bi-amp vs full range

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Elf2112, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Elf2112


    Aug 22, 2003
    I am looking for opinions and comments about bi-amping versus full range.
    B4-R with a 410 and 1x15, all ampeg.

    My style is pretty beefy and use a lot of chords and fill out with slap. I play with 2 guitarists, both playing Marshall 1/2s and a fairly heavy hitter on the drums.
    Active bass if that matters.
  2. egb41


    Mar 26, 2003
    U.S.A OHIO Columbus
    I believe that you would have to get a crossover with the set up you have now. But in my experience biamping has a lot of advantages. #1 your amp and speakers don't have to work as hard so you can get a much cleaner sound at higher volumes. #2 If you boost your high mids to cut through in the mix your bottom end doesn't fall out. #3 Vic does it;)
  3. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    If your amp has Biamp capability and you are using 2 separate Cabinets, then Biamping is probably the best way to go.
    (if the B4-R is the 1000watt Ampeg amp I think it is, you have this capability).

    The biggest problem I have seen with Bass players attempting to Biamp is setting the crossover frequency too high. Start the frequency at the lowest possible position (usually all of the way to the left).
    Since the typical 4x10 Bass cabinet is designed to produce most Bass frequencies, it can probably reproduce everything higher than the lowest position. This leaves the low "thump" range to the 15. It requires more power to get the lowest frequencies for bass so a smaller bandwidth for the low channel is better. The balance knob can be used to control the volume between the low and high channels.

    Some of the Ampeg Biamp capabale Heads have 2 switches on the back that both have to be set to biamp. One is Full-Range/Biamp and the other is Stereo/Mono. The amp must be in Stereo mode (out I think) to Biamp (as well as the Biamp in the in position).
  4. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    While I agree with redneck fundamentaly, assuming a 15" does lows better than a 4-10" which is usualy a stretch. Check the cabinets frequency response specs, generally 4-10"s go deeper while the fifteen simply has a deeper timbre. Still biamping dissimilar cabinets is a good idea. I would run both full range. Is the ampeg B4-R a stereo amp or a mono with a knob?
  5. Elf2112


    Aug 22, 2003
    It is a stereo capable amp. I can choose between stereo and mono with a toggle switch.

    I have also been looking at the possibility of bridging the amp across the cabs. This would let me get the full 1000W going out to the cabs.
    Any thoughts on this?

  6. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet?

    Jul 31, 2002
    USA, Montana
    If you hit a low-b or even a low-f# and your 4x10 cab farts, then yes, bi-amp.

    That would be another necessary reason in my opinion.
  7. I bi-amped for years due to the inherent problems of speaker/cab design. In my experience this is just about the best way to get moderately priced "off the shelf" gear to sound it's best. Before I can make any suggestions though I would need to know what model cabs you have, their impedence, etc... Let me know.
  8. Elf2112


    Aug 22, 2003
    Ampeg B4-R 1000W Solid State Head
    Ampeg 15E 8ohm, 400W 1X15 Cab
    Ampeg 410HE 8ohm, 800W 4X10 Cab

    All brand new.

    With that said, I would still like opinions of bi-amping, but also if anyone has had experience with the B4R. Paid under 900 for it new, but wondering if maybe I should swap that out for a hybrid head like the SVT-3 Pro or the MESA walkabout. Heard that many people have volume problems with the SVT-3 Pro though, and that is something that I dont want to have (hence the 1000W head).
  9. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I have a SVT3pro, and it does lack in volume if you play in a loud band. I Bi-amped for years, and found with todays full range cabs it was a waste of wattage. But if you do Bi-amp do as mentioned before and set your X-over to about as low as it can go......putting 500 watts in to a 4/10 cab to carry the 200hz and up IS a waste of wattage.
  10. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    let me jump in here for a moment, I have an svt 4,and two bxt 4x10 cabinets, they are both 4 ohm 700watts ea.(wish I would have purchased the 8ohm). I run them in stereo,(490 perside) I run out of head room fast and dont feel that I get the maximum efficiency of the cabs.I dont dial in very much lows at all but I play 5 string. Would I be better off buying the bxt115 and run the amp in biamp mode 4x10 on top and 15 on bottom? The 115 cab is rated down to 35 hz.and the 4x10 is 47 I belive ( some where around there) Tell me if my thinking is correct, the 15 in. speaker is more efficient at producing lows than the 4x10, therfore not needing as much wattage to produce that low b. Do you think this is the way to get the most out of my amp? Also when I use one cab I bridge the power section 1200watts into one 4x10 cab, it is awesome, I am able to get the performance I am looking for.:confused:
  11. ELF2112-

