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Aquilar tonehammer 500, how to deal with mid heavy sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jake bassist, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Going nowhere with writing. Got to go at gig
  2. DB 750 player here.
    I have tested the TH 500 a couple of times using my main bass but never actually gigged with it. To me it sounded a lot (!) like Aguilar and had that typical signature tone, which I like a lot.
    I can only speculate here, but to me it's probably a combination of the TH, your bass and that Genz Benz cab. Some combinations just don't work for some reason. I wish I had a more technical way to explain that.
    Have you tried the TH with a different cab? That would be my first step.

    I'm sure others will chime in and offer better advice.
  3. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Is it possible that in the past your cabinet was repaired and the drivers were wired out of phase (one reversed polarity from the other)?

    Using a 1/4" cable, momentarily connect the sleeve to the - side of a 9v battery and the tip to the plus side. The other end should be plugged into the speaker cabinet. Both drivers should bove outward about 1/8". If one moves inward it's either reverse polarity or open.
  4. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    It's complicated and has to be figured out. Definitely not plug and play IME. There are folks who say they plugged it in and got great sounds right away, but my experience was that it took a good long sit-down to figure out and dial in the EQ. It definitely was not a "set everything to noon and go" kind of head for me. The EQ is extremely interactive. The drive does not behave like most other amp drives; it rolls off the highs and lows and changes how the other EQ controls sound. I also could never get any real top end, and I don't even like highs in general.

    What it did amazingly was recreate the woolly, reactive warmth of a tube amp, so I think you have a little of something else going on there.
  5. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    I've found it helpful to turn the drive all the way off and reduce the upper mids. The drive control seems to put out more mid content than I prefer for most situations.
  6. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    KJung has some excellent posts about how to work with the controls of the TH500. Search those out.

    Also, I was not in love with this amp when paired with three different neo cabs I've owned. I recently acquired a DNA 210 with ceramic speakers and I'm much happier. I know that this is a HUGE generalization but it was my experience.
  7. DrDAV14

    DrDAV14 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Jake, I found that dialing up the bass helped level out the mids for my ears through my Fearless F112 rig. Like you I wasn't real pleased out of the box, but I did find that tube warmth with the Aguilar "bigness" with some use of the bass to keep company with the big mids.
  8. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Could just be that particular cab in combination with that amp.
  9. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Ken has posted some great advice.
    I had one and wanted to like it but in the end, it was not the best choice for me with either a 2x15; 2x12 w/ tweeter, or Berg HT322.
    Crazy powerful little amp and great for many.
  10. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
  11. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Aug 21, 2005
    I was planning on purchasing the TH500 as a back up for my superb Tecamp Puma 900 paired with a Genz Benz NX2-212T. I wonder then does the TH500 match up well with Genz Benz neo cabs?
  12. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I would also ask the question if the TH sounds anything like your Tec assuming you want a backup that is similar.
    My guess is no.
  13. leroy diamond

    leroy diamond

    Aug 21, 2005
    I hope your guess correct, as if I wanted a similar sound to the Tecamp then I would .......well buy another Tecamp:confused:. I would want a backup that would bring something a little different to the party. But the OP's experience maybe suggests I should be looking elsewhere when pairing with my Genz Benz cab.
  14. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    The TH500 IME has never been mid heavy. It is definitely in the Aguilar family sonically, but it's not the DB750. My DB750 never sounded great with the GB Neo 212 I owned. I'm thinking it's the cab. IME, the TH500 is not a hifi sounding amp.... It can be clean but it is not squeaky clean.

    If you can find a GB streamliner, it's a little closer sonically to the DB750 than the TH500 is... IME, IMO...
  15. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    los angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    fwiw I gigged a TH500 for awhile but ended up getting rid of it due to too much mid "hair." I also found that it was easy to overload the front end of the amp (and I'm not talking about the clip light). I had to run the gain down around 9:00 and typically had the drive off. Even still, it wouldn't get an "open" mid sound. Imho that is baked into the amp. I much preferred the Tecamp Pumas (newer models) but depends on what sound you're looking for. A P-bass with the TH500 will get a great tone, but it may not be the one you're looking for. It will not however get anything near a "hi-fi" type sound.

    imho the Streamliner has even more issues with baked-in tone. It has a ton of low/mids that can be problematic with some cabs and situations. Again, depends on what tone you're going for. Some guys dig that really thick low/mid sound.
  16. 2string1


    Apr 1, 2013
    Not to get off subject,but I have the old version puma 500. Have you been able to compare it to the new version? I hear the differences are subtle, not profound.
  17. Janis K.

    Janis K.

    Sep 17, 2006
    That's interesting, I own both (TH500 and Shuttle 9.0) and I like both equally. And I normally also don't like to fiddle around too much with the EQ on either one, both units can produce a nice variety of sounds with just the gain/level/drive controls.

    Of course the voicing is quite different, overall you get a more dirty and mid-heavy old-school tone from the TH500 compared to the very hi-fi Shuttle.

    I find them to be pretty much even in power (as to be expected since they are using the same poweramp-module) but the TH500 sounds maybe a tad louder because of the more emphasized mids.

    Overall I guess it's just a matter of taste....I really like to have different tonal options, so I'm happy they don't sound the same. :)
  18. I was a field tester on the newer version and gigged the original for quite a while. VERY significant difference between the two versions, with the original having a huge low end extension, very relaxed, smooth mids, and a crystal clear, hi fi treble extension (somewhat similar to the Glockenklang voicing). The newer version is much tighter down low, more mid range character (distortion), and a more relaxed top end. Both sound great, but quite different.

  19. Interesting, since this is not my experience at all. I am very sensitive to 'unwanted gain stage overdrive', and is one of the reasons I sold my Monique (which really broke up when pushed, and had no gain adjustment).

    +1 though that the TH lines of amp are 'all Aguilar', which has very little to do with 'hi fi tone'. They are fat and warm and relaxed up top.

  20. The TH500 is quite similar in tone to the DB750, with much more mid control. My guess is, if you were playing through the original Shuttle 210, you were hearing the big low end of the TH500 overwhelm that very mid present cab (that cab can't even begin to reproduce the deep low end the TH500 puts out, which might have resulted in an overly midrange present tone).

    That being said, seems like a bit of user error. The semi-parametric midrange EQ on the TH is one of the most powerful controls for controlling mids I've run across in an integrated bass amp. Massive capability to boost or cut through the entire midrange frequency continuum.

    Find a relatively full range cab, keep the drive off (remember, for the most part, the drive is an EQ control, not really an overdrive control), set the input gain around 9 o'clock (it too is more of a tone/warmth control than a traditional solid state gain matching knob), and just boost the bass and treble to 1 o'clock. That should give you a very fat, even, full range tone, with a very warm, organic, usable, non sizzly top end.

    If for some reason you want a bit less punch and midrange presence, just cut a bit of midrange around 500 hz (try between 10 o'clock and noon on the frequency knob, and around 10 o'clock on the level control). If the amp still sounds 'too midrangey', then something is wrong IMO and IME.

    One of the coolest things about the TH heads is that infinite variability in the tone available when varying the gain and drive control... from relatively clean and full range all the way through grindy, upper mid aggressive grind, and everything in between.

    One of the unique things about the TH is how those controls change the 'feel and give' of this amp, very much like some all tube signal chains.

    That all being said, if you are looking for crisp, totally clean, hi fi tone, Aguilar is probably not the place to look for it.
    Arthur U. Poon likes this.