2009 January - December


13/12/09 - Compact

I gigged my Compact for the first time last night, with Chainsaw, a six-piece rock covers band that has been going for 30 years. Drums, bass, two guitars, lead singer and backing singer. The venue was the Three Horse Shoes, Otley near Leeds; one of my favourite pub venues because bands play on a raised floor and the audience likes a good gig. I like to think we delivered on that front, but best ask the opinion of someone who was there.

I turned up with some trepidation. I 'just' had a Shuttle 6.0 and a Barefaced Compact, and with this band, the decibel levels are high. This year, I've often used an Eden stack with the Shuttle, and also sometimes a pair of GS112s, but all cabs have now gone to new homes and all I've got left is the tweeter-less Compact. For most of the night, I used my Stingray 5, but I also used the Modulus Quantum SPX5 for a few numbers.

Well, my anxiety about not having enough air-shifting presence was soon a thing of the past. I had a clear, loud sound on stage which kept up with the rest of the band, no problem. But that's not all. The bass end of things was immense. I could have boosted the bass much more than I allowed but that would have felt like being at an earthquake movie at a Suroundsound cinema. What became apparent was that I could hit each of the first five frets on the low B string and actually hear them as separate and distinct notes. Yes, that's not difficult in a quiet band with a couple of Bergo's or Agui's, but in a full-on rock gig, I've found that takes some doing. Admittedly, these are all 12" speakers, so perhaps it's unfair to compare them with a 15".

I've always thought that "cutting through the mix" meant being able to hear the mid and top end of things amidst the melee, but the Compact has made me realise that this can also relate to hearing the low bass and being heard amongst all other instruments as discernible notes rather than just a harmonious rumble. But what about my other worry concerning the lack of higher frequencies? Again, I was placated. I had the Shuttle on maximum treble boost, and this with the power of the SR5, gave me the bite I needed (e.g. for my occasional faux slapping moments). I'm not one to boost the mids, so I can't really give an opinion on the Compact 's ability in that part of the spectrum yet.

A true appraisal of the cab's ability to be heard at different angles requires more venues, but I certainly felt that it had a wide radius of projection last night.

The rest of the band were very impressed with the Compact. One of our guitarists, who rarely speaks with more than three words in a sentence (he's not stupid, and he has a first class university degree, but he's a genuine Tyke) said "that cab seriously kicks arse ...is it an 18 inch?" I also got some respectful comments about my playing after the gig from folk I've never met before. Believe me, this isn't a common occurrence. Maybe my brilliance just hasn't been as detectable before wink.gif.

I can only criticize the cab on one thing and that's it's appearance/finish. Barefaced has rightly focussed on delivering a 'Tardis' job in sound and weight but Barefaced cabs in my opinion have yet to have an exterior that matches their price tag. But that aside, we should be grateful for Barefaced's genius contribution to the world of Bass. Furthermore, their pioneering 'Barefaced On Tour' trials have been a great initiative.

I am so pleased that I have found a solution to lugging and to sound quality. I really could have come on the bus with my rig. One day I may well add another cab to sit on top of the Compact , but only to draw a better impedance load and to increase ear-height monitoring, but that would be a want and not a need.

Phil aka born2bmild (UK)

Addendum from Jonny:

I was in the audience at this gig and the compact sounded awesome! It's the first time I've met Born 2B Mild and having noticed in his signature that he's now using Barefaced cabs, I was really keen to see what they sounded like.

Out in the audience, the sound was full, warm and clear and the compact is more than capable of producing plenty of top-end, especially considering there is no tweeter...The amount of low-end from such a small cabinet is surprising in itself, but the amount of top-end available can easily put to rest any preconcieved ideas about what frequencies a single 15 can produce. Also worth noting is how sweet the treble is - there's no harshness that can be sometimes cause tweeters to be a bit of an aquired taste. AFAIK, the bass was running without any PA support aswell, which really helps to show how capable the compact is!

I agree about the finish and can understand why some people don't like it, but I can definately see the purpose of using that type of finish - it's hard wearing, easy to touch up AFAIK(?) and it wouldn't rip like tolex sometimes does or go fluffly like carpet can. Having said that, I think a few options regarding the finish could make the compact more attractive to more people, although IIRC, some people have already had Compacts built with different finishes, like carpet.

The weight is also incredible - it really is an easy lift. I'd really recommend that anyone with any doubts about this cab checks one out in person at a gig. It's especially useful hearing one from the audience's perspective and it's really the only way to answer any questions about what the cab is really like.

Addendum from Tom:

Glad to hear the Compact is doing it's thing. ( I swapped my Compact for B2BM's 2 Aggie GS112s)

I can confirm the points mentioned in the the above review. From my experience, the Compact filled a leisure gymnasium with no PA support using about 300 watts. In general, the band were always happy, especially the drummer, because they could hear the bass clearly as well as feel it. The finish never bothered me as I'm not hungup on aesthetics, the thing just needs to work.

I wish the Midgets where out earlier. The Compact is a great cab IMO, and the only reason I needed to move it on was that it's too big for my double bass gigs. The Aggies are great becasue I can split the stack as and when and one cab sounds really nice with UDB.

I imagine a Compact and a T'Midget would be ideal for my circumstances to cover electric bass and double bass.

[Barefaced: Following feedback from earlier customers we have worked to improve the cosmetics of our models - all cabs now have metal corners, rubber feet, finer steel grill perforations with machine cut edges, please look out for more recent photos in the near future! Also note that this is an earlier 32lb not 26lb Compact. One other thing - when Phil acquired this cab on the used market he also placed an order for a T'Midget because he was concerned that the Compact wouldn't be able to handle his band on its own. He subsequently cancelled that order!]


14/12/09 (Compact)
I've have received the cab and it sounds SO GREAT!!!

Kristian (Denmark)


11/03/10 - Compact

I´ve got one of your combact cabs and it works great!
I am currently using an Aguilar AG500SC amp (http://www.aguilaramp.com/products_amplifiers_ag500sc.htm)
But I am thinking about changing my amp to an Markbass F1 (http://www.markbass.it/products.php?lingua=en&cat=1&vedi=82)
Whitch one of the two amps do you think would be the best/have the most volume with my compact?

