Ampeg BA - 115 tweeter

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Magelus, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. Magelus


    Sep 12, 2004
    I know that there's been some discussion on this troublesome piece of equipment before, but after searching through the forums I've got a question to toss out to you guys. The main solution to the hiss produced by it has been to either drop the treble or simply rip it out. Unfortunately I'm in a bit of a jam seeing as neither of those options are available to me. I need the treble for the sound I'm looking for (trying to get as close to Robert Sledge's tone when he was still with Ben Folds Five, without dropping the money for a Marshall amp), and that big old 15" speaker can't get it. So here's what I'm thinking: would it be possible to swap the stock tweeter in there for a different one, and if so, would it be worth it? If it's going to cost me half as much as buying a new amp then I'll just save up for it, cause I doubt anyone would want to trade me a combo with 2 10's for mine (feel free to prove me wrong though). In case you can't tell, I'm bad with words, so feel free to ask any questions you need to, and thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
  2. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    I'm sure it's possible but would it be worth it. I'm sure the investment would be $100 - $150.00 if you have a professional do it.

    I had a BA115 and loved the tone but the tweeter hiss drove
    me crazy. I couldn't get along with it at low volume.

    I would sell it if possible and get a used BA115HP or BA210. I sold mine and got a BA115HP(new). More power and very little hiss even when the tweeter is up around seven or eight.
  3. Magelus


    Sep 12, 2004
    yeah, I kinda figured I'd end up having to do that. any other opinions are still more than welcome though.
  4. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    tweeters hiss because there is amp noise or something in the signal chain that is producing the signal at those frequencies. Don't blame the tweeter, its trying to do its job. Unless its angry, it'll hiss maybe a little more.

    Turn down your amp treble control a tad, and turn UP your tweeter volume knob on your cabinet. ;)
  5. Hi people, I have just been reading the thread because I bought one of the amps yesterday and mine also hisses; It's beginning to really annoy be already.

    Can anyone recommend a replacement tweeter and where I can pick one up from in the UK? If not has anyone heard of acoustic dampening that will minimize the tweeter hiss? I've been told that cover the tweeter with a piece of carpet works. Up to now disconnecting the tweeter sounds best or maybe even returning the whole thing.

    I thought this amp was made in the USA until I got home and read the back panel, it turns out they are made in China. That will explain the hiss and the cheaper parts.

    I previously owned an Ampeg Portabass rig and that always, always broke down so I ended up selling it after having it repaired.

    I only purchased this BA-115 because it was cheap and loud but the name on the front was putting me off slighlty because of my previous negative experience with the brand.

    Ampeg, I'd recommed you sort out your quality control, listen to your customers and also state that the BA-115 is made in China not the USA.
  6. Well, today I had enough and returned the amp to the store. I have lost all confidence in Ampeg and will never use them again. Shame really because I really wanted to use them. Good bye AMPEG.
  7. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
  8. CraigG


    Mar 14, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    I used to have a BA115. Yep, lots of hiss. The other thing I noticed was at anything over about 60% on the volume control didn't seem to change the overall gain of the amp. Had read in a thread at the Ampeg forums it was actually a design flaw that the engineers were aware of (don't know how much fact and rumor existed in the thread).

    Strange that Ampeg should continue to build the BA115 never resolving the issues so many people have complained about. It's a decent amp (although a bit heavy), nice tone, but the tweeter hiss and the lack of gain above 60% just ain't right!

  9. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    My BA115 was US built (2004 model) and hissed like crazy. Being that it was made in China makes no difference. They have always been like that.
  10. Venturas


    Feb 12, 2008
    hey guys,
    I identify with your problems. When I was contemplating a new amp I was seriously considering the BA115. But after reading all of the reviews, I decided against it due to this very problem. However, I will be honest, anything with a horn in it will give you problems if you have that treble up too high. I bought a Behringer BX 4500H with a BB210 cab. This cab has a 1" titanium tweeter and if I use the bright switch as well as crank the volume I can make that horn honk! I am fortunate that I can get a very good solid tone without using the bright switch, however, I have a hearing loss in the lower frequencies ( bass player, go figure) and have a little trouble hearing on stage due to the sound blowing at my feet and legs. I am going to modify the cab to tilt back so a to direct the sound upward. I figure it won't hurt as I DI out to the PA. The only thing I might recommend is to back off on the treble and let the horn do it's job. I think, in theory, the full range cab was a great idea. It's just that no one company making the lower end cabs or combos has got it perfected. One suggestion may be to increase the Xover point in the cab so the horn only picks up the the very high end of the sound spectrum. They may have the Xover point too low and it's straining the horn. you may also try a compressor/limiter to quiet the floor noise (hiss) when you are not playing.
  11. The thing hissed even with everything turned right down. Ampeg isn't as good as they reckon - these days anyway! Seems they rely on their name and endorsees to get sales. After the problems I've had with Ampeg, past and present, I couldn't recommed them to anyone.
  12. Here's my 2 cents worth. A couple of years ago I picked up a Crate/Ampeg Palomino V8 5 watt tube amp sight unseen. When I got it I was quite disappointed in the "hiss" and other noise coming out of it. When I opened it up I found they are using a TL072 opamp in the first preamp gain stage. This is a seriously cheap opamp and I figured I'd try swapping it out to see if it made a difference. I popped in a TI TLE2072 chip - one of their Excalibur series - and the difference was night and day. The Excalibur line is the best-of-the-best, yet costs under $5.

