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Hartke 5500 noob questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by badbadger, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012

    I've got me a Hartke 5500 head coupled with a Vx810 stack (I think that's what it's called, it's the one in this picture:

    http://www.sound1.no/images/product_images_big/hartke_5500_vx_810_stack.jpg )

    It's basically a 500 watt head at 4 ohms, 330 at 8 ohms, and it is a hybrid tube/solid state amp with one volume knob so you can blend the amount of tube/solid state amplifying.

    Now, the problem is.. basically that we have a hilariously hard-hitting drummer. The other guys complain that they can't quite hear the bass and I think I may have pushed the amp a bit too hard. The sound comes out heavily distorted, and not in a good way, some notes actually sound out of tune because it distorts so bad. There's also a pretty audible hiss when I turn it on.

    What kind of damage can you get to an amp that has been pushed too hard for too long and what can I do about it? I'm talking both about the amp itself and the cabinett/speakers.

    Also, I don't quite get the whole ohms/watt thing. I would sure like to have 500 watts rather than 330, how can this be achieved?

    I'd be really, really thankful for an educated response, or just any reply at all really.

  2. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    You'll need two 8ohm cabs to match the 4ohm minimum for your amp. See the TB sticky on the topic: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/ohms-faq-144244/

    I suggest you try another cab with your amp . If it sounds okay then one or more of your speakers may be fried
    Or another amp with your cab may also shed some light on the problem.
  3. rolleharris


    Nov 10, 2002
    Falun Sweden
    Maybe you have turned both your preamps to much. The HA5500 and 810 cab should be very loud. Are you scooping out your mids? That would make your sound muddy and not cutting
  4. rolleharris


    Nov 10, 2002
    Falun Sweden
    The VX810 is 4 ohm
  5. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I gigged a 5500 for several years using Avatar 2x10 & 1x12 cabs. I could get pretty loud if I needed. I just don't think that Hartke cab, 8 10's or not, is very efficient! A few years ago, I bought on a whim off Craigslist, a Hartke VX410. Got it home, plugged it up and checked it out and promptly unplugged it and put it up for sale. Horrible sounding cab so I don't think that 8x10 version is too far off from what I heard! Find another cab!
  6. harmendebresser


    Mar 11, 2010
    the Netherlands
    Endorsing Artist: Höfner, Pyramid Strings, Dr. No FX & Asterope cables
    One thing you should mind is the total of the pre-amp section should be 10. For a little distortion maybe a wee bit more - but those.2 knobs should never add up to 20! I prefer 7 on the tube & 3 on the solid state, leave the contours pretty much set at noon & my master volume does not exceed the 7 very often (in a 2 stack guitars & double bass drummer band). What's your settings as is? And of course; is your active bass running out of juice ; )
  7. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012
    Does a "fried" cab indicate that I need to buy a new one? I will try it out with a different cab and see what happens.

    If the cab is 4 ohm then I guess I'm getting my 500 watts? Sorry for the noobish questions, I'll only ask once, promise.

    What's scooping?

    I have a fender precision, passive. My setting is both preamps at noon and the EQ at pretty low bass, average mids and high treble. The amp sounded GREAT when I bought it, no complaints about the sound at all. I'm just worried that I've killed the darned thing.
  8. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012
    What's scooping?
  9. That would be turning up the lows and highs and cutting mids.
  10. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012
    Ah k, no actually quite the opposite, I take down the lows, have the mids pretty much at 0 and bring up the highs. Jack Bruce-style.
  11. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012
    The messages I post keep disappearing for some reason. But I'll try again:

    Thanks for the advice, I'll try playing the cab with a different amp and vice versa to see what's wrong.

    I don't really want to get a different cab, I really liked the sound the first times I played it, it's just that I'm concerned I've blown it.
  12. rolleharris


    Nov 10, 2002
    Falun Sweden
    What about your volume controls? How do you adjust them?
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I used to keep the Solid State and Tube Volumes at about 12 o'clock-1 o'clock and the main volume where I needed to be in the mix but never higher than 12 o'clock. I rarely used the graphic eq. Low at 2 o'clock and High at 3 o'clock. I was plenty loud. I'm thinking that VX810 cab just can't hang!
  14. badbadger


    Jan 4, 2012
    The volume.. The main volume is at something like 3 o' clock, a bit loud, I know. Not too sure about the preamp levels, but I'll adjust it. Unfortunately I don't have it here so I can't check it.

    I don't have any problems with the sound though. And I like just a little bit of tube distortion, but not like this. It sounds like plain ****.
  15. krstko


    Aug 29, 2011
    Cerknica, Slovenia
    this post makes me think: I play with really loud drummer, I have HA5500 with 4.5xl (4x10, 8ohms) and I have it on 7-8 o'clock ..and I'm louder than him..

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