Clarus/NE-1/Flite rig: Hmmm. . . .

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jsonnenblick, Jan 17, 2002.

  1. I started a thread last week about the new Acoustic Image Clarus head and Yamaha NE-1 I had ordered. Well, both items came, and I played a church choir rehearsal (bass, grand piano, 20 singers) with the Clarus and NE-1 going thru a Flite 3-way cab.

    I'm not thrilled (well, OK, I am thrilled about a bass rig I can carry in one trip with my bass!). There was a certain irritating low-midrange thickness to the setup that I just couldn't seem to dial out -- almost a muddy tone. Granted, I was using my thickest-toned bass, which is a Benavente neck-thru with EMG soapbars. For my next rehearsal on Sunday, I'll try the gear with my thinner-sounding, J-style Pulcinella 5. Maybe that will do the trick, but MAYBE the Clarus just doesn't "do" the tone I want. To my ears, it almost sounded like going direct thru a P.A. without a speaker-simulator box.

    Maybe that's why so many people seem to use a SansAmp Bass Driver along with the Clarus?

    Or maybe I just don't love the Benavente. Or the Flite cab. Or the room. Or my strings. Or my strange obsession with bass tone????

  2. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    every review i've heard of the clarus that tried it with electric had similar results. the "running direct into the PA" sound is what they're going for - true reproduction of what goes into it. i'm sure running a sansamp into the effect in (there is an effect in, right) would take care of it.

  3. I'm not incredibly familiar with either the Flite or the NE-1, but perhaps the NE-1 has something to do with your tone issues. I don't know what tone you're after, but my experience with my Contra leads me to believe that Acoustic Image stuff is pretty even tonally. If the NE specializes in all kinds of nutty EQ dips and such, that could be a factor.

    Do you have any options for monitoring the sound from a distance? I would try that if at all possible - setups I thought sounded glorious 1 foot from my amp sounded like crap in the house, and vice versa. YMMV.
  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    Sounds like you may have to fiddle with that pre-amp of yours. I just did a gig with my clarus a flite 15 with midrange driver and a SWR Goliath III. The room wasn't that large and my sound was phat, I'm using the EQ on my bass with the clarus set flat. I'm just loving this little amp.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    If you think the low mids are too thick now, I can't imagine the SansAmp doing anything but making it even thicker.

    Have you used the cabinet before with other heads? It could be the cab that's adding the low mids you're hearing, not the head.

    Between the Clarus head, the NE-1 and the preamp in your bass you've got a lot of EQ options. I'd work with them for awhile.
  6. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    He might have too many options.
    Jsonnenblick, I would try pulling the NE-1 from the signal chain first and see what happens. You've got a butt-load of good gear in your rig.
  7. I'll bet it's the Flite cab and it has a big, fat hump that you are hearing as boom or mud. Eminence Kappa Pro speakers are better suited for PA use than electric bass, so perhaps that is why your rig sounds that way. Open it up and take a look at the drivers and see if they are Kappa Pro.
  8. If there is an irritating "hump" in the speaker's response, any advice on which frequencies to cut?

    I _KNOW_ this rig shouldn't sound muddy, so it's kind'a frustrating!
  9. Flite's outlandish frequency response claims are a burr under my saddle... I have it on fairly good authority Flite uses off the shelf Eminence Kappa Pro drivers, which don't have squat for low end response. Similar to Carvin performance.

    Without an analyzer, it's just guessing. But my guess is reduce 80 ~ 120 Hz and see what you hear. It will be a tune-by-ear thing.

    The first order of business is identify where your problem exists. Borrow (or demo) a cab of better quality. You can always ask your local music shop to let you plug your amp rig into an Eden or something. Tell 'em you are interested in trading up but want to hear it first. The worst they can do is say no, then you can take your business somewhere else.

    This will tell you if the Flite is the cause, or the problem lies with the bass+amp. It's a process of elimination. Since you have multiple basses, it will be easy to elminate that bass as the cause. Be sure to check the no-brainer stuff, like bass batteries, etc.

