Why Barefaced?

If anything listed below applies to you then Barefaced may be the answer!

You want to hear yourself properly, especially at loud gigs.

  • All our designs are as tall as is practical for their size so they're closer to ear level and can deliver enough bottom that you can elevate them if required without the tone falling apart.
  • Excellent midrange response, without the dips in certain frequency bands that cause cabs to get lost but without relying on loud peaks in other frequency bands to get heard. Wherever your mids are happening, they'll come out and punch through.

You want the rest of your band and your audience to hear you too.

  • Polar response is one of our obsessions. This means that all Barefaced cabs are designed to sound good whether you're standing way off to the side (off-axis) or when they're pointing right at you (on-axis). Many bass cabs have poor polar response with limited midrange dispersion so you might have a perfect fat punchy clear tone when standing in the ideal place but everyone else is just hearing a muddy woolly boom.
  • Superior polar response doesn't just improve the sound everyone hears coming straight from the cab - it also makes the sound reflected off the walls, floor and ceiling (aka reverberated sound) much more similar to the non-reflected (direct) sound. This means that the cab sounds much better in venues with echoey or dead acoustics.

You want a cab that doesn't get in the way and lets you hear your sound but never sounds clinical or artificial.

  • Every Barefaced model is designed to honestly represent your tone and respond with musicality and dynamics to your playing.
  • The 'Super' cabs update the conventional bass rig with greater output, improved linearity and superior portability.
  • The 'Big' cabs have the accuracy of a high-end PA system and even bigger deeper lows than the 'Super' cabs.
  • The Retro Six10 and Two10 designed to add colour to your tone with vibes reminiscent of great vintage cabs.

You don't want to have to compromise on your tone to 'cut through the mix' - you want a cab that lets deep mellow bass sounds be heard

  • Keep the low frequency transients right and the midrange honest and the smoothest softest bass sounds will still sit just right in the mix. You don't need tons of upper midrange and treble to be heard if your cab can reproduce the lows and mids well.

You want a cab that sounds just as good when blasting through a loud rock band as when rehearsing quietly.

  • Linearity matters! High volume displacement and high thermal power handling woofers, high flow ports and stiff non-resonant enclosures mean that our cabs, even the small ones, maintain their tone as you turn up loud.

You want some real bass with your bass and you don't want your tone to go all midrangey and thin when playing LOUD.

  • When Barefaced started out our primary obsession was with getting great bottom at high SPL. The biggest weakness with bass cabs is a lack of volume displacement because speakers with high volume displacement are expensive, especially if they're efficient too. We spend the money where it matters, on the best woofers in the business, which took over two years of development work with some of the most respected names in the industry, until we arrived at our final 12XN550 design. The 10CR250 then took some of these concepts and reworked them for a retro tone.

You want a cab that's so easy to move that you can be bothered to take it to all your rehearsals and gigs, rather than using whatever's there and tolerating not sounding so great.

  • Although our primary obsession remains tone and maintaining that tone at high volume, we see no point producing amazing sounding bass cabs that are too much hassle to move so they never get gigged - we want our cabs to be heard!
  • Well thought out enclosure dimensions - taller and slimmer than the norm so they fit through doors and into cars.
  • Well placed comfortable side handles - always placed at balance points.
  • Tiltback rollerblade wheels and top handle on all our larger cabs for maximum convenience.
  • They're pretty light too!

You want a cab that you can rely on and never worry about being blown when other bassists are sharing your backline.

  • There is nothing worse than having a great bass rig that you daren't take to gigs in case another bassist toasts the woofers or blows the tweeter.
  • Actually there is - a great sounding bass rig which requires you 'baby' it when you play, thus sucking all the most intense emotive moments out of your playing. We want you to forget your Barefaced cab exists and when the occasion demands let loose and beat your bass to death with impunity!

You want a cab that's tough enough for constant gigging and looks damned cool - modern or retro, your choice!

  • Our cabs are built strong - complex plywood enclosures with advanced bracing, tough metal corners, rubber feet, steel cored handles and a durable textured acyrlic coating.
  • With our standard black steel grills our cabs look almost as cutting-edge as the technology within them - yet our silver cloth 'Fender style' grills add a delicious old school twist whilst still being gig tough (and saving some more weight!)

You want to be able to buy a cab without worrying whether it will perform - use our expertise and then your ONE MONTH TRIAL* to make sure it does what you want - and if it doesn't we'll happily take it back.

  • We have the expertise to match your needs with our products - and if we don't have one to suit then we'll tell you!
  • We combine bass playing, live sound and production experience with engineering understanding - nothing is overlooked.
  • Once you have your cab you have a full month to rehearse and gig with it and ensure that it does what you need - if you don't love it then we don't want you to keep it, we'll gladly have it collected for a minimal cost.

How do I buy a cab from you?

