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Help me downsize without losing too much tone.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Les Izmor, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Les Izmor

    Les Izmor

    Mar 10, 2008
    Western Mass
    I have a big rig for the louder gigs I do, but I'd like to improve my rig for medium and small gigs. All the new lightweight stuff is quite appealing because I have a bad back. Unfortunately I live 2 hours from nowhere, so I'm relying on my years of previous gear research combined with what I hope will be expert advice from you TBer's.

    Some background:

    I play an early 70's jazz bass with perfectly aged nickel rounds (can't remember when they were new!). I use my fingers. I love Duck Dunn, and George Porter and Family Man Barrett. I play in a Delta Blues/Soul band that can be LOUD.

    I love my DB750 into my Ampeg AV810 (though in a perfect world the fridge would not roll off the lows quite as much). Prior to this huge rig I loved my F2B/CA9 into my Eden 212xlt. I sold the F2B/CA9 and replaced it with an Ashdown ABM500 which I like ok.

    I run the Ashdown into the 212xlt or a single Aguilar gs112 for small and tiny gigs respectively. I use the DB750 into the 212xlt for medium gigs which is 98% of what I do. The DB750 into the 810 is mostly used for rehearsals which, ironically, are louder than most gigs. I like the sound of both combos but with the Ashdown I'm starting to crave a bit more tightness, without losing warmth. And with the DB750-212xlt combo, I'm wondering if there might be a lighter, modular cabinet that would still be warm and fat and capable of standing up to the volume the DB750 puts out. I'm picturing two neo 15's stacked.

    Here is what I'm wondering:

    1. Is there a lighter cabinet than the 212xlt that remains warm and fat? A neo 15 of some kind perhaps, that would sound good with the DB750, while taking its power without getting dirty sounding?

    2. Is there a middle to light weight amp that is louder and tighter than the Ashdown while still being warm and fat?

    3. Is there a totally different middle to light weight amp/speaker rig that would help accomplish the loud, tight, warm and clean sound I'm looking for?

    I realize there are trade offs- some cabs might be light and fat(ish) but not loud, etc. I know there is no single "right" answer to any of my questions. I'm mainly looking for suggestions based on what has worked for you guys.

    P.S. I did a search but that tool is a "blunt instrument" (at least in my hands).
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I think you are good to go with what you have.

    Two high quality 115 neo's would weight about the same or more as your 212XLT, which is a relatively lightweight cab for a non-neo cab (74 pounds... not much more than a neo 410). And, as long as you are hauling a DB750 (which I would guess is close to 60 pounds in a rack) saving 10-20 pounds on the cab seems like a waste of money to me.

    I can hear that 212XLT/DB750 sounding VERY good for that 'dead nickel roundwound' sort of warm, fat tone I assume you go for, given your description.

    The only thing I can think of is that if you don't want to haul that DB750, you might be amazed at how similar an Acoustic Image Focus Series III sounds through a moderate size modern cab like the 212XLT. Very warm, organic and smooth, and loud as heck into 4ohms, with similar 'subtle' EQ controls. They unfortunately dropped the single channel Focus from their line, but if you can find a used single channel Series III Focus, you might dig it a lot.

    A smaller, neo loaded cab or cabs with the DB750... I wouldn't bother myself.

  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Really? Acoustic Image sounds like Aguilar? I would never have guessed. Isn't the AI a SS amp and the DB750 all tube? How can they sound similar? Interesting as I love the Aguilar tone I hear from people and it's my favorite model on the Pod. I almost want a Pod just to have the Aguilar tone available to me.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    First, the DB750 is a hybrid, not all tube. Second, I did not say that 'AI sounds like Aguilar', but rather that the specific AI head through that specific cab, with a Jazz bass with old nickel rounds on it can sound VERY warm, VERY big, very polite in the upper mids and treble, and VERY fat way down low, which is how I hear the DB750 through a relatively small, modern ported cab with a tweeter. And the 800 watts of that head can at least start to mimic the wump of the Aguilar, again through a cab like a 212 that is ported and relatively high SPL. If he was playing out of a Berg NV610, I would not have made that suggestion, for example.

    It's all about the mix and match. The Focus, through some cabs and with some basses, sounds extremely warm, fat, upper mid polite and organic, which is exactly like I hear the hybrid DB750.

    IMO as always (and in this case, IME also).
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I just wouldn't have thought that combination would have that sound. I learn something new every day.
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Yeah, to my ear, the AI stuff is ANYTING but flat... it's fat, dark, warm, and organic sounding to my ear. Again, it SURELY does not sound like the DB750 in an absolute sense or in a solo A/Bing, but it can be in that tone universe to my ear with the right bass and the right cab.

    I dislike both the Aguilar and AI tone myself... too dark, no grind, not enough mid punch, too fat down low relative to the rest of the frequency distribution (pure personal tone goal there). However, if you are more old school (i.e., passive bass with old strings), both these heads can deliver on that tone with the right matching of cabs IMO.
  7. Les Izmor

    Les Izmor

    Mar 10, 2008
    Western Mass
    Kjung, thanks for the tip on the AI, I'll have to check one out next time I'm in NYC.

    You're also right that I don't need to change anything. I just want a slightly tighter and punchier sound than the ashdown gives. I'm also leaning toward using a pair of speaker cabs that individually weigh a bit less than the 70lb 212xlt, and would sound good with a mid weight amp like the AI as well as my DB750.

    The cab change would result in a lighter rig if only one was used, and a similar overall weight (to the 212xlt) if 2 were used, though I'd never have to lift 70lbs at one time. I'm curious about 2 db112's, for example- or better yet 3 :) !

    You're also correct about the DB750 being heavy, but it is just under the limit of what I can deal with on a regular basis, while the 212xlt cabinet is just beyond my limit. What can I say, I'm a skinny dude who is not getting any younger, and I gig almost every weekend.

    Thanks again, I was hoping for experienced responses just like yours.
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I'm pretty blown away by the new Schroeder 115L+ cabs.... 400 watt 30 pound 115 with tweeter that is smaller and lighter than many 112's. However, it's more 'tight and punchy' than fat and full, but I dig it a lot. With the DB750's low end extension, two of those in 8ohm version might really sound great, and they are literally 1 handers. I would think that a single 8ohm with the DB750 would kill for smaller gigs.

    I have a single 4ohm that I use with a Markbass F1 (500 watts... so about the same wattage 4ohm as the mightly DB750 is 8ohm) and it KILLS!

    I also LOVE the DB112's (the best 112 I ever heard), but at 45 pounds each, they were over my weight limit, and that 19 by 19 footprint made them not optimal for my little folding cart. However, KILLER sound (especially with the Thunderfunk head)... warm, but TIGHT and punchy. Nice cabs, although I like the rest of the DB line quite a bit less.
  9. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    I completely agree with your review of those cabs, they are amazing...thanks again.

    To anyone else, IME cabs and heads sound exactly like KJung says they do. I purchased my 2 DB112's and Thunderfunk from him and he nailed it!
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    :D That is such a nice rig. I'm glad you are digging it. That DB112 x 2 / Thunderfunk match is one of the best I've heard for a punchy, warm tone!
  11. babebambi


    Jan 7, 2008
    If you do not despise switching power amp, then you should try some of the GenzBenz head
    And a stack of two BagEnd 15" would be nice combo.
    Or try a stack of two Eden D112xlt.

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