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200 iAmp Wizzy Combo

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by TroyK, Apr 26, 2006.


  1. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm the dude who started the ever growing "EA Combos" thread. My own personal Wizzy combo arrived yesterday (200 Watt versions) so I decided to start a new thread on my expriences with it. I'm hardenned, so I'm going to review slowly as I put it into different situations. I have gigs in different rooms with different bands this Friday and Saturday and then a pretty full looking May, so I should get some good testing ground.

    It weighted 42 or 43 lbs on my digital bathroom scale. I got a few different readings depending on whether I held it or set it on the scale.

    For purposes of whatever I say later, my doublebass is a c1900ish carved Czech, maybe a Juzak, but I can't really tell. I use a Realist with no seperate preamp. My Fender is a project bass of Mexican and American assembly (no immigration opinions here) that has a fretless neck from an American PBass. It currently has LaBella Flatwound strings on it, but I'm getting ready to try something else because they're tearing up my hands a bit. I don't really play much BG anymore, but there is one recurring gig where it physically just doesn't make sense to bring the big girl.

    When I got the amp yesterday I was immediately concerned that it was making a rattling sound with strong notes. I couldn't tell if it was the screen, cone or EA emblem, but I went to work, came home, tried it again and couldn't reproduce it. So, I'm not going to worry about it unless it happens again.

    I like the sound here in my living room. I had that weird experience where I played acostically, then plugged the amp in, decided it wasnt' on, fiddled with it, but then realized that it was, it just didn't change the sound as much as I'm used to. It filled the room up a bit with what I'm used to hearing from standing over the bass. As I turned it up, it was obviously easier to identify as amplied sound, but still very clean and clear sounding. The P Bass sounds great. I need to experiment with the EQ section, but I ran the DB flat and used either the Contour 1 or Contour 2 presets for the PBass. Liked it a lot. I want to wait and see how it does with a band.

    I snapped a few photos and I'll try to upload if they are not too large.

    More to come.

    Troy
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Checking an amp for rattles is one of the more frustrating endeavors a human can attempt. If it happens again, try checking it out outdoors, where there won't be any chance that the rattle you're hearing is from sympathetic vibrations inside the room. Good luck!
     
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Congrats on the iAMP! I for one am interested in how it works out.

    Which model of LaBella flats are you using? The 760FLs are much lower tension than the 760FS.
     
  4. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    They're FLs. It's the G string that really tears my hands up. Not used to playing with the tips of my fingers. I play about 98% doublebass. I think I'm going to put some TIs on it.

    I'll post about the Wizzy after this weekend's gig.

    Troy
     
  5. Lia_G

    Lia_G

    Oct 27, 2005
    Hey, Troy,

    I love the Thomastik electric flats. They're on all three of my electric fretlesses. Bass Northwest stocks them, by the way.

    If you want to see what they feel like, let's finally do that get together and you can play my Roscoe fretless with the Thomastiks on it ... ;)

    Glad to hear that the rattle isn't recurring so far. Can't wait to hear the gig reports!

    Hey, I got that gig I mentioned in the PM ... that should lead to more Seattle shows for me, so hopefully we can catch each other's sets one of these days!

    All the best,
    Liam
     
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    That's great, man. Put me on the mailing list for that and I'll come shout FREEBIRD! at you.

    :)
     
  7. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Troy, congrats there pal.

    FWIW, I have been putting my Wizzy combo like yours up on a chair a lot. Last night it was the extra height afforded by a barstool. Having all that sonic energy up that close to my ears is impressive. Last night I found myself leaning over the bass more in thumb position, and leaning in closer to the speaker at the same time to really soak in the sound. Man ... I felt like I coulda stayed up there a long time, and I did ... good stuff.

    Having the amp up against a wall or in a corner when it's raised off the floor like this gives off a real nice warmth and reflected kinda spread to the sound too, at least for me.

    Happy gigging.
     
  8. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    My amp is not in front of me, but like most amps, I've got a volume knob on the left side and an output knob on the right side. What's the right thing to do with regards to setting these?

    First gig with it is tonight.

    Troy
     
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    From an email from the man himself:
     
  10. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Use the volume knob- the first one- the get the most signal you can without clipping (i.e., distorting). The more preamp signal you can drive the rest of the amp with, the better your signal-to-noise ration will be. Then use the master/level/whatever control to set the actual volume.
     
