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Advice on upgrading grading the combo amp and going rack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by scopes, Nov 8, 2005.


  1. scopes

    scopes

    Jun 21, 2004
    Currently I'm using a GK 400RB-112 + a Hartke 115XL extension cab. I bought the hartke cab because I thought the 12" lacked bottom, now that I have gotten used to playing with the hartke I feel like I'm lacking "punch" even though for the most part I think I like the feel and usablility of the GK head.

    So what I'd like to do is dump the 112 combo and buy just the GK head and then get a 2x10 Hartke cab to sit on top of my 115.

    My question is, do you think there will be a noticeable benefit to moving up to the 700RB instead of just replacing my combo with the newer 400RB-IV? I'd really rather not spend the extra cash if I don't totally need it because I'm also adding a compressor and will need to purchase a rack and other accessories.

    I should point out that I play out about once a month in clubs and bars with a 5 piece rock band, the drummer is annoyingly loud but I don't believe I've ever had power issues with my current rig.

    Also, how big are most of your racks? Is ventability a concern on racked heads or is it just a problem with power amps? If I'm looking at racking the GK head, a compressor and maybe a tuner should I be shopping for a 4 space or a 6 space? Is there anything else I need? And does anyone use the MTS rack here http://www.music123.com/MTS-Products-Double-Rack-Case-i125000.music
     
  2. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Your lacking punch because you have divided the 280w between two cabinets. if you upgrade to the 700 you'll have an extra 100w available for each cab. if you get the 1001 you'll have an extra 210w each cab. I don't know how much increase is necessary to get back your "punch" but if you are not haveing "power issues" with this set up why change? some people play with and feel they need "punch" others can play either way. the important thing is that you can hear yourself first of all.

    adding a compressor will ALSO remove punch if not used correctly.

    I'd go for the 6 space rack if you want all three items in there. the harder, or closer you run an amp toward max the warmer it will get and therefore need good ventillation. at least one space above the amp. one below if you can spare the room.

    if you want to keep your rack small, consider using an outboard tuner pedal or korg-type tuner connected to an auxilliary output on your head? like a ca-30 korg. then you might get away with a 4 space rack. check out SKB shallow x-racks. I like 'em.
     
  3. I'm not familiar with this combo... is it a compact unit? If so, hold on to it for different uses than a rack rig.

    The small combo rig is ideal for large venues with full PA support, and tiny venues such as coffee shops.

    Another reason for keeping the combo is having a complete spare rig, should the need arise. If your big rig takes a dump at a remote gig, it sure is nice to have a spare with you... it takes the stress level down. Way down.
     
  4. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    this is a great suggestion if you can swing the cost of new stuff.
     
  5. scopes

    scopes

    Jun 21, 2004
    All good points.... having it as a spare would be nice but might not be very practical since I don't have room in my car for the combo and what would be my main rig. I think it might be more practical to eventually buy a cheap, used head and carry that around as a backup. Do most of you guys show up at gigs with a backup rig of some sort? I do always bring 2 basses.

    Your point about the small venues is also good but I thought I'd still be able to accomplish that by just bringing either the 2x10 or the 1x15 with me.



     
  6. scopes

    scopes

    Jun 21, 2004
    I really didn't think about that, I felt like I was loud enough without having to push the 400 real hard but you really have me thinking about the 700 now.

    My reason for changing is that I really like the aluminum cone hartkes and thought that the move from a 1x12 + 1x15 to 2x10 + 1x15 would even out my sound a little bit, right now it feels just a little muddy. I also wanted to make the rig more modular and a little easier to haul.

    I can't really reply to your compressor statement, I have never played with a "nice" one so I kind of took an expensive leap of faith when I picked up the used dbx160x without playing it first, I haven't got it yet. From what I can tell the dbx's totally hold their value so I wasn't real concerned about spending the money to try it out.

    I really like the idea of racking the tuner (even though they seem ridiculously expensive) so I may go with the 6 space rack, I'll just have to avoid the urge to fill it...


     
  7. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I had a DBX 160, it worked like it should, I guess, I didn't know what I "should" expected from the 160 so I was dissappointed. The 160 will help you keep some punch yet work more like a limiter. tip: run the threshold so the compressor is NOT compressing on your softer strokes. TIP 2: depending on taste a good usable ratio is between 1:1 and 1:4, higher ratios are experimental zone. if your threashold is high and your ratio high you are just "limiting" the loudest spikes of your notes, I like to think of this a "speaker protection". modest threshold and ratios are more of a constant "speaker protection"

    what made my expectations unique and incompatable with the 160 is that I wanted to squash my dynamics and keep them down as long as I could. the 166 has a "release" knob that I can set to long if I want which works out to be a few seconds after I hit a note. I wanted to even out my finger pluck differences.

    In retrospect the 160 could do the job too! have fun!