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Versatility of FRFR Cabs for keys/bass/drum machine amplification

mjhz

New Member
I'm pretty much set on putting down for a Mission Engineering Gemini 2, but I wanted to hear this community's experience and opinions on using these types of speakers beyond guitar use. I run a software rig out of Ableton where I primarily play guitar but also play some keys/synths/organs and trigger drum loops. I suppose by definition these speakers would react just fine.

Anyone have any first hand experience with how this would sound in a room? I've been playing through PA's mostly and am looking for an amp of my own that can handle a wide range of sounds for rehearsals and gigs. I'm also curious how feasible mic'ing capabilities are for live sound and studio use.
 

yeky83

Power User
What's your requirements for a speaker? What drew you to the Gemini 2?

Not a fan of the Gemini 2, which commits a speaker design booboo by placing two full range coaxial speakers next to each other. You'll get a narrow horizontal, wide vertical directivity which isn't useful, and more harmfully, have phase issues resulting in comb filtering at higher frequencies. It's 62 lbs with two class D 110W amps, which means it's really heavy and yet probably fairly lacking in volume and headroom... what were they thinking? And one strap handle, good luck carrying it.
Oh, and apparently the cooling fan is really loud by all accounts, you'll have to pay $300 more for a heatsink option.

If you don't believe me on the speaker design thing, perhaps you'll believe this credible explanation:
http://usa.matrixamplification.com/faq/stereo-and-frfr.html

If you really need the USB and Bluetooth functions, I guess there's nothing else. But as a speaker, you don't get a lot for your money ($1500! Or $1800 for heatsink!). You're better off getting two great speakers.

Based on this speaker, I wouldn't go to Mission Engineering for speaker needs. They either don't know what they're doing, or are willing to sell a bad product cus it seems good to unknowing eyes.

If you need to have stereo in one big box, Line 6 Firehawk 1500 seems to be a somewhat better implementation of this idea.
If you're looking for coaxial designs, there's Xitone, Matrix, Atomic, RCF NX 12, Dynacord AXM 12, etc., lots of good options people recommend on this forum.
If you want stereo, just buy two speakers. You could buy 2 great PA speakers and use it as your personal stereo FRFR amp, maybe something like Yamaha DXR10's. And two smaller speakers are way easier to manage than one big one.

By rule, if you're sending signal to an FRFR, you should not mic the FRFR but rather send the same signal for live sound or studio use. But if you insist on mic'ing, coaxials are better for this, something to consider.
 

lwknives

Experienced
I'm pretty much set on putting down for a Mission Engineering Gemini 2, but I wanted to hear this community's experience and opinions on using these types of speakers beyond guitar use. I run a software rig out of Ableton where I primarily play guitar but also play some keys/synths/organs and trigger drum loops. I suppose by definition these speakers would react just fine.

Anyone have any first hand experience with how this would sound in a room? I've been playing through PA's mostly and am looking for an amp of my own that can handle a wide range of sounds for rehearsals and gigs. I'm also curious how feasible mic'ing capabilities are for live sound and studio use.
Its worth pointing out that pretty much any of the modern mid range ($400-$3000) PA speakers are just as FRFR as the speakers that are sold as FRFR, they are just marketed differently. I see people comparing FRFR to wedges and PAs all the time and it doesnt make any sense because most wedges and PA systems are trying to be FRFR. The only difference is marketing.
Coaxial monitoring is lighter and smaller and can have better dispersion characteristics so most of the speakers marketed towards guitar modeler users uses this format but this design is not only used for guitar modelers, it has been used for years in wedges and PA gear.
I would highly suggest not limiting your search to just speakers marketed as FRFR for guitar modeling. There are a ton of great PA speakers out there you would miss out on.
 

mjhz

New Member
Thank you both so much for your replies.

yeky83 - I was drawn to the Gemini 2 for its seemingly "guitar cab" look and feel. I consider myself a guitar player first, and as I've ventured away from the basic guitar->pedal->amp configuration, I've missed having that guitar amp presence for rehearsals and gigs. Going direct through the house PA/monitor wedges is a different performance experience in my opinion.

My requirements for a speaker are just that I could use my different cab sim software and virtual instruments through one "in the room" cabinet and it accurately replicate the tones and sounds I conjure at home through my studio monitors and headphones. I want to be able to bring it to a jam session at a house or a gig at a professional venue and have it behave like a guitar amp or keyboard amp would. I thought the Empower frequency response control on the Gemini was a cool feature allowing you to tune the speakers to a space.

