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How to get that Growl sound?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chrispizzy, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. chrispizzy


    Jun 17, 2010

    My band has been rehearsing at a studio with a really great rig, but I want to be able to translate that live which worries me. We have a hartke rig but it doesn't produce that growling-kick-in your heart- feel that the Ampeg does.

    I love DIY type setups, and was wondering if it's possible to DIY an affordable rig to produce that sound? Maybe getting a combo amp and replacing the speakers?

    When we rehearse our studio has a great rig it's an Ampeg SVT 810, and B2r head.

    Any advice would be really appreciated!
  2. I think you already know the answer. That sound you're looking for obviously comes from a big & powerful rig.

    There are no shortcuts, unless you will be playing stages with provided P.A. support. It will sound good in the house but your stage volume will not have that sound.

    In my experience, DIY (as in building speaker cabs) will cost more than finding an already mass produced rig in the used market.
  3. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    More that the sound comes from a distorting, bandwidth limited rig. A Sansamp VT bass into the Hartke set clean will sort you.
  4. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    Get a amp/cab emulating pedal. There are lots to choose from. I have a BDDI but the VT Bass is also good, and I've heard that people like the Hartke Bass Attack pedal too. There are other brands that do similar things.
  5. dincz


    Sep 25, 2010
    Czech Republic
    Or spend a lot less for a Behringer BDI21 which most TB members are unable to distinguish from a BDDI - blind test details here:

    and then dig in hard over the bridge pickup.
  6. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I find that a kind of tight sounding cab that has a reasonable response around the 500Hz range helps. It's all about some type of magic blend of stuff going on in various parts of the midrange and maybe a good dash of tube hairyness.

    A big part of it is playing too. On certain rigs I play pretty aggressively to deliver the mids into my amp. I always use a pretty bold touch for growly sounds though.

    I havent had much luck getting serious growl using my bass (a Cirrus) through a super clean hifi type of setup.

    I think a Sansamp will get you closer to where you'd like to be. With one of the bands I'm in I sometimes run through their "house" Hartke 1x12 combo and can get a big punching sound using my BDDI dialed in just right (basicaly all the controls around noon-1:00pm, a little extra bass) and lots of low mids dialed in on the head (forget how it works... selectable midrange? I use the lowest midrange and boost that).

    I like the Hartke VXL for its reasonable price point (it can add basically the same OD "balls" as a Sansamp) and awesome contruction but even when it is switched off some of it's controls are still live and affecting tone.

    DIY: Costs as much as high end gear used! At least by my calculations.
  7. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    yep.....start with a VT Bass or Sansamp pedal. If you want more, get on Craigs List and get somethig with more power and lots of speakers.
  8. get an pre-production warwick.
  9. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I think you need to look into getting an Ampeg tube head instead of the B2R.

    The B2R is a great amp but doesn't have the same power or sound as many of Ampeg's SVT series tube amps.
  10. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    But the B2R had the sound the OP liked. I think the Sansamp BDI is a good choice. The presence knob can give your tone some nice agressive harmonics.
  11. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    An all tube Ampeg head will also give him a great sound as well as the growl he is looking for me. In my experience, boxes and pedals with tube emulation just can't duplicate this accurately. Its close but not the same.
  12. Hyper-sloth

    Hyper-sloth Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    As stated early, mids! The Ampeg is a sealed cab, I "guess" that accents the mids more than a ported cab. Also as stated, volume makes a big difference.
  13. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    I agree with you but unless I read the first post wrong, the OP is looking for a way to make his hartke sound like the B2R he was using. If an SVT were an option then this thread wouldn't exist.
  14. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    I listed out the 2 brands that immediately came to my mind. As I said, there are plenty more.

    While you can get all of them to give you a pleasant growl, some of them do a better job then others in giving you the sound and set of features that YOU want.

    This overlap of commonalities may explain the "mine is better - no mine is" between owners of the VT Bass vs BDDI vs Para Driver just within the Tech21 family, never mind getting the REDDI folks started. These boxes come in a variety of price points, and if you can get the sound you want out of a less expensive pedal, yay for you, but shop for price and that's the only guaranteed result your get - a lower price.
  15. sokolasty


    Dec 11, 2006
    Well, as previously written, you don't get growl/distortion from Hartke. I got myself a EHX Big Muff Bass Pi. It does the job.
  16. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    First define growl. There is more than one type of "growl". There's no point recommending a box like a sansamp (PS: the paradriver is better than the SABDDI) if what you are wanting is single coil J growl. Similarly, there's no point in recommending a warwick (which has a strong low mid growl) if what you are wanting is a Stingray growl (more upper mid growl).
  17. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    Listen to the bass in this King's X track...

    Is that the type of sound you're talking about? That's what type of sound comes to mind when I think about a "growling" tone. Anyway, if that's what you mean, it's the sound of 10" speakers being pushed hard. Not all 10's do it. Other speaker sizes may do it as well, but I've never come across one that wasn't a 10". It comes from a bass speaker with an asymmetrical cone movement (like the speakers in an Ampeg 810), either because the cone can travel farther in one direction than the other, or because the suspension of the cone is tighter in one direction than the other.

    The other thing that can help give you that sound is lot's of second harmonic content on your low notes, either naturally from the bass, or with help from the amp.
  18. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    In my experience, growl is a function of the following factors:

    - fresh roundwound strings
    - relatively wide-range pickups
    - EQ that favors the midrange frequencies
    - low playing action
    - semi-aggressive playing technique

    Also in my experience, amp and/or cab is NOT a source of growl. At most, a good rig with faithfully reproduce whatever growl is produced at the instrument itself, while a poor-quality rig will not - meaning that if your instrument and playing technique are not producing adequate growl, no rig will be able to add it back in.

  19. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    I guess this goes into instrument growl vs amp growl (or speaker growl), but now that you write this, I'm reminded that m Fender Geddy Lee Jazz with fresh stainless Rotos is a monster in the growl department. Not sure on the pup and EQ specifics you mentioned, but on the stuff I bolded - heck yea!
  20. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX

    If you think that B2R was growly...wait til you get V4B or SVT on top of an Ampeg 810. Might want to pack an extra pair of underwear :smug: