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Powercab 112+ vs 212+ SOUND TEST


ClayPod
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I've looked long and hard for a forum or review comparing the actual sound of the Powercab 212+ to the 112+, haven't been able to find much, so I thought I'd share my experience.

 

I'm a helix user, play a variety from Grohl to Gilmour to Mayer. I have an 80's American Strat and a 2012 339. I'm coming off a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special 1x12, which I love but children have made it impossible for me to turn it on. I really like the Helix, and I like the built in Cabs but they are just missing a particular je ne sais qoi that's hard to describe, but for me it comes down to low end punch. Funny a $3k Mesa Boogie just sounds better than reference monitors or headphones. The Lonestar is a particularly low end - punch in the gut - amp, and I like that. I play in my studio and not live and perhaps that's why I don't understand why anyone these mid-range infested "speaker sims" in Powercab. In my studio they sound like crap when compared to even the free Alure IRs, let alone some of the others.

 

Enough background.

 

I read a lot of great things about Powercab coupled with Helix  and I wanted to have a $800 speaker that could compete with my Mesa, so I bought a 112+ used to try it out. It's good. It's still a closed back 12" speaker cabinet though so it was really missing the low-end punch that I was hoping for, and was used to compared to my Mesa. Even the Lonestar modeled through the Powercab 112+ sounds good, but it leaves me wanting more... And the low-end punch is nowhere close to the real thing in straight A/B tests, even after a lot of menu diving.

 

I also found myself wanting the Stereo routing that comes with two 112+s or a single 212+ for plugging into my board / DAW, so I was considering buying another 112+, but I was nervous that wouldn't solve this lack of low-end punch issue that I had... So, I bought a 212+ used, just to see if the bass port at the back + the two speakers would give me the missing punchy bass.

 

I can happily report that the 212+ nails it. WAY fuller sound, WAY more low end, tight, controlled bass. I actually find myself preferring it to my Lonestar Special that I've been so reluctant to sell over all these years. AND you can pull off really good sound at low volumes (both models, but the lighter bass of the 112+ rolls off to a higher degree at lower volumes). 

 

I now have a 112+ and a Lonestar Special for sale. Way too much gear over here, but I've found my zen in the 212+, zen that I couldn't find in the 112+.

 

Long story short - if you're wondering if there is a 'same-volume' sound difference between the 112+ vs 212+, there is - it's actually a BIG difference, IMO, particularly on the low end. I know, I know - it's a 2x12 cabinet what did you expect... I'm just trying to fill the void of missing information on this topic for the next person trying to 'forum' their way through this riddle, pre-purchase.

 

If you have the cash, go 212+ all day long... If not, I've got your 112+ sitting here waiting for you...

 

Cheers, 

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Thanks for posting this! I currently have several DT50 amps that I am using with my Helix. I  am more curious than anything how the Helix Pais with a 2X12 PC compared to my DT50. I think the PC would offer more flexibility considering the IR and speaker modeling...and stereo options. I don't think I will ever see one in a store to check it out. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I honestly think the two separate amps placed together may even be a little bit louder because the cabinets are tighter and may project more sound forward.

The specs on the 112 plus say the Maximum Peak SPL is 125 dB SPL. And the 212 says 131dB SPL which isn't too far off from that of a single 112.

According to this site, 120 is the threshold of discomfort and 130 is the threshold of pain. So either way, fully cranked these ought to be able to cause some people in the front to move back a few steps.

 

IndigoCard

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/8/2021 at 5:53 AM, ClayPod said:

 

 

"I play in my studio and not live and perhaps that's why I don't understand why anyone these mid-range infested "speaker sims" in Powercab. In my studio they sound like crap when compared to even the free Alure IRs, let alone some of the others."

 

 

 

you mean you don't understand why people like speaker Sims?

 

I've got a 212 and I don't understand that either  

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/2/2021 at 5:10 AM, Ziemann said:

I honestly think the two separate amps placed together may even be a little bit louder because the cabinets are tighter and may project more sound forward.

The specs on the 112 plus say the Maximum Peak SPL is 125 dB SPL. And the 212 says 131dB SPL which isn't too far off from that of a single 112.