The stereo issue you bring up is really interesting. Stereo vs mono is not a huge deal breaker for me, but I assumed that the speaker would behave like a typical Twin 2x12 set up. Didn't stop to think how the full range of the speakers could create problems. Not sure I completely understand but definitely something I'm gonna keep looking into. The weight and fan noise is also something I'm heavily consideration now too..

lwknives - Thank you for clearing that up lol. It seems obvious, but the way these speakers are marketed begs the "FRFR vs PA" question.


Thanks again for the help. I think I'm gonna see what other coaxial options are out there. Please let me know if you all have any further recommendations!!


EDIT: Wondering what you guys think about the Mission Engineering Gemini 2 - P ? It's a passive cab so I could use another power amp and bypass the whole fan noise problem. I still don't understand how the 2x12 set up would be any different from the stereo you get from any other 2x12 cab
 
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yeky83

Power User
I want to be able to bring it to a jam session at a house or a gig at a professional venue and have it behave like a guitar amp or keyboard amp would. I thought the Empower frequency response control on the Gemini was a cool feature allowing you to tune the speakers to a space.

Since you run a software setup, you should be able to get whatever sounds out of a good FRFR, manipulate EQ or IR to make an FRFR behave like a guitar cab or keyboard amp.

If you want a hardware option like the Empower knob from Gemini, Xitone speakers enable you to do this. They have DSP options to tune the speakers to be more guitar-amp-like if you want it to. They updated their website and it's hard to google for it now, went from https to http, so I'll link it here: http://xitonecabs.com/product-category/active/

Send them an email, see how they respond and see if it meets your needs. They receive a lot of praise on this forum.
 
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unix-guy

Legend!
What's your requirements for a speaker? What drew you to the Gemini 2?

Not a fan of the Gemini 2, which commits a speaker design booboo by placing two full range coaxial speakers next to each other. You'll get a narrow horizontal, wide vertical directivity which isn't useful, and more harmfully, have phase issues resulting in comb filtering at higher frequencies. It's 62 lbs with two class D 110W amps, which means it's really heavy and yet probably fairly lacking in volume and headroom... what were they thinking? And one strap handle, good luck carrying it.
Oh, and apparently the cooling fan is really loud by all accounts, you'll have to pay $300 more for a heatsink option.

If you don't believe me on the speaker design thing, perhaps you'll believe this credible explanation:
http://usa.matrixamplification.com/faq/stereo-and-frfr.html

If you really need the USB and Bluetooth functions, I guess there's nothing else. But as a speaker, you don't get a lot for your money ($1500! Or $1800 for heatsink!). You're better off getting two great speakers.

Based on this speaker, I wouldn't go to Mission Engineering for speaker needs. They either don't know what they're doing, or are willing to sell a bad product cus it seems good to unknowing eyes.

If you need to have stereo in one big box, Line 6 Firehawk 1500 seems to be a somewhat better implementation of this idea.
If you're looking for coaxial designs, there's Xitone, Matrix, Atomic, RCF NX 12, Dynacord AXM 12, etc., lots of good options people recommend on this forum.
If you want stereo, just buy two speakers. You could buy 2 great PA speakers and use it as your personal stereo FRFR amp, maybe something like Yamaha DXR10's. And two smaller speakers are way easier to manage than one big one.

By rule, if you're sending signal to an FRFR, you should not mic the FRFR but rather send the same signal for live sound or studio use. But if you insist on mic'ing, coaxials are better for this, something to consider.
I don't want to start an argument here, but you've been chiming in a lot lately on threads telling people how bad the designs of certain FRFR products are that you haven't actually used, based strictly on the specs.

I got a chance to hear the Gemini 2 at Mission headquarters literally right before they started shipping (they hosted a Fractal gathering). Using the cab in stereo mode was surprisingly effective in presenting a nice stereo image. There were no apparent issues with phasing or comb filtering that anyone in the group seemed to notice.

But I do agree with you that 2 smaller mono FRFR is a better choice. You get a much better ability to control stereo separation, they are easier to move and for a more portable gig requirement you could take just one.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Thank you both so much for your replies.

yeky83 - I was drawn to the Gemini 2 for its seemingly "guitar cab" look and feel. I consider myself a guitar player first, and as I've ventured away from the basic guitar->pedal->amp configuration, I've missed having that guitar amp presence for rehearsals and gigs. Going direct through the house PA/monitor wedges is a different performance experience in my opinion.