Best Regards
Kristian Bech Laursen, Denmark
A very satisfied Barefaced customer:)

[Barefaced: Tough question! I think you'd have to AB the amps directly to know,
the power ratings are too close to call. I'd expect the F1 to sound
tighter and quicker and the Aguilar a bit juicier but don't quote me
on that. Keep the Aguilar, buy the F1 if you're curious but make sure
you can return it if doesn't measure up!]


19/11/09 (Compact)

The cab arrived intact yesterday. I've only had a very limited time to spend with it so far, but I must say I'm very happy with it! Looks really good and weighs next to nothing. I tried it shortly with my T-funk and my new TC Classic 450, and the sound is great too! I'll post you more comments later.

Thanks again!
All the best

Tero (Finland)


23/11/09 (Compact)

I think the first gig I will have with the cab is in january, a recordingsession with a live setup.
I'll write you when I have tried it out.
But so far it is sounding very good! I have a few different basses, and especially my Rob Allen Mb-2 5 string bass with piezo pickup has been very hard to pair up with a cab.
It always sounded too Piezo-like, if you can follow. But this cab does the best job! I think it's because of the natural roll-of of only one driver. Regarding slap sound i can't imaging why anyone would want more highs than this cab deliver. If there were a tweeter i think most people would turn it down.

Adam (Denmark)


22/11/09 (Compact)

Just thought I send you a quick message to say how delighted I am with the Barefaced Compact Cab you supplied me with.

I have now had the opportunity to use it during the last few weeks and am really amazed that a 15inch cab can sound so good. It can handle all the sounds that I want easily and makes playing a lot easier as I can hear what notes I am playing. Sounds fantastic from the audience position as it sits in the mix so comfartably.

It's also so much more easier for me to transport.

Thanks again

Gethin (UK)


04/12/09 (Compact)

Cab arrived and gigged, seems to improve with almost every note I play (wish I could say the same about myself)! Will post feedback on Barefaced site after a few more outings.

Geoff (UK)


09/04/09 (Compact)

It's..... small. I didn't quite realise how "compact" it actually was! Looking forward to giving it some welly tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes. Did I read somewhere you've already run the speaker in?



The Funk 20/11/08 (Compact #1)

Hah! I'm in the middle of moving house and my band's been on a 2-week break while a couple of the guys were abroad so I haven't had a chance to test it in a band setting.

But from my initial thoughts, having spent an hour or so sticking different heads through it, are that the cab definitely has a character of its own and that it's loud!

The cab has an aggressive mid-range and bright highs. The lows are decent. The highs aren't harsh but they are slightly metallic - a bit G-Kish.

This really was a quick test though - and just with the one bass and with very little EQing.

The good news is that I like the sound of the cab and it sounded good with all kinds of different amps. And it was very loud with just a 150-odd Watt head.

I'm getting together with the drummer soon to make a couple of showing off videos. I'll use the Barefaced cab and see how it fares. Once my move is done, I'll sit down with the cab for a good few hours and try out all the different basses.

But my first thoughts were that I'm impressed! It's a decent height, very light, loud and with a good, very usable tone. More detail to follow!


In my brief experience (unfortunately not yet at real volume) I'd say exactly the same; get a Compact. It doesn't appear to be right for everything (my Epifani UL502+the Compact seems to be a weird mix; all the honky mids in the world, so much so they're difficult to tame - any idea why this should be Alex?) but my ABM500 sounds great through it. It sounds very similar in many ways to some of the more rock-orientated 4x10s I've used, but a bit clearer; in fact pretty much exactly as Alex has suggested, and I'd certainly guess it would keep up volume and bottom wise.
and on UL502 with Compact

Having successfully used a UL502 through various Epifani cabs using the same basses (my Seis) I can only conclude the Epi cabs must be comparatively very mid-scooped. The same eq that worked with the Epis with the Compact produces hugely different (and far more unpleasantly honky) results. I was really struggling to get a good sound with my Sei Melt whatever I did with the eq, although I'm working on it (that bass still seems to sound best through EBS).

I got a better sound with my Ric after some experimentation, but to approximate the sound I usually use - which is very different to what I want out of the Seis - I had to use the first channel with the mid scoop in, cut ALL the mids entirely (!), and boost both bass (around 2 o'clock) and treble (pretty much flat out). I've NEVER boosted bass in my life with a Ric, but it was the mid eq that really surprised me. For comparison, the settings on the Ashdown are bass about 10 o'clock, middle rotary flat, treble around 4 o'clock, a fair old kick in the low and high mid sliders, and the preshape in (it's somewhat Squire-esque for reference). I'm hoping to soon try a friend's LMK to see how that works.

Regardless of the above, I would suggest to anyone thinking of getting a typical 4x10 that they try the Compact. It appears to do easily the same job in a package that weighs only 32lbs. It actually feels lighter than either of my heads, although the Epi is supposed to be lighter. Oh, and as stated elsewhere an ABM sits on it like it was born to do so.

and on Compact (with ABM500) vs old Trace Elliott cabs

The response of the Compact with the Ashdown didn't surprise me at all; it sounded pretty much how I expected. Compared to my old Trace 4x10 (sealed & pre-Kevlar) it had similar bottom ("toit!" in the words of Goldmember ) although with better handling, smoother and more balanced (though not quite as grindy or barky) mids, a slightly clearer voice and possibly slightly more extended top. Compared to my old Trace 1153, much tighter lows, again not quite as barky and possibly with marginally less upper end detail than the 1153, but with much greater power handling and a more balanced sound (and weighs half as much; less than a third as much as the 4x10).




I swapped an Acme for a Compact

So Friday I went to pick up my new Compact. If you don't care to read scroll down to see the pics.

But before that a little bit of story. I had never met Alex before Friday despite speaking to him on the phone or on email countless times.
Alex is a 5 star guy, when I got there we started chatting just to realize ten minutes later than we had never really met, funny moment. laugh.gif

Now the cabs, Alex had my cab there ready for me to take home, plus about 5 or 6 others ready to have the speakers placed and the grilles fitted.
Also there were two Big Ones ready to go, more on that later.

The Compact:
first impression is that the cab is really and I'll repeat really light. The wood used is very thin, thinner than expected. The finish looks good and it will be easy to clean if needed, I was a bit worried about scratches but after having a closer look at home, that shouldn't be a problem, the finish looks though enough. This is the most straight forward cab I ever owned. One speaker 1x15, one speakon input and that is it, no bells or whistles. The cab looks much better in person than it does on the pics and the port and logo help to a very good look overall. The grille is something in between Trace Elliot grilles and the Ampeg ones it looks good as well, the whole cab is finished to a high standard with no rough edges.