Our sales channel is very different to your usual shop-based or online experience. We don't have any retailers, nor do we have a simple online shop where you can buy one of our cabs on a whim. Instead we prefer to act in a consultative manner to ensure you get the cab to suit your needs - and a number of customers can confirm that although they may have contacted us to buy one model we ended up selling them a different (and often less expensive!) cab because we thought it would be a better fit. We believe in spending time learning about the music you play, the venues you need to fill and the tones that inspire you whilst taking into account the pros and cons of your current gear, so that we can provide you with the most suitable product from our extensive range.

The one month trial

We also believe that the only way to find out if a bass cab is right for you is to play it on a gig - loudspeakers are rather non-linear devices and what might sound lovely at shop loudness may sound completely different when turned up to compete with a drummer. We therefore have a one month trial policy. Buy a cab, use it for a month and if you're not totally happy then we will have it collected and give you a full refund bar the return shipping (in the UK this is £30 for our smaller cabs, £40 for the larger cabs). Just as we expect you to take advantage of our knowledge when ordering a cab, please use us once you have the cab in your hands: If you can't get the tone you want then ask us for help. *Due to shipping costs we can only offer this one month trial period for customers within Europe.

Tell us what you need and we'll work out what we can do for you - we are experts!

You may be rather daunted by the sheer amount of information on our website - please don't feel you have to read or understand any of this if you're interested in buying one of our cabs! We like to educate and inform to help bassists get the most out of their gear but if you're buying a Barefaced cab then you are paying for our expertise to analyse your needs and recommend the best cab to suit - and we might even just tell you to save your money and give you some advice on how to get the best out of what you already own - we did just that with a potential customer and here's his response: "You are a genius.........I now have defined Mid`s and High`s, with a great Low end punch !" We didn't get to sell him a bass cab this time but at least we have one more bassist sounding great!

Contact us, we are here to help!

If this is the first time you've heard of Barefaced and are curious about our products, email us or use the contact form - no question is a bad question! Likewise if you're thinking of buying a cab, get in touch. Or even if you already own one of our cabs but are thinking of changing your amp, then ask us for advice. Some of our products challenge many preconceptions - we do our best to explain why we've taken unique approaches to bass amplification but we know that it can be confusing, especially as our range expands to fill more niches: Ask us anything!

Some Barefaced history

How a business was born, more by accident than by design - despite it being built on a product that's entirely about design, not accident!

The DIY days

Back in 2003, dissatisfied with the performance of the existing bass cabs on the market, I decided to put my engineering knowledge to good use and design a cab that did exactly what I wanted (within the bounds of physics!) In early 2008, having all but taught myself a second engineering degree in the process (and certainly spending more hours on this than I had on my first mechanical engineering degree - much of that time having been spent playing bass!) and been through countless different designs, I finally started building what became the Big One. I wrote about this process online, merely as a "here's my innovative DIY thing" and there was quite a bit of interest, so when certain components were going to cost more to ship than to buy singly I decided to buy more than needed for my personal cabs and to build a handful of cabs in my spare time for the interested parties.

2008-2010: A bloke in a shed...

Well it wasn't exactly a bloke in a shed. At first it was a bloke in a garage - that lasted for a handful of cabs. Then that bloke outsourced the woodwork to a team of carpenters, with the enclosures coming back to the garage to be finished off. We soon ran out of storage space in the garage and had to take on some more space. Then we added a second team of carpenters for some new models. And another bloke part-time helping finish off the cabs. And the boss quit his day gig and went Barefaced full-time.

2011: A proper business unit!

By 2011 the situation was a bit different!  We moved into our first proper business unit, whilst ye olde garage became a spray shop. The model range had broadened further, demand increased with cabs go further and wider around the world. We gained our first full-time employee and then had to let the part-time employee go in the Autumn when the Greeks attempted to singlehandedly drive Europe back into recession, just when we'd moved into a larger business unit to handle demand... Thankfully that panic didn't last.

What started out as one model designed for my needs became now a range of cabs to suit the tonal, amplification, portability and loudness requirements of most bassists. We continued to stick to our guns regarding the importance of careful and accurate design, and to believe in local manufacturing and direct sales to provide a high quality product at an affordable price.

2012: The birth of the micro-factory

In late 2011 we came to the conclusion that despite our cabs not being inexpensive, now that we were having to pay VAT, spending more time than ever on making the cosmetics as perfect as possible, still dealing with the rising costs of running a business and the ever-present spectre of commodity price fluctuations (especially neodymium), that we couldn't continue outsourcing the woodwork to UK carpenters. I strongly believe in the importance of bringing manufacturing back to the UK - and also establishing global manufacturing where everyone is paid a fair wage - and so we weren't about to outsource production to the far-east. Instead we decided to purchase a CNC milling machine to cut our plywood and bring the production completely in-house. Anyone who bought a Barefaced cab in 2012 can tell you that's easier said than done, as our numerous very patient customers mostly ended up waiting months longer than planned!

