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Review

Trace Elliot Elf and 2x8 400W Cabinet

Issue #57

Dialling in your sound is a breeze with the three-band active EQ which has more than enough cut and boost in key frequency areas giving this amplifier a rather ’big’ sound. What forum folk call ‘heft’! Deceptive but effective as this box sounds bigger than it is!
Dan Veall

 PROS


Small, Light, Loud, Great sound


Cons


Nothing big enough to mention.


SPECS


Head

Weight: 1.60 lb

Dimensions: W = 6.75" (17.1 cm) D = 4.10" (10.4 cm) H= 1.35" (3.4cm)

Cab

Weight: 27 lbs

Dimensions: 10.3”W x 21.2”H x 12.3”D

Guitar Interactive star rating:  4.5 stars

Trace Elliot Elf and 2x8 400W Cabinet

Head MSRP £295 / Cab MSRP £605


Trace Elliot Elf and 2x8 400W Cabinet

Dan Veall plugs into the ELF bass amplifier and 2x8 400W cabinet. Weighing just 1.6 pounds, this revolutionary amp head fits in your back pocket, and could be the ideal solution for any bassist who is concerned with size and weight, but isn’t willing to compromise on tone or performance.

Do I need to introduce Trace Elliot? Arguably one of the most well-known brands in bass guitar, certainly back in a time when bassist in the UK started demanding more power and a more hi-fi tonal signature. As I understand it, Trace Elliot originally made PA gear, but bassists were turned on to the great sound it delivered for their instruments. Through the years various models have graced stages across the world, from Series 6, to SMX heads, the powerful RAH1000-12 and behemoth BFC stereo speaker cabinets to the acclaimed V-Type (all valve or valve hybrid ) amplifiers.

Opening up my review video with another brand that flies the British flag, my Shuker custom six string bass delivering a wide range of dynamics and rich bass guitar tones to show off what this small, compact but punchy sounding mini-stack is capable of.

Focussing on the now, Trace Elliot’s latest line of products for 2017 isn’t about huge stacks. I say focus, but blink and you’ll miss it! This is the smallest amplifier head we have had in the studio. Ever! Packed tightly into the small, all-metal casing is a 200W D-Class amplifier and a preamplifier circuit designed to remind us of the Trace Elliot sound signature.

Keeping with the diminutive stature, we have the 2x8” speaker cabinet to demonstrate the tiny head with, also from the ELF range. The range features just one other small cabinet with a 1x10” driver instead.  In both cases, they feature Faital drivers rather than, as I am more familiar with, Celestion speakers. I’ve been a fan of Faital’s products, so I was suitably interested in getting my ears around these for a good investigation.

Let's stick with the head first and we shall delve south for a look at the cabinet afterwards..

Wrapped in Trace Elliot’s famous green and black colour scheme, this little chap is eye catching. So it’s not just it’s size that is going to make you double-take when it’s sat on a huge great cabinet on stage!

The front panel is a seemingly simple layout, but there’s a few little cool features that Trace have put a bit of thought in to and I rather like them!

Starting on the left hand side as usual, that gain control doesn’t just control the level going in to the preamplifier section of the amp’ head.. (I feel sort of odd calling something so small a fully fledged amp’ head!!) - The knob does indeed, as I mention, adjust the input level but as you wind it up the operation of an onboard compressor kicks in too gently sculpting your dynamics. In my video, I found that around the 12 o’clock position allowed for the majority of my playing to just twitch the compressor indicator. (The green signal LED changes to yellow/orange as the compressor is activated.) Digging into the strings, the bass level didn’t peak out, which is perfect for switching to say, ‘slap bass’ mid-performance whilst still keeping the levels under control if your right hand has a habit of going a little wayward!

Progressing the gain towards max (I couldn’t resist doing that in the video), Trace Elliot describes in the manual that a tailored drive circuit comes in to play. It does and there’s a nice gnarly tone to be had through the 2x8 cabinet with a mid present bias to it.

Dialling in your sound is a breeze with the three-band active EQ which has more than enough cut and boost in key frequency areas giving this amplifier a rather ’big’ sound. What forum folk call ‘heft’! Deceptive but effective as this box sounds bigger than it is!

Elf has a headphone output on the far right-hand side and round the back, an XLR socket for all your direct injection needs, be it PA or recording. Given the small shell, Trace has opted for a single 1/4” socket rather than a Speakon on the amplifier, though you’ll be pleased to hear that the cabinet features a combo connector socket that will take either Speakon plugs or 1/4” jacks. There’s a pair of in a connector plate/dish round the back.

The 200W output is impressive given its size and as it happens, the 2x8 cabinet is rated at 8 Ohms, so you can easily double up with a pair of these durable cabinets for more air moving capacity. The drivers on board this cabinet are neodymium full range models with a good clarity up top. I even went looking for a tweeter! Each cabinet will handle 400W, so two of these will give you an 800W monitor! That’s crazy! Even more, so that the handle on top makes shifting these boxes effortless.

I could keep on here but I think you get the idea already. I think there’s much to like here. Sure, a 2x8” is never going to keep up with a pro 4x10 cabinet’s ability to shift air, but that’s not what ELF is designed to do. Yet, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with what this pairing can do for you. I definitely want to get a 4x8” stack going in the studio here… who do I ask?

For more information, please visit:

www.traceelliot.com

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Issue #59

Lzzy Hale

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