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Aguilar ToneHammer 500 max volume?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dmckee, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. dmckee


    Jul 7, 2012

    I've had a bit of a read around other posts on this but can't quite get my head round it so maybe someone can help me out.

    I've just bought a TH500 and love the tone. However, I found at a louder rock gig last night that my clip light was flickering quite a bit, basically at the start of most notes. I guess I'm a reasonably heavy player, but while the overall volume was quite loud, it wasn't crazy loud, and I'm worried I'm already at the limit of the amp's power, which (if true) is a bit disappointing.

    What I don't really understand is why the master volume seems to feed the preamp and not just the power amp. i.e. how do you increase the volume of the power amp, without clipping the preamp?

    Here's a link to a pic of my settings from last night.


    I tried various combinations of gain up or down / master up or down but still seemed to be getting this clipping light flickering at the same overall volume levels. For info, the -10db pad was in, I was playing a Stingray at about 90% on it's volume control, and was playing through a TC Electronic RS210 and a 112 (i.e. 4 ohms load overall).

    I really expected to get more volume out of this amp without the fear of a clipped signal. Is there something I'm missing?


  2. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    The Aguilar guys have come on here and wrote that you can pretty much ignore the clip light.

    You can turn up all the way if you want to.
  3. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Aug 21, 2005
    A clip light that you can ignore is a great idea and totally counter intuitive:eyebrow:
  4. 2string1


    Apr 1, 2013
  5. dmckee


    Jul 7, 2012
    It certainly is Leroy!

    I didn't get a chance to play any louder last night, but this presumably would result in the clip light being on more, which I assume means more clipping is going on, which you'd think you'd hear....no?
  6. Ampeg has been doing that for decades. G-K's clip light comes on to warn you of approaching clipping.

    Small amounts of clipping add very little detectable difference. More clipping depending on design can add harmonic warmth and sustain. As you clip more your get into the overdrive stage up to just plan raunchy.
  7. this is why I have not bought one yet....I have some hi power gigs that I like to have plenty of headroom for nights when I am going up against full stacks and packed crowd.
  8. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    How sensitive are your cabs?
  9. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Aug 21, 2005
    Buy a Tecamp Puma 900 if you can go the distance. Enormous headroom and no silly clipping nonsense. Leaves the TH500 well behind IMO
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Sounds to me like another case of needing more cab for the situation, and not really an amp problem...

    - georgestrings
  11. Not really. This is not a 'power amp clip' light, nor is it an input gain clip light. It just indicates that somewhere post gain and pre power amp, the preamp is overdriving a bit. It is not an indication whatsoever of 'running out of headroom'.

    While the TH500 is my favorite head of anything I've ever owned, the inclusion of that 'just ignore it' clip light that doesn't really have any link to audible clipping is, well, a strange design decision.

    The Aguilar guys describe that clip light as 'letting you know you are starting to rock':D

    If you have a moderately sensitive, relatively large 4ohm cab (high quality 212, 410, 215, whatever) this thing will rock you socks off.
  12. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Having gigged the TH500 through two SL112 cabs for a couple of years, I can say that the TH500 has plenty of volume on tap. Will also push the heck out of an 810 cab.

    I play only active basses (including a EBMM SR5 Classic) and never found it necessary to engage the -10db pad.
  13. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I totally agree. Seems a fairly odd pairing, 210 and 112. I bet 2 of the 210's would get plenty loud with that head.
  14. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Aug 21, 2005
    Interestingly I found the TH500 struggled volume wise when driving a couple of markbass cabs at 4 ohms. No such issue with the Puma 900.
    bass nitro likes this.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The Puma 900 is a totally different amp. Its got a lot more power, and is quite a bit different tonally(its also twice the price). I have never needed more power than the TH500 puts out. In fact the amp I use the most now is the TH350. For their power ratings, they are absolute hammers. Tonally they can be a bit polarizing as they tend to lean towards the vintage end of the spectrum with a rather softer top end. With a P-Bass they are just awesome. As has been said above the clip light is just an indicator that you are starting to overdrive and is not really anything to worry about.
  16. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    With 2 112's, mine hammers.... gain a 10-11, master at noon..... with the Heritage 810, master at 10-11, and it rocks..... I can't imagine needing much more.
  17. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Maybe it's just me but I have a GS4/10 Aguilar cab in my home studio and own a TH500 and it just moves a ton of air and sounds insane in a great way. My DB750 is much more tuby and wooly and I feel I actually have more control over my tone with the little TH. Saturday my buddy brought his Puma 900 and I was surprised...surprised it was not as loud or punchy in the cleaner way my TH does. To get the Puma to move massive air and it can I have to have the Taste knob past noon which was a real wooly warm sound not bad but not for me. When I leaned it to the front half of the taste it sounded great and a nicer top end more musical highs than the TH but lost much of its ability to move air and punch like the little much cheaper mighty TH. I know nobody asked for reviews here but I just thought it worth mentioning that cost wise I could buy 2 Tone hammers just about for the cost of the Puma and that would be scary. I know its killer the Puma, but it’s another ice module powered micro I don’t see the doubled price value over my TH. When I’m playing my rock gig sorry but neither of those amps would hold up without PA support for that I’ll lug my DB…

    Or maybe I’m totally thrown off because the TH matches perfectly with the cab I was using but 2 hours on the Puma and the misty clouds of all the Talkbass hype blew away for me by my TH…Thanks little buddy! I play active basses and my TH had the clip light just flickering here and there a couple of times but I was crushing it at that point I don’t see the need to have it there for what I bought mine for it could handle my smaller gigs without a sweat. FWIW
  18. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Hugely Helpful post!! Been flirting with the question of whether I need to try a Puma 900, but I lean more toward an old school / vintage / punchy well voiced bass tone like on a good record. Not overly bright. But can still get a decent slap tone for some funk. Is that the TH500?

    How would a TH500 work with an 8 ohm cab like a Baer ML112? Thx!
  19. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Never tried it at 8 ohms but there is a huge Tonehammer thread around here somewhere. But trust me it can do exactly what you want save your dough. I'm crossing my fingers for a ToneHammer 750 at NAMM not that I heard anything but one can dream...