A conundrum: bass distortion vs. cabs with tweeters

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Golem II, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    I've been wondering about something, though right now it's more of a matter of theory for me than anything else. I've been trying to put together a stereo/biamp rig so I can run FX out of a "high" speaker while keeping the low end clean and dry.

    Some bass players who use a lot of distortion (courtesy of effect pedals, processors and the like) play through bi-amp rigs so they can run the distortion out of the high-end speakers while keeping the low end dry (thus preventing the loss of low-end presence associated with distortion,) correct?

    However, it's generally recommended that you turn your cabinet's tweeter off/all the way down when using distortion. So, if you bi-amp and intend to use distortion, you have to send your "high" amp signal to a cabinet with no tweeter or a disabled tweeter.

    But what if you want to use your tweeter when you switch off your distortion, to regain the high end response it adds? Since it's impractical to turn your tweeter down when using distortion and back up again when you switch back to clean mode, is there any way to quickly switch the tweeter on and off when you want to go into overdrive?

    I had one idea for a compromise, but I'm not sure how it would work. Since the cab I'm using for low end might have a tweeter, which would be rendered useless, what if I sent the MIDS to the "right" (wet) side of the rig, while sending a purely high/low signal with the midrange filtered out to the "left"(dry) side? Using cabs with tweeters, wouldn't the internal crossover in the "left" cabs send the treble to the tweeter and the lows to the woofer(s)?
    For example, say I have a 1x15w/tweeter for lows and highs and a 1x12 for mids. I send the "scooped mid" signal to the 1x15, and the "mids only" signal through the FX to the 1x12. Problem is, I can't comprehend an easy way to do this. You would need to split the signal from your bass in two, running one through a High AND a low pass filter (like the filter/crossover in the yamaha PB-1 preamp, which lets you cut out the mids entirely if you like,) and merge them back together. You could simply run the other through a mid-pass filter. I think it could work if you had two Alembic SF-2's, but that's not very cost-effective.

    Sorry if this seemed like the incoherent ramblings of an insomniac madman, but this has been bugging me. If you can get the basic gist of what I'm saying, can you offer any suggestions?
  2. how about running the full signal to both sides, and only running the distortion on one?
  3. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    yeah, that could always work
  4. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I think you could keep the distorted channel full-range and it wouldn't get too bad - the important part is that you also have clean lows on the other channel. Many distortions cut out a lot of the low-end anyway.

    A really cost-effective solution would be to just use a SansAmp Bass Driver DI. I believe that the amp emulation bits in it cut out the extreme high-end, keeping a lot of the nasty stuff from the tweeter. And you can control that with the treble and presence controls too. And, it's got a blend so you can mix in the undistorted signal (full-range) too. Many people have had luck using a BDDI into their live rig.

    Moving sideways, you could do the Ric-o-Sound method, and send the signal from the bridge pickup to the "dirty" channel and the neck pickup to the "clean" channel. Would take a bit of rewiring the bass however (unless of course you have a Ric).

    Finally, if you wanted to do something close to what you were thinking, you could indeed get an SF-2. Send the full-range signal to the clean channel, and the other path would go through the SF-2 with the two channels in series, a high-pass followed by a low-pass filter to isolate the midrange. That would go to the "dirty" channel.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I often wondered about how players that use tweeter equipped cabinets can use a distorted signal.

    When I attended an SWR clinic with Michael Manring, I asked him how he kept the distorted sigal from sounding bad through the tweeters...he told me that his fx processor has speaker emulation that he engages for his distortion patch.

    This made perfect sense when I considered the fact that we listen to distorted instrument sounds though tweeters all the time when we listen to our stereo...and rarely do the tweeters complain.

    Give emulation a try...
  6. ahpook


    Jul 13, 2001
    i actually fitted a tweeter switch on my peavey 410T to get round the distortion/tweeter impasse.