According to this site, 120 is the threshold of discomfort and 130 is the threshold of pain. So either way, fully cranked these ought to be able to cause some people in the front to move back a few steps.

 

IndigoCard

technically speaking, your initial statement might hold true for perception, figures in real life taking us somewhere else nonetheless.

 

two equal [full-range] speakers playing "together", each producing the same sound pressure level, spaced apart as in a stereo setting, introduce a sum of 3dB (it's called "non-coherent sum", and – for sake of simplicity –  this applies to the range of mid- to high- frequencies).

 

two PowerCab 112 playing together at same level will then yield 3dB on top of 125, hence 128dB SPL – please note that applying double power to the same transducer (provided it can survive it) yields +3dB SPL, i.e. if any speaker producing 130dB SPL when receiving 250W of power is then supplied with 500W, it shall produce 133dB SPL (if it can stand it) – and, not incidentally, the same rule applies in reverse, too (halving the power results in -3dB SPL).

 

actually, the 131dB SPL of a PowerCab 212 in full swing compared to the 125dB SPL of a PowerCab 112 is a whole world of difference, as if (provided it had only one of the same loudspeaker internally – and it does NOT, on both accounts) it was being applied FOUR TIMES the power (like 1.000W instead of 250W, which might not go on for a long time anyway, in practical terms).

 

inside one PowerCab 212+, though, are two 12" speakers, and surely not of the same type and with the same specs as the one fitted in the PowerCab 112.

most likely, each of these two 12" has about 3dB more sensitivity than the one fitted in the PowerCab 122 (meaning: louder at equal power).

two speakers playing concurrently, each with +3dB sensitivity over the term of comparison, produce +6dB SPL, a most impressive difference (in terms of engineering effort and production financials), equals to four times the applied power.

 

in order to properly gauge the different sonic performance of the PowerCab 212 in real life, then, consider that in the low-end spectrum region (again, shorthand for sake of brevity – defining it in words would require far more ink that what's being used here) doubling a sound source with an equal one of same SPL yields +6dB (at a distance between sources that's significantly smaller than the frequency of equivalent wavelength)... bottom line is, in terms of listening experience, that one PowerCab 212 will play about 6dB louder than one PowerCab 112, but with a further boost of +6dB in the lower range of its frequency response.

 

your statement about audience in the front seats willing to step back is indeed spot-on, absolutely correct both in principle and in practice – but the difference between 125 and 131 in terms of dB SPL, and in this case with double number of sources (thus with resulting double radiating surface, which is at least significant at the lower end of spectrum) is indeed a HUGE difference, quite the opposite of a "not too far off from" quantity – and it surely provides for a totally different sonic reward to the listener (be it the player, or the audience member).

 

in order to correctly evaluate the impact of sound pressure level over the listening area, then, never forget that (at least in terms of direct acoustic energy, and for a point-source,  spherical-like sound emission, like what we're dealing with, here) the inverse square law dictates how at every doubling of distance from a sound source, sound pressure level drops 6dB – so if a source is 131dB SPL measured at 1m, a listener at 2m will be exposed to 125dB, one at 4m to 119, as that at 8m will measure a sound pressure level of 113 dB SPL in his or her place; concurrently, this also explains why the famed Wall of Sound (system) by Grateful Dead is best kept in the annuals of early rock'n'roll electroacoustics exercises.

 

if i could afford the premium in cost, weight, and overall estate, i would indeed choose a PowerCab 212 over a 112. any day, any week – and i would, again, even over two PowerCab112 – though spreading two of these some 3 or 4 meters apart, and being exactly in the middle of them when playing, is indeed much more fun (for stereo image, and perception of air being moved about) than sitting in front of a 212 – which will always play louder, more focused, deeper, and tighter (and which, shall you ever need to, will have to be miked with two mikes, if ever the need to go at it old school will happen).

 

hope i'll find a buyer for my Fender George Benson Twin Reverb... and too bad if, over a PowerCab 212, this means i will have made a saving of only 2kg – for better or worse, even before the pandemic, i do my own noise mostly at home! :-)

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Wow.... you must be smart.  You use big words AND Numbers!   :) Just kidding, seriously wish I understood more of that.

