Fix My Rig!!! (Please)
OK...so here's my setup...
BBE BMax (ss) into a Crown XLS602 (370w per channel, 1200w bridged @ 8ohms) power amp. My speaker cab isn't much, but I did put a new speaker in it this year...an Eminence Kappa-15LFA (8ohm, 600w RMS). My bass is a custom built Warmoth, Ash neck/body, with a Lace Sensor bridge pickup and a Bill Lawrence (the real Bill, not the other guy) neck pup.
I've put this rig together over the past several months as I've recently gotten back into playing. But overall, I'm not happy with the tone or the volume (lack of). The tone isn't bad. But, for me, there's just too much high end. I've got the highs rolled completely off and the upper mids diminished via the parametric EQ on the BMAX. And I still end up rolling off quite a bit on the guitar's tone knob.
Just today I got a 15-band EQ that I'm going to put in the mix to see if I can get a better overall tone. I'll update.
As far as volume, I've played a couple of outdoor shows recently and I've had both the preamp and the power amp dimed just to get decent stage volume. And this is in bridged mode. I should be pushing 1200w into that cab, but it sure doesn't sound like it. I did a test the other day once I got my rig back home. I set the volume on the Crown amp to 50%. I played the bass through one amp channel (370w) and then played it in bridged mode (1200w). Honestly, the sound was slightly "fuller" sounding, but I really couldn't detect any real difference in overall volume. What's up with that? I should have noticed something, right?
So, I'm just not sure what I'm missing here. I'm open to replacing any part of this rig based on the suggestions I get from you guys. Is the BMax just voiced to the high end? Am I pushing enough watts? Any suggestions/input greatly appreciated.
You say your speaker cabinet "isn't much", and that you installed a new speaker in it.
I suspect this may be where your problem lies.
With the high power your amp is capable of producing, you should be able to create sound at very high volume with an efficient speaker system.
It may be time to invest in a better speaker cabinet.
Pay attention to the output impedance the amp is designed to have as a load when selecting speaker cabinet(s).
If you want a lot of volume, you need a lot of surface area of speaker cones.
For example, people who want a lot of volume typically will use cabinets with eight ten inch speakers.
When you bought the new speaker, did you reference the speaker specs and cab requirements to the specs of your cab? Or talk to Eminence to make sure that was the right speaker choice?
A single fifteen inch driver will only take you so far. If you need more volume, a second speaker cabinet is called for. As the Greengoblin alluded, a driver and it's enclosure NEED to work together for a harmonious result. Just bunging any driver into some cabinet or other is not the way to go. It's a crapshoot at best.
Your amplifier has excellent components. Your speaker system should be of a similar quality.
I'm not sure you are getting bridged mode or that single speaker would be charcoal by now. here is the manual and requires some special cabling. http://www.crownaudio.com/media/pdf/legacy/133465-6.pdf.
Even with two speakers that is a lot of voltage potential for two voice coils let alone one.
Remember amps don't make sound, speakers do!
Ok, so I hooked the new 31-band EQ. I know, 31-band is overkill, but I got it very cheap on ebay. Made by Atlas Sound. Ever heard of them? I haven't. Anyway, before I installed it, I was going out of the BMax via the balanced output. Now, I'm going out the BMax via the 1/4" output to the EQ, then balanced out to the Crown amp. I don't know what happened but...I had the Crown's volume at 50% and as soon as I struck a note...BOOM! Dang thing was LOUUUD. I didn't blow up anything...thankfully. I turned the Gain and Master down on the BMax and it got to a manageable volume. I also switched from bridged back to stereo. Still hella loud. So, I'm now thinking that there's something wrong with the balanced output on the BMax.
It still sounds trebly to my ears, but I should be able to tweak that out via the EQ. But my volume problem suddenly went away. Go figure.
Here is an excerpt from the Crown manual:
"2.6.2 Bridge-Mono Mode
INPUTS: Use a custom “Y” adapter cable, wired
to split the signal and invert the polarity for the
Channel 2 amplifier input as shown in Figure
2.10. We recommend you label the ends of the Y
adapter to help make sure to connect the correct
end to each amplifier input.
Connect the Y adapter between the signal source
and each amplifier input (Figure 2.11).
NOTE: Crown provides a reference of wiring pin
assignments for commonly used connector
types in the Crown Amplifier Application Guide
available at www.crownaudio.
OUTPUTS: There are two ways to wire the amplifier output connectors for Bridge-Mono mode:
1) Wire the speaker across the red binding post
of each channel (Figure 2.11). Do not use the
black binding posts when the amp is being operated in Bridge-Mono mode.
2) Wire the speaker only to the top Speakon connector as shown in Table 3 and Figure 2.12.
NOTE: The Channel 1 and 2 level controls
MUST be set to identical settings when
operating the XLS amplifier in BridgeMono mode."
Have you made the reversed polarity input "Y" cable and used the binding posts properly or special bridged speakon for the speaker cab?
Also have you disconnected that big horn and crossover in that speaker cab. That horn will make things REAL brite sounding.
EDIT: And shut off the Sonic Minimizer. Turn off the EQ. You're again pumping all your power into crap neither you nor your audience are gonna hear.
Get a second cab, not a new driver.