How it sounds? Well I had only a chance of trying it out yesterday at Barefaced and today at home at low volumes. This is a very well balanced cab, no harsh highs even when boosting the treble. That noise you ear when sliding your fingers down the strings from one chord to another it's not so prominent so I'll guess that this cab will be a great choice for recording. The lows are much defined even with the B string and boosting all the lows on my F1, the cab just performs. I saw the Eminence speaker Barefaced uses and they do look the business, they look like they can take lots and lots of lows and volume.
I can see this cab cutting through very easily without the need to boosting mids, I tried it today with both my basses and I managed to get a very old school sound out of my T-Bass and a great growl out of my Spector. I'm very excited about practice today and then my gig on Friday, I want to see how it performs at a proper volume.

The Big One, well first thing, IT'S BIG, seriously the cab is not small, but weights very little, very manageable with the recessed wheels and two well placed handles one on the side and the other right at the top, pushed back so it doesn't get on the way of you amp.
It sounds good too, but with more mids and a lot more highs than the compact, I can see it being a great choice for rockers who need tons of volume and a cab that cuts through a wall of guitars with ease. That's the one. For me it is too big and it would be overkill, and plus it wouldn't fit my car. Oh and if you plan on buying one ask them to ship with the vintage look, instead of black he has a kind of grey/silver grille that looks ubber cool.



I've just borrowed our guitarist's late-70's silverface Bassman 50 valve head for a few days- had a quick play with it hooked up to the Compact earlier this evening, running my US Jazz (with Nordstrand NJ4's) straight in. WHAT a sound!

With the treble and bass knobs up full (and the Deep switch off), I'm getting this lovely grind tone when I dig in, yet with loads of punch and thickness too. I don't even have to crank the volume particularly high to get it either! I'm definitely going to have to try this set-up for recording...

Right, I'm off to try it with my old Squier JV P-bass next!



I just tried my Compact with GK 1001 RB II

I don't think that words can describe it




Product: BarefacedBass The Compact - http://www.barefacedbass.com/thecompact.html

Features : 9/10

The Compact is a single, high-excursion 15" neodymium magnet speaker, housed in a 9mm hardwood ply, extremely well braced & dampened cabinet.

Dimensions: 25.5" high x 19.5" wide x 13.5" deep
Weight: 32 lbs
Sensitivity: Louder than almost any 2x10" cab, close to many 2x12" cabs
Frequency Response: Similar to the classic sealed 8x10" fridge
Recommended Amp Power: 100 - 500W RMS
Maximum Output: Similar to a quality 2x12" or 3x10" cabinet
Impedance: 8 ohms
(Measured specs are not available yet, but will follow).

Other features:
Textured re-touchable coating
Single strap handle on one side
Powder coated steel grill
Airtight Speakon jack
Speaker "run in" prior to being shipped

The only negative is there's no 1/4 inch jack input, but apparently this is because no airtight 1/4 inch or combo 1/4 inch/Speakon inputs could be sourced. (Just don't forget your Speakon cable, 'cos nobody will have a spare...).

Sound Quality: 10
Amp: Markbass LMII, Bass: Dingwall ABII 5-string played fingerstyle, clean and with effects.
Single 15 cabs aren't too fashionable at the moment, so although The Compact goes against the flow, it's nothing like those wooly, muddy 15's from the past. The manufacturer suggests that: "...because The Compact is so small, it doesn't naturally have massive bottom, but it won't mind if you crank up the lows on your amp to get that fatness." Doing this, I can get a seriously hefty tone with thick lows, that organic, woody chest-thump that I love and natural-sounding top end, ie no squawk or hiss and at surprising volume too. It easily handles the lows produced by my Dingwall without crapping out, right down to the dropped A of the 37" B-string. It won't appeal to players wanting glass-shattering highs, but those wanting a very light cab that doesn't compromise on tone will love it. (*Although I haven't tried it yet, I know The Compact will make a no-nonsense recording cab too, due to its high quality, single speaker configuration).

*EDIT: Have now used the Compact in the studio, my setup being: Bass into Summit Audio TD 100 (valve DI), DI signal to desk, Mark Bass LMII and Compact on an Auralex Gramma Pad and Neumann M147 valve mike, fairly close & slightly off-axis (see pic below). The studio people were very impressed with the instant great sound, really helped by just having one speaker in the cab - no problems with mike placement. The first thing I said when listening back to the 1st take was, "...and this is the flat cab sound...???". Yes, the straight un-equalised cab sound was right on the money and no need to have it stupidly loud to get a good tone, no moving around of the mike or radical eqing required either. I can honestly say this was hands-down the best cab I've used in a studio.

So whilst The Compact is advertised as as loud, live cab, it works very well as a studio solution too - mission accomplished.

Reliability/Build Quality 9 :
N/A for reliability so far - not had it for long enough. Time will tell if the thin cabinet panels will hold up under serious gigging conditions, but, as noted previously, it's very well braced, so I'm not too worried.
Build quality is excellent, although a couple of the corner caps were slightly crooked, but I'm being VERY picky.

Customer Support : 10
Barefaced answered all my questions quickly and patiently - can't ask for more really!

Overall Rating : 10
Have rehearsed and gigged with the Compact, but a particularly good test was in a medium-sized venue with full PA, large stage and separate monitor mixes. The other bands were using a large rig - a powerful amp with a 4x10 & 1x15 - but I have to say my micro amp (Markbass LMII) and The Compact combination sounded so much better, in spite looking less impressive! Yes, the giant rig would have gone louder than mine had it needed to, but only moderate volume was necessary and The Compact gave me a much more integrated sound - a good solid tone that was easy for me to hear. I definitely didn't miss having a tweeter either and my effects were clear and crisp too.

Having used an LMII through a variety of brands of 2x10, 3x10, two 1x12's, and 4x10, I never thought a single 15 with no tweeter would work on it's own. So many lightweight cabs sound "middle-y" and can't reproduce real low end at gig volumes - in spite of their so-called "specs" - but The Compact really does the business live and in the studio and is lighter and more versatile than any of those big "names".