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    So....let's call the one on the left "volume" and the one on the right "output", which I think is right. I'm going to start with the both at 12:00, which is about 1/2 way.

    If I'm too loud, which one do I turn down first?

    If I need more volume, which do I turn up first?

    Or do I move them essentially together?

    The "clip" light is on the part of the panel with the Output. The manual said with it all the way up, the clip will only occasionally come on and no damage will occur unless its on for a sustained time...but I wasn't sure what to do with that info. I understand that clip light = bad for the amp.
     
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Good.

    I would turn down the "output" first.

    I would turn up the "volume" first assuming the overload light is not coming on and you are less than 3/4s.
     
  13. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Troy, your input level knob (the one on the left), controls how much signal is fed into your amp. Think of that one as setting the volume that the amp "hears". Just like you, it wants a certain level of sound. You set that one and leave it alone.

    The output level knob on the right controls the volume YOU wanna hear.

    That's a pretty dumb explanation, huh?
     
  14. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Actually, that's a great explanation.
     
  15. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Troy, all the explanations so far are cool.

    If you want to take it a step further, you may want to put your laboratory ears on and experiment as follows:

    (1) Turn the input level
    to 3/4, and the main volume
    to half. Play & listen.

    (2) Then try turning the input to half, and the volume 3/4. Play more & listen more.

    You may or may not get the same relative volume. Assume you do for the purpose of this explanation. You may (or may not) then detect a variation in tone.

    Assuming the relative volumes are the same, which tone do you prefer? The variations could be slight, but noticeable to a picky bass player.

    In example 1, you used more preamp and less power amp. Example 2 used less preamp and more power amp.

    I went through endless variations like this. To me, turning up the preamp has a slightly different tone than turning up the power amp.

    In my case, with my Rev SOLO p/u, I turn the input level
    on my Wizzy all the way up, and just use the main volume
    to adjust how much sound comes out. It sounds best to me that way, tone wise. The SOLO by itself never even comes close to lighting up the little red OVERLOAD light on the preamp.

    Okay, with me? Now my Solstice also has an input level and a master level. So there are FOUR places to adjust level, and IMO hence your tone. Are you reaching for the Advil yet? Trust me, I have.

    Tonal variations and possibilities with the Solstice in the loop are more complicated than I'm willing to type right now.

    But it's all good. Just slightly different flavors of good.​
     
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I had two gigs with my new combo last weekend. Friday night was at a big, weird shaped restaurant with a baby grand piano, sax player and occasionally singer. No real stage and we were kind of crammed into a corner surrounded by booths and ½ walls. Not a great sound situation, not a room I normally play in or people I normally play with, so I don’t have a baseline comparison. I was standing virtually over the amp, which was on the floor in tilt back and couldn’t reach it because the sax player stood between me and it. So, overall, stage sound was not great. I could hear myself pretty well, I have to think, better than I would have with my GK. I had no issue with volume, but it was not a great test.

    Saturday night with a trumpet led quartet that I do play with regularly at an auction in a VFW hall. TINY stage, noisy room, terrible stage sound situation. The (electric) pianist who was late set up right in front of me with his amp in front of my and facing out, so I really couldn’t hear him, I had trouble hearing the trumpet. I was sitting right off the high hat and the drums felt very loud. The Wizzy was on a perfect sized milk crate right behind me, like I was touching it sometimes and my bass was occasionally bumping either the drum kit or the piano player. There was 0 room on this stage. So, I could hear, which again, I think would have been worse with my other amp, but it still was not a good sound situation, with my new amp crammed up my arse and all. I did notice a slight reverb from the lines I was laying down bouncing around in my colon.

    It’s just tough to say much about it. It sounds great at home, it definitely has a lot more presence and I think it made two bad situations manageable, but beyond that I can’t really say too much about it right now. I will say that it seemed to amplify things more evenly. There are places in my register that always seemed to get lost before that I was surprised to hear more clearly last weekend. That’s probably a good sign.

    I have a quiet electric bass gig on Saturday and something with the quartet on Monday next week, so I’ll have a better idea then. I know that for the fretless electric gig, it’s going to be a huge improvement for me, but that’s a very easy sound situation. It sounds really great with my PBass. Looking forward to using it more and I’ll post further impressions as I get them.

