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Bass Cab Review
I have used many different bass cabs since 1968 including mainline makers
like Ampeg, Fender, Sunn and Peavey. Besides delivering the lowdown they
had another thing in common. They were very large and very heavy. Iíve
also used some Boutique type cabs that were very expensive and left me
wondering why they sounded so dull and yet cost so much.
was a long period where I really didnít need a big gig-rig so I sold off
everything but two heads which I put in the closet for the day I might need
a gig rig again.
five years ago I needed a gig-rig again as my Ampeg combo wasnít
adequate for the really loud band I found myself in. I had the two heads,
one of which is solid state Peavey Century 200 head I bought in 1976 which
was still working great and the other one was a 1972 Ampeg SVT 350 watt tube head
that weighted about 90 pounds and frankly needed some tweaking to get to
100% after sitting idle for nearly 15 years. After a quick trip to the
amp tech the Ampeg was usable. BUT, I didnít want to drag the
tube head around anymore and fortunately it turned out it was the far more
valuable one, so I sold the anchor to buy some really good cabs. I had
read some magazine and online reviews for Avatar. They all seemed to agree
that Avatar was making some really good cabs at amazing prices. So
going solely on faith of the reviews I bought an Avatar 1x15 Neodymium and
Avatar 2x10 Delta stack. Each is an 8 Ohm cab which gives me a 4 Ohm
load which was the minimum load for the old Peavey head I was going to use.
At that time the only option with an Avatar cab was choosing either 8 Ohm or
4 Ohm. There are far more options now. The part
of the reviews about the cabs being probably the top value in a bass cab is very true.
There are a few drawbacks with
my Avatar cabs in general which Iíll discuss later, but first the good
stuff, and there is plenty of it.
are solid wood cabs made of 13 ply voidless birch plywood. No particle
board or any junky construction like that. They are sturdy with rock
solid construction that won't "blow apart at the seams" like other cabs on
the market. When you try to push 600 watts into a 2x10 cab it has to
be solid or it will eventually come apart! While very solid,
they are no heavier
than they absolutely have to be. The jack plates are sheet metal, not
plastic. The jacks are metal and high quality. The grills on mine are
sturdy metal mesh with rubber grill isolation mounts. The corners, while plastic,
do lock in securely with any other Avatar cab regardless of the speaker
configuration since they are all the same width and depth. Iíve heard of
the corners cracking under heavy rough use, say when dropping a cab. My
corners are in like new shape because I move my own gear usually or at least
supervise. So far Iíve had no drops. The handles are sturdy and easy to
grip with no moving parts at all so they wonít rattle like some will. Both
cabs are front ported at the bottom which matters a lot because it projects
all the bass forward instead of some of the very best tones being bounced
out of a rear port and often being absorbed in backdrops or totally lost at
an outdoor gig. I far prefer front porting in a gig cab. I realize rear
porting in a combo is a compromise to keep the combo as small as possible.
Avatar bass cabs have Foster horns and Eminence woofers. The Eminence
woofers are a step up from the generic woofers that come standard in many
mainline cabs. On top of that, many of the Eminence woofers Avatar
uses are beefier than the retail versions of the same speakers. The
reason for that is because Avatar has
them specially made for better performance in bass cabs. The Foster horns are
used in other boutique cabs costing more than the Avatars. There is a
rotary horn level control on the jack plate which controls the horn's output
from Avatarís proprietary ultra high power Mylar capacitor crossover which allows you
to get anything from a modern sparkle tone cranked fully clockwise to a
slight upper midrange honk at
at or turn it
completely counterclockwise for a vintage cab sound. I much prefer the
rotary control to the three position rocker switch prevalent on many other
bass cabs in the same price class because with the rotary pot you really
have infinite horn control.
Neo 1x15 cab is surprisingly light. It is about 30 pounds lighter than the
shorter 2x10 Delta cab. This 300 watt Neo 15 is my favorite cab of the two
because of the lush lows and the light weight. Every cab and the
majority of the combos I have owned before were loaded with 15ís, but this
is the first Neo speaker Iíve ever used. Some people say Neo speakers
donít sound as good as conventional speakers, but this cab sounds just fine to me and it certainly is light. The
is rather large and in fact is precisely the same dimensions as the Avatar 4x10 cab. I
think the cab size contributes to the deep tone of this cab and I like
it. With the Ampeg SVT I often used two 2x15 Ampeg cabs I bought with the
head. I was never a devotee of the Ampeg 8x10 refrigerator cab preferring
the warmer 15 inch sound. There is a definite warmth to the Avatar 1x15 Neo
cab that really makes me smile and brings back memories of the 70ís and
80ís, but it also can do more highs because of the horn if you want or need
Sitting on top of the 1x15 is the 60 pound plus Avatar 2x10 Delta. This is
a small but fairly heavy cab compared to the Neo 1x15, but it is rated to
handle 700 watts, more than twice what the 1x15 is rated. Still they match
up quite nicely sound wise with my amp. The 1x15 gives me the deep vibrations Iíve
always loved while the 2x10 provides punch and drive. All in all a very
full range sound and both cabs project very well. In fact the stack sounds
much louder 12 feet away than 5 feet away. I usually set both horn faders
when playing outdoors.
