Decisions, decisions. New Amp Blues

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jscriv, Mar 31, 2019.


  1. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    So I've decieded that it's time to upgrade to a new 410 and head. With the addition of my daughter last week, going out and going nuts all at once is not feasible. So I sold my gretsch hollowbody yesterday and I've decieded I'm gonna start with a new head. No I've fallen pretty much in love with the markbass little mark tube head. I'd really like to try a tone hammer but apparently, that's impossible in Western NY. I've been running a pretty gainy sound with the treble and bass up and the mids scooped out with, preferably, my EBMM sterling. But it clips the pf350 I've been using and I've been places that the sound guys DI can't handle it and I have to hit the pad. So I'm thinking the extra head room will allow me to shape my tone without clipping and get all the volume I need since I won't have to turn up too terribly loud. Generally the pf350 with an 8ohm load puts out the volume I need. If youve read this far, just let me know if that all makes sense. I'm fairly new to the head and cab world. I've always used combos and I wanna make sure my head is on straight before I start throwing money around.
     
  2. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    If you’re sending an active signal to the amp, you’ll usually have to do the -15db pad regardless of the power amp wattage or brand. Passive basses put out a pretty weak signal, so pre-amps start with that and then provide a pad for active/higher gain signals.

    Usually folks turn up the pre-amp gain until it clips on your hardest hitting notes, and then turn it down a bit to avoid clipping. If you’re purposely driving the pre-amp gain to clip/distort as part of your tone and the sound techs don’t like it, you might want to use a pedal for overdrive instead. Or some amps, like the PF-800, have a pad for the DI output so you can drive the pre amp gain way up but not send a super hot signal to the DI.

    Also, congrats on the new baby!
     
  3. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    Thanks! No I don't drive it hard as part of the sound. On my PF350, I think I run the gain around 5 with my sterling. Sometime I just back off on my pre right on the bass and it helps. Just seems like that bass puts off a HOT signal
     
  4. joel406

    joel406 Suspended

    Dec 27, 2013
    Florida
    Gallien Krueger.

    Doesn’t matter which one.

    They all blow everything else away.
     
  5. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Ok, so in that case just hit the pad and crank down the gain just below when it clips on hard playing. Your EQ can affect the pre amp too, like if you crank the lows way up.

    I’m terms of head selection, a more powerful one won’t give you more pre amp headroom. You just have a hot signal from the bass. Usually head selection is more about tone and cabinet pairing. If you like the PF-300, then a Tone Hammer or PF-500/PF-800 might work for you - more ‘vintage’ tone kind of thing.

    What kind of cabs are you looking to pair with?
     
  6. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I played a little mark tube through an ampeg can at GC and really liked it. I think my best bet is to take my bass to GC and rip it through that head before I buy. I just wish I could demo a TH500. I do like my portaflex but I like the markbass better with what I've played through it. More than likely cab will end up being an ampeg 410
     
  7. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggbassplayer.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    I would choose the Tone Hammer 500 over the Mark Bass LMT because of my experience in rock/blues bands with both heads. The LMT sounds fantastic soloed, no doubt, but would get bowled over live if the guitarist was using a lot of effects IME. The Tone Hammer is much more resilient and impervious to effects from guitarists. The LMT sounded great in the right circumstances, but I considered it a delicate flower that can’t get trampled on too much, or it would get covered over. The Tone Hammer and other choices from Aguilar seem to punch through very well. My current choice is the Aguilar 751, I can’t imagine anything better than that. I would tell you if you like the Tone Hammer pedal, go with the TH500 without needing to try it in a store. You live in NY, maybe you can stop by their Brooklyn headquarters and try it out at some point if you head that way?
     
  8. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Online retailers like Sweetwater have great return policies - maybe order a TH 500 and try it, send it back if you don’t like it.

    Or buy a used TH 500 off Reverb and resell if you don’t like it.

    IMHO, Id pick the Aguilar - they rock
     
  9. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I'm on the other side of the state. Niagara falls area.
     