My requirements for a speaker are just that I could use my different cab sim software and virtual instruments through one "in the room" cabinet and it accurately replicate the tones and sounds I conjure at home through my studio monitors and headphones. I want to be able to bring it to a jam session at a house or a gig at a professional venue and have it behave like a guitar amp or keyboard amp would. I thought the Empower frequency response control on the Gemini was a cool feature allowing you to tune the speakers to a space.

The stereo issue you bring up is really interesting. Stereo vs mono is not a huge deal breaker for me, but I assumed that the speaker would behave like a typical Twin 2x12 set up. Didn't stop to think how the full range of the speakers could create problems. Not sure I completely understand but definitely something I'm gonna keep looking into. The weight and fan noise is also something I'm heavily consideration now too..

lwknives - Thank you for clearing that up lol. It seems obvious, but the way these speakers are marketed begs the "FRFR vs PA" question.


Thanks again for the help. I think I'm gonna see what other coaxial options are out there. Please let me know if you all have any further recommendations!!


EDIT: Wondering what you guys think about the Mission Engineering Gemini 2 - P ? It's a passive cab so I could use another power amp and bypass the whole fan noise problem. I still don't understand how the 2x12 set up would be any different from the stereo you get from any other 2x12 cab

A good friend of mine owns the passive version that he powers with a Matrix GT1000FX. It sounds very nice... Although it was a little bass heavy compared to the various other 1x12 cabs when we compared them during another Fractal gathering last summer.

On the powered version, the Empower feature is interesting although we didn't spend much time using it.

By the way, the thing is ridiculously loud for its power rating!
 

yeky83

Power User
I don't want to start an argument here, but you've been chiming in a lot lately on threads telling people how bad the designs of certain FRFR products are that you haven't actually used, based strictly on the specs.

I got a chance to hear the Gemini 2 at Mission headquarters literally right before they started shipping (they hosted a Fractal gathering). Using the cab in stereo mode was surprisingly effective in presenting a nice stereo image. There were no apparent issues with phasing or comb filtering that anyone in the group seemed to notice.

I'm not here to start arguments either. Let me ask you, did you try to understand my previous explanation? Did you read the Matrix article I shared on this thread? Cus I write with plenty of evidence shown. It's simple facts of acoustics that absolutely result in comb filtering for these speakers. Here's a quote from the Matrix Amps link:
"+-20db peaks and troughs are the order of the day. Dispersion figures become meaningless as the constructive and destructive interference creates dead spots all over the soundscape."

Here's a link showing the problem:
http://education.lenardaudio.com/en/08_live_2.html
Here's another reading you can do on this acoustics effect:
https://www.prosoundweb.com/topics/production/lobes_and_nulls/
Or check out the green&red frequency patterns with multiple drivers here:
http://www.burton-manor.co.uk/index.php/legacy/1-thoughts-and-ideas-behind-the-design-of-line-arrays
Or here:
http://prosoundconsulting.com/2014/01/speakers-always-better/

If you didn't hear it when you auditioned it, please consider your subjective listening experience at work. And room reflections can make the comb filtering not as apparent. I gather that you've auditioned your Accugroove and Gemini 2 indoors. If you play it outdoors, or in a dead-er room without the room reflections, it should be quite apparent as you walk side to side. (Or in the case of the Accugroove Latte, up or down.)

+/- 20 dB peaks and troughs in frequency response don't make for an FRFR. It's true, and it's bad. Merely trying to inform people of quite badly designed speakers, made with very little thought or knowledge. I'm trying to help, not merely spreading negativity. Please try to read and understand.

By the way, the thing is ridiculously loud for its power rating!

A useful comparison:
Gemini 2 active version lists their rating at 103 dB dynamic range, A-weighted.
Yamaha DXR10 with half the size, weight, and price is rated at 131dB SPL. Plus none of the problems of the Gemini 2.
Passive version Gemini 2 doesn't list the sensitivity rating.
 

lwknives

Experienced
I'm not here to start arguments either. Let me ask you, did you try to understand my previous explanation? Did you read the Matrix article I shared on this thread? Cus I write with plenty of evidence shown. It's simple facts of acoustics that absolutely result in comb filtering for these speakers. Here's a quote from the Matrix Amps link:
"+-20db peaks and troughs are the order of the day. Dispersion figures become meaningless as the constructive and destructive interference creates dead spots all over the soundscape."

