1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Hartke 3500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sundogue, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Any opinions on this amp head?

    I've read alot of reviews and it seems that if you get a good one it's great...but if you get a bad one it's not.

    Hit or miss I guess.

    Also, it appears that it only comes in a rack mount unit. Is there a case for it? I've seen it pictured as if it has a case specifically made for it.

    I'm not interested in another rack setup...just an amp head.
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I own the Hartke 3000 head. The rack handles on the 3500 can be removed. It's not 'just' a rack mount style head. I believe the 3500 has both a tube and solid state pre-amp in addition to the graphic eq section. I've heard nothing but good things about the amp. I would have bought that head if it were not for that eq section. I'm a basic 3 knob kinda guy. My amp is solid for my needs.

  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I like to have an EQ...preferably a graphic EQ, but at least a parametric EQ. Not for tone shaping, but rather to fit the room's acoustics.

    So it does come with the "handles" on the side and they are removed if you put it in a rack?

    I've never played through a Hartke though I've heard bass players that use them and they sound great.

    I've heard more positives than negatives on this amp and it is probably first on my list. It's the power (250 to 500 watts...I'm going into a 4 ohm 410 cab) and price (around $500) that I'm looking for.
  4. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    They're very loud and cheap sounding. And you can't overdrive the preamp tube.
  5. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Could you please clarify? What exactly does cheap sounding mean?

    I have yet to find an amp/cab that my Cirrus sounds bad through. As long as I have volume and the sound is not distorted, I can get a good sound out of everything I've tried.

    I like the graphic EQ, as stated before, because I like to adjust for the room.
  6. I used one for four years. For the first two years, it was fine then all hell broke loose. I had the capacitors replaced, put in a new 12AX-7 and it continued to act up. The last straw was when the tube preamp died in the middle of a gig (a 12AX-7 preamp tube should last a long, long time). I've been using Ampegs ever since and I've never looked back. When it was in it's "care free" period, it sounded good and it was plenty loud. It has plenty of tone shaping capabilities but I know I'm not the only user who got tired of having reliability issues.
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yes, I've heard about the reliability of the 3500's...however I'm now interested in the 4000.

    I have yet to come across a review of the 4000 that has questioned it's reliability.

    It does seem that the 3000 and 4000 are more solidly built than the 3500, 5000. Perhaps the ones with the graphic EQ's and tubes are of a different quality (or lack thereof) than the solid state ones.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    There are reliability horror stories floating for just about every amp out there. Especially those in the sub - $1000 range. Ampeg, Gallien, SWR, Hartke ... you name it, you'll find someone who has one that died. These really aren't 'life-time' amps...

    ... not many amps around where when the tube pre dies you can just turn it down and turn up the SS side and move on. As a tube guy (I double and all my guitar amps are fully tube based) you learn to carry spares and to trust that you actually have a good tube after a good long burn in ...

    I know nothing about the Hartke 4000. I liked the sound of my 3500 and reliability was not a problem. For around $500, you can purchase a pair of used 3500's in pretty close to mint condition and if one dies ... you have a spare.

    I moved to the Hartke because I thought I wanted to get away from my rack rig. I liked the tone, the EQ and the quiet DI. I moved back to a rack rig (ART Tube Channel & Crown CE-1000) because a new cab (MM 2x12) needs the power.

    Me - I'm sticking with the rack thing. Yep - it takes up space, doesn't look as tidy, weighs more - but it sounds great, at 900 watts into 8 ohm - it's plenty loud and I'm really comfortable with the reliability.

  9. Nothing is forever but 2 good years and 2 years of frequent annoyances is unacceptable to me. I know guys who have used 3500's for many years with no problem. It's the luck of the draw, you know?
  10. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    In know that (working with computers and networks all day) everything will get toasted at some point, no matter how expensive the equipment is.

    Having said that, some brands or models seem to develop a reputation because overall some fail more often than not.

    From what I have gathered from reviews, the 3500 has probably more positives than negatives, yet there are more negatives associated with the 3500 (percentage-wise) than any other Hartke amp.

    My main reason for going with the 4000 is that it has alot of tonal control without a graphic EQ. It has no tubes...which I can live with, or without.

    I have yet to find an amp that sounds bad with my 410 and my Cirrus bass...and given that, to me anyway, it's more about my bass than my amp...reliability is important. I've been able to get a good sound out of some pretty lousy amps/cabs...so the amp is not quite as important to me.