So yes, as the name says, it's compact. It's also loud, beefy-sounding and very portable, which means other band members don't mind carrying it... (Our [female] singer/guitarist picked it up and said, "Wow, it's really light, but it doesn't look it. And it's much lighter than my guitar amp...").

If I ever need more than one Compact, I'll just get another!

This post has been edited by JonnyM: May 17 2009, 08:42 PM

hought I'd say this to add to my review HERE: did another gig with The Compact a couple of days ago where another aspect of it's design revealed itself. The load-in was via a narrow staircase but I was still able to carry all my gear in one go, due to the shallow cab design and handle placement. When I think of the problems I used to have carting gear around blink.gif

I raised my rig off the boomy, hollow stage and got an excellent sound: fat but controlled, with plenty of clarity. (The sound engineer asked me to turn down during sound check though...bah!).

This cab really is ideal for the gigging bass player who doesn't want to compromise on tone and it continues to impress - good job Alex! I'm sure your other cabs will find their niche too.
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I'm happy for you to use my feedback but I won't gig the Compact until 3 Sept. We never gig in the summer.
I love the cab in rehearsal and I know it'll be stunning on a gig.
I'll email you soon.
PS. Oh, might be doing a dep gig soon so I might review sooner.

I'll be your N Ireland rep if you like haha




I have no objection to you using my feedback with my real name, & county (Merseyside).

Just to let you know, I think the cab is superb. it seems an ideal match for the "Baby Mark Bass" amp and is just as good as the Ashdown combo I had before in terms of both tone and volume.

You may also be interest to know that I have had a cover made for the cab by AmplifierCoversOnline.com, see:-
Then did not do one for the compact before I contacted them but I gave them the dimensions and they are now listing it as a standard product. This may be of interest to you other customers.


John Stower



Further to my last few emails I've found the cab will go in the Micra boot even without the seat back and it's been a godsend for the band. No more rehearsal studio roulette, it's always the same great sound (if I play right that is). I have the cab's sweet spots marked on the amp now, finding them took the compact from hi-fi to ballsy.

Oomph without bombast.



06/10/09 (T'Big One)

Just got it this evening, I think my head weighs more!
I'll drop you some feedback once it sees some proper use.

Thanks for everything,



19/09/09 (Compact)

Just to let you know Compact arrived last week, rehearsed with it twice now with two guitarists and a fairly loud drummer and all seems good. Got a gig 3rd Oct, will let you know how it gets on.




24/08/09 (Compact)

The compact has arrived, I'll give a proper review on Basschat probably tommorow.

So far I have tried three different types of bass and the first thing I noticed was how clear the speaker was and how natural the basses were sounding and the other obvious side of how much lighter this cab is .

Haven't really had a chance yet to really see what it does but from general messing around this cab can get loud!!!

Thanks again,
Matt (Murphy)


19/08/09 (Compact)

The Compact arrived today - all OK.

First impressions are very good - it looks the business and sounds louder than the old 2x10.

I'm away for a few days so won't be able to try it out properly until next week. I've got a few good gigs coming up in Sept and will let you know how it goes and will post a review on the Forum.

Thanks again,

Pete (Cross)


14/04/09 (Compact)

Received the cab today. My first impression is that it looks great, is very well finished and is just the right size for my ABM500 to sit on top :-) I've only tried it out in the house but it sounds fatter, bassier and cleaner than anything I've owned before and the bass extension puts my Schroeder 1212 to shame - that's probably not much of a surprise though!!

I'll post a review on BC as soon as I can. I'm not gigging at the moment but I've got band practice tomorrow and it should be an interesting first tryout.




04/08/09 (Compact)

I had rehearsals last night and I was so ecstatic that I wanted to text you when we finished. But then I thought better than waking you up and decide to leave it for today.

I plugged in the Spector with the same settings as I had at home. Lows boosted a quarter and everything else flat, rolled back the highs and bass boost on the onboard preamp. And Voila. Super tight sharp notes with bottom but extremely defined, very good for quick stuff. I was so happy with it that I didn't think about changing it during the rest of the night, but if I need to play something with less mids, it's just a matter of rolling back the mids or bringing the VLP filter into play, which I'll be doing next week.

I haven't tried the T-bass yet, but if the Spector sounds good the other one will be lovely as well.

I don't miss the tweeter as every single note on the D and G string cut sharp without being harsh or having that brittle sound to it. I'm very happy with my new cab.

I've tried pushing a little bit and brought the volume up to two quarters but I couldn't play for long at that volume without becoming deaf or have a cardiac arrest

I have noticed a great improvement on my B string, we were playing Feel Good Inc, that makes very good use of Eb and it sounded great very defined without the sloppy sound one usually get. The E on the B string sounds as good as the open string one; I have never come across a cab that would do this. It rings for ages and ages without loosing volume or distorting if plucked harder, a real joy.

Now I just need to order a cover to keep that pristine look and have lots of gigs to bring down the drummer and the guitards

Thanks once again

David Pires


19/07/09 (Compact)

The cab is here and it travelled well, I've made four gigs with it,
and sounds very good with my jazzbasses, very fat with good definition,
and with the Thunderfunk 750 it's very loud. Maybe for me can be better
with a compression horn for slap, cause I think that have enough
treble, but it's very directional, if the cab don't look to your ears ,
you hear little bit of treble.

Overall I'm very happy with the cab, maybe the next is make a DIY cab
with tweeter ( type fearful), but I only need the tweeter for one band
(funk), for the others the Compact it's perfect.
It's strange to see a light cab like this go loud and low without
vibrations or farting.

Thanks a lot!!!!
Best Regards



07/12/09 (Vintage T)

In a word, GREAT!
After my initial trouble with the cable, and taking a spare cab just in case, which I didn't need, all was well.
Fantastic warmth of sound, loads of volume, and, oh joy, clarity!
I want to get a few more gigs done so I can try to get a bit more accustomed to it before putting a review on Basschat and inviting anyone in my area to come and try it.
We've an outdoor show tomorrow, if it ever stops bloody raining, which I'm looking forward to as I was having trouble with my Ashdowns in the summer, and was the main reason for wanting to change.
Our drummer wants to know how well it would work on its side as it's the right height to sit on and he liked the feel of it through the stage. Strange people, drummers!
I'll keep you updated with more feedback over the next few weeks.

