Bag End Q10BX-D Bass Cabinet

Road Test as posted on Docstoc, 2011 which was reprinted from Gig Magazine, 1999
written by Bruce Wightman

Looking to spend a little money for a fantastic bass sound? Have I got a cab for you! Actually, Bag End’s got a cab for you- the Q10BX-D. First, let’s decode its cryptic-sounding name: “Q10″ indicates that it’s got four 10” speakers, the “B” means it’s a bass cabinet, and the “D” denotes the color. None other than John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Larry Carlton, Tom Scott, Robben Ford, Ernie Watts, Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Bob James) helped design this, so it shouldn’t be a run of the mill 4 x 10.

The first glance at the Q10BX-D shows that the cabinet is taller and narrower than other 4 x 10 cabinets. This is due to the unique skewed-speaker arrangement, designed to keep the width down. Next, you’ll notice this box is fairly deep- 19″, to be exact. Designer Henry Heine basically took a Q10X-D and made it 50% deeper to bump up the bottom end. The next thing you notice is the color, called “Deep Red”; at a distance, the carpet blends toward black, but at a close range radiates an attractive, subtle, ruby red. Behind the vinyl-coated steel-mesh grille lie three “normal” 10s and a special coaxial driver, its red eye conspicuously peering out. The coaxial speaker is in lieu of the separate tweeter you may find in many 4 x 10 cabinets. This may seem new to bass players, but Bag End has been using coaxial speakers for a long time. In business for more than 20 years, Bag End also makes hi-fi and PA speakers and studio monitors. As far as power handling, Heine says the listed 800W continuous is a “conservative” rating.

Construction is rock-solid, with seven-ply poplar. The rear panel features three types of inputs: standard 1/4-inch and banana, and Neutrik SpeakON connectors. Corner pieces allow for easy stacking of cabinets, and I might add that the stack I heard at the NAMM show sounded insanely good. An acoustic engineer I’m not, so I can’t explain all the complex reasons why this cabinet sounds so good. But as a  busy gigger, I do know that the specs of any speaker cabinet don’t tell enough about the sound; you’ve got to play through a cabinet to understand what it’s all about.

Plug It In
The first thing you notice when you power up the Q10BX-D is the clarity of the sound. While some cabinets seem to have their own signature sound, this cabinet has a very natural voice-what engineers call a “flat response.” You’ll hear the true sound of your instrument through this cab, something that may surprise you if you’re used to playing with other gear. I used this cabinet in a couple of different situations-a straight-ahead jazz gig, and a church gig. In both situations, I used a Clavin R600 head to power the Bag End. In the jazz situation, the cabinet offered superior warmth for walking lines, and clean, smooth accuracy for solo passages up the neck. The volume test actually came at church of all places, where a strong six-piece horn band put the cab through its paces. I usually go direct at this gig, but this time I didn’t. This is a big church, covering more than a acre of land, and the Q10 filled it up quite nicely, I might add that a couple of other players commented favorable on the bass sound. Chords sound rich and full, and the true test, the B string, sounds fat, deep and large. Slapping my way through a couple of gospel numbers, I found more of the crisp, clean tone, with no hint of distortion.

“I don’t know if God plays bass, but if so, He should check out this cabinet.”

The only drawback to this amp is the weight. At 106 pounds, and 18″ deep, it’s quite a challenge for one person; a dolly is advisable. Asked about the weight, Heine says: “There is a way to make speakers lighter, but it’s pretty much prohibitive as far as cost in concerned. A lightweight system, while not physically impossible, would be really expensive.

This system is in the same ballpark as other 4 x 10 competitors. So what’s the difference? This just may be the best-sounding bass cabinet money can buy.

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