This Article Was Originally Published On: December 15, 2015 #Issue 17.
The Company Line
We previously introduced you to Revsound and its founder, David Luke, in issue #12, with Vic Serbe’s review of the RS112T. Since that time, David has continued to dream up new designs, both for bass rigs, and also for PA cabs. While some of the designs vary quite a bit from the RS112T, David has continued his affinity for Celestion drivers. This time up, we take a look at the Revsound RS88T, which appears to be equal parts inspired by the classic Ampeg SVT-810 “fridge” and some of the great 8″ Celestion-equipped SWR bass cabs of yore. Of course, this is all in the context of a David Luke design, which places a premium on being affordable, portable, highly durable, lightweight, and with ample power handling.
This is not the first cab which David built based upon his love for the old SVT cab. His version of the classic 8×10 (the RS810T) was half the weight of an Ampeg fridge, but twice the power handing and a deeper-reaching frequency response. Like its bigger brother, the RS88T is also a ported design, which definitely helps to lower the tuning of the enclosure, but it does take things in a different direction than the sealed “fridge” design. David explains, “I wanted a cab with high power handling that was able to confidently reproduce the first harmonic above the fundamental of a low B – 61.7Hz (30.868 X 2) – and with an even temperament from top to bottom.”
Before I dive into the details of the new cab, I asked David what’s been going on at Revsound since our last review:
“I hit the shop every day, apply new ideas, review and refine designs and try and find new ways to get the word out to players about the cab line. In the past year, I’ve shipped cabs all over the US and have some out of country; it’s been the players that have given us traction. Almost every cabinet I’ve sold in the last three years has gone to someone that saw and heard, or spoke to, one of our cab owners. I still build each cab and have my head inside each one, do the final QC.
The PA line has added a RS212FOH, which is a trapezoid cab loaded with two neo 12s and a 3” neo compression driver on a DDS horn. The Revsound RS112Ms, and RS112FOH both have a 12” neo and 1” neo compression driver on a B&C 60×90 degree horn. It’s a pro monitor that can be used for FOH, bass or keys and weighs 20 lbs, 2 ounces. The shop itself is developing, with the showroom and soundstage on the first floor and studio on the second floor coming together. We’ve been doing a weekly jam upstairs, and that’s been a blast, with a full lineup of Revsound bass, guitar, monitor and FOH cabs. I got a chance to jam last week with Craig Privett, a great player from Long Island who owns several Revsound cabs, including a RS810T for his big shows.”
As you might expect, the RS88T features eight 8″ drivers (Celestion TNO820 neodymium drivers, to be exact), along with the same Seismic Audio Super Bullet titanium tweeter which we saw in the RS112T. The distinctive feature which keeps this from being a true “mini-fridge” design is the large slot port at the bottom of the enclosure. For handles, the RS88T offers two high quality spring loaded handles on the side – which are positioned so as to allow for a comfortable one-person carry – as well as a single handle on the top, located closer to the back edge, for tilt-back rolling. This last bit is, of course, made possible by the integrated casters positioned on the bottom/back edge of the enclosure. There are four wide, but relatively short, rubber feet on the bottom near the front, and then two more near the back, which allow for a stable stance once placed in the desired position. However, their placement does not get in the way when you tilt the cab back to roll. And if you were paying attention, I did say that this cab can be comfortably carried, solo, thanks to the cab’s good handle placement and light weight (73.2 lbs). That is impressive for a cab that is nearly four feet tall! The 1/2″ marine-grade okume plywood certainly contributes to the RS88T’s light weight.
I really like the proportions of this cab. It takes up a pretty small footprint (one of David’s specific design goals), but it is also tall enough not only to position your bass head where it is easy to see and adjust, but also to get the sound up closer to your ears, where it’s easier to be heard on stage (even when standing fairly close). The “tall but thin” proportions also mean that it’s easy to transport – it should fit into the back seat of a typical compact car. If you want to go even smaller, Revsound now also offers the RS48VT, which features four of the Celestion 8″ drivers arranged like a line array (a vertical stack). David likes this approach:
“I’m really excited about the new vertically aligned Revsound line. They have performed exceptionally well. Line array was always my strong preference back in the day, and they began making a comeback in the Pro market ten years ago, when all the major Pro Audio companies returned to it. My PA cab designs have always been line array, and I’m stoked to offer vertically aligned cabs for bass players. There is nothing that isn’t beneficial in the design, in my opinion. On a shallow stage, the drivers are up where you can hear them, instead of blowing by your legs. Off-axis/horizontal frequency response is very good, and they satisfy other criteria: ease of transport, lightweight, high power handling and efficient. Right now, I have the RS48VT and RS410VT in production and the RS412VT will be out next month.”
