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Getting "Bedroom" tone from a big rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ZuluFunk, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I have to admit, when I'm practicing at home, I love the tone I get from my HA3500 head. The tone I get is perfectly suited to the style I play and the overall group sound. I also love the tone I get from the Kickback 12.

    I just wish I could get the same tone on stage. The signal is nice an clean at low volumes, but it breaks up when I have to crank. I have the limiter open to keep it from cutting. It still breaks up on me in the 3rd set when the drummer really gets banging and everyone has slowly pushed the individual volumes up.

    I may get a power amp and use the HA3500 as my pre.
    Is this a viable solution?
    Does the power amp have a big impact on tone?
    Will it be OK until I can get a good preamp?
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    When you're at home you have plenty of headroom and you may also be using some EQ boosts (esp. bass) to get a good, round tone. At stage levels you just need way more power to get that same sound plus you may be pushing your cab harder than it wants to go. Limiters are a lousy band aid, yeah they prevent distortion but they rob you of dynamics.

    There's no free lunch, you need gobs of power and good speakers, which of course is what you see the "big boys" all using!

    You know the real problem: your band is too loud on stage. The bass player always gets screwed that way...you need to have two kilowatts of power and about eight speaker cabinets to keep up because no one else has any restraint. :rolleyes:

    My rule of thumb: when the drummer says he needs drums in his monitor I know it's time to look for a new band :p

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    That's absolutely right! You need a ton of power in order to give you that "bedroom" sound on stage, especially if you are boosting bass. Bassist's usually require about 3 times as much power as a guitar player to cut through, and sometimes more. However, if you have a really good sound guy, you can get the tone you want to the audience, and here yourself through the monitors. Most of the big players, when playing large venues sometimes don't even use all of the equipment on stage. It is all for show! And all of them have there rigs miked.

    Keep in mind that while you can't allways here the bass really well on stage, you could be killing the audience! :)
  4. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I am leaning toward a power amp set up to get the guts. I intend to go with the BagEnd 115 and add a 410 or a 210 with a 115 cube.

    The 115s are both 8ohms so I guess I can run them both through the same channel daisy-chained or get a split and run through a 4ohm out. A 4ohm 410 or 210 on the other channel.

    You are right though. We really sound good when we play quietly.

    The issue is headroom. I want clean power. The Hartke tone is great a the lowest volumes. It sinks when it's pushed though.

    Do power amps have much impact on the tone?

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Bag End speakers are excellent choices. Very hi-fi sounding and crystal clear. You are better off running 4 ohms out of the amp split rather than daisy-chain. The second cab in the daisy chain will tend to have a noticable amount of power loss. There is considerably more Resistance(ohms).

    I don't think a Power amp can really affect your tone. Unless on course we are talking about Tubes vs. Solid State. There are advantages to each, and neither is "better" than the other. Tubes are a little warmer and fuller sounding, and can be pushed harder giving you more volume, however they are very heavy do to the power transformers required. Solid state is more reliable, and will give you a more hi-fi clean sound. If you are running a good amp into either, you shouldn't notice much difference.
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Not all power amps sound the same, but the variations are more subtle than you might be used to when checking out bass amps from two different makers.

    Mostly it's a question of how "open" the amp sounds, how smooth the high end is and how detailed the lows are.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    What I said about power amps and the impact they have on your tone, is in effect what you are saying.
    They have subtle differences. Of course two brands won't sound the same, I just wanted to note that it does not make as big a difference in tone as a pre-amp or head makes.
  8. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
  9. Check out bassplayer magazine online. They did a power amp comparison several years ago and they rated both amps, along with many others. As I recall they rated Crest, Mackie and SWR the highest.
  10. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    There are a lot more choices than that... I assume you're just setting up an example here?

    Is a Mercedes worth more than a Toyota? Definitely. But will they both get you to the grocery store? Definitely.

    What separates the high end power amps from the lower priced spread are things like size, weight, sonic clarity, reliability, ruggedness, support in the field, and reputation.

    The reason the pro sound guys will go with a Crest, Crown, or QSC over a Peavey or Carvin is that these brands have proven themselves in demanding environments. And in the sense that client dissatisfaction, downtime, and extra spares inventory will cost a sound company money in the long run, these expensive amps are the most economical way to do the job!

    Do you need a Crest for your first power amp? Well, do you need a Mercedes as your first car? Probably not.

    Power amps are like anything else. You start with what you can afford, learn what you need by noting where your first one falls short, and step into something better the next time.

    BTW, I would take published product comparisons with a grain of salt. Remember who's paying the bills for the magazine... it's not the subscribers! I have no reason to doubt that Crest, SWR, and Mackie make fine amps. But they might not be the right products for your needs. Only you can figure that out.
  11. Hey......I have to have drums in my monitors.....but I am playing through closed ear headphones too. I usually ,mix my setting to sound like a cd...I love it!
    So would you still play in a band with me??
  12. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    In my experience bedroom tone is "smiley face" EQ. While that sounds good in the bedroom it does not cut through the band mix (ie guitars and drums).
    Therefore, for me, a BIG boost at 600hz is needed. Of course, a 600 hz boost in the bedroom sounds terrible.

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