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See also: Main advantages of the fEARful designs
What does a fEARful cabinet sound like?
fEARful cabinets are designed to faithfully reproduce what is put into them without coloration. They are often compared to high end studio monitors. Most commercial cabinets have their own characteristic sound. These enclosures do not interfere with your sound profile.
Which fEARful would best suit my particular tonal preference?
"Since all fEARfuls are much the same tonally because the drivers were made to sound the same, it follows that there is absolutely no reason to choose for tonal differences. Instead, choose for sensitivity and power handling (and ohms load) - and preferred height of stack, size of schleppage - things like that, things people should immediately be able to grok about their own gigging needs." -- greenboy
How heavy is a fEARful cabinet?
There are too many variables including choice of woods, inclusion of a crossover network or tweeter, cabinet finishes or coverings, grill material used, handles, feet, casters, corners, and other hardware, etc.. To get a rough estimate you can look at the fEARful™ website index page toward the bottom, which shows pictures and weights of some finished cabinets. Also check out the Builds in progress or completed pages.
How much does it cost to build a fEARful cabinet?
As is often the case for DIY initiatives, the goal of the fEARful design is not focused on economy, but rather on performance. There are too many options for the various parts to tell how much it will cost you. If you go all out, it will probably cost around 40% to 50% of what a high end boutique cabinet would cost. Here's what greenboy had to say regarding the cost of a build: "I wouldn't have bothered designing anything if a cheaper or even a more expensive commercial solution could have delivered in a same-sized package the full-sounding broadband SPL and wide-dispersion, detailed sonic quality I was after."
Read about the advantages of fEARful designs to see what you would be getting for your investment.
Can I substitute [some other speaker(s)] instead of what the plans call for?
In a word, no. Throwing any old speaker into a box that was not designed for it is almost guaranteed to not work very well. Every detail about the fEARful cabinets has been painstakingly designed around the specific speakers called for, and they were chosen for very good reasons. Please do not question these designs, they are well thought out. If you want to try something else, you should instead start a new initiative or a thread to get advice (since it will not be a fEARful project). Then you should go ahead and build it and report on how it turned out. Good luck!
Will a fEARful cabinet sound good with [some amp]?
That depends on your subjective opinion. A fEARful speaker enclosure will faithfully reproduce what you put into it, so if you like the sound of the source, you will probably be happy with a fEARful.
Can I use a fEARful cabinet combined with [some other cabinet]?
You can, but you get back into the non-optimal dispersion issues found in conventional stacks. Some apparent loudness and clarity goes away because of destructive interference of speakers that were not designed to work well together. This is why fEARfuls were designed to be modular using mirror-image baffles with all driver elements on the baffles matched to best disperse evenly. Perhaps the best advice here is to try it out and see for yourself. Others have - they almost always report that they got rid of the other enclosures entirely.
What is the minimum/maximum wattage required?
There is no minimum. A 50 watt amp will sound very good, as will a 1000 watt amp. One will obviously be capable of much higher SPL than the other, but both will be accurately reproduced. fEARful cabinets will take a lot of power before reaching their physical limits. Other cabinets will fail or at least fart out long before a fEARful will. greenboy says: "Wattage? That's dependent on player, skill with gain structure, EQ, high-pass filtering, a crapload of variables. Just like it is with any other enclosures. But you can guess by seeing a maximum excursion chart I made way back when about what range of actual wattage various woofer combinations are good for if the signal is almost entirely low frequencies. And the midrange driver can more than keep up with the woofer, of course..."
"Eminence of course lists 450 continuous/900 program, which is more realistic than any other continuous/program rating you are likely to encounter in BassCabLand. These babies is beasts! Just don't compress so heavily you overdo the thermal heating (should be of little concern for anyone with ears)."
Will a fEARful cabinet be louder than [some other cabinet]?
Sensitivity specs for the drivers are listed on the manufacturers data sheets if you want to make some valid comparisons. Be sure to included the midrange driver when researching. Also note that a fEARful is very different than a commercial cabinet and in most cases you wont need to be as loud as you think in order to hear and be heard clearly; with a dedicated midrange driver and its wider dispersion, and the higher clarity because of less multiple-source comb filtering, fEARful cabinets are often said to get "stupid loud" when fed lots of watts. greenboy says: "I don't think some realize how loud you can actually get with a cab that has, by current bass cab standards HUGE xmax. But people are also interested in comparisons using the same wattage they have used with other cabs. So here's a rough guide on both sensitivity (1w/1m, broadband average), and potential loudness:"
The comparison of various fEARful models to each other is very easy - as the box or stack gets bigger, it gets capable of being louder while keeping the same tonal profile. Here:
Can I make a 4-ohm fEARful cabinet?
The fEARful designs with dual woofers are 4-ohm enclosures. This includes the 1212/6, the 1515/66, and the 1212sub. You can also use any two of the 8-ohm enclosures to get to a 4-ohm load. See fEARful Cabinet Specs to see what options you have.
Can I use round ports instead of shelf ports?
