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Best Bass Tone I've ever Heard

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by amusicalperson, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Ok guys, here's my problem. I have a Fender Jazz and my amp is an Ampeg V4B. I always thought I had found the perfect tone for me with this amp, until I was practicing with my cousin's little practice amp. He has one of those itty bitty little Fender practice amps. Like 1 watt or whatever they are, normally it sounds dreadful with my bass but if you run into some headphones it was, without a doubt, the best I've ever heard my bass sound and my cousin agreed. Can anyone explain what in the hell is going on that this $30 little GUITAR practice amp has the best tone I've heard? Lol
  2. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Try it in a mix recorded and see if you still like it with other instruments. There is no one way to get good bass tone, no rule that says you have to spend megabucks on "tooobs!" to get it. Maybe the stars aligned just that once over at your cousin's or maybe you've found your tone. If the latter then congrats!
  3. ShonenCello


    Sep 21, 2011
    better tone or just a different tone?
  4. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Soloed great bass tone and in a mix great tone can end up being really different, so keep that in mind also.
  5. funkifiedsoul

    funkifiedsoul Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Could simply be the headphones. Try different ones, it'll sound different.


    Mar 29, 2006
    I thought this thread was about the best bass tone I had ever heard.

    Ironically, since he gets so little recognition as an actual musician, my vote goes to Gene Simmons' tone on "Rock and Roll Hell" on the Creatures of the Night album.

    Thick bottom and glassy edge all in one.

  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    You seem to have discovered that the signal chain encompasses more than just your amp... Welcome to the chase...
  8. AstroSonic

    AstroSonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    rural New Mexico
    Headphones, even driven by a cheap ss amp, can sound remarkably good. Quite likely they provided more 'fundamental' energy and a tighter overall sound. If that's the tone you really like, then it may be time for a new cab.
  9. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Probably hearing fairly clean reproduction of your bass output for the first time, low signal level and headphones mean you can do that.
  10. Mark Nye

    Mark Nye

    Sep 18, 2012
    Thus begins a lifetime of beating your head into the proverbial brick wall that comes with searching for Thee Sound In Your Head (TM).
  11. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    As others have stated, you're definitely hearing the headphones, not the amp. Also, some lower cost headphones have a very baked in tonal curve - usually big bass, scoopy mids, and high sizzle.
  12. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    The producer that handled my band's last EP gets a bunch of great bass tones out of a Carvin 2x10 combo and a DI.

    One of the best bass tones I've ever had came from plugging straight into a Fender bass practice amp that sat in the office of a guy who gave me a few lessons in high school.

    And that's coming from a guy who runs a hi-fi pre/power setup into a couple of Markbass cabs. You just never know where good tone will come from.
  13. Naturally! It's A Fender! :)
  14. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Psychoacoustics is a subtle and inexact science. It's impossible to say based on the description what was "better" about the sound through the headphone practice rig. It is most likely SOME non-linearity in frequency response, either in terms of frequencies hyped/scooped/cut-off, or a presence/absence of distortion on some frequencies as opposed to others. If you're really curious, you could investigate this scientifically with test equipment, running reference signals into both circuits and analyzing the differences in output signals. But maybe you're better off just using your ears, A/Bing the two setups as you change bass/amp level/EQ and listening hard until you get an idea of what the little amp+phones is doing differently, in terms that you can describe and perhaps use in you future amp set-ups and purchases.

    One thing ought to try if you get a chance is to take that headphone output into a mixer and give it a clean-and-flat-as-possible path to a PA power amp and speakers. It may or may not still have the character you like, but if it does. well...
  15. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    I run my bass through a little Fender Frontman 15R and use some decent Sony headphones. Sometimes the speaker is really a set back I guess, because the tone I get from that little night time rig is just awesome.
  16. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    This reminds of how the great guitarist Leslie West (Mountain; West, Bruce & Laing, etc.) got his legendary tone: Sunn accidentally shipped him a PA head instead of a guitar amp, and he had to use it. (It arrived just before he had to hit the stage at a big festival.) He used it to overdrive one channel, and then control the overall level with the master volume. Of course, many others have done this since, with guitar amps... but he claims to have done it first, using this PA head!
    The point is, you might find your tone in unexpected places.
    Anyway... I think the other responses might be onto something-- you might be enjoying the direct sound of your bass through the headphones, more than anything the amp is particularly doing.
  17. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Combination of the Fender preamp and wide range speakers (the headphones).

    Headphones can vary from the little ones that come with a Walkman up to studio grade stuff that costs hundreds of dollars, but even ones that are marginally half-decent, like a $50 pair will be much wider range and clearer tone than a bass cab.
  18. Ahhhh Fender! There's nothing they can't do.

  19. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Maybe YOUR bass cab.... ;)
  20. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    You might actually have a good sounding bass and technique. Headphones can let you hear it. Look for a transparent amp. You may have to go FOH to get the most transparency.