hits the spot for me. Been using that combo for a few years now and is very versatile and loud enough for pubs, clubs and weddings. Since moving to IEMs I have been taking the 115 along with me for a bit of oomph on stage. Whenever we get back gigging though after COVID both cabs will be coming out every night and put through their paces.

 

1413331520_2020-02-0619_09.50-1.thumb.jpg.fceb4a26b7d59f8ab87ed8c3f1214ed0.jpg1464904472_2020-10-2219_32.21-1.thumb.jpg.62455986b9a98f88e9ccef7e5716c0b4.jpg

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17 minutes ago, sPiKi said:

Subway 112 + 115 hits the spot for me. Been using that combo for a few years now and is very versatile and loud enough for pubs, clubs and weddings. Since moving to IEMs I have been taking the 115 along with me for a bit of oomph on stage. Whenever we get back gigging though after COVID both cabs will be coming out every night and put through their paces.

 

1413331520_2020-02-0619_09.50-1.thumb.jpg.fceb4a26b7d59f8ab87ed8c3f1214ed0.jpg1464904472_2020-10-2219_32.21-1.thumb.jpg.62455986b9a98f88e9ccef7e5716c0b4.jpg

Nice looking Reverends there.  I picked one up in a shop once, it was really light, felt like it was made of balsa wood.  

The orange one looks interesting, half P bass, half Stingray.

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Thanks BillyBass. Don't let the weight deceive you. Great electronics and the quality control is top notch. Although they are made in Korea, which seems to put off some potential players, every guitar is individually set up in the States. Playable straight out of the box. A great combination with the Subway rig.

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