Okay, this review has been through several iterations, so I am going to list them from most recent to the oldest. This means that first, we have...
In this installment, four "newcomers" (Markbass 102P, Music Man HD-210, Sadowsky SA210, and Schroeder 1010) go head to head against the top three contenders from the prior shootouts (Bergantino HT210, EA NL-210, Glockenklang Duo Wedge). Here's how they look on paper: Bergantino HT210
(500w, 8 ohm, 36 Hz to 18 kHz, 100 db, 64 lbs, 18” x 22.75” x 18”) EA NL-210
(500w, 8 ohm, 45 Hz to 16 kHz, 100 db, 43 lbs, 22.5” x 17” x 15”) Glockenklang Duo Wedge
[German model] (400w, 8 ohm, 40 Hz to 18 kHz, 100 db, 53 lbs, 15.4” x 22.8” x 18”)
(400w, 8 ohm, 45 Hz to 18 kHz, 101 db, 33 lbs, 23.4" x 13" x 17")Music Man HD-210
(350w, 8 ohm, 50 Hz to 20 kHz, 98.5 db, 64 lbs, 24" x 17.5" x 18")Sadowsky SA210
(400w, 8 ohm, 48 Hz to 16 kHz, 100 db, 50 lbs, 22.75" x 18" x 11.5")Schroeder 1010
(8 ohm, 100 db, and need more stats!
And here is how they look on film:
I did this shootout at the same time as the 1x12 shootout, so the test gear was the same (Skjold Custom 5, Stewart Audio TD-100, Crest CA9), as was my playing style (mostly fingerstyle, with a little slap/pop for tone testing). My previous test results for the Berg, EA and Glock all pretty much held true, and I have spent more time trying to describe the newcomers.
The results, in alphabetical order:Bergantino HT210
– This cab was very similar to the NL-210, and I was quite surprised by that. Also a true standaout. Most of the comments for the NL-210 also apply, but it was a bit tighter in the lows (with the NL-210 being a bit more warm). The mids were a bit more solid sounding, whereas the mids from cab EA were a bit more cutting. This cab really sounds like a “bass” cab, but still remains very dynamic, punchy, full and clear at the same time, and fast, yet with a sense of weight and gravitas. It was one of the louder of the 2x10's, if not the loudest of the group. EA NL-210
– At the first 2x10 update, this cab actually exceeded my expectations (which were actually high to start with). It was as big, deep and full as the Acme in the lows, but with even more crisp high end (compared to the Low B-2). Midrange clarity was exceptional, with a very quick, very articulate tone and tons of attack. I was surprised, but impressed, by its similarities to the HT-210 (see above).Glockenklang Duo Wedge
– This extremely impressive cab sounds like a cross between the NL-210 and the HT210 (you see why these three were my top picks from before?