    Due to the fact that your cabs are 8ohms each I would bridge your B4R mono, run it into the 4x10 and "daisy chain" it (the 410) into the 15. If you bi-amp your B4R with two 8ohm cabinets you'll only be running 200 watts into each of them. I don't think this would be an acceptable sollution to your problem. Although, you never stated what your problem actually is???

    Your cabinets are pretty efficient so I don't see how volume could be a problem. Especially considering you've got 1000 watts of power. If the sound isn't "doing it" for you maybe you need to make some EQ adjustments. I would also turn off the tweeter in the 15 (just my preference). Ask for some input on various EQ settings that will help you get the most out of your set-up within your "style" of music.

    Final take:

    Bi-amping would not be your best option with two 8ohm cabinets.
  12. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Amen! Finally someone who agrees with me. Your 15 probably has a horn and can handle high frequencies. Similarly, your 4x10 can handle lows. True the speakers aren't workin as hard when you Bi-amp, but the theory goes out the window when you have to run your amp harder to make up for the lost volume.

    I think Bi-amping works a treat for reproduction of recorded music and for PA applications, but for Bass rigs, you're better off running full range.
  13. My take:

    I'd have to agree with Petebass. When I got my first bi-amp capable head (Hartke 7000), I used it with a 2x10, 1x15 combination. At low to medium volumes, it sounded hi-fi, as I expected. But when I really needed it to pump, I found the 1x15 farting out on the lowest, loudest notes (I crossed it at approx. 150-200 Hz). When I ran mono, I liked it much better.

    My observation and resulting conclusion was, for a given perceived loudness of a particular (lower range) note, the more wattage and cone surface area that's being used to reproduce it, the better. To look at it another way, if I'm expecting the fundamental of my low E to be as loud through just my crossed-over low-end cab, as compared to running it through any/all cabs I may be running, I shouldn't be surprised to be disappointed. Yes, if I had a much bigger lowest-end component set, I could probably have achieved bi-amp bliss, but under the circumstances of my budget and typical playing conditions, that's not likely to work out for me.

    I once went to an SWR bass clinic (5 years ago)with Adam Nitti, and put the question to both him and the SWR rep. as to how they viewed bi-amping, since SWR had the 400/500 and 900 model stereo amps. Both of them weren't too keen on the idea, which may explain why there's no variable crossover on the the SM 500 head. So, go figure. Whatever really does work in your particular situation, I guess.
  14. I'll take the opposite point of view.

    Bi-amping is the most efficient use of wattage. Whether you need it or not is subjective, but for pure efficiency, bi-amping allocates power resources where they are fully utilized. For example, sending high frequency signal (and power) to a subwoofer is a complete waste.

    That said, I think bi-amping commercial bass cabinets is a waste of time. Example, Carvin 1x15 and Carvin 2x10, or something similar. Neither has much bottom end by itself, and running both full range provides the most this pair is capable of.

    Bi-amping is for specialized drivers designed for a specific frequency range. Subwoofers and compression drivers, for example. Neither will operate well at all outside their (narrow) design range. Both will blow the doors off a general purpose, full range cabinet. There is a good reason why large PA and sound systems are bi-amped or tri-amped.

    My JBL E110 10" drivers would not survive as full range bass drivers. The cones would be splattered all over the grille if subjected to low notes. But, they make killer high end drivers up to about 8,000 Hz. Sitting on top of subs that quit above 125 Hz, the pair is greater than the sum of the parts. The downside is all the extra hardware required for bi-amping. It is more expensive and bulky than full range.