If you were getting full power, you'd need a cabinet with a 3015LF.
I'd suggest a fEARful 15/6/1.
That would still be an 8 ohm load, but it could take the power.
One thing that may be keeping you from getting all your rig has to give
is that Crown amps need to be driven by a higher voltage signal than most amps.
If you drive the amp harder before you upgrade your speaker, you'll roast that speaker.
B-String...I'm not bridging the input. I'm running into channel 1 on the amp. I am bridging the output by connecting my speaker cable (banana clips) to the red output jacks per the manual. And I'm by-passing the horn all together. There are 4 inputs on the back of the speaker: In (which is full-range), Out (for connecting another speaker), and then 2 bi-amp inputs, "Hi" and "Lo". I'm plugged into the "Lo" jack, which bypasses the horn. There's an attenuator on the horn, and it is turned all the way down. So I don't think the horn is producing the highs.
Gurensan...yeah, dimed anything is bad. I need to start over in tweaking the BMax with all levels at 5. But really, just cracking open the treble is plenty. I've been tweaking since my last post and my Treble is at 3, Mids at 8 and Bass at 8.
I really think there must be something wrong with the XLR output on the BMax though. It sounds totally different. And it acts different. Before, turning the Master on the BMax didn't make a whole of difference from about 3 on up. Now, there's a huge difference.
And speaking of the speaker I put in this cab...its an Eminence Kappa-15LFA. My plan is to eventually build an Omni Tallboy per Bill Fitzmaurice's design and put this speaker in it. He too recommends the 3015LF if I recall, but I just didn't have the $240. The 15LFA was about half that price. But I did follow Bill's Thiele/Small parameters in making the choice. He says that the xMax is the key number to look for...needing something over 4mm. This speaker has an xMax of 5.5mm.
Turn off the EQ and Sonic mojo thingy? Really? It sounds pretty good with it...kinda dead without it. Am I missing something?
Thanks for all the input guys. You've really helped me out. My next purchase will be a 4x10 cab to go with this 15.
One other thing too...I read somewhere, in trying to match speaker to amp, that you want your amp wattage to be 1.5 times the wattage of your speaker. Is that true or BS? Seems like there's be a lot of blown speakers out there. But I know you don't want to underpower the speaker. So, what is the general rule of thumb?
There is no such thing as "under-powering". IF you are driving PA horns you want more clean power than you need as the horns will survive longer being overpowered by a clean signal then they will a clipped signal at their power rating.
Bass guitar speakers are MUCH different! Figure they will only take 1/2 the rated RMS at bass guitar frequencies. Most all sound companies I have ever seen do their own speaker reconing unless they have a shop close to them. High power with bass frequencies equals blown speakers, clean or dirty.
If you are not constantly playing your rig you are "under-powering" your speaker right NOW :D
OK B-String, so the speaker I have is rated at 600w. You're saying that I should match it with an amp that is about half that power? Currently, coming out of one of my amp outputs, I'm pushing 370w into 8ohms. That sounds about right?
And yeah, nick, I guess the DI is a lot lower. That makes sense now.
And I've noticed a lot of folks dissing the BMax. What's a better preamp? Recommendations?
The amp "half the power" of the cab has a bit of truth to it IMO. Your 600watt speaker, in a ported (vented) cabinet can not handle 600watts at every frequency. If you make a chart of the power handling vs frequency of the speaker, in a ported cabinet, it won't be a flat line straight across 600watts. There will be a big U shaped dip in the chart. Where that dip is, how low that dip goes, and how wide the dip is depends on the design of the cabinet, and the "tuning" of the ports. The dip varies, but in general, it's a big dip. In some cases, the dip goes down to nearly half of the rated power of the driver. Within that range where the dip is, the driver will distort (fart) when the driver is fed a lot less watts than the max. rating of the driver. So, in effect, that amount of power, where the driver starts to distort, is the maximum amount of power that you can safely send to the cabinet. Again, that could be nearly half the rating of the driver. Your driver may be rated at 600watts, but it will probably start to distort, within a certain frequency range, at more like 350watts. So, that's really the max you can send to the cab.
If I recall correctly, to bridge your amp you have to construct a special input cable. Using input one then only channel one is active. Using the hot outputs from one and two you are using channel two, which is not active, as a "ground". Not an Ideal scheme at all. Channel two is working very hard to maintain it's output at zero volts.
If you want to run the amp in bridge, carefully read the manual to find out exactly what you have to do. Never bridge an amp if you are going to use 1/4" phone speaker cables. It's very dangerous to do so both for your power amp and for your wellbeing.
As far as the BMax i9s concerned, I really disliked it for a while until I dedicated a few hours to mess around with the settings. I read every review and BMax thread available to gather as much information about it before i started the process. I have been playing bass for about 13 years and have never had a piece of gear give me such a workout. The BMax was a tough preamp to tame, or maybe Im just a little slow... Anyway, heres my BBE Bmax settings.
Bright switch: Off
Freq: 9 o'clock
Gain: 3 o'clock
Comp: 9 o'clock
Low Contour: 1
This may not work great for you but it took me a long time to find a good tone with the BMax. I hope this helped out a little. Just take your time and tweak the settings a little at a time.
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