When playing indoors I leave the 2x10 horn fader at 12 oíclock but turn down
the 1x15 horn fader to about 9 oíclock depending on the room I may cut the
horns even more. What I want to do is to hear the bass clearly outdoors and feel it
plainly indoors. The Avatar cabs can do both. I always had trouble hearing
my 15ís clearly outdoors.
push these cabs with an Ampeg 450 watt
USA made SVTIII or B2RE and the
Peavey Century 200 is back in the closet.
what I donít like about my Avatar cabs, and it is a short list and some of
my dislikes are now non-issues since they have made some changes since I
bought my pair. The first three issues are unresolved to date.
There is only one Speakon connector, but two ľ inch connectors on the metal
jack plate. This means if your amp only has one Speakon output that youíll
have to daisy-chain to the second cabinet with a phone plug speaker cable.
I prefer Speakon cables for high power applications such as the high powered
head Iím using now. Most other makers that offer Speakon connectors do
put two per cab.
There are no serial numbers on the cabs. They come only with a small
white sticker on the jack plate that says AvatarSpeakers.Com and states the cab
impedance. If you report any item stolen to police or your insurance
company you need to provide a serial number. With a serial number you have
a chance to get your cab back if it is recovered even years later hundreds
of miles away. With no serial number you will never see it again. See my
ďPROTECT YOUR GEARĒ link on the RESOURCES page for more information on
recovering your gear after it is stolen. So far as I know this is
still the case.
Avatar stopped making the 1x15 cab. Granted we old players who love
15ís are dying off, but frankly there is no substitute for the lush tones a
15 can dish out.
The Delta speakers in the 2x10 make it front heavy. That means that
when trying to carry the Delta 2x10 cab by yourself using both handles it
wants to twist your wrists into an uncomfortable position. I often
carry this cab one handled or get someone to help me move it and support the
bottom of the front with the free hand. This is no longer a problem as
the far lighter Neo 10ís are now standard in the Avatar 2x10 and 4x10 cabs.
5. RAT FUR! Since I bought my cabs about 5 years ago the fuzzy black carpet
like covering which many call rat fur was your only option. In fact your
sole customization option back then was to choose 4 Ohms or 8 Ohms, which
you still can do of course. This is also no longer an issue! Avatar now
builds totally customized cabs for every taste. Avatar offered a spray on
LINE-X coating as the first cab covering upgrade option a few years ago.
LINE-X is a rubberized waterproof, rip-proof spray-on coating based on the
deck coating on U.S. nuclear submarines which was later popularized as a spray-on
material applied as pickup truck bed liners and LINE-X is now also a permanent unbeatable bass cab
finish. It is probably the most durable and most sonic friendly exterior
covering ever put on a bass cab. Today Avatar still comes standard with
black rat fur carpet covering and a metal grill, but also gives you probably
the largest choice of cabinet covering (Tolex) colors as an upgrade. There
are eleven colors in all. The Tolex upgrade costs less than Line-X and is
prettier but of course Tolex is not as durable as the spray on LINE-X. The most recently added optional
upgrade is the fabric grill option. There are seven different grill
fabrics. The fabric grills come with the larger more prominent white
colored Avatar logo that has been used on Avatar guitar cabs for a very long
time and also come with a choice of four different piping colors too.
Probably the standard metal grill with the LINE-X cabinet coating is the
most durable in the long run, so if you are rough on gear that would be the
way to go, but they sure have some very pretty fabric grill treatments and Tolex color choices that will make your cab closely match the cosmetics of
the head you choose to use with your Avatar cabs. The type of covering, the
many Tolex colors, all the fabric grill options and then the piping color
options combine to give you the most options of any cab company I know
a few suggestions for Avatar. 1. Bring back the 1x15 Neo cab.
This is a great sounding cab and it is a crying shame it was dropped from
the line. 2. Put serial numbers on the cabs. 3. Add a second Speakon jack to the jack plate.
5. Add a small 1x10 cab with horn for rehearsal and recording use to the
line, but it doesnít have to be stackable with the larger cabs. Thatís it.
SUMMARY: Avatar delivers a top quality bass cabinet that handles more power
than the mainline cabs at a lower price than many mainline cabs. When you
call Avatar you'll find that the owner, also named DAVE, usually answers the phone. Todayís
optional upgrades can make your Avatar cab a totally custom thing of beauty,
make it as basic and inexpensive as possible or even make it nearly indestructible
with LINE-X armor. How much to spend on upgrades is totally up to you,
but youíll get great tone regardless of what upgrades you choose because,
beyond the impedance of course, the options are merely cosmetic. I
really like my stock issue Avatar cabs. They are a great value and the
lightest cabs Iíve ever used. I can fit both of mine, my gig amp rack
and a couple of basses into my car easily with room left over for a backup
head. There are smaller cabs out there and maybe lighter ones, but the
Avatar cabs I have been using sound bigger and heavier than they actually
are. I see no real reason to upgrade them other than to get a different
covering than the rat fur. Sometimes you can find brand new Avatar
cabs at a bargain on eBay as Avatar frequently sells new bass cabs on
eBay as a form of advertising, but usually they are the basic rat-fur metal grill black ones.
To get Line-X or Tolex you'll have to order from the Avatar Web Site because
the only place to get Avatar custom bass cabs is factory direct from Avatar.
To see their selection
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