Many Thanks,



Right. You know the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey? That's the Vintage. And yes, my god, it's full of stars. I checked.

It arrived without me realising what it was, because the FedEx guy literally sauntered into my shop with it. I thought it was probably just another box full of bibs or highchairs. Then I saw the senders address, and I was amazed by just how light it was.

The lass who works for us helped me open the box just before her shift finished. Now, she used to work in a recording studio as a full-time session singer, so she's no fool when it comes to music gear. Her first three comments when we got it open were:

1. Wow, that's the biggest one I've ever seen.
2. It's beautiful!
3. How much did that set you back? A couple of grand by the look of it.

The first two are standard comments in a day in the life of BottomEndian, but they made me grin extra-wide today. And the third... well, it says it all. It really is beautiful to behold. The pictures we've seen so far really don't do it justice. The finish is black. None more black. And the cloth's just... cool. No other word will do. It's cool. Really reminds me of my parents' old hi-fi speakers.

I can't stress how light this thing is, at least in comparison to its size. I'm used to things like my Peavey 410 TVX, which is 102.5 lb, and I can't lift it on my own. The Vintage is actually an easy lift. I suspect it might even be lighter than my Peavey head. Seriously. The side handles seem to be perfectly positioned and balanced for lifting, and the tilt-back handle-and-wheels combination seems to work nicely. Note that although the box itself is 38" tall, it actually stands just over an inch taller than that, because of the feet. It's really quite imposing, in a good way.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to at least test it this evening, but I won't be able to really crank it until tomorrow night, when I'm meeting my guitarist for a jam. It'll be going up against a brutal onslaught of Les Paul > Big Muff > 150W Carlsbro bass head > one or two 4x12s. My Peavey rig (700W into a 410 and 115) has always struggled a touch to keep up with the guitar. Let battle commence...


OK, I'm going to waffle on for a bit now, but here's the TLDR version: I've never sounded this good before. Or, in the words of guitarist Tim, the Vintage is "f***ing immense".

Now, the phrase "I've never sounded this good before" comes with a small caveat: I've not used that much decent gear before, but I've played through plenty of Peavey, bits of Hartke, a smattering of Marshall, some Ampeg and a dabble with Trace Elliot and Fender. So although I don't necessarily know my onions, I'm at least acquainted with a few shallots.

Here's last night's setup:
MusicMan SUB or Ibanez BTB775PB > Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor > a handful of dirt pedals in switchable loops (more later) > Hartke VXL Bass Attack preamp pedal > Tapco Juice J800 power amp (bridged @ 800W into 4 ohms) > Barefaced Vintage
Everything was set with flat EQ (basses and preamp) for the majority of the evening, so we could hear exactly what was going on.

In all honesty, I can't really add anything that hasn't already been said about the Compact (although I'm sure Merton will fill us in on the differences). All the standard Barefaced adjectives apply: deep, full, but very clear, articulate and above all... PRESENT. The Vintage has a sort of almost "vocal" quality, like there's a little peak around 1kHz like an SM58. I'm sure this would help you "cut through" the mix if that's what you were after. To me, it allows me to reach the holy grail of being able to blend properly with the guitars. The noise we make is kind of a massive, down-tuned, chunky, riffy, stonery, doomy wall of fuzz. Tim's guitars occupy much of the lows and low-mids, along with a smattering of high-end fizz. Previously, my Peavey rig (410 TVX, 115 BVX) has never been able to muster the high-mids I've been looking for in order to sit properly in the mix. I've just ended up with a rumble of ultra-lows and loads of high pick clank, which fits around the guitar, but leaves an aching void in the middle.

Well, the Vintage changes all that. Just naturally, with everything flat, it's got the mid to high-mid voice I need. Perfect. Playing with Tim's guitar, it fitted in beautifully. And the lows... oh lord, the lows. Smooth, fat, rounded whump. Even from the SUB, which has that typically Stingray mid-heavy "crack". In fact, speaking of the lows, when I got the BTB on the case, there was too much bottom. I've never had that before. Never in my life. I think we both wept uncontrollably before haemorrhaging internally. Thankfully, it was tameable using the BTB's onboard preamp -- I think I had to knock about 10 or 12 dB off the bass control! I should mention here that the BTB has the highest output I've ever come across, the electronics are naturally a bit dark, and it's strung with flats, so it doesn't entirely surprise me that there was too much bass. Still, when I was playing the low B, I took off my shoe and stuck my sweaty, stinky foot in front of the ports. Instant cooling airflow! tongue.gif So yeah, too much bottom for rock, but easily EQable, and it sounded smooth and sweet playing a few (terrible) jazzy walking lines.

I'll point out here that I've had a PM from Alex stating that (and I quote): "don't forget that it'll get a bit fatter and deeper sounding as the cone suspensions loosen up". ohmy.gif blink.gif I can't believe that's physically possible. I'm sure I'll report back when it happens, unless the building I'm playing in collapses due to bass-induced structural failure.

Talking of how much air was moving, yes that was impressive, but what was even more impressive was how the speakers didn't even seem to be breaking a sweat at 800W. I don't doubt that the Vintage could cope with 1000... 1500... maybe 2kW without distortion from the cones. And yes, while we're on volume, this thing is LOUD.

I've had trouble in the past with the top end on some of my dirt pedals. They can get too fizzy, and even the bass-specific ones have seemed to lose a bit of low-end punch through the old Peaveys. Enter the Vintage. The Bass Big Muff was absolutely pant-flapping, especially in "Bass Boost" mode. Smooth, creamy lows and mids, with enough top to add definition but not so much that your ears die. Beautiful. The Wren & Cuff Pickle Pie B has been a bit of a mixed bag in the past: loads of low-end fuzz, but a real harsh brashness through the mids and highs. Now sorted. The Vintage eased it all off, especially when combined with a bit of the tube-simulation grind from the Hartke preamp pedal. Smooth but biting. Lovely. And the Hjärt-Müller gave a sweet, thick, grindy, old-school drive.

For dirt-lovers, I'd give the Vintage a big thumbs-up. I think I actually did last night.

