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Is it the amp, or the player?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by woody357, Mar 19, 2006.


  1. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I see a lot of company bashing around. People saying that this brand is cheap or it sounds like crap. I can understand if the stuff just fall apart and doesn’t stand the test of time, but come on is it the amps, or is it the player who may not know how to get the best out of that amp? I know I have played some inexpensive amps that sound fine to me; they may not have had the kind of power I wanted, but over all the sound was ok at low volumes. So like said is it the amp ,or the player not knowing :meh:
     
  2. Everyone on here pays stuff out so much. I say they should use the EQ function, and actually play it instead of just looking at the knobs.
     
  3. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    I definately agree. Amps do carry certain tones, but it's all tweakable by EQ. And of course, the speaker has a lot to do with it. Don't bash cheap stuff just because it's cheap. Maybe someone needs an amp to see if they want to continue on for cheap. Behringer to the rescue. Does that mean that he needs to tour professionally with a Behringer BX1200 or something? No. But for the beginner's purpose, it's fine.
     
  4. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    A cheap bass going through a cheap amp will probably not sound the greatest no matter what you do.
     
  5. I think the amp has alot to do with it, i couldnt get gritty overdriven sound i wanted (which i get with my SVT) through say an SWR amp, so, yes, imo amps matter alot in some cases
     
  6. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    It's the player. Some people can pick up any bass and play through any cabinet and read the sound then adjust their playing to it. When they're playing with a band they have a volume situation - but then it's the players - some bands can stay balanced at any volume level - they listen to each other. Still you may want to achieve a certain sound to better fit the music. And today, there's many ways to get the sound.

    Bass gear is a lot of hype, and opinions based on golden ears are a dime a dozen. There's nothing really so say one piece is better than another other than subjective opinion. Even your own opinion is suspect if you only give gear a test in some store. Unless you go pro sound, it'll take some time to learn to read your amp and how all you can play it.
     
  7. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Sooo much of it has to do with the speaker. When you're playing electric bass, the sound is hugely impacted by the loudspeaker, since that's what's generating the actual sound. Crappy speaker = crappy sound. I think that the loudspeaker is just as much an instrument as the bass is, since without either you won't have sound.

    I credit most of this kind of thinking to my acoustics teacher (who designed the BeoLab 5 and 3 speaker systems)
     
  8. 8mmOD

    8mmOD

    Mar 20, 2005
    USA
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    I usually use house gear on the road & can make pretty much make any amp/cab sound passable with a Sansamp BDDI on the front end & my $400 P-bass. Add in a good cab and it sounds even better. Add in a good head and I can dump the BDDI.

    I believe that most of the time players do not take the time to learn how to dial in their gear. Then some of them will write bad reviews about good gear on the web forums, so don't believe everything you read online. :meh: But I also believe that some amp/cab combinations will sound like crap no matter how you turn the knobs or how good of a player you are & thats when I bust out the BDDI.
     
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I go for portability and reliability, banking on the assumption that I can EQ the system to suit my tastes. Understandably, overdrive tones are their own beast, but I don't care for an overdriven sound.
     
  10. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Meh, playing does impact the sound more than the gear. But both really have an impact on the overall sound. If you have a tone you are after, you can achieve it somewhat on any amp with a decent EQ, but often there will be amps (cabs, FX) that will do that sound a lot better than others. Reliability and volume are certianly issues in the inexpensive market.
     
  11. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I think it is a little of both. Player and amp. When buying an amp, one of the first things I consider is how I the amp sounds flat. If the amp sounds good flat, then I check to see the "musiciality" of the EQ. Basically, seeing if the range is exceptable for what I'm looking for. Ideally with my bass of choice. Then getting to really know the amp. Most people never spend time to learn their gear. I have a keyboard player who I teach how to program HIS triton which he has had for 6 years!!

    After playing, you develop your own sound and IMO you take that sound to whatever amp you play and should sound good on anything. At my church, we have an old Peavey TNT130 and it definitely doesn't sound as good as my DB359, but with a little EQ on my bass and working the amp a little, I can get a good sound that I wouldn't be ashamed to take on any gig.

    In other words...It's in the fingers!
     
  12. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Players who know what their doing and are EQ'd right seem to sound good in any Hartke/Peavey/Crate rig I've seen.
    I'm a tube-head guy myself,but I doubt it matters to 90% of those who listen.I have to say I respect that though,because all in all it really is ear to ear.
    For me the nuances of the best solid state rigs are audible only in a solo outing.In a band I think good taste and balanced EQ cover the lions share of what qualities a bass offers.
     
  13. I don't care how good you are, a junky bass through a junky amp is going to sound... gasp... junky! There is an absolute minimum required just to be able to hear the notes of the instrument in a musical context and if you don't meet that, you're wasting your time. It is, after all, called the electric bass for a reason. Yes, technique and playing style are the final authority on tone, but unless you have an amp capable of reproducing that tone, you'll never hear it to know.
     
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    No disagreement. My approach is to know what makes a junky amp junky, and a good amp good, then look for an affordable system that I can work with to get the sound I want.

    There are differences of perspective here, but I personally find that there is nothing magical about running an amp flat.

    I also run my amp through a real-time analyzer so I really know what it is doing.
     
  15. i know it's weak but aesthetics matter the most. Think about this, if you see a band setting up all playing through peavey gear and then see a similar band setting up playing through all mesa gear, you immediately stereotype each band. As a musician, you are selling your product. Having pro equipment will make you appear to be a pro... At least until you start playing. At that point it's all about the sound and stage presence.

    Technique and skill are really important but for me to take a band seriously, I have to see some real gear on stage.
     
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It's weak, because I think that most regular people and even a lot of musicians are clueless about gear. My approach is to make sure my gear does not call too much attention to itself, then I don't worry about it. Also, I try to have a quick setup and teardown, so it doesn't turn into a sideshow.

    Between Peavey and Mesa, which one is the real gear? To me, they are both equally respectable, commercial quality equipment. One thing that turns me off is the notion that expensive gear validates me as a musician. That's called the "pay to play mentality."
     
  17. Theonestarchild

    Theonestarchild Artfully lost

    Aug 23, 2005
    North Carolina
    The genius that is me read that post ahead of time and put it in 3 posts ahead. :) :bag:
     
  18. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I think it's a combination of personal preference and not exploring every possibility of the tone controls. As bass players, we definitly get sucked into thinking more about our equiptment than our actual playing though. There are too many options!

    I have one horn that I play (I'm a brass player), and that's it. It makes it a lot easier to focus on the music when you're not thinking "wow, this piece of equiptment sucks, I should change something"

    If my bass sounds bad on a gig though, I sound bad on the gig. I'm not going to blame it on my gear, and I know noone in the audience is going to blame it on my gear either.
     
  19. pmcd

    pmcd

    Feb 22, 2006
    Denver,CO
    It's the player...

    Oh, wait. I guess I should actually read the question.
    Just seemed like a auto-response answer.

    Seriously, though. I've seen guys with the most tricked-out rigs sound awful,and monsters sound good on Peavey combos. A nice rig definetly dosen't give you taste,technique, and perhaps most importantly the way your fingers actually attack the bass. A good set of hands will make up for a lot.

    I think the place where this was most driven home to me is every time I go to NYC. Real working players there don't usually have the luxury of even playing their own rigs. You might see a player use their head, but usually with whatever cab happens to be there. Ever been to the 55bar?? Definetly have never seen any high end bass cabs in that place,but sure have had my mind blown by some amazing playing...
     
  20. True enough, but a mediocre player with expensive gear won't necessaarily sound any better, either.