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Amp gurus and tone freaks this way, please..

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sumtingwong, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Sumtingwong


    Nov 25, 2011
    Central Pa
    I DID say please. ;)

    It's time to upgrade.
    Here's the situation- Current rig is dead simple, and it has served me well- But, I'm in higher profile playing situation, doing 800-1500 seat clubs, outdoor shows and the smaller clubs in between. One of the reasons I was hired is because I "have good tone", and I'd like to keep my reutation intact.
    Current setup is a SWR Silverado Special 2x12 combo, '99 or 2000 model, 350W. No effects, just pickups, cord, bass- tuner as needed, direct out pre-EQ to the board.
    What I like about my amp is its ability to deliver decent tone in the midst of sonic mayhem, but there just ain't enough volume. I like 12's. They give me usable lows, minus the rumble, and earlier SWR stuff has always translated Bartolini's very well, esp. when you dig in- they bark a little.

    Guitarist has tone to die for, but at ear-splitting volume. The drummer is heavy handed, as is the KB player to my left. I am seriously outgunned with the sub-lows coming off the back of the mains, if I get close to the mic- If I move back to hear my rig, the drummer to my right pounds me (no no plexi-fishtank for him..) and the KB player sometimes invading my sonic space down low.

    I have narrowed my head choices down to the Genz-Benz Shuttlemax 12.0, and the Carvin BX1500.

    Both are light, reasonably priced and powerful. The GB seems like it's more flexible, and if I stick to my theory of bass gear- "Always get the best gear you can just barely afford" it tends to keep me happier, longer. The Carvin has power by the bucketload, and users seem to be happy with what they can offer tonally- I like tube preamps for their ability to be sonically forgiving with power applied after.

    Cab choices are Avatar 2x12neo, and a 2x10 on top both at 4ohm. I have an email out to DukeLejeune (Audiokinesis) looking at his 12 cabs, but I seem to recall that they don't work well paired. (I could also be very wrong on that.)

    I have about 1600 total to spend, so it seems as if those are my best bets in terms of power and scalability. I'm keeping the swr for smaller venues.
    Your thoughts?
  2. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Step one: don't categorise speakers by diameter. Step two: Avoid mixing speakers, get ones you like the sound of alone, and add enough the same for the require volume.
  3. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    You're playing big outdoor shows, going pre-EQ into presumably a large PA.
    Your rig is a monitor that should be kept as low as you can while still hearing yourself. What does it have to do with your tone?
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    You forgot step three...Get all those guys to get their volume under control.
  5. will33


    May 22, 2006

    Pre-EQ DI---your good tone out front is you bass(es) and your technique, so don't make any drastic changes there. SWR's have a baked in, fairly deep cut in the low mids, it accentuates the deep lows and uppermid/treble clarity...the "modern" sound. It also gets you lost in a loud stage mix. Adding that back in will help you hear yourself, as will more speakers in a loud stage mix. Both those amps have plenty of horsepower and enough eq to pretty much make them sound however you want. Sounds like stage volume is an issue here, and your keys player needs a rap across the knuckles on that left hand.:)
  6. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    2 x 4 ohm 212 and a Shuttlemax.

    If it were me, I'd be looking for a matching extension cab for the silverado if that's possible considering that's the tonal goal.
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    If you really like your tone, then I'd suggest getting a power amp like QSC or something and some PA type speaker cabs. Then either mike your current rig or use the DI. That way you'd have your tone and can get as loud as you want for those larger shows.
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    +1. exactly what i was going to say.
  9. jungleheat

    jungleheat Banned

    Jun 19, 2011
    If you like the sound of the Silverado (which I would guess is not too far off from my Bass 350), the logical choice would be to add another cab to it, maybe an SWR 2x12. That will have the same effect as effectively doubling your amp power, and then on top of that you should get slightly more headroom because the amp is most likely rated a bit higher at 4 ohms than the 8 it is presumably running at with just the internal speakers.

    And then yeah, bring up some low mids, and maybe cut some of the bottom end out. But be very judicious cutting the low end, a little goes a long way.

    The combination of more speakers, speakers closer to ear level, a bit more headroom out of the amp from both the impedence change and the EQ change, and the increased audibility from the added low mids should have you sounding WAY louder, for very little money and hassle.

    Another option that would be slightly more expensive but would also give you twice as much power as you have now AND double your speakers would be to just get another Silverado and slave one from the preamp of the other.

