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Flat cabs and amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by xb100, Sep 19, 2005.


  1. xb100

    xb100

    Mar 24, 2004
    NH, In
    What are your guys' favorite "flat head and cabs".

    I'm fairly familiar with EA and Acme as being flat and really nothing but true bass.

    I just wanna know the generally consensus of what you guys think of this topic is.

    I also read that EA's heads have digital stuff in them. I assume the digital stuff affects the sound, I just wanna make sure it's a good thing and not a bad thing.

    -Rob
     
  2. I found it to be a cooler idea in theory than in reality. There definitely are benefits to flat cabs, like being able to sculpt your tone more easily, since you're starting from a blank canvas, more or less. If my Acme was any indication, they also sound beautiful when playing alone. Such a detailed, crisp, deep sound - it really is nice. They also have the benefit of giving you a better idea of the signal that you're sending through a DI when playing live, compared to cabinets with more of a built-in tone. On the downside, cabinets like the Acme are really inefficient. I never knew how much this was the case until I got my Schroeder 1210, which is so much louder than the Acme Low B4 it replaced. With the Acme, a lot of people, including the builder of the cabinets, always said that it was better to cut, rather than boost frequencies with these cabinets. I tried that and got buried in a mix. I ended up having to boost certain frequencies, which ate up most of my already limited headroom.
     
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    They sure do. It has the same affect on the sound as the flux capacitor did on Marty's DeLorean in Back To The Future.

    As Bill and Ted would say.......aaawwwweeee-sooommmmee.

    -Mike
     
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    The Schroeder is not neccesarily more efficient than other cabs and having finally played one, I can tell you that the Schroeder is defintely not flat (please, Schroeder users, do not think that I am saying this is a bad thing - it's just a fact). For example The Schroeder Mini 12 is rated at 100dB @1W/1M. The EA Wizzy 112 is rated at 103dB @1W/1M. Considering this, there are only 2 ways the Schroeder could be percieved as louder than the Wizzy. 1) it has a boost in a frequency range where human hearing is more accute and/or 2) it has introduced some distortion to the mix. Both of these, due to psychacoustics will seem louder.


    Mike
     
  5. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I can't imagine playing through either a flat amp or cabinet. The whole purpose of various types of amps, cabinets and BASSES is to have them be NOT FLAT.
    The tones we all search for come from stuff that is not flat on purpose. Otherwise there would be no difference between a Peavey or an SWR or a Trace Elliot. Or a Ken Smith or a MIA P-Bass.
    There are lots of differences BECAUSE they are not flat.

    Flat is for stereo systems where the whole idea is to accurately reproduce the not flat sounds of your bass and the rest of the band.

    Flat for Bass?? Phooey! :spit:
     
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Bass heads which I feel generally fall into the "fairly flat" category include (in alphabetical order):

    EA iAMP 500/800
    Thunderfunk (I've only tried the older, 400w version)
    Walter Woods Hi/Super/Ultra Power

    Bass cab manufacturers which I feel generally fall into the "fairly flat" category include (in alphabetical order):

    ACME
    Accugroove
    Bergantino (some models are not "flat", but many are very close)
    EA
    Hevos
    Low Down Sound (certain models)
     
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    You don't get it. The reason to have a flat cabinet or amp is so that you can build exactly the sound you want using EQ. It is a lot easier to build a sound from a "blank canvas" than to have to remove a predetermined sound that is provided. A flat sounding amp also makes it MUCH easier to EQ a room, a hollow stage, etc.

    Mike
     
  8. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Always groove.... Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I'm using an Acme Low B2-II with a Bass PODxt Pro. But, I cheat and leave the cabinet modelling turned on. So, in effect I have access to numerous head and cab combinations and I utilize the flat characteristics of the Acme as a mini-PA to reproduce the digital models. I'm happy with the results.
     
  9. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Michigan
    I think what he's trying to say, Mike, is that, for some, a "less than flat amp" is part of their tone. For example, you'll never make your EA sound quite like an SVT into a closed 8x10. Not that you'd necessarily want to, but some people really LOVE that sound, and your flat amp will NEVER get you there. The only way to get there is with an SVT and a closed 8x10. You'll also never get your EA to sound quite like an Acoustic Folded Horn 18. All of these are tools to get the sound we want, and if the sound he want's can best be used with a non-flat bass, amp, and cab, then that's what he should buy. And if a flat, easily-adjustable sound is what he desires, then he should purchase something with those traits.
     
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Glockenklang BassArt
     
  11. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I understand that perfectly. The EQ on the iAMPS is extremely flexible and I can get it to sound pretty close to anything out there ... but I would agree that if the sound you dig is that SVT and a closed 8x10, there might be nothing else in the world like it ... and that might be cool if you only play the same thing all the time. But a rig with a "signature" sound is not neccessarily appropriate for all gigs, all stages, all situations. Having the flexibilty that a falt amp/cabinet with a powerful EQ offers is, IMO, by fay a better solution. Furthermore, the original post in this thread is about flat amps and cabs.