    A friend moved away and gave me his Peavey TKO115 combo amp. I can literally pick it up by myself (electronics, 15" black widow, cabinet) and move it in a single trip to the truck. It has no bottom, and has a pronounced hump in the midbass because the Black Widow is in a too-small cabinet. It is a joy to load up and move around because it is small.
  15. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Most decent large PA systems biamp, triamp or quadamp to get the most sound out of individual speaker components. Usually the lowest frequencies need the most power and the largest drivers. Bass frequencies cover a vast frequency range (more so for 5, 6 & 7 stringers) and can benefit from more efficient use of drivers.

    Biamping is ideal for a Bass Rig if you do not have PA support for some gigs. I played a club last weekend that had a PA consisting of 4 Mains with horns and 15"s - almost no lows. And the Kick drum ate up most of the available lows. If I did not have a Bi-amp rig, I would not have been able to produce the lows to compensate for the lack of PA support.

    If you have a PA with Subs then you may not need a Biamp Rig. If you play a 4 string and do not tune any lower than E (41hz) then you may not need a Biamp Rig.
    If you trust the sound person(s) at the clubs you play to give you a decent amount of lows in the mix (instead of giving it all to the Drums), then you may not need to Biamp.

    One can typically gain between 3db and 6db of volume by biamping using the same cabinets and power. A normal 3db gain in volume running full range usually takes either double the power or double the speakers.

    Biamping can also be good if you have 2 cabinets with different frequency ranges and sensitivities.
    Usually cabinets that produce lower frequencies are not as sensitive and require more power.

    Even if you have 2 identical cabinets (such as 2 4x10 cabs), biamping can add punch and clarity.
    I know a local guy that does this with 2 Ampeg 4x10s with a crossover point of 75hz. He always sets his tone with only the high channel on (top 4x10 cab). Once his tone is set for the room, he turns up the low channel to the desired level to give him the desired amount of Punch.
  16. "Even if you have 2 identical cabinets (such as 2 4x10 cabs), biamping can add punch and clarity."

    I did this with two 2x12's for years. It was insainly loud (I had to keep up with Marshall and Fender halfs and a loud drummer). Back to the original point though, this guy shouldn't bi-amp his cabs. It would be a waste of his amp.:bassist:
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The reason classic biamping might NOT work as well is that for bass guitar applications, all the cabs you will be using are essentially full range. A 15" bass cab is not a subwoofer and a 4-10" is not a midrange/tweeter box.

    Let's say you have a stereo amp putting out 500 watts per side. If you set the crossover at 100 Hz, one cabinet gets 500 watts to handle only stuff below 100 Hz, the other cab gets to handle stuff only above 100 Hz.

    This means you throw away the cone area of the second cabinet when pushing signal below 100 Hz!!! So though you have plenty of wattage allocated you are not taking full advantage of your available speaker cone area.

    You might be better off running one cabinet full range rather than in high pass mode. This gives you 500 watts full range PLUS an additional 500 watts and a second cabinet helping out below 100 Hz. For example, run a 4-10 full range with a 15 crossed over at 100 Hz.
  18. Brian,

    That's an excellent suggestion, and I think one amp company made a stereo head years ago that had a switch selection that did just that. Can't remember the company though. But I agree completely.
  19. Elf2112


    Aug 22, 2003
    That is an option that I have with my B4R is to BiAmp the lows and full range the highs. I may try that.
    I will also give mono bridging a shot just to hear for myself the difference in tone and volume.

    Thanks a ton for all the replies, definitely learned quite a bit here. I am loving these forums.
  20. hitch


    Apr 29, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, D'addario
    After reading all of this I am all confused on my rig. here is what I have

    SVT-4 Pro

    There is a regular venue where I play thru the house 810 cab with my head. Lets say I run the 410 and 115, what is the best way to run that combination with my head. Next, what is the best way to run my head with just the 410. And finally, with the 810 how should I run it.