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Contra + Hartke 2x10 = ??

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. I know this is teetering dangerously on the edge of slab territory, but I’m relying on doublebass sensibilities for this one.

    Took delivery of a Contra last spring, and I’m 100% satisfied with it for 99% of my purposes. Tons of compliments on my sound, etc etc. Having not played a gig on electric for a couple of years and with no real energy devoted to scratching them up, I sold my electric rig (GK 800RG + Hartke 4x10), keeping only my Harke 2x10 to supplement the Contra in the event of a high-volume gig.

    Well, I got call to sub on electric in a 9-piece funk-oriented wedding band last weekend ($$ was too good to pass up), and the Contra + Hartke wasn’t cutting it. Very sweet and punchy when played with fingers from the A-string on up, but muddy and clippy on the E-string or when I -- *gulp* -- thumped. I had the volume and master levels on the Contra each at about 50%. I was using a preamp (K&K) at first, and the some of the clipping was alleviated when I removed it from the signal chain.

    The bass was running through the mains, out of the Contra’s direct out, and the soundman had no complaints. But stage volume was iffy.

    Question: Might this problem have something to do with the fact that the Hartke is an 8-ohm speaker? Might a 4-ohm unit (such as EA Wizzy) paired with the Contra yield better results?

    I know that the Contra wasn’t really meant for the application I described above, but I don’t want to drop the dough on an electric rig that I’d use for a couple of gigs a year. (And I don’t want to turn lucrative gigs down either, especially when I’m allowed to use a percentage of it to buy gear!)
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    The fact that your Hartke is 8 ohms is probably not that material; the difference in wattage delivered to a 4 and 8 ohm cab vs. two 4 ohm cabs is marginal. IMHO 300 watts is just not enough horsepower to compete with a 9 piece funk band. I'm sure you simply ran out of headroom. I'd want a pair of 2x10 cabs (or something in that neighborhood, depending on quality and configuration) and 600 watts or more.

    However, if that's the rig you must use, I would turn the bass down some to conserve headroom- bass frequencies take more watts to produce-- and be more of a "Midrange" rather than a Bass Player on stage, in order to cut through and be heard on-stage. Let the PA EQ fatten it up and carry the room for you- given the nature of bass frequencies, you can be the Satellite Speaker and he can play Subwoofer, if you get my drift.
  3. Okay, okay, Bob! Stop twisting my arm! I'll start saving for a Focus and a couple of EA cabs. Geez!
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    And so it begins.

    Signed, Someone Who Knows
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I don't think it's fair that guit** players can carry a light, low powered amp around and we have to be saddled with large instruments PLUS expensive and heavy equipment to properly amplify it.

    Of course, when our female vocalist shows up five minutes before the first set starts, with only a $150 mic in a little bag, it also really ticks me off!! :meh:
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Worse than that are the agents that book us in the first place. I've seen invoices several times over the years, showing what the client was paying for the band vs. what actually made it to the musicians. Man, I'm in the wrong line of work.
  7. I use the same config for medium volume gigs (URB only) and have had similar problems 'til I checked the TB archives. Running the master full out and cutting the bass on the Contra to about 9 oclock cleaned things up nicely and gave me more volume. Ditto to Bob's advice.
    Please, please make sure the 1/4" speaker plug stays securely in place when the Contra is powered up.
  8. Are we talking fried Contra otherwise?
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    No, I think he means that there'll be some nasty cracking from the cable if it's loose and needs jiggling/connecting since the Master Volume is turned all the way up. Def not fun to listen to.
  10. Inserting or removing a phone plug (1/4") puts a short circuit across the poles. This will immediately fry the Contra's power module. That's one reason AI uses Neutrik Speakon output connectors.
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i use my contra through a genz-benz 2 10 when needed with no worries.