Bowlus Bass Blog

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Location: Fremont, Ohio, United States

I am an attorney by day, but that's really just my "backup gig" in case this whole "musician thing" doesn't work out. ;^) I was been blessed with the opportunity to write freelance reviews for Guitar World's Bass Guitar Magazine, and I contributed regularly from the Spring of 2006 up until Bass Guitar Magazine's demise. This was, in itself, a dream come true, and an opportunity for which I am truly grateful. But this was a stepping stone to bigger and better things, and I am now the Editor-in-Chief of Bass Gear Magazine (www.bassgearmag.com). Our first issue came out in August of 2008, and we are now the leading bass review magazine, worldwide. Of course, on the topic of my true blessings, I have a wife and two kids, all of whom I greatly adore, so my time for music/bass/songwriting/performing, and yes, even the occasional practicing, is not infinite. Nevertheless, I really enjoy my time spent playing bass, writing and recording songs, and just getting to "play" with all that great gear! This blog is a result of these external interests...

Monday, May 29, 2006

The 1x12 Shootout

Okay, this has been a long time coming, and even after all the time I spent waiting until I had ALL the players on hand, I still had one soldier away on active duty (my CxL-112 is currently serving in the Cheezewiz Regiment). But, I can't wait forever, so here comes the Bowlus Bass Borg 1x12 Shootout!

The competition:

Bag End S12-D (200w, 8 ohm, 50Hz to 5kHz, 100 db, 41 lbs, 15.5" x 18" x 15.5")

Bag End S12X-C (200w, 8 ohm, 50Hz to __kHz, 100 db, 41 lbs, 15.5" x 18" x 15.5")

Bergantino EX112 (300w, 8 ohm, 48Hz to 18kHz, 97 db, 36 lbs, 15" x 17.5" x 13")

Bergantino HT112 (300w, 8 ohm, 48Hz to 18kHz, 97 db, 39 lbs, 15" x 17.5" x 13")

Bergantino IP112 (500w [amplified; 1,000w with ext. cab], 8 ohm, 15" x 17.5" x 13")

EA Wizzy (200w, 4 ohm, 45Hz to 12kHz, 103 db, 41 lbs, 19.25" x 17" x 12.5")

Epifani T-112 (300w, 8 ohm, 43Hz to 16kHz, 100 db, 41 lbs, 16.5" x 19.5" x 16.25")

Glockenklang Space Deluxe (250w, 8 ohm, 39Hz to 18kHz, 98 db, 43 lbs, 16.9" x 20.9" x 14.8")

Raezer's Edge Bass 12-400 (400w, 8 ohm, 40Hz to 4kHz, 99 db, 45 lbs, 18.5" x 17" x 14")

Schroeder Mini 12+ (500w, 8 ohm, 40Hz-20kHz, 100 db, ?? lbs, 16" x 16" x 16")

And here is the lineup:



As usual, the test bass was my trusty Skjold Custom 5, and the reference amp was a Crest CA9. My Bergantino line driver is off visiting its maker, so I used my Stewart TD-100. I was able to play through most of these cabs with Mike, Steve, and Pat at a recent GTG, but the commentary below is more directly from my own observations with me playing a range of fingerstyle approaches (some slap/pop), though certainly, Mike's playing through these cabs (using his Smith, and either his Focus Series III or Pat's WT-550) was fresh in my mind when I made my notes. For the most part, the results were consistent. Here we go!

Bag End S12-D - The S12X-C which we played at the Mini GTG was a bit of a surprise, and generally received good remarks. This is the X-C's tweeterless brother (which we did not play). For some reason, it did not seem to go quite as deep as the S12X-C, but did seem more smooth and even through the mids. It was certainly punchy, and just a slight bit "boxy" sounding (I need to try to better define what I mean by that, but just bear with me for now, please!). It has some definite tonal similarities to the EX112, but sounded a little rougher around the edges.

Bag End S12X-C - As mentioned above, this was one of the 1x12's that Mike, Steve, Pat and I checked out, and it acquitted itself well in a very competitive group. It is fairly balanced, tonally, and goes pretty deep for a smallish box. The coax tweeter is certainly aggressive, but not unpleasant. It takes a bit for your ears/brain to adjust to it, though. The mids are thick up to a point, and then they thin out a bit in the upper mids, but remain quite present. Just as the S12-D is reminiscent of the EX112, so, too, is the S12X-C comparable to the HT112. The Bag End seems to offer more lows, but is not as balanced through the mids, relavent to the HT112 The HT112 is more smooth, while the S12X-C is more aggressive.

Bergantino EX112 - This tweeterless cab has punchy, full mids, with a strong lower-midrange voice. The highs are somewhat muted relative to the Wizzy (though similar to the S12-D), and the low end is both deeper and more full than the Wizzy. On the whole, it sounds a lot like a more refined S12-D.

Bergantino HT112 - For some reason, the HT does not sound as punchy as the EX, and while the EX has just a hint of "boxiness", this does not seem to be present in the HT. The highs are crisp, but not harsh at all, and the transition from driver to tweeter is virtually seamless. It has a full low-midrange that is both very clear and quick, but also thick. It goes relatively deep, and never seems to chuff or choke on the lowest notes (even though some cabs may offer more volume on these notes). All in all, a very "comprehensive," refined presentation.

