Sounds like you have been on talkbass. These "fearful" cabinets are actually an amateurishly simple reflex cab design with a passively crossed over tweeter, probably better suited for a small venue high pack in a weekend warrior SR system. Not dissimilar to the homebuilt Hi-Fi speaker designs of the late 1950's - early 1960's. Designed (probably on WinISD freeware) several years ago by a "wanna be" faux audio engineer who offered the plans for free online.
Have you ever played a fEARful? They are a great bass guitar cabinet. While most of my bass playing is done through a small 1x15" with a K140, because I love that JBL midrange, the fEARful is always what I play through when playing with a new band or if the opener is going to use my rig. Pretty much every guy who has played through my rig with it has been blown away, not to mention all the non bass players who hear it. After all, most bass is heard in the room directly from the DI so why not have a bass cabinet on stage that does what a PA does? After all, no one in the room is going to hear your carefully sculpted tone in the room unless the cab is mic'ed. Or maybe the venues you play don't run the bass through the PA.
Sunn cabs with JBLs sound great, I love mine, but that's no reason to hate on the fEARful. They are excellent cabs for a good price and have an excellent performance to weight ratio.
I have decades of experience with SR (what you refer to as “PA”) cabs, I don’t need to play
a “fearful” unless you are suggesting it has some mystical or magical tonal qualities that defy physics. Other than neophyte hype on the talkbass website, the fact that it was designed by an amateur and is often homemade, what makes it different from a standard 2 way or 3 way SR cab?
After all, most bass is heard in the room directly from the DI so why not have a bass cabinet on stage that does what a PA does? After all, no one in the room is going to hear your carefully sculpted tone in the room unless the cab is mic'ed. Or maybe the venues you play don't run the bass through the PA.
In the weekend warrior world a DI from the bass guitar itself is common, however most pro bassists take their tone just as seriously as guitarists do, and a direct from after
the amp and processing gear blended with a mic’ed cabinet line is common. In the case of true
direct, no rig on stage, the processing is handled separate from the FOH, and fed to the board. Have you ever seen a fearful used with an arena or stadium band?
Me neither. It’s a homemade amateur piece, pro’s use pro
gear. I have noticed that several of the part time “builders” that post prolifically and derive the bulk of their customer base from talkbass capitalize on the fearful hype and offer fearful builds for those not interested in woodworking. Kudos to them, smart move IMO!
I don’t hate on the fearful itself
, as I said in my post it’s the overall ignorance/arrogance of the talkbass fearful cult that irritates me;
All that said, it's in the ear of the end user where the decision should be made, there is no "best". "Best" in what sounds good is like saying what the "best" color is or what the "best" flavor is, can't be done. As I said, what irks me about the "fearful" thing isn't the cabinet itself, I'm not a fan of passive crossovers or tweeters in a bass guitar cabinet from a technical standpoint, but I don't doubt that many players are satisfied with the performance of the cabs. It's the attitude among its supporters that fearfuls are the end all/be all BEST bass cab out there, and using or preferring anything else makes a person ignorant and/or unenlightened and needing to be "corrected" in an open forum.
Again, I personally don’t like the concept of using passive crossovers in general, and specifically in MI amplification. They are certainly practical from a convenience/cost aspect, but have inherent impedance and tonal clarity issues that IMO make them a bad choice for MI cabs. Active crossovers using dedicated amps for specific frequency ranges are far superior but far more cumbersome and expensive.
However, if a player IS for some reason personally predisposed to using a SR type enclosure;
In fact, if a bass player feels the need to go the full range accurate route with a bass rig, the most efficient route would be to invest in a commercially produced powered full range SR cab. Even the inexpensive weekend warrior class equipment absolutely destroys any fearful design from a sound quality, power to weight, or cost efficient angle. Latest and greatest design technology, uber light, nearly indestructible polymer materials, on-board megawatt and accurate class D amps, neodymium drivers; the "big league" version on what the "fearful" design is the homemade "beginner designer" version of, and can be bought for dirt cheap.
Here’s a great example;http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Turbosound/Loudspeaker-Systems/Portable-Speakers/M15/p/P0AW2/Features
1100 Class D watts, bi-amped instead of a tone and power robbing passive crossover, world class Klark Teknik DSP, a built in mixer (could be used for multiple basses with individually tweeked EQ), nearly indestructible composite cabinet, 60.9 lbs and you don’t need anything
else; plug and play.
Makes the “end all, be all” fearful seem like the crude, amateur equipment that it actually is.
Best of all… $549 at Sweetwater. How much money do you have in your fearful rig?
Don’t get me wrong, if your rig is a stack of 1960’s transistor radios daisy chained together and you love it, that’s just fine by me; there is no right or wrong in MI rigs, it’s whatever you like personally. Obviously you
like your setup, that’s great and all that really matters!
Also; AEA, sorry for the diversion from your topic.