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combo comparison (for DB)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by shinebass, Jan 19, 2002.


  1. shinebass

    shinebass

    Dec 19, 2001
    Ptuj, Slovenia
    hello guys!
    can anybody of the double-dassists help me out by comparing these combos:
    gallien-krueger mb150s112 (or whatever it is really called)
    the new g-k backline 10 and/or 12
    swr workingman's 10
    and anything similar i may have left out? as you can see portability is importanat to me, still i don't want to compromise my tone too much. by the way, i'm using the realist through a sadowsky outboard.
    thanks a lot.
     
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I can't help compare the amps you named, but the list is incomplete without the Acoustic Image Contra. I got one awhile back, and I do not regret it, to say the very least. There's been lots of discussion on it here and on other forums.
     
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I used an MB-100 for about 12 years. They sound much more electronic on stage than they do out front.
     
  4. shinebass

    shinebass

    Dec 19, 2001
    Ptuj, Slovenia
    Thank you Marcus and ray for your respective insights. As for the AI combo: I haven't included that one simply because it is nearly impossible to even see one around here, let alone try it out. So I decided to stick with those a bit more easily available.. Of course, other suggestions like these are welcome.
    In addition to all the boxes in question I am considering also one of those active monitors things (with 10 or 12 woofer). More and more often I find myself in situation that I wish I had a "tilt back" designed cabinet. If nothing else they play into your face rather than into your ankles.
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Hartke makes amps that can sit at an angle, the Kickback series. They all sound like Hartkes :)

    A put my amp up on a chair, and in the case of the GK, I angle it back against the back of the chair. Monitor speakers I wouldn't recommend as they are designed to throw sound a short distance and likely won't do you much good for filling a room with your bass.
     
  6. shinebass

    shinebass

    Dec 19, 2001
    Ptuj, Slovenia
    Ray,
    thanks again for your reply.
    Of course I often put my amp an a chair, but it seems like the "bass" is lost this way. somehow. And about what you are saying about monitor speakers: I didn't realize that it is so. However, I have tried an active speaker made by FBT of Italy, which is very similar to the Mackie SM450. It is obviously designed for use both as a monitor and a small PA cab. Would I still experience the same problem with it?
    Oh, and those Hartke Kickbacks. I know about them, but never tried them. Never played my double bass through a Hartke, as a matter of fact.. So, what do you actually mean by saying that they sound like Hartke? The only thing I've heard pretty often about the brand lately is that the aluminum cones are prone to breaking. For your info: I have a Czech plywood with a Realist and a Sadowsky outboard.

    Thanks a lot again.
     
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    To my ear, the Hartkes are gawd-awful bright. They might be ok for the Slab, but a piezo pickup through an aluminum cone sounds to me almost what it would be like to use the AM radio out of a '54 Ford for a bass amp.

    You do lose floor-resonance when you put your cab up on a chair or on milk-crates, etc., but I consider this a good thing as I like to reduce as many variables as I can when amplifying. Set your amp on a marble floor and no one can hear the bass for about 50 feet, but people are being liquified just beyond that. Or play on a big, hollow stage designed to give an orchestra some warmth and you sound like the shuttle headed for Mir out front. Plus, as you indicated, when the speaker is at ankle level, the tendency is too play too loud as you have to crank it up to hear yourself.

    As far as the monitor/main speaker thing, I'm not an acoustical engineer and so have no idea how to explain the difference in how speakers throw, but if you use speakers intended for mains as monitors you will always have problems on stage with feedback and any musician on the path of the speaker complaining that they are being deafened by the monitor, and when trying to use monitor cabs to throw out front, you get no presence. Experience / anecdotal evidence at best, but this has been what I've found.
     
  8. shinebass

    shinebass

    Dec 19, 2001
    Ptuj, Slovenia
    Thank you again, Ray!
    Helped me a lot. It may be "only" experience/anecdotal evidence, but that's where the real life is.
     
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    We're all in it together :)

    Awesome web site, by the way.
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    About 6 months ago I designed a kickback system for my amp setup which is very simple: it consists of a strap, a piece of wood, 2 screws, and some steroidal velcro. Once you install this onto your cab (whatever that may be), you can unfold it to set your amp in kickback position while you play. When you are finished, you just fold it up and stick it to the cab, where it takes up about 1/2" max of space on the back. I've been really happy with this system, and would love to share the design with anyone who's interested. I'll try to post some pics in the next month or so.
     
