Tom Bowlus’
CAB
LAB

This Article Was Originally Published On: December 15th, 2015 #Issue 17.

The ChopShopAmps approach is fairly unique in the custom cab world. Bob builds a custom-made enclosure, which you can get in (pretty much) any color you want. But his approach is to use very affordable, easy to find woofers and tweeters, from MCM Audio. The 10″ woofer clocks in at under $15.00, while the piezo tweeter in the S10BT costs a whopping $1.99. In a world of super-expensive, hard-to-find uber drivers, this is a decidedly different approach. However, despite the affordable innards, the S10BT is constructed quite well. All cabinet walls (including the front baffle) are made from 1/2″ plywood, and are coated in custom-colored Duratex. I would have preferred to have seen the front baffle be a little thicker, though, as there was some splitting around the screws/bolts. In addition to adding color to the sides of the enclosure, ChopShopAmps will also color the grill, corners, strap end covers, and other metal parts to your liking. That’s a cool touch! The 16-gauge steel grill was painted with purple Duratex and held in place by ten screws pushing against ten rubber grommets. The 10″ driver is held in by eight bolts secured by hurricane nuts. Very nice! A gasket around the frame provides a good seal and additional holding power. The tweeter is quite adequately secured by four wood screws.

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The handle placement is kind of unique. A single strap handle is mounted on the side of the cabinet, which has the advantage of not getting in the way of placing a head on top (like some top-mounted handles can do). However, it has the disadvantage of tempting you to set the cab down on its side (instead of the feet). I found myself trying to do a little “flip move” as I set it down, which produced varying results. Placing feet on the side opposite the handle might be nice addition, and save some scrapes to that side of the cab. The second handle is mounted on the bottom of the cab and serves as a kick-back stand, when in use. This is a nice feature, especially when a small cab is placed on the ground, and this handle is also quite functional in terms of carrying the cab. Speaking of the feet, the four rubber feet on the bottom are nice and tall, and the bottom mounted handle easily clears the floor when not tilted back.

With the stated design goal of allowing for an affordable, easy replacement if a driver is ever blown, I was a little surprised to see that the speaker leads were soldered in place, as opposed to using blade-style connectors. Sure, the soldered connection may have a performance advantage, but it does make it (marginally) more difficult to replace by an end user. Interesting choice… The tweeter control is merely an on/off switch. In addition, there is no crossover, and no tweeter protection. While these last features certainly do bear out the “cost saving goal,” I do have concerns about blowing the tweeter, if we are feeding it a full-range, unbuffered signal.

The insides of the enclosure were all covered with pink fiberglass insulation, which is visible through the smallish round port on the front panel. In addition to the tweeter on/off switch, the back panel features both a 1/4″ and a Speakon input connector. However, take note that not all Speakon cables will fit this particular input jack, as it uses a 2-conductor style connector.

ChopshopSinusoidal

Fig. 1 On and off-axis(15, 30, 45) frequency responses

ChopshopImpCurve

Fig. 2 Impedance curve

 

 

 

bass test
Chopshop

ChopShop Amps
S10BT

ENCLOSURE

Configuration:1x10, tweeter
Listed Impedance:8 Ohms
Rated Power Handling:150 watts
Inputs/Outputs:One Neutrik® Speakon® and one 1/4"
Dimensions:15 ½" W x 16 ¼" H x 12 1/8" D
Weight:22.6 lbs
Ports:Front-ported
Covering:Duratex
Baffle Board:1/2" ply
Cabinet:1/2" ply
Grille:Duratex-coated steel (16 gauge)
Handles:Two (strap handle on side, flip-out handle on bottom)
Feet:Four
Casters:None
Corners:Metal, non-stacking
Driver Mounting:8 bolts (hurricane nuts)

DRIVERS/CROSSOVER

Woofers: MCM 10" 55-2951 (stamped-frame)
Cone Material:Non-pressed paper
Voice Coil:(2” diameter)
Magnets:Ceramic (40 oz.)
Tweeter:MCM 53-800 piezo
Tweeter Adjustment: On/off switch
Protection:None
Speaker Connections:Solder
Crossover:None

MEASUREMENTS

Average Sensitivity (200Hz-900Hz):94.68 dBSPL (1 watt @ 1 meter)

GENERAL

Company:ChopShopAmps
Covington, KY
USA
Telephone: (859) 802-5280
info@chopshopamps.com
County of origin:USA
Year of Origin:2015
Warranty:Limited
List Price:$255
Street Price:$255
Test Unit Options:Piezo tweeter ($5)
Accessories:None
Price as Tested:$255
Available colors:Choose your Duratex colors
Available Options:Piezo tweeter ($5)
Acquired from:ChopShopAmps
Dates: June through August, 2015
Locales: Ohio
Test Gear (in-hand review):GK MB200, TC BH250, Ampeg Micro-VR, EA Wizzy 10, GK Neo112-II

TEST RESULTS

1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)

In-hand

Features: 3
Tonal Flexibility:4
Ease of Use: 4
Aesthetics:4
Ergonomics:4.5
Tone: 4
Value:3

In-hand Score 3.79average

On-bench Score 3.71average

On-bench

Portability:5
Road Worthiness: 3.5
Components:2
Hardware:4
Cabinet Construction:3.5
Wiring:4
Cover/Finish:4

Sonic Profile:

Lows: Respectable depth and fullness within volume limits
Mids: Nicely balanced and articulate
Highs: Slightly subdued

TONE-O-METER:

Within its volume limits, this cab is a fantastic performer, belying its budget componentry. There are, indeed, better tweeters out there, but not for under $2.00, and the high end is not bad, at all. Lows and mids are competitive with cabs costing much more.

chopshop