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Hartke HA3500 Transient Attack Problem (Urgent, I have gigs and not a lot of money!)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by zanenoise, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. zanenoise


    Apr 25, 2011
    Manchester, NH
    Hi, everybody. I don't post here very often, so I am infinitely appreciative of the tremendously generous and helpful community of fellow bassists, and would love if I could maybe get some help with something.

    I got an old HA3500 (one of the old Transient Attack ones) back in April, running through a homemade (not by me, mind you) cabinet which is essentially a chunk of wood with a 15" 350 watt at 8 ohm Legend Eminence speaker, insulated with some fiberglass. The rig served me very well for about a week and a half (I gig rather frequently, so probably about 20 hours of usage or so) when it began to buzz and sort of clip and rattle at the volume I ordinarily used it at. This made me pretty nervous, so I tried playing with it at almost minimal volume, and it performed fine. Still, every time I play with a band, it'll start off strong for roughly 5 or 10 minutes, then begin to degrade in quality, eventually sounding thin, scratchy, and as if the speaker is somewhat blown, but if you wait sometime and turn the speaker back on, then it would return to its better state.

    The other night, however, mid-gig, my speaker stopped putting out sound entirely and suddenly. This wasn't a blown speaker, though, as I've encountered though, and there's usually at least an audible "disintegration": i.e. it might just be softer for a few minutes, or get really distorted. The head still had power, though. I've since tested the speaker with another rig and it does not work anymore, and a friend of mine said the volume coil is broken, which I don't really understand.

    I bought a new speaker for the cabinet which was rated at 400 watts and 8 ohms, and it immediately put out the lesser, somewhat distorted sound. I brought the HA3500 and the cabinet to my local music store. First, I ran some other lower-powered heads into the cabinet, like a 150w at 8 ohms, which still produced a similar type of distortion. Then, I ran the HA3500 into some other cabs rated at 400 watts or higher (including a GenzBenz with 900w at 8 ohms) and it still produced the distorted sound, even worse than before.

    I would really love any assistance anybody can offer on this. I'm rather poor at the moment, and have gigs as soon as tomorrow and little in the realm of back-up amplification. I've seen similar problems on these forums with the HA3500, but not quite the same. I also would not be surprised if my cabinet were not the most structurally sound, as it was homemade (again, by someone else, I just bought it second hand so I don't know the construction very well, though it appears to just be wired straight from the quarter inch input to the speaker wire connected). Any ideas?

    Again, thank you all very much for your time. I really do appreciate it.
    -Zane McDaniel
  2. Yeah, it sounds like you’re going to need some repair tech help - I’d try and borrow an amp from a bass friend for tomorrows gig, etc and contact Larry Hartke and ask him if he can help you or what he recommends you should do. Good luck, bro.
  3. In all these test, did you use the same bass?
  4. zanenoise


    Apr 25, 2011
    Manchester, NH
    Thanks, Joe!

    And darius8, not quite, but for any time a variable changed I used both my Zon Sonus and a Danelectro Longhorn, both of which have been in impeccable working order.
  5. Zanenoise,
    I had similar experiences with a Hartke 3500 (1993) head. They are extremely strong amps and without engaging the compression feature or buying a compressor you can damage speakers which are rated to handle the amp. When engaging a tech to look at the amp you may want to ask him to solder all joints as the solder seems to decay over time (you'll find that advice all over this and other forums). If moving forward with this amp, start using the compression feature or purchase a compressor. Use this site as a guide - www.ovnilab.com. Your speaker is probably blown. If replacing, make sure your next speaker has good maximum excursion (xmax). US Speaker may be a good shopping ground but do some research for a good ceramic or neodymium speaker with a lot of xmax. If going neo, the Eminence 3015LF or Faital is rated highly in this forum.
    Good luck.
  6. Musician1


    Nov 7, 2015
    My friend bassist. Youre not alone. There are several people with the same experience. Weird cracling and popping sound from the HA3500. Trust me is not the cabinets. We experience the same situation with two different HA3500 heads. Nobody can tell wich is the cause. We keep waiting for help.
  7. OP, as I see it, you are using a speaker cabinet that you basically know nothing about. It was made by somebody using an Eminence driver. The gotcha is that you have no idea what, if any, engineering went into the box's design. The actual enclosure has to be designed to suit the particular parameters of the selected driver. The short life span of the driver indicates that it was not happy in the cabinet it was installed in. You then compounded this state of affairs by buying yet another driver to put into the box. The new driver could well be even more unhappy in your cabinet. Just 'cos a box will accept a 15" driver doesn't mean any 15" driver will work in it. Far from it, all this gives you is a crapshoot.

    i suspect that your amplifier is faulty, possibly due to it's load dying under power. you need to have it looked at and, if needed, repaired. You then need to ascertain what modifications your speaker cabinet need to make it suitable for the new purchase. What is your new driver??

    Edit: One final thought is that perhaps a single 15 is not enough for your needs and you need to add more.
  8. Wonder how the OP made out after 3 1/2 years? :D
  9. Damn!! I didn't read the date of the OP again! :rollno:
    B-string likes this.
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    The HA3500 is a different amp than the original Transient Attack MOSFET 3500.
    figuredbass likes this.

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