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About small (practice) combos and their voicing...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Mar 3, 2016.


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  1. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    My regular rig gives me a clear, big, undistorted sound, from the lowest notes into slapping high mids and top. Naturally, I would prefer that a small, convenient combo could provide a down-scaled version of this, but EVERY practice combo I have encountered has left me unimpressed. (So far I have owned or tried BA110, EBS Classic 60, Fender Rumble 40, Ibanez, Peavey, Asdown to name a few.)
    Typically, most of these small combos have a very low power (20-50W) amplifier, meaning that the designer is forced to select a transducer that has very high sensitivity to generate a tone that is at least audible when jamming with a couple of acoustics, a piano and speakers on sticks for vocals.
    Because, as dictated by Hoffman's law, a small cabinet will need much MORE power to generate the same SPL, if a certain frequency range is wanted. The designers generally seem to trade a lot of extension to get a certain SPL. The result is a very hollow sounding cab, with boomy, resonant upper bass and a cliff like roll-off at 100Hz or higher. Those cabs sound bad and bordering obnoxious at both low and high SPL.

    The better combos I have found, like the Markbass 121 ones, normally do not offer Aux in and headphones out. With their high power, deep bass they sound great, but they are aimed to be used on stage, not for practice. That is what the buyer profile tells us. Headphone practice? Sure, via a mini mixer then, I assume.

    So, finally I see the place in the market for the SVT Micro rig, the Markbass 801, Vox etc.
    Not very loud, not hifi, not full range, but a likeable bass tone that still sounds "professional". Not "the real deal", but at least free from cardboard mids, boxy lows, SS distortion.

    End rant.
     
  2. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    My low powered single 12" combos, a Peavey Max 112 and an Acoustic B20, sound just like bass amps. Go figure.

    End rant.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is why most practice combos cost less than others.
     
    monsterthompson likes this.
  4. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Well those are some tiny little things...


    Can't you go a little bigger than those?
     
    jp58 and AlexanderB like this.
  5. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    Hmmm...
    With a single 10", 15 - 25 litres of cabinet volume and up to 18kg, I do not think that type of combos are THAT small. They are however woefully incapable for their size. A pro level 210 (like EBS NeoLine) + a compact 500 Watt amp are about twice the size, some percents heavier but MUCH better sounding, MUCH louder and will go an octave or so deeper in the lows.

    However, for me, then the 210 is too big and 500 W pro grade head typically lacking the aux in etc.
    Suddenly it also gets very expensive, way beyond the actual cost increase for the products. Having looked more at this now, I think Ibanez Promethan(?) is could be a good (the only?) candidate. However, there seems to be some issues related to this amp.

    A mini mixer + an active studio monitor could be a way to go, too, I guess...
     
  6. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    tweaked right, my 40 watt fender bronco has plenty of rich bass... s but there are lots of effects i don't use that i don't think really deliver.
     
  7. Photobassist

    Photobassist

    Dec 18, 2010
    Japan
    I know they're not mentioned to often, but the Warwick BC series combos sound great and I think they're definitely hidden gems.

    I have the BC 10 and for its size, it delivers some nice deep bass without distorting.

    I've used it twice at a small outdoor cafe and it was loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that the music becomes a distraction to customers.

    Might be worth checking out...

    BC 20 and 40 demo


    BC80 and 160 demo
     
  8. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    Thank you for your thoughts!

    Whn you mention it, I have actually tried the Warwick BC combo a few years ago, and I agree with you. It sounded much more neutral and "correct" than typical. At least at low SPL in the shop. I will have a look at it.

    The Bronco series was honestly never on "my list". I am not a fan of modelling for small and cheap gear. Have never seen it done successfully, if the idea is to use the speaker. For line out redording, maybe. But sure, it might be worth a look?
     
  9. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    Well, I am definitely willing to pay more for a better product.
     
  10. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    I can respectfully assure you that they do not sound NOT like my LMII (or the rack pre + QSC PA amp) through an Ampeg SVT-410HLF...
    But if I go through a preamp/interface through an active studio monitor (like my Yamaha HS8), I get much closer.
     
  11. FourBanger

    FourBanger

    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Asking a combo to sound like a big cab rig is your mistake. It won't if for no other reason than what you already said, SPL.
     
  12. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    It is not a "mistake". Technically it is very simple to do it. Just scale down my 410 into a single 10" in 1/4 of the big enclosure. Keep box tuning. Give it a 100 W amp with the same eq points as a "big amp", add Aux in and headphones out.
    Done.
    I will of course lose SPL, but it will have the same extension, tone controls and the general tone I have in my regular rig.

    You see it all the time in PA rigs, studio monitors and even home stereo. A "family" of products that have the same tonal "character" but offers different sizes for different requirements.
     
    Garret Graves likes this.
  13. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I had a shuttle 9.0 and the 112 combo cab for a short period of time, that was a fantastic portable setup. Of course it wasn't the best fit for me in terms of convenience so I had to move in a different direction, but I would recommend checking that out if you're looking.
     
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    File this under "you get what you pay for".
     
  15. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    I wish every gig-sized/powered amp sounded as great as my v.1 Acoustic B20 1x12
     
  16. mbelue

    mbelue

    Dec 11, 2010
    I have to agree with @AlexanderB here. Particularly in regards to condemning GK. Their mb110 and mb 112 combos have a different preamp than their dual woofer combos. No boost! Hell the mb110, and mb108 don't even have the chain out that the other bigger combos have. The littlest ones need it the most!

    I understand with manufacturers there is a race to the bottom dollar but the costs for manufacturing a whole different preamp board, in smaller numbers, as opposed to the same preamp board in larger numbers can't really be that different, can it?

    @AlexanderB you might try looking into Acoustic Image, they are more geared for DB players but they've some full featured little amps.
     
    AlexanderB likes this.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Amortize it over 5 years, though.
     
  18. mbelue

    mbelue

    Dec 11, 2010
    I would think the chance of selling more of their MBP powered enclosures would pay for the additional expense. Give starting bass players who "cheaped out" just to learn a path forward to playing with a drummer, without disposing of their initial investment.

    Maybe GK considers "their sound" to be in that backwards 4band EQ? I always thought of it as the BOOST knob. Alot more unique to me.

    Of course the opinions of "some dude on the internet" are only worth so much.:D
     
    jp58 and AlexanderB like this.
  19. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    Thanks! The 12" cab is a bit too large and the Genz Benz are very rare here. I have played bass since 1996 and can not remember seing one in the flesh, ever. Btw, used is not my first choise.
     
  20. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    That is one of the stupidest sayings, ever. That is my general view, and it is not directed at you, though!
    The problem is that I am willing to spen more, but it does not help. SWR Spellbinder (?) was a good option for me, technically. EBS Drome was good but a bit too big and the cab/speaker tuning was too high = boxy sound.
     

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