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Booming low notes, can't hear the high ones.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Johnny Walker, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Well, I purchased a Peavey Tour 410 cab and a Tour 115 cab. I also purchased a BBE BMAX tube preamp. I ran that through a 400 watt amp. Everything is hooked up correctly. Sitting around the apartment of course I had to keep the volume down for practice. I loved the tone I was getting with my 78 Jazz. Well, I had my first gig with this set up. I got the worse tone I have ever had. With the bass turned almost all the way off on the BMAX the low notes were just booming and you could hardly hear the higher notes. I tried everything with the b max. Turning off the " sonic maximizer", turning off the compressor. Nothing seemed to help. I could not get any kind of respectable balance on my bass. It was horrible. I purchased the BMAX used from Guitar Center and it seemed to work ok in the house at low volume. I have never used this rig before out of the apt. I don't know if it's something wrong with one of the speaker cabs, the combination of the cabs or something with the BMAX. I should have tried using just one of the cabs at the gig but didn't think of that. Anyone ever run into this sort of thing ?
  2. I think there might be a few issues at play.

    Firstly you say you had the lows cut, where were your mids at?

    Secondly you are probably experiencing a bit of phasing from your cabinet combination. How long ago did you buy the cabs? if you can return on I would suggest figuring out which cab you like best by itself then returning the other for a match to the cab you prefer.
  3. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Not in the manner you describe, but there's a few holes in your story. Besides 'cutting all the lows', where were your other knobs at? What outputs on the Bmax were you using? What 400w amp were you using and which input? Is there a low-pass filter or shelving EQ that may have been activated? (sometimes, power amps are only used for subs, so they have a LPF to only push the lows.) What outputs from the power amp were you using...or was it a bass head? Does it have a crossover and are you only coming out of the low-frequency side and daisy-chaining your two cabinets? Your 4x10 has a tweeter or a horn, was that turned on? What is the chain from your bass to your speakers - which inputs and outputs are you using on the Bmax and amplifier?
  4. jackcheez


    Sep 13, 2010
    Long Beach, CA
    Only in a horrible sounding room.

    Srsly, some rooms just sound horrible no matter what you do. :(
  5. Sounds like the room was magnifying the phasing problems from using mis-matched cabs.
  6. Thanks for your concern and help guys.. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to BBE BMAX service dept. It's pretty detailed and should help answer some questions as to what I was doing and how I was using my equipment. I purchased both of the cabs, used and over 3 months ago so returning is not an option. I was plugged into the " main out " in back of the BMAX into the "Effects Return on a Peavey Tour 450". To tell the truth I have never run into a " phasing " problem before and don't really know what and out of phase situation would sound like, but if I had to guess, that's exactly what it sounded like. I know of other bass players that have used the same set up, not using the Peavey's though, and I loved how they sounded. I can't understand how their set up of using one 410 cab and a 115 cab would sound good and mine would be out of phase ??? My mind just can't grasp why that would happen. Here's a copy of the letter I sent to BBE.

    I have a BBE BMAX T that I purchased used from Guitar Center. I played it out on a gig for the 1st time this past Friday evening. I was using my 78 Fender Jazz, running the BMAX through the effects return on a Peavey 450 Tour bass amp, essentially using the 450 as a power amp, running all this through Peavey Tour 410 and Peavey Tour 115 speaker cabs. Both are 8 ohm cabs. All my cords are new and have checked out to be ok. I could not get a respectable tone or any kind of volume balance at all. The lower bass notes would just be really loud, booming, and the higher register notes could hardly be heard at all. I tried everything. I turned off the sonic maximizer and the compressor. I had my bass plugged into the passive input, and the bright switch off. I set the gain at 8 O'clock, the treble at 11 O'clock, mid 11 O'clock and bass set at 8 O'clock. Master set at 9 O'clock. I had e mailed your office before to find out if this unit had the upgrade done and was told that it had been. Something dealing with some kind of resistor being put on the master volume I guess. I purchased this unit used and don't really know how old the tube is. Any help or suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated. If you think it needs to be serviced I sure don't mind sending it to you. I don't have another gig till the end of Aug so time is not a concern as I have other amps I can use. I really can't try them out here at home as I live in a side by side duplex and any kind of volume at all causes knocks at my door from the neighbors... Thanks so much for your help..
  7. How does your rig sound with out the outboard pre amp?
  8. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    What, exactly, do you guys mean by "phasing"? Do you mean phase cancellation or interference? If so, call it that- it's the generally accepted term. 'Phasing' is what was usually referred to as what a phase shifter does.

  9. This ^

    A hollow wooden stage will make your low notes bloom and resonate like that... this is made worse with PA subs near the stage and accentuated by a bad room

    In this situation ( i had this on sat night) the only real options are to try raise your cabs off the floor and or to try find the guilty frequency range and cut it, leaving you with a rather thin sounding stage tone

    and Seriously, I would consider all other options before blaming speaker size phasing between the different cabs and rushing out to buy new cabs
  10. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    The biggest problem I see is that you tried to play a gig without getting to know your rig. Playing at home, at low SPL, will never let you know what it does.

    What is the sensitivity of the upper cab vs the lower one. If the 15" is a lot more sensitive, you'll definitely have a hard time taming it. The best thing you could do in that case is use a two channel amp that has a crossover for each channel. If it has compression/limiting and EQ, even better. That way, you could adjust the levels for best response from each cabinet and keep everything well-controlled for the gigs. However, you'll never be able to know how it will work at a gig without cranking it in rehearsal or at home. Start by turning OFF all of the effects in the preamp and setting all of the controls so they're neutral. If you still can't hear the upper cab, make sure it's not wired in a way that makes it less sensitive, e.g., series or series/parallel for use as a second cab when 4 Ohms will result. With a solid state amp, it will output more power at 4 Ohms than 8 Ohms, regardless of what's happening at the other cabinet.

