Bad Tone issue with mesa boogie bass 400+

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ImHereToAsk, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. ImHereToAsk


    Jul 12, 2018
    Hello, i've been running my Mesa boogie bass 400+ with an ampeg svt-410 hlf classic and using a fender dimension bass.
    But i'm really frustrated caus i can't seem to find a desirable tone for punk/metal.
    My low end is really unprofound and has little definition. My high end is not bright but more like a very uncomfortable punch. I thought the mesa boogie bass 400+ had a nice bright tone with a lot of punch? Or is my cabinet the issue?
    Note that i i used fresh strings and a pick and it still didn't sound how i wanted it to be. Also my cab has a level control that allows me to cut the highs. I have the cut put on 0 though.
    Any ideas?
    Calexia13 likes this.
  2. Well, unfortunately, one man's punch is another man's clank or "gank". And one man's low end is another's "anemic". I tries like hell to love the Mesa 400+ (Twice), but while plenty powerful, it did not deliver the goods for me.

    I tried tube swap (Driver tube to 12aU7), Y cord to inputs, pulled knobs, EQ, Everything, so I finally gave up.

    So, you may just be barking up the wrong tree. The 410HLF is supposed to deliver extraordinary low end. It may be a speaker out of phase or just try it with another head like a GK to see if it's tha cab.
    Others will chime in- but after all the hoopla, the amp either speaks to you or it won't.
    murphy and rtav like this.
  3. DeepFriedBass


    Nov 21, 2019
    Have you utilized the push pull functions on the treble and bass knobs or dialed in the EQ? Are the tubes old?

    The amp has A LOT of tubes
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  4. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    It's the cab. The 410 HLF has lots of indistinct lows and brash highs, but not much in between. I use a 400+ through a sealed 610 and it sounds really good. The EQ I use is mids 8-9, high and low about 4-5, and both EQ shifts pulled. I also use the graphic set at unity with a slight bump in the middle bands.
  5. deff

    deff Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    Never met a 410HLF I liked. I have a friend that will refuse them on a backline. I always thought that the 400+ was really good at mids. We had a bass player with this punk band I was in that used them with 2 Mesa 15's that sounded pretty outstanding but I would not have called his tone brash. My experience was that it was a great sounding head that did solid mid punch very well, but that was likely how he set it up. Played with band the other night that used a 410HLF and a 115 ampeg using a SVT3. Thing sounded mostly like mud or maybe indistinct lows that were maybe felt a little bit but not really heard.

    I assume you aren't using any pedals or anything?
    /\/\3phist0 likes this.
  6. coreyfyfe


    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I don’t really care for the 400+ but agree heartily here that the cab is more likely the issue. Not at all a fan of the sounds I’ve gotten from the 410HLF any time I’ve used one.

    I think that would have had to have been a 410HE the sealed 8 ohm cab if paired with the 8 ohm 115 and a 3 pro. The HLF is 4 ohms and the 3 pro is 4 ohm minimum.
    Raw N Low and metron like this.
  7. deff

    deff Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2018
    Gloucester, MA
    Could have been. More likely I have the amp wrong as I didn't really inspect it.
  8. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Yep I had one a long time ago that I used with an Ampeg SVT CL and was confounded at how difficult it was to get a great sound from that set up. The amp sounded proper with other cabs though.
    murphy likes this.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    How is your EQ set? Are you also using the graphic EQ? Which channel are you using?

    I agree with others about the cab, but let's try to figure out how to make the best of it if possible.
    DiscoRiceJ and Raw N Low like this.
  10. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    I'm a dyed in wool Ampeg guy and can't stand the 410HLF. It's an attempt to provide a high powered solution in a single 410 cab and heavy lows. That's pretty much sums it up. You going to have to go into graphic EQ territory to squeeze the best out of that cab. Store's wanna get rid of them and hype them on being able to safely handle high powered heads.

    If you decide to stick with Ampeg cabs, the 410HE is a much better cab IMO and much more articulate. If you have the muscle and don't mind the weight the PR410HLF is a much better ported 410 that sings with highs. They're just ugly and weigh a VW Beetle or two and you'd be better off hauling an 810 in the end. The Pro-Neo Series is lighter and sound good as well but, they don't show up in brick and mortars often and for their price... there are better options.
  11. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    Start it dialed in with like Bass-2 / Mids- 8 / Treble-2. That is the starting point for it.

    I been using a 400 non-plus with KT88s and 6550's for 10+ years. Love it. To me nothing sounds better with the amp a bit cranked on the master, to where the power tubes start to OD if you strum hard.

    Should be a great amp for punk especially if you are using a pick.

    The HFL is kind of a farty boomy cardboardy cab. I'd use one for Reggae and nothin else.
    non, murphy and logdrum like this.
  12. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    I agree with the above about the HLF cab. I'll add that I had a love/hate relationship with the 400+ until I paired it with a Mesa PH212. All of a sudden, it sounded good. I tried to like it with a Mesa PH610, a Berg NV215, a Schroeder 21012, and even a Mesa Scout Radiator. Those weren't to my taste.
  13. somebrains


    Feb 7, 2017
    It's the cab, take the head and whatever pedals you use and shop around for a sanity check.
  14. I would just try the bass, the head, and the cab with different gear even if it meant bringing them one at a time to a local music store. I’ve never owned a 400 but I did get to use one in a studio through a pair of Eden cabs and had no issue getting a sound I liked but they are getting older and things wear out and break especially if they are being Gigged with or rattling around in a band trailer on tour. Might be worth having someone who knows what they are doing look at the amp. Have never even seen a dimension bass in person much less played one so no idea there. I have mixed thoughts on the hlf. Onstage with a decent pa I don’t care for it at all. The low frequency bleed from the subs combined with that cab is a recipe for mud. And it’s not a great cab imo if you’re running an XLR to foh because I’d cut lows to try to tame the cab onstage and my sound in foh would suffer for it. So I’ve mainly used sealed cabs like the 810e and 410he for gigging over the years. But I did like the hlf a little more when playing without bass in the PA and have even considered buying another one just for small patio type gigs where there is no bass in the PA.
  15. gelinas666

    gelinas666 Guest

    Sep 8, 2009
    Mesa 400+ with a Mesa PH412 .. :cool::thumbsup:
    mikeswals and murphy like this.
  16. five7

    five7 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    I used a 400+ thru a svt 810, sounded killer.
    murphy likes this.
  17. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Dying preamp valve.
  18. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    My only experience with an Ampeg 410 HLF cab was 15 to 20 years ago when I was watching a rock band perform outdoors, and the bass player was playing through an Ampeg 410 HLF. The bass was just a bunch of incoherent, low end, rumbling noise that sounded like crap to my ears. I thought "wow, I'll never buy one of *those* cabs!" (and I like Ampeg, which is why I was so surprised to hear what I was hearing).

    So, I think the OP's issue is with the cab, as many posters in this thread have stated. :thumbsup:

    This is, of course, assuming that the OP's amp and all of the tubes are operating properly.
    murphy likes this.
  19. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    I can think of a possibility (that has no midrange). I can speak from experience because I previously owned one, but I took care of that circumstance.....
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  20. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I hated that cab
    murphy likes this.