Just to qualify myself, I've been a bassist for around 47 years, and a recording and mastering engineer for over 38 years. Obviously (or hopefully) there's a lot I've learned, and I'd like to share some things with my bass playing bro's that'll maybe help in gear choices and uses. First, regarding trying cabs in the music store. Most people don't realize that bass cabinets are not only good bass reproducers, they are also excellent bass absorbers at the resonant frequency of the cab if they are not being used. So if you're playing a rig in a room full of bass cabinets, you're getting a pretty big suck-out in the critical 40 - 60Hz. range. Ever wonder why the cab miraculously seems to have more bottom end when you get it home? That's why. The only way to prevent this from happening is to short the unused cabs. Not the amps, that'll let the smoke out and they'll never be the same, but the speakers themselves. I learned this in an esoteric hi-fi store I worked at in the early 70's. For the speaker demonstration room, the tech built a speaker switcher that would short the terminals of the unused speakers as you switched around. But he had a main relay switch where you could un-short everything, and by flipping the shorting circuit on and off it sounded like you were adding a bass roll-off to speakers you were listening to, which essentially you were. Not much you can do about this in the store - you can't take in a bunch of 1/4" shorting plugs and go around shorting cabs - but just be aware that the cab you're testing is probably going to have considerable more butt than what you're hearing in the demo room if there's a bunch of cabs sitting around. The second bit regards how easily our ears can be fooled by doing quick A/B comparisons. Just the nature of the human ear/brain mechanism, when given two sounds to choose from, and they are played immediately one after the other, we will almost always choose the sound that is either louder or has more bottom end, even though it may not be the best sound at all. Again, I learned this from my hi-fi days. Most receivers of that day, and probably still, had a 'loudness contour' button, which was designed to be engaged when you listened at lower volumes. Human hearing is less sensitive to lows and highs at lower volumes, so the loudness contour boosted lows quite a bit, and highs some, to compensate for this. (If you want the gory details on this, google 'Fletcher-Munson Curve'.) But of course 90% of users kept the loudness button on all the time, because they would switch it on and off while listening to music, and when they would immediately hear the music with and without the bass boost, it sounded wimpy without. We always stressed to our clients to try to use very little or no eq, and to leave the loudness off unless listening at low levels. To prove the point, we'd have them switch the loudness button on and off while listening to music and choose which they liked best, and they would always choose the sound with loudness on. Then we would sit them in the listening position and tell them we'd play two sounds, which do you like? We'd play them music with the loudness on, then silence for about 30 seconds, and then play the same music with loudness off (or vice-versa, didn't matter which was played first). I'm not exaggerating, 100% of the time they chose the sound with no loudness contour as the better sound. And this is over several years, not a week. So here's the point, whenever you are comparing two sounds, don't immediately switch between the two. Listen to one sound, then off for at least 15 seconds, and then listen to the other sound. The silence is like audio sorbet cleansing your aural palette. This applies to almost any fx you're auditioning, but is especially important when you're making eq decisions. Don't immediately switch eq on and off. Listen to it without the eq, then silence for a while, then with the eq. You may be surprised that you change your mind on some decisions you made by quickly A/B'ing between the two. Remember that volume will fool you as much as bass boost, so it's important to get volumes adjusted so the two sounds you're comparing are at equal perceived levels. Another instance where this is important is in selecting pickup positions. I know a lot of players don't even consider using the single coil position if they have the choice because by immediately switching back and forth you're going to like the positions with more bottom end almost every time. But just pick the bass up and set it to single coil and start playing and see if, rather than being bass shy, it instead has plenty of bottom but has a push in the upper-mids that the other positions don't have. Anyway, hope this wasn't just totally boring and that some may find use for it. If it is helpful let me know and I'll post some other stuff now and again. If not, carry on as you were.