Bergantino IP112 - This is really not a fair comparison to the other cabs in the group. It has an internal amplifier (500w into its 8 ohm load, 1,000w with an 8 ohm extension cab), and an onboard, 2-channel DSP (see numerous other threads on the IP line of cabs for more details). It could go far louder than any of the other cabs without breaking up. It was much more full sounding, and went far deeper than anything else. There are no discernable peaks or valleys, and the overall tone is very "fast", with tons of dynamics and punch, but still open and clear. The mids were smooth, musical, rich, yet very defined. Not a hint of boxiness. The high end was sweet, clear, quick yet still full. This cab can do it all!

EA Wizzy - The Wizzy is very tight and controlled with a full tone, and smooth (slightly muted) highs. The low B through a single Wizzy is not huge sounding, but nevertheless balanced relative to the other strings. As you turn up the volume, the low B stands out more, but remains very tight. The mids are the predominant speaking voice, and offer a hint of vintage warmth, but with good articulation. The whizzer cone allows it to transmit more high end informatoin, and the highs seem go even higher as you turn it up. Depsite its low power rating, this Wizzy seems capable of taking a lot of power without breaking a sweat. It gets very loud, and while it is a somewhat "punchy" cab, and the mids are somewhat present, they are a musical, broad (yet not dramatic) midrange "push", as opposed to a definite peak. The Wizzy sits great in a mix, too.

Epifani T-112 - Next to the IP112 and the Glock, the Epi had the biggest, deepest low end (very close to the Glock in this regard). The T-112 also serves up beautiful, crystalline highs that seem to float above the cab and are very open and airy. It is somewhat scooped in the upper mids (the UL-112 definitely has more going on in the upper mids, though a little less on the lowest notes). This cab takes gobs of power effortlessly, but IME, it needs a lot of power to perform its best. When played loudly, the A-string seems a little too aggressive relative to the other strings, but it was not as peaky as the Schroeder. Also, at higher volumes you hear a good bit of string noise. While I didn't have one on hand when I was playing, going on Mike's UL-112 at the Mini GTG, I think we all preferred the UL-112 as a stand alone cab, but I just love the T-112 (NYC-112) as a compliment to the UL-110.

Glockenklang Space Deluxe - This cab also seems to offer it all, and comes the closest of all the non-powered cabs to matching the IP112. Its tone is big and full (with the deepest lows of the bunch - agian, notwithstanding the IP112), but it is also quick, tight, and clear, with a very "connected" sounding high end. It has an expansive sound, and great tonal balance. It is a little bigger in the low end compared to the HT112, but not quite as clear in the low mids as the HT112, though for the rest of the frequency range, it bears certain similarities to the HT112 - the Berg is a little more full/thick, and the Glock is a bit more open sounding. It feels a lot lighter than the 41 lbs quoted on the Glockenklang website.

Raezer's Edge Bass 12-400 - This cab was somewhat similar to the Wizzy, but not as full on the low B. It was more articulate than I had expected (based upon previous experience), but was definitely somewhat boxy sounding. It offered up a consistent, punchy tone as you cranked the volume. On the whole, it was not as defined as the Wizzy, but was not as peaky or muffled as the Mini 12+.

Schroeder Mini 12+ - Compared to most of the other cabs in this group, the Mini 12+ sounded a bit muffled (like the proverbial blanket had been dropped in front of it). The cab has a low-mid throatiness, and its response is kind of peaky (for instance, an E on the A string really pops out at you when played). I do like the tweeter in this cab much more than the Selenium titanium tweeter I have heard in some other Schroeder cabs, and in fact, I actually liked the high end pretty well, but it sounded rather detached, and kind of out there on its own. The low B was kind of chugging at higher volumes, though overall volume stayed fairly loud. It less muffled, but more "barky" at higher volumes, too. On the whole, it has a strong midrange presence, and is not as articulate, defined, clear as some of the other cabs.

Some of these cabs also made it down to the upright "belchfest" in Columbus. There were some commonalities, but also some marked differences in how these cabs performed with upright (and in the particular room) relative to electric bass (being played in my basement). I'll try to reflect more on that later, but I've got to go, so we'll stick with this content for starters.

Later, Tom.

5 Comments:

Blogger will said...

hey tom, would you care to comment on how the Berg AE112 sounds?

11:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Bowlus said...

I really need to update this shootout with both the AE112 and the HT112 ER. But in short, the AE112 is perhaps my favorite 1x12. It is not quite as big and deep sounding as the HT112 ER, but it is quite deep and has punch from top to bottom.

2:03 AM  
Blogger will said...

one other question... have you ever tried the avatar SB112 NEO LF? if so how would you say it holds up?

9:20 PM  
Blogger Duratek said...

I own a Bergantino 2x10 and it seems to handle about anything I can throw at it, including my MM 5 string,at this level of quality probably hard to go wrong, your can shootout was helpful. I am looking to add (I thought a 15") but 12" may be way to go.

D

10:15 AM  
Blogger jscottmillion said...

A 1x12 update would be great...add the

AccuGroove Tri112L
Bergantino AE112
Bergantino HT112ER
Barefaced Midget T 112
Barefaced BigBaby 112
Epifani UL D.I.S.T 112

8:11 PM  

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