    So, I'd suggest taking a look at the circuit board and if you see a TL072 chip in there, it may be worth your while to do a bit of experimenting [assuming you don't care about voiding warranties and such]. As all these amps are coming from the same design benches, it's a pretty good bet a quick opamp change will clean up the signal significantly.

    Here's the V8 mod thread on HC if any one is interested: Supercharging a V8

    Good luck!

    PS - the electrical engineers will tell you changing opamps won't make a difference, but the reality is quite different in my experience.
  13. Changing inner workings is all very well but they really shouldn't make a ridiculous hiss in the first place. Ampeg really are unreliable if you ask me. It's a bit like going to buy and brand new car and then when you get home you find the engine to be making unhealthy noises. So rather than taking it back, you change the engine. Wouldn't be right would it!
  14. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Reliability is unquestionable, your problem is with the sound. You would be better served with the Ampeg B-100R model. It is also a 100 watt 1X15 combo but with no built in tweeter and a different EQ setup. I believe they cost a bit more, though.
  15. stick your hand in the back of the port tube and pull one of the wires...thats what I did. (do it when its not plugged in)...
  16. In consumer electronics [i.e. cheap and mass produced] most manufacturers opt for the lowest common denominator. The TL072 opamp is widely used and costs less than a penny in quantities. The TLE2072 is a high-end opamp that is only used in high-end gear and costs a couple of dollars in quantities. Each part adds to the price you pay.

    The trade-off here, I believe, is value for cost from a consumer POV. You bought a cheap amplifier and are expecting it to perform like an expensive one. It does do what it's advertised to do, you just find the "hiss" unacceptable. Arguably, this is a "subjective" call.

    To stick to your car analogy, you bought a VW bug and are pissed off because it doesn't ride as comfortably as a Rolls Royce. They both get you from A to B, one just does it better but costs significantly more. Ampeg has many excellent sounding rigs, but you have to pay a higher price for them.

    OTOH, you do have the makings of an excellent piece of kit by investing a bit of time and under $10 into it if an opamp swap is all it takes. It's not unlike buying a cheap guitar and investing in upgrades to make it play/sound better.
  17. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yeah, I wouldn't slam Ampeg just because you bought one of their entry level amps, and don't like the tweeter. If you step up to any of the Rocket bass amp series, you'd be pleasantly surprised. I've owned quite a few Ampeg products, BA210SP, was ok, but not for me; BA500, was better, but still not for me; B 100R, better still, but not for me; V4BH, probably the best sounding amp I've ever owned, and I'll keep this one forever. Granted, it's not a combo, but you see my point, they make a wide range of products, and you got one on the lower end. Hope you resolve your issues, and get back to playing bass.
  18. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Even the cheapie BA112 is an excellent sounding ain't got no tweeter. :D I will agree that Ampeg should do something about the tweeter issue on the BA115 like add an attenuator or something. It's by far the most complained about issue I've seen about all ampegs, probably more complaints than all others combined and makes bad PR for the company.
  19. Billy-Bob


    Nov 4, 2005
    So Cal
    I must of had the only BA-115 that didn't have a hissy tweeter. None at all, and I bought it brand new. I took it back for a B100R, as I liked that better.

  20. I see what you are all saying but this is the second amp I have bought from them with problems, as I have previously stated. The other one I had problems with was the Ampeg Portabass head and 250W cab. I bought this rig brand new and it cost me a little under £1,300 at the time. I played it once and the tweeter packed up so it went back. I then played it again and the speaker itself packed up so it went back again. Then when it came back it was okay but the head then started to hum and buzz so it went back. Then when I received that one back it was okay, for a while. Then after a few weeks it started making noises again. I sent it back to be repaired then sold the lot.

    I bought the new "cheaper" combo this time because I was short of cash, it sounded good but the hiss was ridiculous so it went back.

    Plus Ampeg never replied to any of my emails regarding the issues with my Portabass rig.

    Cheap Ampeg or expensive Ampeg they all equal problems.