Experiencing gear Pon farr. Need perspective.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by theLibrarian, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. theLibrarian

    theLibrarian Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Portland Oregon
    Hi everybody: First post.

    TL;DR: I bought a Crown DriveCore XLS 1500, which is a good thing I did, but I am in agony about the missing link.

    Long version for the intrepid among you:

    I sold my 1001rb-ii today. I'm fine with that. Today's transaction leaves me with the following reality:

    Fender P Bass Plus ("Boner Bass") with DiMarzio pickups
    Ernie Ball Sterling
    GK Neo 212
    GK Neo 410
    Darkglass B3k
    EWS Tri-Logic Bass Preamp 2
    ...and a bunch of cables.

    I played gigs in Seattle and Portland the last 2 nights and observed the following:

    1. I love the fact that house sound guys in Seattle are smart/considerate enough to mic the bass cab even on a Wednesday night at the Sunset Tavern.

    2. I love the headroom and flexibility provided by the Crown. Bust out the bridge mode cable for 1 cab gigs and juice your brains out.

    3. My sound still needs something

    The Tri-Logic is a fantastically subtle tool. It is one of the most transparent preamps I've ever tweaked on. I believe in the sound of my instruments. With a Fender PJ and an Ernie Ball I can cover pretty much any interesting rock sound out there. I have no issue with the core tools I'm working with, and the Tri-Logic does a good job of nudging those sounds in the right direction without completely overriding them. Since it's an 18v pedal I have no problem driving the Crown.

    I've been playing for almost 25 years and have come to realize that the instrument comes first (keep in mind I'm primarily a rock player at the moment), and that the electronics should enhance the character and capabilities of the instrument I have chosen. In my mind, equalization and other things related to the pre-amplification stage should enhance the fundamental character of the tone that you are working with; not obfuscate it by creating a sound that pretends you committed to something else.

    The combo of the Crown and the EWS ALMOST gets me there. My sound just needs a bit of slather. The last few weeks I've been vacillating between a Basswitch, a REDDI, a Firefly, an SVP-Pro, and a million other options available on basstasters, but now I realize I have a sickness and a longing (hence the thread title) that transcends the issue at hand. I'm officially gear crazy, and I know from experience that that leads to poor purchasing decisions…so if I may finally get to the point, my quandary is this: assuming I can stick to the Crown + tone shaping option, and knowing that I'm a rock player with a decent day job, what is the most reasonable thing for me to do to get to my happy place? Here are my fantasy scenarios:

    1. Basswitch. Yes it's all solid state and everything I've said up to this point screams TUBE, but is TUBE a red herring? I know it's a safe bet, but if I've learned anything by lurking here it's that I should chase down a sound and not a technology.
    2. Get a low power Eden head (like a WT300) and slave it to the Crown in certain situations
    3. Get a bitchen tube DI and hope I can talk the sound guy into using it and also somehow get the sound to my amp as well.
    4. Abandon the PA amp and go to something that is more tone oriented than volume + tone oriented (like Markbass, which has always impressed me as a low volume recording option)
    5. Find an "old" Ampeg or other tube pre to sister with the Crown (Keep in mind that I am currently really digging the idea of shaping my sound on the pedal board and just making it louder with amplification)

    …all while not spending $2000 on top of the $XK I've already sunk…

    Regarding my sale of the GK: I have a special place in my heart for GK. My first head was a 400RB (1990?). My second was an 800RB (1992-1996). My third was the 1001rb-ii (2011-today). I am a believer...but things change. People change.

    TBH I would have kept the GK forever if it were up to me. It kicks ass in certain situations...but despite the fact that I have a good job that pays pretty well, I still have to sort of rotate my way though gear upgrades. It's much easer to tell your wife that you are going to be able to pay off a $600 nut over the course of two years of interest free financing by playing a bunch of $50 gigs or by selling a piece of gear that is not really your bag any more than it is to negotiate $500 straight from the home checking account when a good deal pops up on Craigslist. The children have to eat.

    Again, this is my first post. Be gentle.
  2. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    The first thing I would say is, "be patient". Don't make any quick rash decisions. Do your research. TalkBass is one of the best tools for researching gear.

    I understand where you are. I have a great job and can afford good gear. BUT, I don't just randomly purchase gear to try out. In the last ten years, I still have all of the equipment I have purchased because I did extensive research, talked to owners and tried out the equipment when available.

    I recently made a pretty significant purchase and am putting together a rack rig, first time for me. But I wanted something different. I am totally happy with my current rig but I want to try something different and would like different options too.

    It will consist of a Jule Monique pre amp and a Crest power amp.

    I would highly recommend you check out the Monique super thread. The Monique is a hand-built tube pre amp, and it is a work of art. Many owners have posted sound clips on the threads. The sound clips have been very impressive and in talking with various owners, it sounds like the Monique is a tone monster but very clean and full.

    Good luck with your search.
  3. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
  4. theLibrarian

    theLibrarian Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Portland Oregon
    Thank you for the advice! I really do want to take my time with this final link in the chain. Off to read about the Monique...
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Keep an eye out for the next Talkbass Pacific Northwet (sic) GTG, which will be in the Gorge later this summer, near Hood River. There are always some interesting pieces to try out at these, and tons of very experienced players to talk shop with. When I post the date in the GTG forum (hopefully next week) be sure to check in and tell us what specific pieces you are interested in hearing.

