Carvin BX 1500 EQ setting help
I've had a Carvin BX1500 head paired with a 4x10 BRX cab for years now and I'm just totally bored with my tone.
I play a Ric 4003 through it mostly in a "pick punk" style. (I'm not a blasphemer I just have "stupid fingers").
Anyway I'm just worn out on the tone which I have found becoming more and more brittle even though my settings haven't changed. Maybe I'm just getting old but I want more power in my mids that will cut through the guitars without becoming tinny or blowing out the bottom end.
My attack is heavy because of the pick and the Ric accentuates that more so than not but just wondering if anyone out there has any experience, regardless of style, with the BX 1500 and can maybe give me some new ideas on places to take my tone.
I really can't help with advice on settings for the BX1500, specifically, because I haven't bought mine, yet. (My next purchase, though!) I do have a Rickenbacker and a B2000, stack, though.
I don't know what your financial situation is, but here are some things to consider. You can do a lot with the Rick-o-sound, that you can't with other basses. I've always found that when playing mono, regardless of the bass and amp, that when you add lows, it takes away from the highs, and vice versa. If you send the neck signal to one amp, and process your bass there, and send the bridge to another amp, and process your treble signal there, you can get higher highs and lower lows, without them stepping all over each other. This is why I'm adding the BX1500 to my rig, as soon as I can. I did this with a couple of Roland combos, for many years, and I loved it. I just couldn't afford two heads, at the time I got the B2000.
Generally, you can use a smaller, less powerful rig for the bridge/treble signal, so you wouldn't necessarily have to double up on everything you have right now. A 500W head and a 2x10 would probably keep up nicely. In my case, I'm adding a BX1500 to my B2000.
Just to clarify, though... are you unhappy with the sound you have always had, or does the sound seem to have become less than it was before? Depending on the age of your gear, the preamp tube in the head could be failing (haven't run into this yet, myself) or your pickups could be getting weak. When my pickups started to fail, it was similar to some of what your saying. In my case, they got real weak on the bass side, and developed a tinney, clanky sound, at first. Then, they started browning out, and eventually one of 'em died completely. I sent mine out and had them rewound, and a little hotter. Same Rick tone, now, but lots more of it.
Hard to say if any this is what you've got going on, but I thought I'd throw it out there. I'll stay tuned. I'd be interested in what others have to say, especially because I'll be getting one of these, and I don't know as much about them as I'd like.
Hope this helps. hrb
It's less about the tone "changing" and maybe more about my ear maturing. We also play a lot of live shows in less than idea acoustic conditions so I'm more sensitive to the tone I suppose as of late
Good idea on the Ric, I've never tried the "Ric o sound" as I wasn't sure what all was involved in that type of set up. Do you have a breakdown on how that works? Or maybe a forum thread?
Could I run it in "bridge" mode on my head instead of having to buy another? I'm not that technically inclined with the electronics, I just Plug & play
My gear is all fairly new <10 years old. My BX head is all solid state so no preamp failures to be had. I would recommend the carvin, I had a similar ampeg configuration before this and despite my current issues the BX head/BXR cab combo outperforms the ampeg (which cost the same) by miles.
I love my BX1500 and all of it's tonal options. Have you looked to see if the ribbon cable need to be cleaned inside the amp? I know that when my cable started to crap out, the tone was affected first then it went to where it just sounded weak and eventually sounded like it was gasping for air. I thought my BRX410 was the bee's knees until I got my current cab. With a RIC though, I would think it would sound really good paired with the BRX410.
The Rick-o-sound is just Rickenbacker's name for stereo. It works like other stereo basses, although there aren't very many of them. Ovation made one, and Carvin and Alembic used to make them. Probably a very few others.
Stereo is pretty simple to use. It just requires a stereo cable. This is a cable with a 1/4" stereo plug at one end, which goes into the Rick-o-sound output jack, and two mono 1/4" plugs, which plug into two different heads or combos. The cable isn't very expensive, but you need to make sure it's a true stereo. There are cables out there, that are mono by two mono. Not what you want.
If you do get a stereo cable, you could try it out with just a combo/practice amp, or even a guitar amp. But, if you use a guitar amp, you only want to use it for the treble circuit, as bass tends to beat up guitar speakers. The treble circuit is similar to a baritone guitar, so it's safe for most guitar amps. Some guys actually prefer a guitar amp for this.