When I first unboxed the RS88T, it had this “retro meets modern (and slightly downsized)” vibe that reminded me of another hip piece of bass kit – the Demeter VTBP-M-800D bass head – which happened to be sitting nearby. Pairing the two proved to be quite rewarding, and looked hella cool. As much as I liked the pairing with the Demeter head, I was eager to try the RS88T with some tube power. After trying several different all-tube (or least “mostly tube”) heads with the RS88T, I decided that it was most definitely a tube-friendly enclosure. Only later did I learn that this ability to work with high-powered solid state amps and lower-powered tube heads was one of David’s specific goals for this cab. “Players now are all over the place with regard to what they’re carrying for power, so I wanted the RS88T to have the efficiency to run off an old Fender Bassman and the headroom to handle a 1,000-watt head.”
The RS88T is definitely a mid-forward cab, especially in the upper mids. When I use my GK MB Fusion, I normally leave the Contour (mid-scoop) control completely off, but this was one of the rare cabs where I found it very useful to crank up the Contour (using the 800Hz setting). This is not to say that the RS88T doesn’t sound great without a mid cut. It does, but in an obviously mid-forward way. The low end leans towards the “tight and dry” side. It isn’t one of those cabs with “seismic lows,” though it is plenty full down to a low B for my personal preferences. I can see where a 4-string with a drop-D would really be in the RS88T’s sweet spot. With the MB Fusion, I also preferred engaging the “Deep” setting, which can be too much for some cabs, but the RS88T ate it up.
Regarding the high end, I do wish that this cab had an attenuator on the tweeter, as opposed to the on/off switch, as I think I would have preferred a little bit of the tweeter to either the full-on or full-off position. [Ed. note: David Luke tells us that future RS88T builds will include an L-pad on the tweeter.] When engaged, the tweeter more than holds its own against those 8” drivers, as is actually a bit hotter than I’d prefer. With the tweeter disengaged (which is how I used it most of the time), it has more of an old-school, SVT-like vibe. On the whole, the cab took to EQ pretty well, and I could definitely dial in some more modern tones. But again, I think an attenuator on the tweeter would have really upped the tonal versatility.
On the Gig
My first gig with the RS88T was at a difficult room (from a sonic perspective) which I have played several times before. In parts of the room, the bass almost disappears, but in other parts, it’s nothing but boom. I have previously had great results with my Mesa/Boogie Strategy head in this room. The combination of big, round, powerful “tube low end” with the ability to carve out “trouble frequencies” with the graphic EQ works very well in this room, so it got the call to go out on a date with the RS88T. The cab, itself, brought a lot to the table in this room. The cab has excellent dispersion – both horizontally and vertically – thanks in part to its tall, but slightly thin, profile. The strong midrange presence definitely helped it cut through the mix, as well. I did not use much, if any, EQ for the cab, itself, but I definitely used the graphic EQ to adjust to the room. Once again, I appreciated the “big sound from a small footprint” aspect of this cab.
The Bottom Line
The RS88T offers a unique mix of old school and new school traits. This is a “big boy” cab, but it is brilliantly proportioned such that it fits into about any vehicle. It brings a commanding presence to the stage, but occupies only a modest amount of real estate. With the tweeter off, it has an old-school, SVT-like vibe, and with it engaged, it features a prominent, bright top end. If you have not checked out what Revsound is bringing to the table, lately, then it’s high time you did so.
Revsound RS88T Bass Cab
345 Pine Hill Rd
Center Ossipee, NH 03814
|County of origin:||USA|
|Year of Origin:||2015|
|Warranty:||Lifetime (two years on drivers)|
|Test Unit Options:||None|
|Price as Tested:||$1,600|
|Available Options:||Tolex covering ($50), Cloud Nine padded cover ($130),logo available in white, cream, and ghost, in two sizes, as well as the "retro" Revsound badge|
|Test gear:||Mesa/Boogie Strategy, Demeter VTBP-M-800D, GK MB Fusion, Carvin PB5, F Bass VFP-4, F Bass BN5, Sadowsky WL-4, '75 Fender Precision Bass|
1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)
|Ease of Use:||4|
In-hand Score 3.79average
Low: Tight and full
Mids: Upper-mid present and punchy
Highs: Subdued, or in your face, but not much in between
This cab likes to sit in a mix, and offers great vertical and horizontal dispersion. Rather mid-forward, overall, it can cop an old school vibe, but takes to EQing well enough to get modern and funky.