No. The slot ports are able to move a huge amount of air without creating port noise, while at the same time providing the fEARful box with additional bracing, and extra lift which brings the midrange driver closer to the ear. As shared-wall ports they also allow one to tune the box lower per port depth without sacrificing essential frontal area. For one of many in-depth explanations, see this post or this one.
What crossover should I use?
See the crossovers section of the fEARful website for passive crossover recommendations. Alternately, you have the option of bi-amping, which can provide great flexibility. To accomplish this, you need a bi-ampable head or a preamp with an electronic crossover system going into a two-channel power amp, or a DSP-equipped power amp. See the bi-amp page within the section on wiring connectors for both passive crossover use and bi-amp use.
Where can I go to get my poodle clipped in Burbank?
Who is the best fEARful builder?
First, the woodworking skills and tools required to build a fEARful cabinet are minimal. I recommend giving it a try yourself if possible. If not, perhaps find a friend that's willing to help you out. Try calling your local woodworking shops too - they would probably be happy to have the work.
As far as commercial speaker cabinet builders, there are several officially endorsed fEARful builders listed on the main page toward the bottom. These craftsmen will be willing to build you a cabinet in various states of finish, and some will sell a flat-pack "cutkit". It's then up to you to take it from there with due diligence.
Where should I buy the components?
This is entirely up to you but I recommend getting as much as possible from SpeakerHardware.com which has a large fEARful section. There are also components listed here on the fEARful website with links to alternate sources. But SpeakerHardware.com has combined kit pricing wit prices among the lowest, as well as general speaker parts. Other than the linked examples I would recommend searching a vendor's name before submitting any orders just to make sure they are reputable; there have been problem vendors... Some of the pages under Builds in progress or completed also list parts vendors that were used.
Can fEARful cabinets be used as PA speakers?
greenboy: "They work well at anything. fEARfuls are even great for electric and acoustic guitar doublers, keyboards, drums, etc. But as I've said in detail any number of times in various forums, there is usually a disadvantage in having sub-100 Hz sources spread out across a club-sized venue. It's a recipe for destructive cancellations and build-ups in the bass range. This is why canny operators usually set up PA in clubs is with centralized subwoofer stacks, while "mains" handling above the lower frequencies can be spread out.
That said, for typical club venue stuff, fEARfuls will often clobber other direct radiator systems that don't incorporate bunched subwoofers. They can be used as sidefills and monitors - and the woofer-only versions make great subwoofers."
How do I "mic" a fEARful?
fEARfuls are designed so that they do not color your sound as much as most bass or keyboard cabs. The sound that comes out of the cab is for all intents and purposes much like what you'd get by using a high quality DI box going to the Sound Reinforcment system. So, for many players there's nothing to be gained by putting a microphone on it.
If you still feel you have to put a mic on it because of effects use or to get some "air" or because you like the coloration of a certain microphone, experienced sound engineers in live venues or in the studio will have no trouble placing and pointing a single well-chosen mic. fEARful driver elements, unlike those of many of the fEARful imitators, are very close to each other, and optimally aligned on the baffles.
For the tyro, experimentation will at first be the key. The general idea is to get fairly close for live use so that rejection of other sound sources is better, with mic placement approximately centered between the drivers and pointed to change the general balance. Aim it several ways until you hear the balance you like best, or slightly change the general position. Have fun experimenting on your own time using recorded bass parts to get a better feel for this. This is not so different than micing a saxophone or other mutliple-source instrument, so don't overthink this.
Some of the CheapButGood crossover parts are out of stock at Erse. Now what?
All fEARful CBG crossover parts are now available in kit form including boards - or as finished crossovers - from SpeakerHardware.com... But if you are looking for specific separates, realize that the ERSEaudio.com website seems to have some parts listed as "out of stock" when in fact they are not. You can call them to confirm, but the parts you want could be in stock despite what the website says.
fEARful enclosure specs
Some specifications (like weight) are impossible to pinpoint because there are too many contributing variables such as choice of wood, corners, handles, casters, feet, grille & standoffs, passive crossover, etc. You can check the fEARful index page and the Builds in progress or completed pages for examples. If built to spec, you can bank on a very high SPL-to-weight/bulk ratio when compared to commercial offerings, especially if you have enough power to drive them to their potential.
All 2-way cabinet designs that use a midrange driver can be optionally built as 3-way cabinets by including a tweeter and crossover as described in the recommended Waveguides and Compression Drivers and the High Frequency section highpass pages.
The 15/6tube is exactly the same internal size and tuning as the regular 15/6. It just features a different form factor to accommodate either 24"-wide tube heads when placed one way, or 26"-wide tube heads placed on the longer side. This is different than the 20" rack-width design of the regular 15/6. Also note that there is no optional tweeter cutout because most people agree that tube heads suck with tweeters. However, if you must have one, an Eminence APT80 can be placed right next to the midrange driver. It should be CLOSE - not like the Avatar TB153 tweeter placement blunder.
The 12/6cube is like the regular 12/6 just presented with a different form factor. Its dimensions are shorter and wider to make it easily stackable with a 15/6 or a 15 sub. The internal volume, port area and tuning is the same as the standard 12/6, so you can expect no noticeable performance difference between the two designs.
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