Cloth or steel for gigging life?
If you're buying a Barefaced bass cab you have two choices of grill material - either steel or cloth. This is not for sonic reasons - they sound the same as each other.
We offer these choices for two reasons:
1. Appearance. Everyone has their own view on this, I guess some would say the black steel looks more modern or industrial or aggressive, whilst some would say the silver cloth looks more retro or vintage. And then the black cloth or the various custom clothes add further aesthetic choices.
2. Weight. If you want the lightest possible cab then cloth is lighter than steel (it isn't cloth over a steel grill, the cloth grill replaces the steel grill). I don't think this is generally a good reason to choose cloth because it isn't a big difference and the cabs are already very easy to cart around. I'd choose the one you like looking at.
We get a lot of emails referring to the "added protection" of steel grills, so let me address that now - if our cloth grills didn't provide more than adequate protection for the (very expensive) speaker cones in your Barefaced cab, then cloth grill would not be an option. Yes, there is a point where a steel grill offers better protection than a cloth grill but that is also the point where a cab needs flightcasing. There are thousands of cloth grill Barefaced cabs being gigged around the world since 2008 - and no-one has ever contacted us regarding cone damage through the grill.
Look at it this way. PA cabs have steel grills so they can be thrown in the back of a truck or aircraft without flightcasing - and they're also made super tough against impact damage so they don't need a flightcase (and consequently they're very heavy, despite many having lightweight neo magnet speakers in them).
However guitar cabs have cloth grills because they're tough enough for gigging (our cloth is right on the toughest end of guitar grill cloth) whilst it's usually sensible to flight case them for international touring (with roadies being less than delicate). It's the same for bass cabs (made by anyone), whether or not the grills are steel or cloth. I'm fairly certain that the reason a lot of bass cabs have steel grills was the more futuristic style of '80s bass rigs from the likes of Trace Elliot and SWR - racks, graphic/parametric EQ, and tweeters. That was the era when steel grills appeared on bass cabs. That never really happened to guitar cabs (apart from a very small niche of metal focused rigs), so they're all cloth-fronted whilst bass cabs are a mix of cloth and steel.
I think at Barefaced we're unique in that we offer the choice of steel or cloth on our cabs. You choose - but don't worry about the gigging toughness. Looks, weight, price, that's it. (Cloth grills are a lot more work for us, hence the increased price).
Our AVD guitar cabs only come with cloth grills because that's the aesthetic norm in the guitar world.