    Oh...and welcome to Talkbass.;)
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    BTW - Understock is Sunday 8/18. Official invites go out this week... May be looking for a sound engineer... Needless to say I have the gear...
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Big plus one on Monique.

    Another option which is seldom mentioned is a Palmer PDI series speaker emulator (unless you're in the Geddy fanboy zone). It is hard to describe what it adds to your sound, so slather might as well be the term for it. You can use the Palmer with line level or speaker level signal. The 03 is mono and includes a load box. The 05 is stereo with no load box.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I'll have my MB-Fusion and fEarful 12.6 rig at the GTG out here. Personally my rack rig days are done. I just find more presence or something in an integrated head. The MBF is the best Gk yet to my ear. The front end seems to lay the hi mids and hi's back enough to tame the Gk aggressiveness to a more manageable level. No question it's a Gk, it is a more polite GK. Sort of like it's TAT's say 'Mom' and apple pie as opposed to 'Don't mess with me' or roses as opposed to cobra snakes... :D
  9. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    I was gonna say the same thing. So close, but something missing... and the rest of the details in your post all scream "Monique" to me.

    My only remaining GAS is for more models of the same type of cab I already have. Though I am still curious about JGR's preamps. And now, the unattainable Insanity Amplification Brownout 1000, lol.

    Bummer I won't be able to make that GTG. Just too far with my schedule. So I won't see the Brownout, if it makes it there. And my Monique won't be there, of course. :crying:
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Where are you at? Didn't realize you have a Monique.

    Besides all the other great suggestions, I've heard really good things about Conrad Sundholm's tube bass preamp. His new guitar amps are absolutely smokin'. I'll see if he has one we could get out here for the GTG.
  11. zorf


    Dec 27, 2007
    fascinating captain.
  12. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    I'm in Salem, commmuting south for work, and north for band stuff. (Three ATM.) Got the Monique a few months ago, late March I think it was.
  13. theLibrarian

    theLibrarian Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Portland Oregon
    Thanks everybody for all the advice. Nice to finally join the discussion!

    Apologies for the slow replies. Fortunately I have a great excuse - gigs every night this weekend!
  14. BDPG pedal, always on, might get you there for relative pocket change.
  15. theLibrarian

    theLibrarian Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2010
    Portland Oregon
    Heh, the BDPG would be a great conversation starter if nothing else!

    The Monique looks and sounds enchanting but I think I'd be afraid to take it out of the house (I really don't do much recording and am looking for something that I can mount above the Crown and not lose sleep over).

    Passinwind, thanks for the welcome and the heads-up on the get-together! The Conrad Sundholm mention is a great idea too, though likely too expensive for me to consider (like the Monique) given my current resources.

    The artist profile and testimonials from Colby Hendricks on the Conrad site blew my mind - I actually know Colby. He's a fantastic player and always sounds great. In retrospect I realize I've actually seen that preamp in action. I've always been a fan of Colby's sound, so I'll be sure to ask him about it.

    Thanks again everyone.
  16. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    FWIW, there is a rackmount version, and that's exactly how I treat mine... like any other piece of rack gear. It's in a 5U rack with either a Peavey IPR 3000 or (usually) a Carvin BX1500. That rack is my practice, rehearsal, and gigging amp. Goes everywhere I play.

    It is on the expensive side, no doubt. But that whole rack actually cost me less than a lot of nice heads go for (new, at least).
  17. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O))))

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I just came here to express my appreciation for the Star Trek reference. That is all. Carry on.
  18. TheRealKong


    Mar 17, 2011
    I love old Ampeg Preamps. For about five years now I use an Ampeg SVP Pro together with a Poweramp, built in China. It's the house brand of Thomann, a big music-retailer here in Germany. The Poweramp is called T-amp, TA 1400 MK-X, a stereo-poweramp with 2 x 550 watt @ 8 Ohm and 2 x 700 Watt @ 4 Ohm.

    The poweramp is top notch, I tried out several Peavey, Crown and other poweramps, no other amp does a better job. So I am really happy with that rack. There is one thing, it is not a lightweight poweramp, so I have an overall weight of about 44 lbs.

    But the sound makes me forget the schlepp. Oh, I am used to heavy weights, using a GenzBenz GBE 1200 in my other band, and an old Peavey TMax in my third one.

    The Ampeg SVP Pro is the real deal for hard rock music. I can get a clear tone or overdrive the sound by hitting the preamp hard, but the sound always says "Ampeg". This is alright for this band, because we do the real hard stuff. Together with two Tecamp L 810''-cabs (in full setting) I get an unreal ammount of power, and a sound that comes near to an Ampeg SVT II Pro. At the end I think that noone could tell if it is a SVT II Pro or my SVP Pro with the poweramp by hearing the two amps.

    So if you like Ampeg sound, you are right by using an Ampeg pre. No matter, what brand of poweramp you use.


  19. Laklandfan

    Laklandfan Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    ST III ftw! 80s Kirstie alley is pon Farr material for sure. 😄
  20. makohund


    Dec 12, 2002
    I was thinkin' more 1960's Uhura, or killing Kirk, but hey... I guess that works too. :D

    Gimme some credit for reccommending a pre with a pretty female name, eh? ;)