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Getting great tone while practicing casually at home

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J0hn, Jul 11, 2019.


  1. J0hn

    J0hn

    Nov 12, 2016
    Maryland
    So when I'm practicing at home, through one of the 2 practice amps I have in my bedroom, my tone sounds a bit muddy and more importantly my ghost notes and tapping (or anything percussive for that matter ) is not coming through well. I have been more and more satisfied with my playing when it's through decent rigs, and although I have been playing bass for about 15 years now, I have never owned one myself. I have one of those Apoggee deals that plugs into my iPad so I can play through Garageband and I can get great tone from that but it's limited to the tiny ipad speaker.

    That said, I think it's time to invest in something decent. A combo would be fine. Or would I be better off going digital? I have the iPad pro and a decent windows laptop. Again this is just for home practice. I crank it from time to time but this doesn't need to be loud enough to gig or even jam with. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Headphones might do it for you.
     
    dralionux, getbent, Ampslut and 11 others like this.
  3. J0hn

    J0hn

    Nov 12, 2016
    Maryland
    Looking for something to plug the headphones into. Definitely enjoy playing through them but don't want to do that all the time.
     
  4. lug

    lug

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Phil Jones Double 4
     
    porterbass and AstroSonic like this.
  5. Drop1

    Drop1

    Mar 28, 2019
    Small practice amps can sound amazing if EQ'd properly.

    That being said for a long time I played through an audio interface into my computer with a pair of powered studio monitors. That was by far the most detailed. If there is any flaw in your playing it becomes glaringly obvious. It also allows for use of all kinds of virtual effects to be applied. It just doesn't produce much bass.

    Sometimes I'll plug the bass into the audio card and run the output of the card into my bass amps. This allows the deep range of the bass cab but still being able to use software to adjust the sound .
    This is the most tonally powerful option available.
    If you can dream up a way to alter your sound you can do it in seconds.
     
  6. mbell75

    mbell75

    May 23, 2016
    I play both guitar and bass and none of my amps sound great at bedroom levels, especially tube amps, which goes without saying. Amps need volume to sound their best IMO. My Rumble 500c sounds completely different at home with the volume and gain barely inched up to 9 o'clock than it does at GC with them at 11 o'clock, huge difference. Home practice on a bass is just odd altogether because you have to EQ completely different than how you would in a band setting. What sounds great alone in your room usually sounds awful at louder volume in a mix with a band and vice versa. With guitar, all my settings basically stay the same for home or live usage, its just the volume that changes.
     
  7. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    Using decent headphones and amp, like the Phil Jones Bighead or a small Mackie mixer, really puts your playing under the microscope.
     
    Grapevine921 and J0hn like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    IME: getting out and about to test/hear some of these rigs/combos will be the biggest help to you. i'm afraid there's nothing like hearing the thing with your own ears. if you're in maryland: you can't be too far away from a music store..right?
     
  9. msb

    msb

    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    I have two practice rigs , a GK MB 150 at home , and just put together a little rig at the in-laws as we spend a lot of time there with my elderly mother-in-law . An Ampeg 2x10 mini stack and a GK MB200 . I have a NE-1 preamp with each rig . Great tone from quiet to enough volume to do a small bar .
     

    Attached Files:

  10. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I use these. I am extremely pleased. They stay clean through almost their entire volume range. Loud enough that I never feel it necessary to crank them.

    66D26F80-FB1F-42C1-9F75-F3BED572C8C2.
     
  11. Most small practice amps have a decent amplifier, but come with a driver that is either too large for the cab volume or has a driver that is poorly damped. Either condition leads to a bass tone with prominent upper bass, weak deep bass and poor articulation. That tone is impressive in the showroom, but thumpy and muddy at home. EQ can help to a greater or lesser degree, but ultimately cannot change the poor damping of the driver/cab combination. The solution is to either buy a practice amp with a well damped driver/cab (like the smaller Phil Jones amps), or buy a standard practice combo that is poorly damped and replace the stock driver with one that is well damped and retune the cab for optimum performance. I took the latter approach: purchased a Fender Rumble 40, replaced the stock driver with a Eminence S2010 and retuned the cab. It now has deeper bass that is much more articulate, smoother mids and nice upper mid/lower treble presence. The maximum clean volume is distinctly louder, making it usable for smaller acoustic gigs. Total cost ~ $300. Total weight: 17 lbs.
     