There's no way to get stereo with just the one head, though. Even though the BX has two channels, it's only got one input. If you have a second cabinet, you can split the mono signal and process the two signals (one to each cabinet) separately, but it's not actually stereo.
The BX does have a tube on the preamp circuit, which is what the drive knob operates - basically, more or less tube. Turned all the way down, it makes the head essentially solid state. I think all of the BX series have had tubes (starting with the BX800) unless some of the early ones had "tube emulation" like the previous Red Line series. If you turn the drive up, and it makes no difference, this is an indication of a tube failure, or possibly the ribbon cable issue.
You should definitely check on the ribbon cable. I've heard this is a common problem, though I haven't experienced any issues with mine, yet.
Just as a general rule, you might try setting everything flat - that is at 12 o'clock - and try tweaking the mids, some. But, as far as the parametric EQ, that's the part I know nothing about. The B2000 is much more simplified than the BX1500.
Hope this helps. hrb
I suggest you play a few other amp heads, then go back to your rig and try to dial that exact tone through your setup. The Carvin is a versatile clean sounding head. At that point, you will realize the usefulness of the Carvin head and/or realize what you should do.
Bridging the head into the cab - I don't believe you need the extra power in this situation nor will it give you better tone or improved volume.
My BX1200 (old version of BX1500) settings are as follows. No brittleness, great punch.
DRIVE - 12:00 (straight up)
CONTOUR - 10:00
BASS - 2:00
LOW MID 2:00
LOW MID FREQ - 10:00 (100) - this is key to my sound
MIDS - both knobs at 12:00
HI MID - 10:00
HI MID FREQ - 1:00 (5k)
TREBLE - 10:00
Use graphic to fine tune to the room or whatever. On my RIC I like the middle pickup selector (both on) with the bridge TONE trimmed to around half.
Let me know what you think!!
I run a BX1500 into a fEarful 15/6, and play a 5. Bridge it. It's worth it for the headroom, which has a significant effect on the tone, IMO. Be careful with the "contour" knob. It may as well be another EQ. As you turn the contour knob up, it cuts a scoop out @ 250hz. Generally, with everything else set flat, you can get a really good tone with just this knob. However, if you use too much of it, you can cut the balls right out of your tone with that knob alone. With my Schecter Stiletto, I run the contour @ 4, bass @+3, everything else flat, and compression @ 4 or so.
Here's a pic of what I'm currently working with. The drive is cut off but I think I had it a "3".
I don't have a pic of the graphic EQ but lets consider it "flat" for the sake of argument.
I do run in "bridge" mode. To me it does lend a clearer tone.
The BX1500 is not "flat" if you set the EQ to noon (and the contour "off" or fully counterclockwise). You can find some scopes of it on greenboy's forum: http://greenboy.us/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=777
There are a couple ways to set it flat but IIRC the closest you can get without using the graphic is: Bass +3, Lo Mid +3 @ 50 Hz, Treble -3.
Some people just boost the Lo Mid +5 at 70 Hz.
Try playing with it flat, without the baked in EQ. Maybe you'll be able to get to the tone you want if you start from a neutral place.
Here are a couple of comments others have made about how they EQ the BX1500 - I cut and pasted these when I got mine and I am not endorsing them, just sharing them:
For example, at rehearsal last weekend I went for exaggerated SVT-ish:
LoMid Knob: +5dB @70Hz
Sounded great by itself. Was good with the band, but not nearly enough mids for me... too dramatic a curve. I just cranked up the hi-mid knob till it sounded good, and kept playing.
Another good one is reversing the built-in rolloff... +3dB Bass, +1dB LoMid, +0dB Mid, -1dB HiMid, -3dB Treble, and graphic turned off. Knobs at noon is good too, but I bump the bottom of that up with controls on the bass.
I'm running mine bridged through a fEARful 15/6. On my Graphic EQ my 50Hz slider is boosted +2, my 80Hz is boosted +4 to +6, the 125 is flat (or cut if the room demands it as that is the "Boomy/Mud" frequency), 250 is flat, 500 is cut -6 and my bass knob is up to 3. Contour is at noon, Drive up to 8 and Compression depends on the room. On my Parametric, I boost my lo-mid (at 100Hz) +6.
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