). It was not quite as big sounding as either of these two, but was very close in this regard. Considering its compact size and wedge design, this is to be expected. Great articulation, clarity and precision without sounding at all harsh. Again, a standout cab among a very good group.Markbass 102P
- Despite its diminutive size, this little cab is very full and big sounding, which seems to mostly stem from an enhanced low mid voicing. By contrast, it seems to be missing some presence in the upper midrange. The tweeter adds a respectable degree of clarity, but seems to add more string noise than most. On the lowest notes, I did notice the response falling off fairly steeply below A on the B string, but down to that point it was very strong. Once I stood the 102P on end, it sounded much better to my ears (more balanced and articulate, smoother high end), but the overall impression is still a big low end (down to a point), somewhat reticent upper mids, and a rather sharp high end. The overall package is quite respectable, IMHO, especially for such a small and light package.Music Man HD-210
- Looking at my notes, the first thing I wrote down was "Wow!", and that about sums it up. It was big, full, deep yet tight in the lows, with a very open high end, and balanced/articulate mids. It did not go quite as deep as the HT210, but in other respects, sounded very similar, though it perhaps had tad more presence in the upper mids, relative to the Berg. Compared to the Glock, it was not quite as "refined", but again quite similar. I wish this cab had an L-pad adapter on the tweeter, though in truth the highs sounded quite nice "set" as it was (with perhaps a tad too much string noise). This cab is rather heavy, but probably delivers the best bang for the buck, tone-wise, of any 2x10 (and perhaps any cab) I have played. Very impressive!Sadowsky SA210
- This compact, shallow cab is not quite as deep or full sounding as the NL-210 (few cabs are), but otherwise shared many similarities with the EA, including similar "warmth with clarity" through the mids. The tweeter is fairly aggressive and expansive, though still "connected" to the drivers, which are themselves very punchy. There is a combined sense of clarity and presence that begins in the mids and carries through to the highs. It's not a bump/hump, but just a slightly enhanced presence over this broad range. I have found this to cut through very well in a mix, but without getting boomy or obnoxious. This cab was designed to be used with the all-tube SA200, and as such, I find that with SS amps, some slight low end boosting is called for. Still, it takes to low frequency boost fairly well, and is a full sounding cab, on the whole. Relative to the Duo Wedge, it was also quite similar, though not as open sounding (which is a characteristic that Glocks seem to do so well). While this cab was designed and built by Jim Bergantino (and its outer shell is shared by the HT210S), the drivers, crossover and tweeter are different, and the SA210 has its own voice (exellent, but different from the HT210S). The drivers are very efficient, and this was one of the louder cabs of the group.Schroeder 1010
- I have had the pleasure of hearing a number of Schroeder cabs, and this one is perhaps my favorite. Compared to the other Schroeders I have played, it seems more tonally balanced and more clear and precise with fingerstyle playing. That said, compared to the other cabs in this roundup, it is rather boxy and a little congested sounding. There is not a whole lot of what I call "true" low end, but it stays reasonably full. The 1010 is not as low-mid heavy as some other Schroeder cabs, but instead, it's more bumped in the upper mids (especially on the A and D strings). I do like this particular tweeter better than the Selenium titanium tweeter option, and I actually preferred the sound with it cranked up some (though this caused some hiss - which is not unexpected and was not a problem). Being an 8 ohm cab, the 1010 was not any louder than average for this group (though in its upper mid "boost range" it was very loud). Note: although "new", this cab is an older configuration, and Jorg has made numerous changes to his lineup. I am not sure that a 1010 is even offered right now.
I've been able to review some pretty killer 2x10's, and IMHO, this is a pretty competitive group. Please read any "negative" comments as references in context to the competition - which is very, very good!
And before Part 3, there was...
Okay, some time back, I did a little shootout among the 2x10’s that I had on hand at the time. Since then, I have acquired a few more, and I figured that it was time for an update. The cabs involved this time around are as follows: Accugroove Tri 210L
(600w, 4 ohm, 39 Hz to 18 kHz, 103 db, 57 lbs, 21.25” x 24.75” x 18.25”) Acme Low B-2II
(350w, 4 ohm, 41 Hz to 22 kHz, 93 db, 50 lbs, 23” x 15.75” x 16.5”) Bergantino HT210
(500w, 8 ohm, 36 Hz to 18 kHz, 100 db, 64 lbs, 18” x 22.75” x 18”) Dr. Bass Custom 2x10
