Amp envy - where did I go wrong?!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by christopantz, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. christopantz


    Sep 16, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    Yesterday, for rehearsal with my band, we had to drive out to our drummer's house as we no longer have our practice space in the city. I only brought my bass, a Rickenbacker 4003 with TI flats, as well as my pedalboard, and played through our drummer's amp, a 200 watt Fender Rumble.

    Typically I play through an early 70's Ampeg V4B into an Ampeg 410HLF cabinet, and I've always noticed it lacks some of the clarity that I wish I had in my tone. When I played through my drummer's Rumble, I noticed all that clarity that I was seeking was there.

    I feel like I should be able to get this clarity with my current rig, but as it is, it is just so boomy, and the high end is either sterile sounding or overly saturated. Could it be the cabinet?

    The obvious answer seems to be to just get a Fender Rumble, but my vintage fetishism makes that hard for me, as I like having my Ampeg rig moving all that air behind me.

    Any suggestions?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    When was your 410hlf made? Was it made by St Louis Music or LOUD? The older 410hlf's are IMHO mudbombs.
  3. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Sometimes I feel that way about my early-mid 70s V4B too, but other days when I plug in it sounds crisper than I expected :cautious:

    Is everything stock?
    You got your rocker switches strategically switched?
    Polarity up or down?
    Are you primarily a pick or fingers player?

    I'm not even sure which 410 I've got underneath mine, but I believe it's a 90s model with the angled back and towel bar (bought both off our drummer.) Calling @JimmyM
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    90's model...SLM.
    Wisebass and catcauphonic like this.
  5. You need to try some different cabs imo.
  6. For the same reason coffee made by someone else always tastes better.

    Now, the obvious response is “Why did you buy a rig whose sound you didn’t like?” Didn’t you try it out first? But even that isn’t foolproof. I’ve heard plenty of stories about gear that sounded great at the store, but miserable at home or on stage.

    I figure you can sell the offender and buy a Rumble, or you can try to make the Ampeg work. If you aren’t happy with the bass and treble distribution, EQ would be the first thing to experiment with. If the amp’s EQ isn’t versatile enough, look into trying a 10 band graphic EQ or a Parametric.
    rapidfirerob likes this.
  7. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Where the heck is @Stumbo?

    Has he abandoned his duty station?
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  8. Another thing to consider, It could be your pedal signal match to your amp. The Rumble was designed with modern players in mind, who like to use pedals. The signal voltage/current/impedance matching may be flattering with the Rumble. You're Ampeg was designed prior to a lot of pedal usage. I don't use pedals, and alternate modern class D and vintage AB amps without loss of clarity.
    rohi likes this.
  9. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Sorry, amigo. There's only one answer here. Wrote a song about it. Goes a little somethin' like this: Now Rumbles, hey, they ain't for everybody, but when they're for you, (hey) whatcha gonna do? Ooh, getcha freakin Rumble on.

    When the claws are in, they stay in.
  10. This is my experience too, I hate that cab.
    As a V4 owner, I can honestly say that the cab choice makes a massive difference with this amp. Sealed cabs only for me.
    But it will grind no matter how you set the amp once you get above a certain volume, so there's that.
    Wisebass, JimmyM and dbase like this.
  11. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I had that same experience when I played thru a rehearsal studio bass amp they had in the corner... It was a Traynor YBA-1 tube amp with an Ampeg 15 box. Blew my socks off with tone and power.. I say, if it makes you happy, make the drummer an offer he cant refuse and swap amps. Bada-Boom, Bada-Bing ;)
    MYLOWFREQ and lomo like this.
  12. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I walked into a band whose bassist moved to keyboards, and the infamous (old) HLF cab was available. I used it for two gigs and then politely told them that I would prefer to bring my own rig, so they could remove that rig from their music trailer if they wished.

    Total mud! A local mom-and-pop music store gave me a new one to try out back in the 90's, and I tried it out for one gig only and returned it. It never mattered what head I used, which bass I used (jazz or P or PJ), just total mud.
  13. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    IMHO, when it comes to basses and bass gear, often old is just........old.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Reporting as ordered. :thumbsup:

    I still use some big iron amps and cabs(Sunn) so I run into some of the same issues.

    First I'd put the cab up on a 1 or 2 foot stand or get one of those amp wedges to disconnect it from the stage. My cabs have casters.

    Second, I'd pickup a Broughton adjustable HPF/LPF with boost. This will cut the mud/boom and tame the highs giving you more clarity and allow you to dial in more of your preferred tone. The boost will give some makeup volume if you need it, especially with a passive bass. I have the Broughton always-on HPF.

    Third, if you need more tone sculpting, I'd pickup a 15 band eq. Right now my active bass with a 3 band eq seems to do the job for me.

    FYI: I can pretty much beat any rig into submission with my active bass and HPF, especially rehearsal room backlines.:thumbsup:

    Let us know how it goes. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  16. McFarlin


    Oct 27, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Same thing happened to me about eight years ago. At the time I was playing a Genz-Benz Shuttle or a Demeter VTBP+power amp through Bergantino HS210 cabs, and thought it was the best.

    Then one day I reluctantly plugged-in to the drummer's combo amp, a decades-old Kustom 15 that seemed unnecessarily large and heavy. He lost possession of the amp not long after that, so I never figured out the how, what or why.
    rapidfirerob likes this.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    So you want a modern sound from a vintage amp.
    rapidfirerob and rmayer like this.
  18. Bent77


    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    Went through this with an HLF fed by a v4b. Sold the cab and went to a Genz Uber 410. Infinitely better

    For what it’s worth, I also had a Fender rumble at the time. Also sold it

    But I’m still using Ampeg so...
  19. rmayer

    rmayer Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2008
    Boynton Beach, FL
    Sell it and get yourself a Bergantino rig. Problem solved.
    ExaltBass, quindecima and rohi like this.
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Is the tweet still working on the 410HLF? Maybe replace the tweeter?
    Wisebass and bobyoung53 like this.