This might be sacrilege to some, but in the interests of completeness, we decided to run Tim's guitar setup into the Vintage. Now, Tim's a registered lurker on here (he tends to use a fair bit of bass-end gear in his rig), so he may pass better comment than I can. I would say his sound is somewhere between Smashing Pumpkins and Sunn O))), so plenty of scooped fuzz. He usually runs Les Paul > Big Muff > old Carlsbro bass head > Eminence Tonker-equipped 4x12. Last night we tried running from the Muff into the Hartke bass preamp pedal + Tapco power amp out to the Vintage, and we also tried just swapping the 4x12 for the Vintage (running from the Carlsbro). Either way, it had awesome punch and bottom end. Obviously, it's not voiced for guitar, so we had to pull out a lot of mids, but once we had, it was incredible. Tim is a very, very jealous fella.

In summary, there were two very smiley faces in a Newcastle rehearsal room last night. A lot of awed silences. A lot of grins. A lot of thumbs up. To quote Tim again, the Barefaced Vintage is "the balls".

The only downside I've found is that (being a short guy) the side handles are at the exact distance from the top that causes me to whack my larynx on the top edge when I pick it up. But hey, I can pick it up. I've never had that from a bass cab before.

I would heartily recommend the Vintage to anyone with a need for severe volume, unbelievable bottom end or a huge collection of dirt pedals. I'd love to hear it with a valve head. Probably not one for the slappers or the Michael Manrings of this world -- not enough top-end sparkle. But I didn't start playing bass to sparkle. I started playing bass to make people's clothes fall off, to make people's skin stretch back past their faces like they're in a centrifuge. The Vintage is the answer. cool.gif

EDIT: Note that this is all first impressions. I reserve the right to get even more enthusiastic when I actually gig this baby.


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post Jul 4 2009, 02:06 PM

Hi all, this my first ever post on this forum.

I will also add that I am the 'Tim' of which BottomEndian speaks, and thus I have heard the mighty Vintage.

I've been waiting to hear, see, and perhaps touch this cab for some time now (smelling and tasting might come further down the road). It was worth the wait! Firstly, it looks fantastic. As stated, the pics thus far don't do it justice. It looks almost innocent in its 'vintage' guise, yet the black rippled finish is rather menacing on closer inspection. The weight, or lack of, made my spinal column weep as I looked at my cabs. But what joy as the guy from the "far North East" started cranking some noise through the 2x15.

So much volume, so much presence, and compared to the Peavey cabs of yesterday, so much SOUND. "You can actually hear it" we remarked. The drive/fuzz pedals worked great with it, a lot of definition throughout the frequency range. We jammed some riffs together and it felt great to really hear (and feel smile.gif) the bass alongside my guitar. There was so much information coming through from the highs and mids whilst there was a lovely low end, and not just rumble, but defined notes. I'm amused by the news that it'll get fatter and deeper once the speakers are run in. blink.gif

And, yes, we did try the detuned Les Paul>Big Muff>Carlsbro Stingray head>Vintage setup. WOW. I WANT ONE!!!!!!!. It sounded huge. I play with a fair (or unfair mellow.gif) amount of bottom end and have used solid state bass amps for several years now, I think a 2x15 Vintage cab could finish things off nicely.

I am very jealous, like a child. I really want one of these for geeter. Plus it'd look pretty nifty on stage.

It's going to be really interesting to hear how this comes along, both in terms of the speakers running in, and in terms of tweaking and tuning the setup - basses, pedals, preamp. Once the rig is tuned with the new 'Monument to Bowel Destruction', there's going to be some serious sound being pushed.

"The horror. The horror."

I just need you guys to bully him into buying me one.


Gigged it twice this weekend people, and it has very quickly become my favourite bass sound ever. I finally hear only the bass and amp, no speaker distortion. The cab will do deep or bright, middy or smiley, and it will do all without breaking a sweat. And my god is it loud. And light. Lovely! Gigged the Vintage twice this weekend, yesterday was a sh*tty pub gig with lots of emo haircuts using my rig. One guy, with a really cool mullet, thought the best thing to do was use his Hartke HA3500 head, boost all the lows and turn the wick up to 10. Honestly, the bass sounded like it was going through my function band's 6kW PA subs but was only going through the Vintage. Awesome power! Seems to have survived the haircuts too



21/10/09 (Vintage)

That is really something else! Can you believe that I had my V4B on
about half the volume that I would normally use with that band in that
venue....I can only imagine one of these with an SVT or VR on top!!

Used it on 4 ohms - very strong lower mids, really sat well with the
kick drum. Lots of clarity, no mud, no boominess - a bit hard to
describe really, yes my amp was sounding like usual, but very clear
without being squeaky clean? Just my usual Ampeg/Precision with heavy
flats sound but a lot more clear and present - very vintage! The whole
band commented on the sound (and the volume initially!)

Im really pleased, Im getting the sound I like from the amp, my
Precision sounds just as intended, no boom, nice tight bottom end. I
hear so much 'same old' dull, muddy bass in other blues bands and im
pleased to say that i reckon Im getting a pretty unique sound.

Another gig on Saturday....

Nice one mate!



Collected! Been playing for an hour or so with V4BH (at home, quietly)
- real sweet mate! Tried 4 and 8 ohm, bit too quiet to tell a real, but
8 sounded smoother with less top end - do you think 8 will have less
output than 4 ohms?

Im out with a band on Monday, so will be able to tell more then. It
really looks great with the Ampeg on top!

I mainly used an SVT 410HE or an SVT 15E - rarely both together.

Nice one, will put something on BC when Ive tried it properly.



04/09/09 (Vintage)

[Barefaced: How did it perform?]

I dont know yet!!!!!!
The rehearsal was cancelled last minute, im not a happy man as we have a gig saturday,
so hope all will be fine,
tried it out at home cant tell at low volume.
but did weigh it 21kg 46lbs!!!!!
if my scales are right.
thanks again will let you know after gig how all went..
cheers trev.

Update, 26/11/09:

very happy with cab i don't use the 8x10 anymore.

cheers Trev



Date ? - Midget

Mr Barefaced brought my Midget up to Bass Bash, where a number of you played through it, or at least heard it being played.

I took it along to rehearsal last Tuesday having hammered it in the garage all Sunday. I was easily convinced that I didn't need to take the Big One as back-up so I just strolled up the stairs and along the corridor with my amp in my back pack, my bass in one hand, and the Midget in the other. Result.