(specs unknown – I’ll take some measurements later) EA CxL-210
(600w, 8 ohm, 42 Hz to 14 kHz, 102 db, @ 80 lbs, 22.5” x 17” x 15”) EA NL-210
(500w, 8 ohm, 45 Hz to 16 kHz, 100 db, 43 lbs, 22.5” x 17” x 15”) EA VL-210
(500w, 8 ohm, 38 Hz to 15 kHz, 95 db, 70 lbs, 23.125” x 19.5” x 16”) Glockenklang Duo Wedge
[German model] (400w, 8 ohm, 40 Hz to 18 kHz, 100 db, 53 lbs, 15.4” x 22.8” x 18”)
Here's the lineup shot:
First off, let me say that I think that all of these cabs are very good (or else I wouldn’t have bought them!), and that personal preference will definitely be the deciding factor as to which one is “best” for a given person. My “testing equipment” included my Skjold Custom 5 (which is the instrument that I am the most familiar with right now, and a very clear, yet full-sounding, instrument), into a line driver (with variable high pass filter) built by Jim Bergantino, into a Crest CA9. The little line driver from Jim is deceptively simple, but it is the most clear, pure, uncolored and 3D sounding device I have at my disposal. Basically straight wire with gain (and a variable high pass filter, which I left turned off). Here’s a shot of the Bergantino line driver, if’n you’re interested:
Here are my thoughts/observations: EA VL-210B
– This cab was one of a few that could take all that one side of the CA9 could dish out (with the line driver cranked up all the way). In fact, this cab had no signs of breakup at all, even at the highest volumes I could push. The overall tone is slightly dark, with a deep tight low end – although the lows to low mids were not as full, overall, as some of the other cabs. Good clarity on the whole, with fairly smooth highs. Midrange was nicely present, but again a little dark. Acme Low B-2II
– Very deep and very full sounding. Also a very clear cab, but with less mids than some of the other cabs, and brighter highs than the VL-210B. I’d say that it is slightly mid scooped, though not perhaps compared to other cabs not in this shootout. This cab was louder than I expected, but it couldn’t take all that the CA9 could put out without showing signs of stress. EA NL-210
– This cab was one of the standouts, and in fact exceeded my expectations (which were actually high to start with). It was as big, deep and full as the Acme in the lows, but with even more crisp high end (compared to the Low B-2). Midrange clarity was exceptional, with a very quick, very articulate tone and tons of attack. Could not handle full power from CA9 without signs of stress. EA CxL-210
– This cab had probably the most cutting, bright, and clear tone. The midrange response was similar to the NL-210, but not as full, especially in the lows. Very, very quick (slightly more so than the NL-210), but somewhat thin sounding compared to the NL-210 and the Acme. Not as dark sounding as the VL-210, but with some definite similarities to its predecessor, on the whole. Dr. Bass Custom 2x10
– This cab had a similar tonal range to the NL-210, but was not as polished. It was not as clear/precise as the best in this group, but had good articulation. There was a hint of vintage warmth to the mids. The high end sounded a bit boxy compared to the best in this group, but would probably be praiseworthy outside of a direct comparison to this particular competition. Not quite as full sounding as the Acme and NL-210, though very close. This cab was the punchiest of the group, and also took all that the CA9 could offer. Bergantino HT210
– This cab was very similar to the NL-210, and I was quite surprised by that. Also a true standaout. Most of the comments for C also apply, but it was a bit tighter in the lows (with the NL-210 being a bit more warm). The mids were a bit more solid sounding, whereas the mids from cab EA were a bit more cutting. This cab really sounds like a “bass” cab, but still remains very dynamic, punchy, full and clear at the same time, and fast, yet with a sense of weight and gravitas. This cab also didn’t quite handle all the CA9 could put out, but was one of, if not the, loudest of the group. Glockenklang Duo Wedge
– This extremely impressive cab sounds like a cross between the NL-210 and the HT210 (which were very close to begin with). It was not quite as big sounding as either of these two, but was very close in this regard. Considering its compact size and wedge design, this is to be expected. Great articulation, clarity and precision without sounding at all harsh. This cab could take all the CA9 put out without stressing. Again, a standout cab among a very good group. Accugroove Tri 210L
– This cab shared some similarities with the NL-210, especially in the lows, but was even more full sounding and had the warmest tone, overall, of the group. Even the high notes maintained a certain thickness to them. This cab was not as clear, punchy or dynamic through the mids as some of the rest, but it moved the most air. Handled most of what the CA9 could put out, but not quite all.