    Unfortunately, both the Silverado combos and the SWR 2x12 cabs are somewhat uncommon, so it may be tricky to find one or the other.
  10. Sumtingwong


    Nov 25, 2011
    Central Pa

    Oh, you ain't kiddin'. I've been looking daily. If I ever do find another one, I'll most likely buy it just for the parts. Adding another cab to it takes it up to 475W, which ain't bad, but it just seems to spread out the additional volume. Having one cab makes it more focused.

    Moses I like what I hear on stage to be as pleasant sounding as possible, monitor or no. Playing bass, for me, at least- Is all about making sounds pleasing to the ear.

    Yes- I'd love to "make" them all turn down, but anything short of a bomb threat isn't going to make that happen.
  11. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    2x ThunderChild 15 with either amp.

    If you like your SWR, I think the Carvin BX will fit in nicely. And I think the BX is more flexible than the 12.0; however the 12.0 has 2-ch foot-switchable plus channel blend, btw, the 12.2 is coming out too.
  12. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    bringing enough fire power is only half of the equation, ought to think about protecting your own hearing with some earplug too ;)
  13. Sinomis666


    Apr 16, 2011
    Not a good bit of advice..but get a bigger rig & give them some of there own medicine always works for me soon enough they will want to turn down:)
  14. Sumtingwong


    Nov 25, 2011
    Central Pa
    Duke just responded (quickly too, I might add..) He's got 15's forthcoming. More efficient, as well.

    I have been driving up the numbers on Ken's YouTube page listening to all those clips with the T-Child, and I gotta say they're pretty impressive. To my ear, the 12's have a familiar voice- It's not something that could be quantified or graphed, but when he plays them, it's sonically "home" for me. They telegraph useful frequencies very well to my ear. He's got great clips and he imparts useful info. The other cabs might be interesting, the Thunderchild cabs have more of a voice that suits my style and tone goals.
  15. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    + 1 Very important point

    You need to judge them on an individual basis, but the Avatars are a good set of 12's with a solid set of wood. One of the things you should consider is the cut (as another TB'er mentioned) that SWR puts in the low-mids and how to make sure that doesn't happen with your next head. As far as that goes, if you are going pre-eq di then your tone is for you to enjoy, because the sound guy is getting none of that. For stage volume, I would get 2 of the 2x12 cabs so that you get more height and therefore get your speakers closer to ear-level while you play.

    I like my Carvin BX500, but if I were you I'd go with the G.B. head...they make very good stuff.
  16. More speakers will effectively net you more volume, not more current through those same two speakers. The speakers you have have a limit to how loud they can be which is determined by the physical limitations of the speaker itself. These limitations are usually much lower than the what the speakers thermal rating is. 10,000 watts through your speakers wont be louder than 200 watts. If you keep adding banks of speakers you will be louder. 200 watts through four identical speakers will be louder than 200 watts through two of those speakers.
  17. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
  18. Sumtingwong


    Nov 25, 2011
    Central Pa
    Absolute truth.

    That being said, my ear likes having my sound coming from a more compact, centrally located source. It's preference, pure and simple. Playing for me, at least- Is an exercise in bio-feedback. When I'm happy, my playing is better.
    The nicer thing about having a reasonably compact combo amp is the tonal source is coming from a two foot area, waist high.
    The compromise comes in getting a bigger cab (say a staggered vertically arrayed 4x12) that is at most- four foot high.

    I also realize that I am going to be resistant to facts and logic, because I've had it too easy for too long. It's been nice to just roll in, tune up, and at worst- Have to roll out some mud from the bottom end. The board gets a signal right off the Pups, and it's clean and tight.
    My Stage tone is for me and my bandmates. When they like what they hear, they're happier as well.

    I have PM's out to peeps here selling gear- I'll let you all know what develops.
  19. Since your running a DI out to the board your stage amp is for stage monitoring only right ?
    Your bandmates need to turn down, when i run into this problem i just keep turning my amp down until they complain that they can't hear me, obviously trying to explain stage volume or frequency overlap issues to a guitarist or keyboardest is usually a moot point.
    You may also like to check out the aural enhancer mod, flattens the frequency response, adds much more headroom and cuts thru the mix much better.....just do a search on this forum....it is really simple to do and makes a huge difference....
  20. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    If you like the swr tone stick with it. Add a power amp and another swr cab would be my suggestion. Grab a Goliath or 2 and pick up a decent power amp for cheap.

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