  10. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I guess that does make a lot of sense becuase I do really like my PF350. And yesterday I lowered my picku a bit and took A LOT of heat out of my signal. My original intent was to get a TH 500 and pair it with an aggie 410slx so maybe I'll just stick to my gut.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
  11. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    That MB head is not gonna give you the grainy high gain sound you like...go with GK, an MB500, you can get all the grit, grind and gain you like.
    Rock on.
     
  12. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Can you leave the bass output up all the way and get a reasonable setting just using the gain on the amp (with the -15 pad)?
     
  13. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    It seems to really lose it's beef when I hit the pad. And maybe that's because it's a 350 running an 8ohm load. The db loss just seems to take the wind out of the sails. But with the pickups lowered yesterday i was able to play with no clipping.
     
  14. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    Are you talking about your input gain, or you D.I. output gain? Set your input gain any way you want. If you D.I. output is too high high, have your FOH pad it. It won't effect either sound. If the preamps he's using don't pad enough, he probably has a -20db xlr connector in his tool box. (or buy one for $20)
     
  15. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    In the particular bar he had me use the pad on my head. And he tried to just walk over and hit it but I caught him looking at knobs on my head.
     
  16. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    I think you need to start from scratch with how you're using your current setup, and then you can figure out what you might need to change.

    Like, first you say you "run a gainy sound", but then you complain about clipping. That doesn't make any sense. The PF has a solid state pre anyway, so they're not typically used for OD/distortion, etc... like a head with a tube pre would be. So the gain is just about getting the appropriate strong signal level from the bass to the pre without clipping to get the most out of the power amp.

    You say the pad "takes the wind out of the sails", but do you then raise the master volume to compensate? Or bring the gain up a bit if it takes it too far down. If your bass is 5db too hot, and you engage a 15db pad, simple math says you need to add back about 8-10 db on the gain knob to be just right. Also, check this all out with the volume on the bass maxed and the tone controls flat/centered (don't be like the total idiot I saw on youtube demoing an active bass with the both EQ knobs all the way down (ie cutting probably 12-15db each of bass and treble). You should have a pretty wide range on the knob that should work without clipping, possibly without using the pad if you were running the gain at noon. The gain on an amp like that is really not designed to change the sound as you add or remove gain.

    So between the gain knob, pad, and master volume you should be able to get the signal level and volume you need. Obviously to keep resulting volume the same, if you raise or lower one thing, you will need to compensate with something else. But to do this you should work from input to output. In other words, get the gain set first. If you're at the bottom of the gain knob and still clipping, then you need the pad. If you have to engage the pad, you might then need to bring the gain up a bit to get to just before the point of clipping. Once you set this with your bass, you should never really have to change, unless you use different basses, or are bringing effects in and out. So after the gain and pad are set (with the bass controls as mentioned earlier), then you just bring up the master to the volume level you need. If you find that the master knob is really touchy and you can barely crack it open, you may need to dial back the gain some more to give you more play on the master.

    Sort those things out, and then come back to us in a bit with your findings, and a clear idea of what you're looking for to improve out of new gear.

    Also, if you're in western NY, don't go to lame GC, you should be going to House of Guitars. You might not want to go there to buy strings and other small stuff, but for a major purchase like an amp or cab, driving an hour or 2 is not a big deal. And unless things have really changed there recently, they should have a much better selection than GC anyway, and probably cooler more knowledgeable people working there.
     
    fermata and basso_profundo like this.
  17. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    You should be able to compensate for the -15 pad by turning up the gain.

    With the -15 pad engaged and EQ set all flat, can you get the red 'peak' light to blink by increasing the gain on the amp?
     
  18. basso_profundo

    basso_profundo

    Mar 12, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Also, check this out from Dino on Ampeg gain settings:

     
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  19. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I'm pretty certain I have at practice but I didn't care for the sound and I backed off the pre amp on the bass and it solved it. The issue with the FOH was only at one bar. It sounded ok over the PA but it gave my drummer hell using the cab as a monitor.
     
  20. Jscriv

    Jscriv

    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    Yeah I've never did what I see in this video I will check that out next practice
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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