I put it on the floor in the corner, with the WTX500 on top. Basically, it looks like someone's taken a full-sized rig and washed it on too hot a setting. laugh.gif Next time, I'll take a photo of it next to the Ampeg SVT 810 rig.

Plug and play, and the sound was astonishing. We rehearse at close to full gig-volume so we were playing pretty bloody loud, I was competing with a Vox AC30 (yes, a real vintage one) and a Marshall 410 stack, and I was cutting through just fine. I was nowhere near the limits of what that cab can do and most of the time I didn't bother with my IEM because I didn't need it.

Barefaced's description of the relative sounds of the two cabs made perfect sense. The Midget reaches its volume by sounding "angry" - there's a real snarl to it and the mid-range is great. I was playing a Fender Roscoe Beck V and I found that I was using it almost constantly on the "Jazz" setting, whereas I almost always play through the Big One on the "Precision" setting.

The low B wasn't quite as awesome as when I play through the Big One, exactly as you'd expect. What wasn't expected was how well it did handle the low B - no farting out worth mentioning.

There are two things I need to mention:

Firstly, most of my sound problems with this band connect to the keyboards, and the keyboard player wasn't at this rehearsal. I really need to hear it with him there.

Secondly, halfway through the session I indulged in some foolish knob-twiddling on my pedal board and somehow screwed up my sound. I need to make sure that I can get back, get back, get back to where I once belonged.

I'm now seriously tempted to try running the Midget on top of the Big One. After some negotiation, Alex has accepted that this doesn't necessarily contradict the pureness of his sound ( wink.gif ) so I'll certainly try this at my next gig. I suppose this will then segue into the Midget badge orientation thread ...

I don't normally post reviews until I've had a reasonable amount of time with a piece of kit but Alex is offering so much cash I'm away on holiday for the next week and I've got no gigs in the diary so I thought I'd give an early heads-up to anyone who's interested.

If you're based in or around West London, happy for Basschatters to come and try my Midget at sensible neighbour-friendly volumes. Best wait until I get back from Sicily though.

Jack    (UK)



Chris Pokkuri

On Saturday I took my LH1000 and BigOne to a gig. The other bands were going to use a huge Peavey 8x10 and some old head that i've never heard of. Now this venue was up two flights of stairs - i've no idea how they got it up there without a crane.

Anyway, I turned up carrying my BigOne by myself and I could see the other bassists looking at me and thinking 'ha, look at his tiny cab, he isn't gonna make much noise with that' The headline band sound checked and the peavey cab farted out a horrible muddy sound while I sat there quietly knowing what was coming.

The band on after us isn't there yet so we sound checked next - my bass sound was warm and clear, it punched through the mix with ease and there was no distortion at gigging volume. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. After the sound check the bassist for the opening band comes up to me "hey, can I use your setup when I play" "sure thing" I reply. They are going to do a quick line check before they play. Now I get to hear what my rig sounds like from the other side. Ooh yeah - it sounds sweet! Our turn to play - the set goes really well and the crowd really enjoys it.

As I start packing up my stuff the bassist from the next band comes up to me "scuse me mate" "yeah" I reply with a wry smile knowing exactly what he was about to say next "Is it ok if I use your rig?" " Yeah go for it" I say. The bassist for the headline band decides he's gonna be stubborn and stick to his fart machine. When the gig is over I chat with the other bassists and tell them all about barefaced and how awesome the cab is. They all agree how amazing it sounded. Then I tell them to pick it up, they are completely shocked at how light it is. It just shows you dont need a massive stack to sound really good. I think there may be some more converts coming your way Alex!



The Big One - my first pub gig with a Barefaced cabinet:

I've sold three Eden cabs to make way for the Big One. For a smallish pub like this one (the Salmon & Ball in Bethnal Green) I might previously have taken a D210XLT but more probably my Nemesis NSP115.

There's no stage at the pub, and the set-up space for the band is really tiny.

Musically it went really well. I placed the Big One right at the back, between the drummer & the keyboard player, and I stood directly in front of it. The sound was great - I could actually hear myself clearly without having to turn up so loud as to offend my lead guitarsehole. Alex's comments to me about the dispersion from the small speaker were spot-on ... you can hear yourself from anywhere on stage, and so can the rest of the band.

I was playing a Lakland DD --> Aphex Xciter --> DHA VT2 --> Eden WTX-260 --> Big One.

Friends in the audience told me afterwards that my sound was very bassy but still cut through the mix with ease. I suspect that much of the "bassiness" came from the Xciter.

Also, I have flats on the DD and some foam rubber muting under the strings at the bridge, all of which makes me more "thuddy" anyway. (That Hofner influence isn't easy to lose!)

The WTX-260 produces 260W at 4 Ohms. With an 8 Ohm cab like the Big One it claims to put out 180W. I kept both the Gain and the Volume knobs at about the 11:00 position and was easily able to hold my place with a loud drummer and a pair of guitarists playing through a big Marshall and an incredibly toppy Session.

Stomp on the button on the VT2 to bring in another valve and the floor was shaking, but with absolutely no muddiness. I really can't wait until I can take this cab somewhere where I can open it up properly.

The car ended up being parked 100 yards away. The keyboard player set off to carry the cab for me (no, I don't know why either) and was genuinely impressed when I showed him the whole damn thing was on wheels. He loved it.

On a straight comparison, the Big One knocks both the NSP115 and the NSP210 into a cocked hat. The power, punch and clarity of the Big One means that it's simply playing in a higher league.

I'd need more time and a wider range of venues before I could be so dismissive about the sound of the D210XLT, which is a bloody good cab, but already I suspect that the Big One will come out ahead. Add the useability issue into the equation (weight, shape, wheels, etc.) and it's a no-brainer.



Okay, used the Big One & LH-1000 in anger last night & I can safely say that it is the best bass sound I've ever had, better even then the Peavey Mark IV & Sunn 2x15 I had 20 years ago wink.gif . Everything was there in spades - bass, middle, treble and VOLUME.

I had to roll off a bit of bass to stop the stage vibrating too much, but me sound cut through 2 guits & the drums like a very hot knife through some very soft butter. For the first time in Lord knows how long, the drummist was unable to complain about playing the fastest songs because he couldn't hear the bass. Hehe.