Again, these are all very good, very impressive cabs. If I had to pick any “winners”, based upon sonic performance alone, I would have to say that the NL-210, HT210, and Duo Wedge made me sit back and say “day-um!” more than the others. However, I could easily see any of these cabs being someone else’s favorite based upon variations in personal preference. Also, I could gig quite happily with any of these (and in fact, I have gigged with most of them – the Glock being a very recent acquisition and only put through its paces at a gig in "vocal monitor" duty - which it handled quite well!).
Again, the EA NL-210, Bergantino HT210, and Glockenklang Duo Wedge ended up within spitting distance of each other, and for my tastes, my playing style, and with the associated gear used in this test, they would all via for top honors. For a small, compact wedge shaped "monitor", the Duo Wedge has a very big sound, but of course the NL-210 and HT210 both sound a tad bigger. The Glock does have a fairly unique voice, and it strikes me as somehow taking the rough edges off each note, but maintaining the clarity. The NL-210 surprised me with its authoritative sound, great volume, and excellent balance. But again, almost any subjective words that I can use to describe one of these three would tend to apply to the other two, as well. However, the NL-210 is the warmest of the three. The HT210 took the sound of the other two and just added some meat behind each note. Very dynamic, with a sense of deep forcefulness behind the clarity, the HT210 was probably the loudest/punchiest of the group (even though it couldn't quite take all the gain from the CA9 - but it didn't need to).
But, some thoughts on the other fine contenders:
VL-210 - two of these stacked, and pushed by a big old amp, are still a force to be reconned with. The louder you drive these cabs, the better they sound, IME.
Low B-2II - these cabs still offer excellent bang for the buck, and present a very smooth sound, with good clarity, and excellent low end in a compact, lightweight package.
CxL-210 - this cab is exceptionally quick sounding, with good high end zing and clarity. I can see where slappers might really like this sound (of course, it sounds great with other playing styles, too). In my previous 2x10 shootout, I felt that it was slightly more warm sounding and slightly less clear than the VL-210. Well, with the line driver and the CA9, it seems that my results are reversed to an extent, as the CxL-210 had more clarity, and the relative fullness was right about equal. These two really sound a lot alike.
Dr. Bass 2x10 - This thing weighs next to nothing, and it is in a very compact box. Combine its diminutive dimensions with the diminutive prices charged by Dr. Bass for their cabs, and you have a heck of a bargain that won't break your back. I am just amazed at how much power you can pump into these cabs.
Tri 210L - You can move a ton of air with this cab, and the tone is full, full, full. Although it is the biggest cab in the group, it's weight is deceiving and highly manangable. The low end had many similarities to the NL-210, but the mids were rather different. One unique characteristic of Accugroove cabs, IME, is that they sound full and rich no matter where you are playing on the fingerboard.
And starting it all, was...
I am lucky enough to own multiple very good 2x10's, and here is a little shootout I was able to do one night when the wife and kids were out, and I could shake the house a little!
Here were the contenders:
Again, if you don't know them by sight, they would be:
ACME Low B-2
Accugroove Tri 210L
These cabs were all used with my iAMP 800 (I had put the rack rig away by then), and I played through my Thunderbird, primarily. I did briefly play my 5-string through them, but as I had used all of them with the 5 before, I didn't spend a lot of time with the 5-string. Quick answer: they all do the Low B thing quite well, and do so consistent with the more general observations below. Here is what I found:
With EQ's all set flat and all tweeters (and mids) were all the way on
- which is, of course, "flat" for the ACME and Accugroove, but "boosted" for the EA cabs, the cabs in the photo are arrayed from left to right in the order of the tightest low end, and greatest overall perceived clarity, to thickest low end (and least perceived clarity).