    Mike
     
  12. No speaker cabinet is truly flat. They all have their own distortions. Some have less than others, of course, but by far, speakers are still the weakest links in the audio chain.

    As for flat bass rigs? I can see why some people would dig that, and the engineering involved is cool. Personally, I like my amp to be part of my sound, so I'm not particularly interested in flat response. For playback or reinforcement systems, I think it's pretty crucial.
     
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    While I agree with that statement as written (with emphasis added), I personally disagree that one can say across the board that the whole point is for your amp and cab NOT to be flat. I, for one, like the way my individual basses sound, and I like to have the ability to hear the unique tonal characteristics of a given instrument. With "flat" amps/cabs, I believe that I am more able to do just that. If my amp/cab is very colored sounding, then in my experience, individual instruments will tend to sound more like each other than they would through a more "flat" setup. Granted, there are times when I want this to be the case (either I'm going for a specific sound - ala vintage SVT head/cab - or I want a consistent sound when I switch instruments at a live gig), but I also like to have the ability to hear the voice of my instruments come through as accurately as possible. This explains, in part, why I have so much dang gear! :p

    That's my take, at least.

    Tom.
     
  14. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Michigan
    Tom, you don't count. You own three of every cab on the planet. :) :)
     
  15. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I'm with the "not flat camp. I've had EA VLs for some years, and recently switch to some low tech Bag Ends. I get much more satisfaction with the punch and presence of a good single driver cab. The EA wizzy is pretty hip as well.
    It's good that there's quality stuff out there for both camps.
     
  16. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Interesting...I liked the sound of a Bergantino 322? I've heard, but I didn't think of it as fairly flat. Maybe my ears were off, or maybe you're talking about other models. I trust your judgment in either case. I'd add Phil Jones Bass to the fairly flat camp, if the head and cabinets are used together at least. I seem to prefer rigs that are capable of sounding fairly flat, even if I eq it later.

    Marshall
     
  17. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Mike, just a heads up, the couple minutes you spent with Pointbass' Hartke were through a Mini12. It's the 8 ohm tweeterless extension cab. I love it's tone of it myself, but it's the least HiFi / flat of the line. Next time maybe we'll have more time to chat and such... we shoulda hooked your iAMP 500 to the 1210 or 1212 :bassist:

    if something seems louder, it is. Subjectiveness of tone and color aside.
     
  18. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    For a long time, I would lump EA, Accugroove, and ACME in the "flat" category (really, just "fairly flat" they all have their variations), and in the "not flat, but more balanced than most" category I would put Bergantino, followed by Epifani. Once I heard a Hevos Midget, at least for that model, I placed it in the "flat" category. But, after spending more and more time A/B ing Bergantino cabs to cabs in my "flat" grouping, I think that with proper amplification, they are flat enough to be in the "top" category. Along the way, I found that Bergs like certain amps more than others. For some reason, my HT212 just does not sound right with my Stewart World 2.1. With my old AMP BH420, it rawks. The only time I heard an HT322 was with an Eden WT-550, and I think in hindsight that this might not have been a good pairing (though the WT-550 sounded great with the HT112/EX112 stack). The classic Berg stacks, to me, are the HT112/EX112 and the HT115/HT210. And believe it or not, I do think that the NV215 is very flat within its stated frequency range. But yes, it's entirely possible that the HT322 is not as flat as some of the other combinations. At least with the WT-550 it sounded more colored than the two 1x12's.

    Later, Tom.
     
  19. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I can't imagine playing through either a flat amp or cabinet. The whole purpose of various types of amps, cabinets and BASSES is to have them be NOT FLAT. The tones we all search for come from stuff that is not flat on purpose.

    Funkengrooven


    I am starting to agree with this more and more.

    You don't get it. The reason to have a flat cabinet or amp is so that you can build exactly the sound you want using EQ. It is a lot easier to build a sound from a "blank canvas" than to have to remove a predetermined sound that is provided. A flat sounding amp also makes it MUCH easier to EQ a room, a hollow stage, etc.

    Mike


    I understand this point as well. Always easier to start from a blank.


    That said, I think that I like to have the coloration from my Eden head and Bergie cab. That, combined with the Bartolini electronics on my bass gives me "my" sound. When I do DI the cab part of the equation is lost, but I can live with that. I think most of my sound comes from my fingers and bass anyway.
     
  20. Moo

    Moo Banned

    Dec 14, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Every time I hear people saying they want flat/pure/uncolored I hear them saying they don't want an amp to improve their sound in any way. Personally I find that crazy and think it's just the result of marketing words that sound good. Even if there was a perfectly flat amp there are no perfectly flat bars to play in. Perfectly flat can't exist in reality and all the manufacturers who say their stuff is flat and uncolored would have to sound identical which they don't.

    Saying a particular amp is flat is like telling a foreigner you're not the one with an accent.

    Okay, I'm done, who want's to rant next?