  11. Boppingtheory

    Boppingtheory

    Aug 27, 2001
    Italy
    I use to play in small-medium clubs and as my rig consists basically of a Workingman's 12" for the double bass and of a SWR 350 + a 15" cab for the bass guitar, I found that cabs in tilted back positions are the best compromise to reduce environmental variables and to keep your basic controls setting.
    So now I go with small stands.
    Have a look to this site to get some ideas: www.quiklok.com
    My choice was for the QL 643 amp stand both for the WM 12" and the SWR 350 bass head and for the BS 317 stand model for the bigger cab (15" Eminence cab).
    Finally the trick consists in a great attention to the orientation of the cab as regards the player (not in front of the DB 'cause of the feedback problems) and in a sensible amount of volume.
    Let me know, ciao!
     
  12. shinebass

    shinebass

    Dec 19, 2001
    Ptuj, Slovenia
    Chris and Boppingtheory,
    thanks a lot for your input. It would be great, Chris, if you could post those pisctures of your invention somewhere here. I'd shure like to see them. And, yes, Boppingtheory, I remember seeing tha Quiklok stand in a music shop in Bologna last year, but have totally forgotten about it.
    These are all very nice ideas and experiences you are sharing here. I hope they help somebody else but me aswell.
    Maybe the real proble starts when one stops to look for new stuff...
     
  13. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    shinebass-
    I haven't experienced all of the amps you listed for comparison, but if I could say this. I've been extremely happy with the GK MB150E. (when I have to use an amp...) The combo itself can cut through most jazz and smaller ensembles. If you are playing in a louder group, running another 12" or 15" Eminience speaker off the head and on the opposite side of the stage works well.
    I've tried hartke combos, and workingman combos. They are loud and boomy and all. But HEAVY and sometimes too electric sounding. I don't like to take any gear that weighs more than the bass itself. ;) The Gk Combo is pricy, but I have met several players much older than me that have used it for years, and don't have any back problems.
    The amp-on-the-chair works like a champ. The sound in the room is still bassy but much clearer. You won't neccesarily be feeling it as much through the floor.
    By the way, I use a plywood bass for the club gigs, combined with the realist pickup. I do, however, use gut strings and like a short quarter note. What kind of sustain are looking to project?
     
  14. A question for Contra owners:

    Do you find you still need to use a preamp in conjunction with your piezos?

    (all hail) Bob Gollihur's site mentioned that the impedances on the Contra match most transducers' closely enough so that a preamp is not necessarily needed.

    Thnx.
     
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I don't use a preamp with my Contra. I've tried it, but it's great without one.
     
  16. I use a preamp with my Realist and Contra, but that is more for phase switching to control feedback. When playing at lower volumes, I've found the Contra to handle the raw piezo signal just fine - I actually prefer that tone.

    Referring to the comparison of combos, I would add SWR's Workingman's 12 combo to the tryout list. I've used one with great success (prior to the Contra purchase) for a while, and it's a very solid little combo.

    One thing I've realized with virtually all combos is that the addition of even a small extension cabinet can yield very significant improvements in headroom. I've tried out a WM12 with a 10" WM extension cab, and that was a very potent combination. I'm currently using my Bergantino 1x12 cab as an extension for my Contra, and that has worked out very well. I'm currently kicking around the idea of pursuing a Euphonic Audio iAmp combo with a 1x10 and/or 2x10 cab - plenty of options there!

    Placing the combo on top of the extension cab may also clear up the sound in much the same manner as kickback amps, but I'm not sure...
     
  17. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    When I used the Bass Max with the Contra, I didn't use one. According to Rick Jones of Acoustic Image, it is designed to match the impedances of most piezos, so you wouldn't need one.

    I use the ART Studio Tube MP mic preamp to run me Schertler Dyn-B with my Contra, because the Dyn-B is XLR, and the ART has both XLR and 1/4" inputs and outputs. It also helps with the high gain the Dyn-B puts out by making it more manageable and maintaining clarity at higher volume than I could get with the Dyn-B and an impedance transformer plug.

    Monte
     
  18. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Although it would be hard to do with the Contra, I've recently started kicking back my Centaur amp (Anyone ever heard of these? Great sounding bass amp they stopped making in the 90's) when playing the plank at my church, and the sound is much easier for me to hear at a lower volume. It's worth trying once if you never have.

    Monte
     
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    They still make Centaur amps, a dealer in my town carries them.

    Here's a link to an online dealer with some specs (can't locate a page for the manufacturer).

    http://WWW.GrandCanyonTubeRadio.COM/amplifier/centaur/centaur.html
     
  20. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Oops, should have been more specific. I knew about the Centaur Acoustic amps / PA, but I think that they stopped their line of guitar and bass amps after having a hard time breaking in the market. A shame, because for a do it all amp they are pretty good; to me they sound better than the SWR WM series and were cheaper. I got mine in the mid 90's from a guy in Dallas. At that time there were a few guys at UNT using them. Danny Adair, have you run into any down there? I think Kip Green of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra was using one.

    Monte