 

My question on the 212 vs 112 is weight.  I know it must be heavier, but how does it compare to a dt25 (which I am replacing because it is so fragile, but so nice)?

 

Hopefully I will be gigging again and play small bars and when lucky enough, mid to small theaters.  I think the 212 would be too much for the small bars but would be perfect for the other.   

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  • 9 months later...
On 2/17/2022 at 2:59 PM, Andre_B said:

Claypod, thank you.

That's what I wanted to know.

I was wondering which one to buy, 112 plus or 212. I'll go for the 212.

And maybe later a second one...

 

I have two 212, one is mine the other on loan from a friend, and I really love to run them both. 

Placed side by side, tilted, they give you a very wide sound stage where you can immerse yourself in.

Placed one on top of the other is closer to a 4x12 experience.

 

I use them as FRFR only, though, because I can't stand the speaker emulations.

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Interesting feedback and explanation!

 

I just returned a tube amp for a living room setting due to the hum ground noise (Fender `68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb) but I did like the feel of sound form a tube amp.

Now I am thinking of going full digital with a HX Stomp and some PowerCab. And of course the question of 2 x 112+ or 1 x 212+ arise...

 

If I understand correctly, 2 x 112+ would be better if you can place them apart by 3 or 4 meters.

Otherwise if you want a classic guitar amp placement, the 212+ would be better.

 

Any other feedback?

 

 

 

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My experience with PC212 and PC112+ is perhaps a little different. I had both for a couple of year now, and use one or the other depending on venue size and stage footprint restrictions. I have found PC212 to have excess low end when set on the floor compared to the PC112+, that's likely because there's must more bass coupling with the floor with 2x12 than 1x12.

 

I've also struggled with stage volume with the PC212. It seem harder to find the sweet spot, its either missing in the mix or way too loud. I don't seem to have that issue with PC112+, probably because the PC212 might just be too big compared to the rest of the band.

 

I use FRFR mode only, and use IRs in Helix or cab models in Quad Cortex. I found that comparing the PC112+ and PC212 with a real amp, with an IR in Quad Cortex that matches the G12-65s in the amp, the PC112+ sounded closer to the real thing than the PC212. The PC212 had a different midrange color that didn't match up as well to me. The PC112+ and PC212 do use different Eminence speakers, so that could account for the difference.

 

Overall I think I prefer the PC112+: it's smaller, lighter, likely fits with the rest of the band better, doesn't over-extend the bass as much, and seems to have a slightly more pleasant overall tone to me. I do like the PC212 stereo, but as a practical matter, its lost in the mix. And I use IEMs anyway so I get the stereo in my ears anyway.

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1 hour ago, amsdenj said:

My experience with PC212 and PC112+ is perhaps a little different. I had both for a couple of year now, and use one or the other depending on venue size and stage footprint restrictions. I have found PC212 to have excess low end when set on the floor compared to the PC112+, that's likely because there's must more bass coupling with the floor with 2x12 than 1x12.

 

I've also struggled with stage volume with the PC212. It seem harder to find the sweet spot, its either missing in the mix or way too loud. I don't seem to have that issue with PC112+, probably because the PC212 might just be too big compared to the rest of the band.

 

I use FRFR mode only, and use IRs in Helix or cab models in Quad Cortex. I found that comparing the PC112+ and PC212 with a real amp, with an IR in Quad Cortex that matches the G12-65s in the amp, the PC112+ sounded closer to the real thing than the PC212. The PC212 had a different midrange color that didn't match up as well to me. The PC112+ and PC212 do use different Eminence speakers, so that could account for the difference.

 

Overall I think I prefer the PC112+: it's smaller, lighter, likely fits with the rest of the band better, doesn't over-extend the bass as much, and seems to have a slightly more pleasant overall tone to me. I do like the PC212 stereo, but as a practical matter, its lost in the mix. And I use IEMs anyway so I get the stereo in my ears anyway.

 

Would you then recommend the 112+ or the 212+ (or maybe 2 x 112+) for a use only at home in the living room?

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