    My money is on the Flite being the cause of the crappy sound. One of my buds is a pro bassist in LA and he plays a Clarus 5 nights a week and loves it. He drives a Goliath Jr cab with it.
  10. bgavin: It seemst that you're not too impressed with either the Eminence Kappa Pro's or Flites in general. As Flite offers the option to purchase just the enclosures, are there any other drivers that you would recommend?
  11. If you are mixing and matching, choose the driver you want first then match a cab to that driver. My spreadsheet in my signature has a very extensive list of drivers. You can sort them by increasing box size, and frequency response (F3).

    Unless you have a burning desire to build, I suggest finding a good cab for purchase. It is "instant gratification" and you don't screw around with time and money, then wind up with something that sounds lame.

    My axe to grind with Flite is their outlandish claims of low frequency response which are FAR better than all its competitors. PC speak is "marketing" hype... I call it "lying", IMO. The Kappa Pro is a pretty loud driver, but even in an optimum cabinet of 4 ~ 5 cubic feet, it rolls off in the upper 40 Hz region. Hardly the -3dB at 32 Hz B.S. that they publish. He is very friendly to deal with, and offers great customer service, so he has lots of customers and continues to sell product. Then again, so does Microsoft.
  12. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I agree - excessive low mids is the sign of a poorly tuned cab. Flites have very small internal volume, just like the smaller Bag Ends, and you don't get much of a low end extension that way, you get low-mid mud (if the cab is designed poorly) or low-mid punch (if the cab is designed correctly). Using COTS Eminences isn't helping, either.

    I think you'd be happier with a Bag End S15-D. We *know* it works with the Clarus; it's a tried-and-proven combination.

    As for getting empty Flite cabs and putting in your own drivers, sure, I've looked into that myself. Flite said they'd tune the box any way you want, or leave it untuned so you can do it yourself. Something like the 4x10 cab with Peerless 83-1724 woofers would be cool for a fairly loud and flat-to-30Hz subwoofer. However, in the end it would cost more than a nice Acme Low-B4W, so why bother?

    I don't think of Flite as being a general purpose suitable-for-anybody compete-against-Eden cab. I think of it as a niche cab, for those who need the lightest box they can find, with sound being secondary. Just my 2 cents...

  13. I agree with Geoffzilla 100%. I own an NE-1, and love it. However, from EXTENSIVE experimentation with it, I'd recommend getting the sound you like FIRST with your amp, then, add the NE-1 in as the salt on your meat. I've found that, while it makes any bass I own sound better, it does this within a small sonic window. After you get the sound you like from your amp, try the NE-1 set like this: Select: Deep, then set the frequency knob between 7 and 10. In the ad for the NE-1, Yamaha says "Nathan's favorite setting is Deep 4." I find this much too blaring. You may or may not agree, but; experiment. It's a nice little box.

    Good luck,
    Mike J.

    P.S. I've also found that it sounds better with a passive bass than an active one.
  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    unless you're using an upright, i dunno if the clarus is the best choice. its more like a mini PA for acoustic rigs anyways. if you want light, go with an Eden WT400 or EA iAMP350. small lightweight @ 15 lbs., and tone for days.
  15. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS

    You should try a Clarus. Can any of the amps you described fit into the front pocket of my gig bag like the Clarus can? I've used it primarily with electric and I like the way my bass sounds when I use it, whether I'm using a single 10, a single 2x10 or a 2x10 with a 15.
  16. I agree. While the cabinet configuration of my Contra doesn't always inspire confidence, I've been very pleased by how the Contra works with my electric. Actually, I've given some serious thought to getting a rig similar to Phil's (Clarus head w/extension cabs). I've heard that the Clarus is actually solid down to 2 ohms (vs. typical marketing BS touting 2 ohm wattages), which can greatly expand the cabinet options. Anybody else have experience with this sort of setup?