The great thing about the CNC machine is not only has it allowed us to regain some profitability (which is fairly fundamental if you want us to continue providing great customer service, developing new products, and making a small dent in the balance of trade by manufacturing products in the UK and sending a fair amount back out around the world) but more importantly from our customers' perspective it allows us a lot of flexibility in how we design the cabs. So although our pre-CNC cabs look superficially identical to our post-CNC cabs they're actually very different in how they're built and braced. The final thing in 2012 was at long last finishing the '69er, which we (and its first few owners) are absolutely thrilled with. It sounds even better than we remembered and has turned out to be ridiculously light and rather cute for a pretty big cab. Very musical, real fun to play through whatever your amp, bass or genre preferences.

2013: CNCing at speed and Generation Three

We spent the earlier part of 2013 getting quicker at cutting and building cabs (upgrading the CNC machine helped a lot!) and working on LEAN manufacturing processes. We finalised the new designs and received the first run of 12XN550 drivers and started shipping Generation Three models out. Production is getting smoother and more efficient but we're running out of space here and looking to move to a larger unit early in 2014.

The model history - Compact - winter '08, Big One - spring '09, Vintage - spring '09, Midget - summer '09

The first Barefaced model to be launched was the Compact in the late winter of 2008. This was followed by the Big One in spring 2009. The Vintage then joined the party (at which point we started offering the silver cloth grill option on most of the range) before in summer 2009 the first Midgets arrived. Then came a shift to our unique dual-density plywood which further reduced the weight, and at the same time we switched over to metal corners and rubber feet from the previous plastic stacking corners (although all the Midgets had metal corners and rubber feet from the start despite the first few Midgets being the older ply).

Bracing improvements - Super Twelve - spring '10, Super Fifteen - early winter '11

The internal bracing has further developed as we've come up with cunning ideas for adding stiffness and/or removing excess mass. The Super Twelve (launched in spring 2010) uses the new bracing method (which was first applied to the Midget and since passed onto the Compact and any new designs), thus the Compact is on its third internal design and the Midget on its second. In summer 2010 a minor revision was driven by the incredible power and remarkably low weight of the latest micro-amps, whereby at full blast the amp has enough power to cause small vibrations in the top panel of the cab which have no audible effect but are enough to make the amp move about. Sorted. Then when we switched to CNC machining we changed the bracing completely - the cabs are now even stronger and stiffer.

Damping improvements

At this point we were on the fourth version of the internal damping, where we focused our energies on reducing the backwave as much as possible (for maximum midrange punch and treble clarity) without killing the port resonance (keeping the lows as big as possible). That approach was quite unique but very effective. We were on Bracing v3.0 and Damping v3.0 from mid 2010 to early 2012. And then on Bracing v4.0 and Damping v4.0 thanks to the CNC machine - the damping is now raised away from the main panels in many spots which improves its ability to attenuate midrange bounce by acting on a higher velocity lower pressure part of the wave (as in TL designs).

Cosmetic improvements

An ongoing process has been improving the exterior details so the cabs look as expensive as they sound - things like matching corner and cabinet radii, improving the toughness and consistency of our textured polymer finish, changing the spraying process so it's the exact same finish colour behind the grill and inside the ports as on the outside of the enclosure and improving the appearance of the optional silver cloth grills (now with white piping). The cloth grill frames are now cut on the CNC machine as are the mounts for the steel grills, reducing the weight and improving the fit and appearance. If you're going to turn up at band practice with a comically small or light cab, the better it looks, the less sceptical they'll be. In the past we might have relied on the sheer force of tone to silence their doubts!

Discontinued products - Generation 1 and Generation 2

In January 2011 we sold the last example of the cab that started it all - the Big One. It remains an awesome piece of work, a tour-de-force that flattens most competitor's products if big clean sound is your goal. However we now have a bigger and a smaller version in the Big Twin and Big Baby which rather makes the Big One surplus to requirements. Thank you Big One, you did well, and may all those who gig with you enjoy your fatness, loudness and lightness for many years to come! Also, in summer 2010 we discontinued the Vintage, a Compact spin-off with two 15"s, variable port tuning and the first silver cloth grill we did. Ironically the last Vintage was an unVintage variant with a black steel grill! The aim with the Vintage was for it to be used with a valve amp but as the majority of owners didn't then the wide format enclosure didn't really make sense. We had two cabs replace it - the Super Fifteen, a narrower, deeper, shorter, stronger and stiffer 2x15" which sounds very similar to the Vintage and, for those using valve aka tube amps, the '69er.

In September 2013 the entire Generation 2 range (Midget, Midget T, Compact, Super Twelve, Super Twelve T, Super Fifteen, Big Baby T and Big Twin T) were discontinued as we launched the radical new Generation 3 models. The only pre-Gen 3 model that continued in production was the '69er.

Continuous research and development

We pushed the boundaries of what was possible with bass cab design when we launched our first model and we're not going to stop trying to push those boundaries -  stay tuned!

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