We’ve reviewed Stonefield basses favorably on several occasions, so we’re keen to get our hands on these cabinets, a new venture for the company’s big cheese Tomm Stanley.
A man well versed in the joys of portable equipment and getting gear from A to B, Tomm has designed these cabinets to relieve the burden of the modern bassist when transporting them to and from gigs, rehearsals and so on. Available in an assortment of colors and in three specific models - the Mighty Mini, the Sub Mini and the Mini Plus - these cabinets are designed to address issues that bass players complain about most often when dealing with amplification.
Has Tomm hit the spot? There's only one way to find out.
The dimensions of each cabinet are such that portability is their prime consideration, as well as sounding good, obviously. Both the Sub Mini and the Mini Plus feature a top carry handle, while the Mighty Mini can be carried using a recess under the top edge of the cabinet with relative ease.
All three cabinets are built with marine-grade timbers for rigidity and hardness, and are coated in a surface compound created specifically by Stonefield, which makes for arefreshing change from the usual carpet, tolex and vinyl textures.
The speaker is protected by a tough grille, and so in theory, these cabinets should be highly resistant to damage, although we’re not about to kick a size 11 Doc Marten into the grille to find out.
Looking at the rear panel, close to the Speakon/jack connections, the additional Series/Parallel and Full Range/Low Cutswitches are recessed - so you’d need to be very unlucky tosustain damage to them.
All three cabinets feature porting at the top of the box to improve projection and overall bass response. The Mighty Mini is the base model, the Mini Plus features an additional horn for improved top end and transient response, and the Sub Mini can be matched with either cabinet for improved power handling and delivery on bigger stages. It will also come in useful in louder playing environments, where some extra brute force may be required.
So, what do these vivid boxes actually sound like? Well, when Iused them with several different amplifiers at 8 ohms, it became apparent very quickly that they’re up to the job they’ve been designed for.
The Mighty Mini is sufficiently loud and powerful, while conveying in great detail what I was playing. Active basses, and the tonal clarity they offer, suffered a little due to the lack of a tweeter or horn, but for the most part the performance was forthright. The passive basses I used benefited from the warm, rounded tones of the 6.5” speaker and the enclosure.
The Mini Plus takes the positives of the Mighty Mini and moves them forward by adding a horn and an additional Full Range/Low Cut switch, which gives the player some extra tone options and covers a greater range of frequencies. The horn is anoticeable addition, smoothing out some of the midrange that was present with the Mighty Mini and tightening up the low end response.
Additionally, percussive techniques and detailed pick playing sound better and more responsive due to the improved definition. Selecting the Low Cut option reduces some of the low end boom, offering a tighter response without having to change EQ on your bass or amp.
The Sub Mini can be used in conjunction with either of the other cabs - but you’ll get the best results when combining it with the Mini Plus, which will give you the full range of frequencies.
Utilizing a fourth order bandpass design (Google is your friend here), this unit is capable of considerable power in the lower frequency range: my advice is to use it wisely. Of course, too much bass EQ from your instrument or amp may swamp your sound when playing solo, but in a live band mix, you’ll appreciate the extra bass power at your disposal.
In particular, five-string basses will make great use of the extra sub performance: add extra mid-EQ to help things along in that department.
Tomm has certainly done his homework here and should be congratulated on a job well done. You may look at these cabs andthink ‘They won’t be loud enough’ - but believe me, the range packs a considerable punch. They are reasonably priced, look great, and they’re very portable and loud. What else does any bassist need? Audition one for yourself as soon as possible.
- PRICE: $325 (£265), $375 (£305), $425 (£345)
- MADE IN: New Zealand
- POWER: 200 watts (120W MS) / 450 watts (225W MS) / 250 watts (125W MS)
- IMPEDANCE: 8 ohms
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 55Hz to 5kHz / 32Hz to 1kHz / 45Hz to 8kHz
- SPEAKERS: 6.5” Mighty Mini driver / 6.5” Mighty Mini driver with high frequency horn / Fourth order bandpass design
- DIMENSIONS: Mighty Mini 325 (H) x 255 (W) x 195mm (D), Sub Mini 395 (H) x 295 (W) x 405mm (D), Mini Plus 370 (H) x 300 (W) x 250mm (D) / 13” (H) x 10” (W) x 8” (D), 15.5” (H) x 11.5” (W) x 16” (D), 14.5” (H) x 12” (W) x 10” (D)
- CONNECTIONS: Two parallel Speakon/1/4” combo input sockets /Series/Parallel connection switch / Mini Plus has Full Range / Low Cut switch
- WEIGHTS: Weight 3.4kg, 11kg, 9.5kg / 7.5 lbs, 24 lbs, 21 lbs
For more information, head to Stonefield.