I also couldn't believe how light the cab is - far lighter than the LH-1000 and fits perfectly in the boot of a Focus with room for the amp & rackbag. The one downside is the sensitivity of the cab when paired with such a powerful amp - I bridged it [so 750w into 8 ohms] and struggled to get it above 1 and a bit with PA support. Next time, I might just use one side of the dual-parallel amps [225w into 8 ohms].

It will go louder than I can stand and was shaking too many things loose to get above 5 for long, suffice to say, one would never be short of volume with one of these. Unless the PA broke at Wembley.

Recommended. And for all you 4 ohm purists out there - 8 is probably fine.

[EDIT: seems far lighter than the LH-1000]



Mine just arrived today. It's stunning. Light, compact... and the sound: clear, biting (roll off your mids to taste), and thick.
My Ampeg 410HLF cab will soon retire. It's a beautiful solid cab with lots of bottom. It still does the job and is great for players looking for lots of presence. But the Big One does the same, with more clarity.

I'm away for a week on Sunday, but will do a full review when I get back.



Before I go, I just have to add: this cab is amazing. If you get one, don't be put off when you first plug in. The big speaker is new and tight, so needs a couple of hours playing at high volume to loosen up and unleash its bass. The mids might seem a little in your face at first too. Just adjust your EQ a little. Keep playing. Then it hits you... the tightest, juciest, warmest and clearest bass sound I've ever had.

I can't recommend it more highly. I'm absolutely delighted. And no, I'm not on commission!


I used the Big One at the Moonfest festival on Sunday. It was the best sound I've ever had live - and it can more than deliver the goods on a big stage. It's got loads of bottom, punchy mids, and crystal highs when you need them. I cut through like never before. In fact, if anything, I think I turned myself up a little too loud.

Since getting the Big One, I've had nothing but complements. It puts my Ampeg 410HLF cab in the shade. I can't recommend it more highly - with a 1000W amp or thereabouts, it's all you'll ever need in any setting, from rehearsals right up to big events.



I've used an LH-1000 into both the Barefaced Compact and Big One and find it excellent for the punk / rock that I play. My Spector drives the preamp valve [changed to a Ruby] well and there's a nice growl when I give it some. The simple tone controls do it for me. It's loud too. Very loud through the Big One. Very very loud indeed.

The GK is a totally different beast - 4eq, voicing filters, bi-amp, silver bits, more lights - never used one, sorry.

and on Compact/Big One vs loud band

LH-1000 + Compact - yes.
LH-1000 + Big One - oh yes indeed and better off-axis response meaning you will hear yourself better & so will they. See here. For what it's worth, the guitarists in me band prefer the Big One. So I've ordered one. And some ear defenders.



19/09/09 (Big One)

first and foremost I really have to thank you for making cabs like the big one! I was out gigging yesterday and even in a very bad acoustics environment it sounded like a million dollars. I also talked about the big one in one of the danish forums for musicians, and I'm having a guy called "pete the beat" comming over and testing it out. I actually think he also contacted you right ? - if you need a place to have a showroom here in Denmark - let me know. I got the room for it :D

the sub is now more settled in, which means crystal clear buttom - I had a guy yesterday complaining about lack of treble. so I moved away from the speaker ( not much space so I planted my self infront of the speaker with butt infront of the 6") and he was surprised how well the whole thing sounded - so from now on I'm not gonna stand like that :P

we have something called Bassday 09 here in denmark - sadly I can't partisipate - I would have loved to bring the bigone for one of those- I'm sure you would have gotten alot of orders from it :D




05/07/09 (Big One)

Had a thirty minute slot at a charity gig on friday night, Due to the usual nerves and added emotion due to the fact it was the drummers wife memorial gig there were things i should have done that i diddnt. I diddnt ask was it loud enough or how it sounded. But the bloke checking the sound diddnt say it wasnt. the low strings sounded really bassey and the highs very high. But, ( so many buts ) I forgot to try turning the treble down. (note i am not too good at explaning what i mean due to lack of understanding, dooh !) I was also standing just to the side of it which may have affected what i heard and it was a big hollow stage. You can really feel the bass. Its such a turn on! ( sorry ) It was a big social club, so im sure it will be loud enough for our usual pub gigs. The gain was just under 5 ( goes to 9 ) and the volume around 9 ( goes to 12 ) I would have it on about 6 with the gloc but it was a bigger room than normal. Anyway this afternoon everyone was out so I got both cabs out and have spent ages swoping from one to the other. The gloc is louder at the same levels but its a 4 ohm cab and the big one is loud enough anyway.
The gloc seems not as bassey on the lower strings but not as trebley on the high strings. I had turned the tweeter right down. Trying the big one and standing about twelve foot infront of it, the extreme of bass to treble i thought i heard at the gig was not there, It was much more even accross the strings. Cutting the treble also took away the glassiness. Side by side both these cabs sound great. The big one gets it because to my ears it has the sound i like and its so easy to move around.
One thing i noticed was that there was a lot of resonance with the amp on the big one and i found it was due to the srews in the amp vibrating loose and the panels vibrating. One screw had fallen out. The gloc cab is carpeted and obviously dampens this resonance so i never noticed the screws becoming loose. I will take the amp out of its case and screw lock the screws during the coming week. I will also put a matt between the amp and big one too absorb that resonance. But i suppose once the screws are tight the panels wont vibrate. no , I will still do it to give the amp an easier time.
I will be going down to the bass gallery in a few weeks with the gloc cab and possiblly a bass for them to sell for me. I dont like the hassle of selling on ebay. I still may look into power and pre amps, but not rack them. Maybe put a piece of wood in a back pack and use that high density foam around them. Im thinking it maybe easier to carry and i can wheel my big one at the same time. Do you think the avalon gives you uncoloured sound set at all the zeros.
Thank you, from me and my back, for a great cab.



14/08/09 (Steve)

It's amazing. Thanks so much. Still need to put it through its paces (damn
work) but it's whacking out bottom end like no tomorrow. I eased off the
mids a bit on the amp and it plays like a dream. You were right though - I
need to boost the volume on the amp a lot more on this than I did for the
Ampeg cab (410HLF 4 ohm) - do you know the reason for that?

Cheers - over the moon.

Steve Tilling

[Barefaced: The Big One has lower voltage sensitivity than the 410HLF due to the higher load impedance and the smaller size / radiating area. But it'll handle quite a bit more power so the answer is to turn the amp up more!]

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