Here's a link showing the problem:
http://education.lenardaudio.com/en/08_live_2.html
Here's another reading you can do on this acoustics effect:
https://www.prosoundweb.com/topics/production/lobes_and_nulls/
Or check out the green&red frequency patterns with multiple drivers here:
http://www.burton-manor.co.uk/index.php/legacy/1-thoughts-and-ideas-behind-the-design-of-line-arrays
Or here:
http://prosoundconsulting.com/2014/01/speakers-always-better/

If you didn't hear it when you auditioned it, please consider your subjective listening experience at work. And room reflections can make the comb filtering not as apparent. I gather that you've auditioned your Accugroove and Gemini 2 indoors. If you play it outdoors, or in a dead-er room without the room reflections, it should be quite apparent as you walk side to side. (Or in the case of the Accugroove Latte, up or down.)

+/- 20 dB peaks and troughs in frequency response don't make for an FRFR. It's true, and it's bad. Merely trying to inform people of quite badly designed speakers, made with very little thought or knowledge. I'm trying to help, not merely spreading negativity. Please try to read and understand.



A useful comparison:
Gemini 2 active version lists their rating at 103 dB dynamic range, A-weighted.
Yamaha DXR10 with half the size, weight, and price is rated at 131dB SPL. Plus none of the problems of the Gemini 2.
Passive version Gemini 2 doesn't list the sensitivity rating.

The thing is our ears and brains are really good at ignoring phase issues. The picket fence effect is only if you are moving which makes critical listening much harder. Plus there are a tone of people who are asking for FRFRs that sound more like guitar cabs which have terrible phase problems.
I think it is really important to point out the design problems with speakers claiming to be FRFR but the speaker could still SOUND great.
 

yeky83

Power User
The thing is our ears and brains are really good at ignoring phase issues. The picket fence effect is only if you are moving which makes critical listening much harder. Plus there are a tone of people who are asking for FRFRs that sound more like guitar cabs which have terrible phase problems.
I think it is really important to point out the design problems with speakers claiming to be FRFR but the speaker could still SOUND great.

Yes, agreed up to a certain point. It should also be added then, that while comb filtering is harder to notice with multiple speakers placed further apart, it's easier to notice when the acoustical interference occurs from one speaker itself having multiple tweeters placed far enough apart.

I never claimed that products like Gemini 2 or Accugrooves don't sound good. But they're not FRFR within a useful axial range, and they're not accurate speakers. And in the case of the Gemini 2, it's also heavy and underpowered, it's overall kinda bad.
 
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mjhz

New Member
Cool thanks, I think I'm gonna go for a single speaker cab for now and then see if I need another one. But yeah that Michael Britt XiTone cab looks really cool - I like the DSP effects. Is there anything similar to that but coaxial?
 

yeky83

Power User
Cool thanks, I think I'm gonna go for a single speaker cab for now and then see if I need another one. But yeah that Michael Britt XiTone cab looks really cool - I like the DSP effects. Is there anything similar to that but coaxial?

Coaxial option would be the Xitone Active wedge. But seems like you want a non-wedge type, one that looks more like a speaker cab.
You can always send Xitone an email, Mick's done custom orders for people. Maybe he can build a coaxial version of the MBritt cab for you.
 

mjhz

New Member
Coaxial option would be the Xitone Active wedge. But seems like you want a non-wedge type, one that looks more like a speaker cab.
You can always send Xitone an email, Mick's done custom orders for people. Maybe he can build a coaxial version of the MBritt cab for you.

Sweet thanks I'm gonna try that!
 

mjhz

New Member
Wait does that mean that the tweeter then is optional with the DSP presets? And the "woofer" is actually coaxial?

Coaxial just means that the tweeter and woofer are in one cone right?
 

MicFarlow

Experienced
Vendor
Wait does that mean that the tweeter then is optional with the DSP presets? And the "woofer" is actually coaxial?

Coaxial just means that the tweeter and woofer are in one cone right?

Yes, coaxial means that the tweeter and woofer share the same axis, yes the MBritt tweeter and woofer are coaxial and yes the tweeter is optional within the DSP presets.

You can actually turn the tweeter off and the woofer will be flat response and you can also have the tweeter off and have the woofer not be flat response such that it'll behave a bit more like a guitar driver at that point.

As to your initial posting... I test all cabs with full range prog rock music.... you get drums, bass, piano, synth, strings, vocals and anything else they can think of to throw in there in a few short minutes and sometimes in the same song! :)

We test with guitar as well but no cab leaves here without sounding great with full range program music.

Please do not hesitate to shoot me a note via my website with any additional questions.

Thanks,

Mick
 
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