Originally Posted by jake bassist
Couple of days ago I bought TH500. Was pressed for time and had to decide in couple of days. Moved by rave reviews, swan songs etc.....I ordered and got one yesterday. I play bass for 30 something years and never bought something without testing it, but ......it's Aquilar, I played DB before, everyone here loves it so , how bad can it be, right. I pluged it into my friends Genz-Benz 2x10 neo cab just to check is everything working properly and enjoy a bit of the sound I know and love. I have played Aquilar amps many times before as the backline is always provided for the band. Well to put it very mildly....i don't get it!! Either my unit is malfunctioning or my ears are cloged. I only hear TONS of mid frequency which I can not dial out !! Not musical one with some nice overtones or.....no.. just huge plain middle. Not one thing I've read here in reviews is present in the sound. As I've said before backline is always there for the band and I have so far run into everything possible on the stage, from creme da la creme (including Aqular DB) to the last crap where the pots were falling off and I had no clue what the hell the brand is. But thanks to my Marleaux bass's it was always plug it, controls at noon and play. My sound was more or less there. That is why I was so suprised. Even after tweaking it for quite some ime I couldn't hear that punchy, creamy, slightly tubey,musical, warm and ......wow. Just a lot and lot of plain mid frequency.
To be clear,I do not adhere or belong to any amp tribe. I enjoyed playing everything, more or less of course. But my logic is.....if you have a good bass with character and really love his sound and playability amp can't change that too much.
By the way, I have had couple of light/micro heads so far, I'm not a complete newbie. So that is why I am so puzzled !! Is it possible that TH500 is so complicated and have to be figured out? Or it requires very particular cabinet/speaker?? As i said I was always plug in and play type. After all my tone comes from my fingers and the bass.
In a couple of days I'll be going on a long tour and won't have time or opportunities to figure out, is it just the way amp is or cabs, or me .....
Any help will be greatly appreciated
The TH500 is quite similar in tone to the DB750, with much more mid control. My guess is, if you were playing through the original Shuttle 210, you were hearing the big low end of the TH500 overwhelm that very mid present cab (that cab can't even begin to reproduce the deep low end the TH500 puts out, which might have resulted in an overly midrange present tone).
That being said, seems like a bit of user error. The semi-parametric midrange EQ on the TH is one of the most powerful controls for controlling mids I've run across in an integrated bass amp. Massive capability to boost or cut through the entire midrange frequency continuum.
Find a relatively full range cab, keep the drive off (remember, for the most part, the drive is an EQ control, not really an overdrive control), set the input gain around 9 o'clock (it too is more of a tone/warmth control than a traditional solid state gain matching knob), and just boost the bass and treble to 1 o'clock. That should give you a very fat, even, full range tone, with a very warm, organic, usable, non sizzly top end.
If for some reason you want a bit less punch and midrange presence, just cut a bit of midrange around 500 hz (try between 10 o'clock and noon on the frequency knob, and around 10 o'clock on the level control). If the amp still sounds 'too midrangey', then something is wrong IMO and IME.
One of the coolest things about the TH heads is that infinite variability in the tone available when varying the gain and drive control... from relatively clean and full range all the way through grindy, upper mid aggressive grind, and everything in between.
One of the unique things about the TH is how those controls change the 'feel and give' of this amp, very much like some all tube signal chains.
That all being said, if you are looking for crisp, totally clean, hi fi tone, Aguilar is probably not the place to look for it.