    Ronzo, MarkA, Rilence and 3 others like this.
  12. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    Big Jam Box by Jawbone.
    Bluetooth or via patch cord (included), rechargeable, "Live Music" function (On/Off) which expands/opens up sound.
    About as big as a standard red brick, and smaller version made as big as a 1/3 of a brick.
    VERY big sound AND volume when needed/desired.
    Good luck.
     
    rockinb likes this.
  13. gsgbass

    gsgbass "ROAD REX" Supporting Member

    The Hartke HD150 Combo.

    [​IMG]
     
    Rilence likes this.
  14. StatesideRambler

    StatesideRambler

    Jul 1, 2015
    I have an iPad, an iRig Pro interface and a JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker. I’m no tone freak but for practice this is a pretty effective combination.
     
    J0hn likes this.
  15. J0hn

    J0hn

    Nov 12, 2016
    Maryland
    Thanks I really like the sound from just the iPad apogee jam combo. Might look into some decent speakers for that like someone suggested.
     
    FDR Jones likes this.
  16. I'm using Koss Porta Pro headphones as they are extremely light so I am able to forget that I'm emcumbered with this kind of head block. I play through USB audio interface (PC turned off), using Sansamp Paradriver. Paradriver helps to 'emulate' amp sound - the lows can be made not so overwhelming, the mids can be made full and distinctive. The bigest setback of headphone listening IMO is the unnaturally strong lows, which are not corresponding with the room. Also, in comparison with amp, the mids are usually drowned - this might be the reason for not hearing ghost tones right.

    This setup works alright with (my) active bass, not so good with (my) passive bass, probably for impedance clashing reasons.

    I believe that only a real amp/combo is a good source of information about your sound. Headphones are either too kind to you, or too 'unreal'. It's hard to describe. I use headphones only so I wouldn't wake my kids when I play in the night. If you can, go for a good small combo or amp/box. My opinion only: Trace ELF, TC BH250 as cheap amps, or if your budget is free enough, anything more expensive. The box is more important, so it should not be too cheap. Box doesn't need to be too big, small box (6", 8" speaker) is worth considering. Aim for clarity.
     
    J0hn likes this.
  17. Amplug 2 bass. Seriously, that thing sounds surprisingly good.
     
    Winslow and J0hn like this.
  18. This is what I mostly do, these days, more or less.
    Bass -> DI -> mixer -> near-field monitors. They have 6' drivers, so the bass is present; I live in a thin-walled apartment, so "moving air" volume levels aren't an option either way. The clarity is hard to beat, so a)you hear every last bit of your playing, for better or worse, and b)you get a very good idea of what your instrument sounds like before an amp and/or effects.

    For more interesting stuff, I run it through a modelling amp, which also supplies all the effects I'm interested in. With that, I get the sound and feel of a cranked amp without upsetting the neighbours or losing (even more of) my hearing.
     
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Where in Maryland are you? There is Chuck Levins in Wheaton, Bills Music in Catonsville, Atomic Music in Beltsville, Guitar Center in Rockville. Go to one or more of those stores with your bass and try out a bunch of practice amps.
     
    SactoBass, J0hn and LowEndBuzz like this.
  20. SteveIII

    SteveIII

    Jul 11, 2019
    Ontario
    I don't want to open up too much of a can of worms, but the room you are practicing in can have far more effect on your bass sounds than any amp or eqing. Your sound can be really messed up by resonance. My practice room has acoustic ceiling tiles and carpet. It sounds much better with the same equipment than my old bedroom at my parents house or my grandparents basement.
     
    J0hn and equill like this.

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