There were two big surprises for me, here. First, was that the CXL-210 was slightly more warm/round than the VL-210B. The CXL-112 is a very cutting and clear cab
, and I thought that the CXL-210 would be between the VL-210B and CXL-112 in this regard. To my surprise, though, the CXL-210 takes a good bit of the edge off the CXL-112, and the VL-210B (with two mids and a tweeter, versus the CXL-210's single coax tweeter) has the edge in overall clarity, but is slightly thinner sounding than the CXL-210. This is even more intriguing given my prior comparison of my CX-310 to two VL-210's. In that scenario, the CX-310 had more cut and clarity, and equal "heft" and "weight." I can see why one VL-210 might sound thinner where two did not, but I am not sure why the CX-310 would have more perceived cut/clarity than the CXL-210. My guess is that it is, indeed, a perception thing, where once you stack two VL-210's, the low end beefs up to the point that perceived cut/clarity is reduced. I don't know...
The other surprise was that the Tri 210L was even thicker in the lows than the Low B-2. Accugroove cabs certainly are known for being full, rich, and phat
, but the Low B-2 is the king of thick 2x10's (or so I thought!). Granted, the difference between the two was not huge, but nevertheless, I had expected the ACME to have the deepest, fullest, thickest low end, and was surprised when the Accugroove bested it in these regards. [For those desiring truly collossal tonal girth, I should point out that the Whappo, Jr. has even more low end weight than the Tri 210L!] Along with this, the ACME had more upper midrange and high end clarity than the Tri 210L. Keep in mind, this is with everything set totally flat, EQ-wise.
Overall, the two EA cabs were more similar than different, and the ACME and Accugroove cabs were also more similar than different. The EAs, had a thinner, cleaner sound, but could easily add bass boost to crank out truly massive low end. The ACME/Accugroove cabs appear to be designed from the opposite end of the spectrum, where you start out with a full, rich, tone, and cut low end if need be. Set flat, the Low B-2 or Tri 210L would be the kind of cabs that I would bring to an outside gig, or a room that is known for being a bit on the thin side, whereas the EA's are better suited for situtations where you might have to fight some boominess in a room or onstage. The latter seems to be more common for me, although I have played more and more outside gigs of late.
I guess there is a third surprise. The perceived loudest of all three cabs, with the gain set equal? The VL-210B. This came as quite a surprise, especially since the Low B-2 is a 4 ohm, and the Tri 210L had its Accuswitch set to 4 ohm. Both EA cabs are 8 ohm models.
I am not sure if these types of "shootouts" are at all helpful to the rest of you, but I do have people ask me about comparisons between these cabs, so I thought I would share.
Take care, Tom.
I have been meaning to get back to this 2x10 shootout for some time, as I have picked up some additional cabs (EA NL-210, Bergantino HT210, and a custom neo 2x10 from Dr. Bass). I still have not done a comprehensive test of all the available 2x10's, but for the sake of sharing some information (as opposed to none) concerning these cabs, let me state the following limited observations.
The NL-210 is a very light weight cab, and a breeze to manhandle. It is more warm sounding than EA's prior 2x10's, but is still very clear (though perhaps not as ultimately clear as the VL-210), and the bottom end on the whole is more full. Very nice balance of warmth and clarity in a very compact, lightweight package.
The HT210 is a real eye opener. So far, I have only compared it against my Tri 210L, but despite being rated at 100 SPL (versus the Tri's 103 SPL) and despite its 8 ohm rating (versus the Tri's 4 ohm load), the Berg was louder, punchier, more forceful, more clear, and had more dynamic impact than the Accugroove. Wow! I can't wait to put this cab through its paces!
The Dr. Bass cab is a custom compact/lightweight cab that Marc Serio built. After I provided him with some detailed feedback and some suggested modifications to make it even better, he offered to take the cab back and make the modifications for free! Great service, if you ask me. And indeed, it came back sounding even better than before. I love the size/dimensions on this cab, and it is also extremely light. The tone is very well balanced, and it can hold its own against the "big boys!"
Ultimately, depending on your personal preferences, playing style, and associated gear, any of these cabs might be "the one" for you.