This Article was published in Issue 18 in winter 2016.
This enclosure is designed to function either as a bass rig or part of a PA, and it is quite functional in either capacity. With four smallish rubber feet on the bottom and four more on one side, it can be set up vertically or horizontally. There are strap handles placed on either side, which allows for two-hand carrying, but this cab is light enough to make one-hand carrying a breeze. The enclosure is covered in a textured acrylic coating, which is slightly shiny and smooth. The coating seems to be well-applied, looks like it should hold up well. The bottom of the FR800 sports a recessed cup for pole-mounting.
The powder-coated steel grille is held in place by ten screws, each of which has a vibration-dampening washer between the screw head and the grille. In addition, there is gasket seal tape applied to the back of the grille, which does a great job of sealing it tight and eliminating vibration. Very nice. What’s more, the gasket stays intact and undamaged when you remove and then reattach the grille (sometimes, cheaper gaskets tend to peel up when you remove the grille). The custom, cast-frame Eminence 12XN550 12” driver is held in place by eight bolts, set into threaded inserts. This is my preferred method for mounting drivers. The speaker wire used internally appears to be of a high quality, with what looks like white Teflon™ insulation. Connection to the 12” driver is made via the spring-loaded posts on the driver. The high frequency driver is made by Faital Pro, with a 1” throat and neodymium magnet. It is mated to a cast-aluminum constant directivity waveguide. The waveguide is mounted to the front baffle with the same stainless steel bolts and inserts, and the inside edge of the waveguide features a gasket, to securely seal the deal. Speaker wires are attached to the HF driver via FASTON connectors.
The entire enclosure, including the front baffle, is made from 9mm dual-density plywood. I mentioned to Alex that we commonly see thicker wood used for the front baffle used (for increased stiffness), and he explained, “The relatively lightweight drivers and extensive bracing means 9mm of our stiff yet light ply is sufficient. We have gone thicker on prototypes, which used heavier drivers. All our 12XN-based models use the stiff aluminium driver chassis to increase the rigidity of the baffle.” The white damping material used inside seems quite nice, and it is applied not only on the back and sides, but also on the bracing. Barefaced claims that this allows them to place the damping material at high-velocity wave point locations. In addition, they double the thickness of the lining where the reflections are close to perpendicular. All this is done to hopefully present the most neutral and open mids and highs as possible.
The 800-watt, class-D Hypex output section, switched-mode power supply and DSP are housed behind the rectangular metal panel on the back of the enclosure. Signal input is supplied via a balanced XLR connection, with a parallel XLR output for “daisy chaining” multiple FR800’s together. Similarly, the powerCON input has a corresponding powerCON output, so that you only have to run one cord all the way to the wall outlet. I do worry about losing or misplacing the powerCON cable and being out of luck at a gig. This connector is picking up in popularity, though, so perhaps they will be more commonplace before too long. In the meantime, it might be nice to have a dedicated pouch on the padded cover to house this cable. A small button allows for cycling through the four presets, which are indicated by a green LED next to the Preset 1-4 labels. A red LED indicates when signal clipping is present. A USB port allows for connection to a computer and the downloading of different presets.
Fig. 1 shows the relative frequency response curves of the four presets. The red curve is Neutral, Green is Deep, Gold is Vintage, and Orange is Fat. Note, the Neutral and Deep curves overlap exactly from about 300Hz on up, so they appear to be one line. Due to the fact that this is a powered enclosure, and we were not able to run our standardized cab tests, this chart is not a measurement of the sensitivity of the enclosure and should not be thought of as a direct comparison to our standard technical review frequency response charts. However, it does do a good job of showing what each of the presets bring to the table.
All in all, the FR800 appears to be very well-constructed, with fantastic components, and great attention to detail.
Fig. 1 FR800 Presets 1-4
|Listed Impedance:||8 Ohms|
|Rated Power Handling:||800 watts (internal amplifier)|
|Inputs/Outputs:||Two XLR (one male, one female)|
|Dimensions:||17.7” W x 22” H x 14.6” D|
|Covering:||Textured acrylic coating|
|Baffle Board:||9mm dual-density plywood|
|Cabinet:||9mm dual-density plywood|
|Grille:||1.5mm powder-coated steel|
|Handles:||Two (side-mounted strap handles)|
|Feet:||Eight, rubber (four on bottom; four on side)|
|Driver Mounting:||Eight bolts into threaded inserts|
|Woofers:||Proprietary Eminence 12XN550|
|Cone Material:||Water-resistant, critically damped composite|
|Voice Coil:||3" diameter; ultra-high excursion|
|Magnets:||Neodymium (11 oz.)|
|Tweeter:||Faital Pro 1” compression driver (with waveguide)|
|Protection:||Polyswitch and fixed L-pad, to protect passive crossover and HF driver|
|Speaker Connections:||Spring-loaded post (driver), FASTON (HF driver)|
|Crossover:||2-way, 4th order, Linkwitz-Riley, crossed at 2.5kHz|
|Average Sensitivity (200Hz-900Hz):||N/A|
Phone: +44 1273 945959
|County of origin:||UK|
|Year of Origin:||2015|
|List Price:||$2,999 (including shipping)|
|Street Price:||$2,999 (including shipping)|
|Test Unit Options:||Padded cover|
|Price as Tested:||$2,999|
|Available Options:||Padded cover|
|Acquired from:||Barefaced Audio|
|Dates:||September 2015 to February 2016|
|Test Gear (in-hand review):||Millennia TD-1, Sadowsky P/J 5, Sadowsky WL-4, MTD 535, Fbass VF-5, Kay C-1 upright, Bergantino IP112, AudioKinesis TC115AF, Bergantino B|Amp|
1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)
|Ease of Use:||4|
In-hand Score 4.36average
On-bench Score 4.57average
Low: Huge, powerful, but very controlled
Mids: Extremely well-balanced and musical
Highs: Very clear, but smooth and pleasing; great dispersion
The FR800 can do virtually anything you want it to. Tonally, it is a blank canvas, and the output volume is amazing. Off-axis dispersion is exemplary. One of the best-sounding cabs on the planet.
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