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Do I have a poor combination of gear? Clipping!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Steve Clark, Apr 4, 2004.


  1. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Hi all. Looking for guidance.

    I am playing an active MMV through a Hartke 3000 amp and Hartke Transporter series 210 and 115.

    I get a fair bit of clipping and I'n not even pushing the amp past 4 or 5 on the loud knob.

    Does this mean the speakers are a poor match for the amp when the clipping (red light) is flashing.

    Both the speaker cabs are rated at 150 watts into 8 ohm. The amp is rated at 300 into 4 ohm and 180 into 8 ohms.

    Please help me understand the ohms, watts and clipping. If you were going to stay in the Hartke brand what would you change?

    Which Hartke cabs would work better with this amp? Vice versa.
     
  2. dmaki

    dmaki

    Apr 29, 2000
    Chattanooga
    Your active bass might be delivering too much signal to the amp. Try lowering the gain (and if the amp has a -12db pad, use that too) and boosting the output. That should clean up the sound and still give you enough volume. If that doesn't work, than its something wrong with the speakers, they shouldn't make that sound under the circumstances that you listed.
     
  3. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    It could be any one of a number of problems, but right off hand I'd have to point out that Hartke's TRANPORTER series are their cheapest cabs, and have the cheapest speakers with the smallest magnets. You aren't going to be able to push a ton of low end out of them at high volume without them farting out on you. They are fine for a more midrangey sound at moderate volumes, but if you like to play low and loud, they aren't going to keep up.
     
  4. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Thanks to both of you. Can you elaborate on the ohm watt relationship.

    If I look at the Hartke amps as I consider and upgrade they are all rated at 4 ohm.

    I was considering ditching the two Transporter cabs and get a 410 XL. (400 watts at 8 ohm). Would that be a better match with the Hartke 3000 amp?
     
  5. Your two 8 ohm cabs combine in parallel for a 4 ohm load. The power output by your amp is distributed equally to each cab. (150w each) Your cabs are rated to handle this much power so you shouldn't be having any problem with overpowering the speakers.

    So, the likely causes of clipping are:
    1. Boosing the low frequencies in the EQ
    2. Running an active bass without using the -12db pad
    3. Your amp doesn't have the power (in the power amp section, not preamp) to reach the volume levels you are after.

    Your choice of cabs has little to do with any of these.
     
  6. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    How are you setting the EQ on your bass? If the controls are turned up, try setting them flat.

    How old is the battery in the bass? If it's old and you have the EQ on the instrument turned up, I suppose that you could be causing the internal preamp to clip too.

    How aggressive is your playing style? If you're a heavy hitter, try lowering the pickups on your bass to avoid clipping with the internal preamp.
     
  7. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I agree, but it's hard to tell with head type amps wether it's clipping at the input or output stage.

    If it's clipping at the output stage, 300 watts isn't loud enough for your situation and you're running out of headroom. The obvious fix here is to use an amp with more power however, your cabs may not be able to take any more power. Changing the head will also require you to change the speakers.

    My feeling is that the head is probably clipping at the preamp input stage. This is a suggestion is a bit left-field but humour me and try it. Does that amp have seperate knobs for pre gain and post gain? If so, turn the pre gain right down and turn the post gain right up. It may or may not create a problem with signal to noise ratio, but it's a little trick I use to get a little more clean power when there isn;t much headroom available.

    It will probably make things worse. Your current speaker combination gives a 4 ohm load to the amp, allowing it to produce the full 300w. With a single 4x10 at 8 ohms, the amp can only put out something like 200w. PLUS, one less speaker is an automatic 3dB decrease in volume (that doesnt sound like much but it's certainly noticable). As a result you'll try pushing your amp harder to get back lost volume and it will clip even more than before.


    .
     
  8. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I got this Hartke rig on ebay but hadn't done any loud playing with a band since I got it. Perhaps this ebay purchase was not as good as my MMV and NS Design ebay scores. I had been using the correct input for an active bass.

    Here's what I did:

    Plugged in the Marcus Miller V. Not playing loud but could hear very fine crackly/buzzy sound. Still there a bit at higher volumes. Amp clip light is coming on and depsite the volume being in the 6 out of 10 range it doesn't seem that loud.

    Checked the battery in the MM. Those are Ok. Plugged the MM back in and ran the 115 only. Same noise. Changed to 210 only. Same noise. Changed nasses to the Kubicki. Ran both cabs. Same crackly sound. Also changed cables.

    It would appear that all the speakers are blown. Would that be a good assumption? Slapping is still pretty clean though. Is there a way to check a speaker to be sure it is blown.

    Do I have an excuse to get something else now :cool: I might find myself dreaming about EA and SWR. I can't afford the EBS so I'll try not to dream about those.

    I'll price out replacement Hartke speakers. Look forward to hearing from everyone again.
     
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Remove the grill, place your hands around the outer edges of the speaker cone, with your fingers spread pretty evenly around the speaker. Gently press a little inward, and let it go back out. Do this a few times while listening for a "rubbing" sound. If it makes a rubbing sound, they are blown.

    Also, Hartke's are notorious for having the center black dust covers come partially loose in one small spot, which makes a buzzing sound similar to that of a blown speaker voicecoil. Check for that as well.

    Lastly, don't even THINK about replacing all of the Hartke drivers. Too expensive, and not worth the cost. Hartke's policy has been to require you to send in the existing speakers before they will sell you a replacement. The shipping both ways will be too cost prohibitive.
     
  10. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Darn it, its just like taking a car to a mechanic. Took the grills off and there does not seem to be any problem with the speakers although one of the 10 seems to have had the dust cover 'fixed'. I can crank the amp and the sound is clean if not defines enough for my tastes. Also the crackly noise is gone. :confused:

    The amp does not have a gain and output. Just one volume knob. Incidentally that one volume knob is a bit noisy. Maybe thats my crackly noise.

    It is hard to make the amp clip with the MMV in passive. Easier in active.

    I think I want to get a BIGGER amp and matching speakers. ;) ;)

    Thanks everyone