    It is clear that it would be a good investment in my time and education to spend a day experimenting with input/output and eq settings. I’ll look forward to that.
     
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Troy,

    I'd recommend getting the amp clser to ear level (I stand mount mine, but a barstool works ok as well). This accomplishes several things:

    1) It gives you a better handle on your intonation, as you're hearing the pitch immediately, even in a noisy room.

    2) It gives you the option of a "monitor mix" when playing live; your sound can be dominant as far as you are concerned if you want without blowing everybody else away.

    3) It decouples the bass from the floor, which cleans up the low frequencies quite a bit. Also remember that the low EQ band on the iAmp heads is your best friend in an ensemble situation if you use it to cut the rumbles and subsonics. Good luck.
     
  18. bolo

    bolo

    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    Troy, I play some places that are difficult soundwise too. I've even had drummers just look at me and shake their heads at times due to the crowd noise. Unbelievable. It sounds like you definitely had it pretty bad on those two gigs and were cramped to boot.

    In situations like this, and most others I guess, I agree with Chris's suggestions too - Even in situations where crowd noise is intense, I get the best results with the cab up on a barstool, right where I can hear it. I have a huge QuikLok stand that accomplishes the same thing if I'm playing someplace where I'm not sure they'll have a chair I can borrow.

    I find myself kind of naturally leaning in toward the amp sometimes in these situations, esp. when I'm soloing or playing in the mid- and upper registers, just to be able to hear myself better. The speaker is up real high, so I can lean right in to the meat of the sound and do it naturally, as I kind of lean over the bass a bit more at the same time.

    The Wizzy can go plenty loud, I know that's not the problem. And I know it sounds great by itself - It's just the huge swath of mid-range that gets cut out by a room full of people all drinking and talking that I'm bending my ear for on a noisy gig. Having the speaker up high really helps. Of course it would probably work great with your old GK too.

    The barstool or amp stand thing also gets your cab up and over pieces of the drum kit and such. You would hope projection would be better for the folks out in the room this way. If there's a wall or corner behind me too, usually I can get a happenin' sound like this.

    If I have to stand right alongside (or behind) my amp such that I can't get my ears out in front of it at all, then I hear much less mids and highs. In those rare and uncomfortable situations I just have to use my brain to remind me that this deep bassy off-axis sound is not the same as what's happening out in front of my amp.
     
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Agreed-- for the most part. From one of my old posts:

    With regard to amplifier settings themselves, you really can't expect the settings that worked for one pickup to be anywhere near optimum for another. When you plug in the RS, you have to start over. When setting the gains, you are likely to have the most success by setting the "master" on your amp reasonably high and bringing up the individual channel control to the desired level. This configuration is preferred because it minimizes the potential for distortion that could arise in the inter-stages of the amplifier. When you cut back on the master, you limit the gain across the power amp stage. In contrast, keeping the master high allows for the full gain across the power amp. The downside of running the power amp section "wide open" like this is increased amplifier noise (hiss, hum, etc.) all of which are usually very well masked once you and your band-mates
    begin to play. In a hi-fi setting the pre-amp/power-amp gains are tweaked for optimization of distortion and signal-to-noise ratio but that's another world (and web site) entirely!
     
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Does the 200 combo not have the input meter like the iAmp 800? If not, that's a shame, since I found that meter to be one of the most useful features on the amp. When it was set to peak in the yellow occasionally, you'd get a very forward, aggressive kind of sound that was great for cutting through in loud situations. When it only peaked in the middle of the green, you'd get a more natural, laid back sound that was perfect for playing in quiet situations where the acoustic nuances could actually be heard. After a while I got to the point where I could walk into a room and gauge what kind of setting to go for pretty quickly based on the acoustics and the noise of the room.

    The preamp section of the iAmp models reminds me of certain mic preamps I've used in recording in that the tone produced varies according to the position of the dial even well before clipping. In many situations, I found that I would have to turn the preamp knob much further than the conventional wisdom (exemplified by DR. DOGHOUSE's italicized quote above) would specify. It was a real mental adjustment, but one worth making to get the right kind of sound for the room. In my case, I found that not having the preamp gain turned up far enough in loud rooms produced a good "living room" sound, but got me buried when the rest of the band kicked in. I can also highly recommend a high pass filter for louder situations in noisy rooms.
     

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