    But still I want a reliable amp that delivers good low tones that still stays clean.

    I haven't realy come across many reviews that said the 3500 sounds bad...just some reliability issues. Which, of course can happen with any amp.
  11. I have a 3500 head as well, I ve had it since 1992 and its only needed one trip to the repair shop for a resoldier and new tubes (around yr 8). I suspect if you had to get a fix w/in 2 yrs you were unlucky.
    I would recommend you do a search as well, this is a fairly common head and your question has been asked before. Guess its a popular head.
    Its inexpensive and IMO a decent tone shaping workhorse. I've gigged it forever and it does everything i need, its got good volume, good post tone shaping, the Eq is useful, and the pre sounds good. I'm not sold on the tube vs solid state sound (as they sound to me identical) but it works well. My only niggle w/ the head is the compressor-IMO- leave it off.
    2 thumbs up for the money
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    As I said, I own the 3000. I'm eyeballing the 4000 because I'm not big on expanded eq sections. I want just a little more power for my cabs. I also have no need for a tube pre. So far, I've not had any problems with mine. :bassist:
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I've had tube amps, I've had solid state and I've had the solid state power amps with tube pre-amps, as well as the blended models.

    It really doesn't matter much to me whether an amp is tube or solid state...as long as it faithfully reproduces the natural tone of my bass.

    I might be unusual in that I like the tone of my bass unplugged. I bought my Cirrus never having plugged it into an amp. I rested my chin or my ear right on the horn and tested the tonal properties of the wood itself.

    I've been looking for "that" sound, playing live, ever since. I've come very close with various amps...and I know it when I hear it. It's the reason I use LaBella black nylon tapewound strings...the only strings that do not "color" the acoustic tone of my bass.

    Having said that...I like the possible tonal capabilities of the Hartke 4000. Enough for me to tweak it until I get the "natural" sound of my Cirrus dialed in. I'm more like a double bass player trapped in an electric world. :)

    The only reason I use an amp is to amplify the sound of my bass...not to alter the sound of it. So I like the simplicity of the 4000. I still may yet go with the 3500. I won't be purchasing the amp until after Feb. 10th so I have time to decide yet...which is why i am still soliciting opinions.

    I have done a search here and have read every review that exists on the net. But the more opinions the merrier. :)
  14. brake


    Jun 23, 2003
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I'm checking out the 3500 right now. It's got the features I want and the specs I want, my only concern is reliability. I've heard that they're pretty delicate and the EQ sliders can break off fairly easily, and so can the jack rings. I'm pretty gentle with my amps so I probably wont have that problem.
  15. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    That's part of the reason I went with the Hartke 4000.

    The 4000 is one ballsy amp. It sounds more like a tube amp. I've played through a Hartke 3500 a while back. I loved the sound of it...but the 4000 has way more tone control.

    The 4000 is a very simple amp, yet it offers a lot. It's got a great "special" tone section...but the parametric EQ really is outstanding for dialing in whatever tone you like. It has a "DBASS" (Deep bass) tone control for true EQing of low E and B string notes. It also has great low-mid and hi-mid tone controls that allow very detailed control over difficult mids. This amp really delivers very deep clean low end and yet is very clean.

    Bass Player gave it their Editor's Choice award and I've got the review of it if you are interested. Built like a tank and the sound is awesome.

    Their is more tone control, and more patching ability than one really even needs (pre and post EQ send and returns...a variety of balanced outs, tuner out...and a special "sub" out where one could run a line out to an amped subwoofer (A true subwoofer, seperate from the rest of the frequencies).

    All of this and 400 watts into 4 ohms...for less than $500 new. Great amp!
  16. I too own a 3500. Make sure you get a newer one, the older ones (late 1980s-early 1990s made models) had a solder problem in the circuit board. I had to send mine into the shop to get it resoldered. Otherwise it's fine, I've had mine for over 8 years now.

    Plus, I don't see what so bad about the compressor, at least for live use. I use it all the time. I would understand not wanting to record with it, though.

    Whoever made the comment about not telling the difference between tube and solid state on the 3500 - the tube has more low end, the solid state has more midrange.

    How do you folks like to set your 3500's graphic EQ? I have a "flattened 'V'" shape.
  17. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I would rack the 3500 in one of the SKB roto-racks or another cheap rack and try not to throw it into the van. It ought to do fine!

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.