    Did you mean the Headliner 115 and 410? Their site shows the Tour series as combo amps, not stand-alone cabinets. Also, their specs aren't very complete and this makes tehm almost useless, beyond a salesperson saying "They work great together!". The frequency range doesn't have any kind of tolerance (the measured response, +/- 3dB, or something like that) and no sensitivity (you need to this when matching them to other cabinets unless you use a separate channel for each). The impedance without sensitivity is great, but not really useful, other than knowing that you can use them on one channel as long as the jacks are wired for parallel.
  11. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    That can be reduced by using the 410 cabinet, since it won't necessarily hit the room's standing waves. If the room is square or the walls are multiple of one dimension, all bets are off, though.
  12. Thanks Bassman. The Peavey Tour series is no longer available. Maybe this is the reason. lol They are not the " Headliner " series. They were light weight cabs that utilized Neo speakers. Very light weight. Both cabs are around 50 lbs. I'm not sure of the sensitivity of either of the cabs. You're right about not getting to know my rig. Never really had a place to play it at " gig " volume before I set it up. I pride myself with being able to get a great tone. I felt terrible and embarassed. I have a Peavey Mark VI that has a variable compressor and built in crossover that I could take over to my sons garage and try that out using both cabs and using just one of the cabs and see how things sound. I could also bring over my two BBE BMAX's one with a tube and one without. I also have the Peavey tour 450 bass amp and do some testing over there. If I plug the BMAX into the Aux in will this bypass the preamp on the 450 ? From the users manual for the 450.

    "This input is provided for a convenient input of rack-mount processors. This input is for signal levels only and overrides the high and low input jacks on the front of the unit. NOTE: For a clean look, the bass may be plugged directly into this jack, but please note that this is a high gain input."
  13. AndyLES


    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    A few things:

    -First of all, I think way too much is made out of potential phase problems from putting a 1x15 with a 4x10. If they're the same brand, it really shouldn't matter too much, as manufacturers (and their design teams) spend lots of money in development to match these cabs. For example, I personally know a couple of Hartke endorsees, and they've told me that the cabs are designed to be in phase with each other.

    My point? Don't worry too much about that....however...

    -Realize that home, at LOW volumes, is not a good environment for dialing in sounds. Google "Fletcher Munson curves" - volume changes our perception of frequencies.

    -Midrange is your friend, and scooping it sounds terrible live (BBE units are notorious for doing this)

    -How are you setting up the compressor?
  14. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Going from a preamp out to the effects loop input is about what I would think will cause this. If it sounded garbled and bassy, you were probably overdriving the effects loop. Try it by plugging into the Effects Out of the BBE. The BBE shows Max output as +22dBu, which is pretty hot and the Tour 450 shows Power Amp sensitivity as 750mV, which is very sensitive.

    You need to make sure the gain stages are set up correctly for max clean signal. Also, using a preamp to feed another preamp, both with tone/level controls is asking for trouble. If you use one for the controls, leave the other one neutral, so they can't add to each other. You may have missed the fact that the bass on one was turned up/treble was turned down, or that the parametric controls on the BBE were set so the mids/highs were cut or that the gain was too high. Trying to get the sound right just before a gig is hard enough but when you add the fact that it's the first time and you may not have become very familiar with this rig, it's even easier to get the setup a bit "off".
  15. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    WRT being "in phase", it can be as simple as meaning that the drivers move in the same direction with a positive or negative voltage, or it could mean that, plus the voice coils are vertically aligned. This is usually more important in the crossover region, though. If there's no crossover to separate HP from LP, it won't matter as much. Even with drivers and cabinets from different manufacturers, it shouldn't matter much as long as the drivers are electrically "in phase" when the signal from the amplifier reaches them. If one channel is free of effects and the other is loaded with them, the latter can arrive later- the signal is thought of as moving near the speed of light, but additional circuits cause delays.
  16. I think you should start with a 9v battery test. Connect a cable with a 1/4" lead to the cab and touch a 9v battery across the leads. Do it with both cabs with the leads off the battery touching the cable the same way. All the drivers should move in or out the same way.
  17. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    I believe the BBE BMAX is a passive tone stack. To pass a somewhat "flat" signal, you have to keep the bass/treble controls mostly off and the mid control ALL THE WAY up. The mid control is cut-only and the bass/treble are essentially boost-only.

    Your cabs very well may not have anything to do with the problem.
  18. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    I think 1958Bassman may be onto something. Whenever I tried to use a head as just a power amp fed by a separate pre, I was asking for trouble.

    Have you tried the head and cabs w/o the BBE?
  19. dhomer

    dhomer Commercial User

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hickory Corners, MI
    Owner, Gigmaster Soundworks, Auth. greenboy designs builder, MI
    A dedicated power amp will help some, the available connections with what you have may be part of the problem.. The Fender tone stack is a real odd duck to learn, too. 2-10-1 is nearly flat.. use the paramid to bump some presence in the 900-1K range..

    Something about the Bmax-T you may want to know.. It does not do high-end very well. If you're looking for a very warm sound, this is your pre.. the solid state Bmax has a lot more mid-presence. In ANY case, you will need a subsonic filter with these pre's...
  20. pudgychef

    pudgychef In Memoriam

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    +1 to:

    a) making sure the BBE isn't overriding the effects loop on the Peavey

    b) trying the set up without the BBE - just straight into the Peavey head and cabs AT GIG VOLUME - this is a good set-up on its own and will help you eliminate what could be wrong...

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