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Life Post Acme

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by PhilaCPJ, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Although it's been a long, torrid, and memorable relationship, I'm ready to jettison my Acme Low B-4 II for a cab (or two) that are a bit more accomodating. Last night I played through an SVT-350 coupled to a Hartke Transporter 4x10 and a Hartke Transporter 1x15. The tone was sterile (esp. with EMG's and steels), but punched through amazingly well. I could hear myself and my fills all over the neck. A truly enlightening experience.

    My Acme has always been killer for practicing alone, but in rock settings, I'd always struggled to hear myself. I could feel the bass and pants flapping in the breeze, but the mid-range punch was a lacking. Maybe I'm EQ-clueless and missing something. It's got a Mackie 1400i bridged and an Ampeg SVP-Pro pre feeding it.

    I'm looking at an Aguilar 4x10 or 4x12 or maybe a Bag End 4x10. I dig Eden's gear, but the agressive mid-scoop in the cabs I'm not impressed with. Any other cabs I should be looking at? I'm in the Philadelphia area and if anyone's got an Aggie, I'd love to try it out.
  2. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    If you get a chance, I recommend you check out a Schroeder cab of some type.
  3. I sold my Acme 4x10 last month for a Schroeder 1210 and haven't looked back. I had the same problem as you: I could feel the Acme, but I couldn't hear it. It shook the foundation of the house we practiced in, but the sound never made it to my ears. The throw is too long and the sound goes right by you. I tried to make it work with the Acme. I got an 1800 watt power amp to drive it, but ended up riding the clip limiter constantly. Then there was the fact that slap simply doesn't work with the Acme, at least in my experience. I always felt like I was gonna send the speakers through the grille.

    The Schroeder literally KILLS the Acme in every way, as far as I am concerned. Much louder, more focused tone, all the way down to low B, which sounds impossibly huge for a cab that looks like a toy. It's just a more practical and usable cabinet than the Acme, one that lets you spend more time on music, rather than turning knobs.
  4. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I retired my Acmes years ago for the same reasons.....looking for cabs these days is a joy.....you have Schroeder, Bergies, Epifanis, Aggies, EA,Low Down Sound, DR Bass etc.....have fun :cool: :)
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1... Given that you like the general sound of the Acme's.... IMO the Accugroove cabs are in that same general 'flat-type' tone family and are much more efficient. TBer's who like that sound highly recommend the Whappo Jr. Check it out.... those cabs use similar 'soft dome' tweeters, etc. as the Acme's.

    The Schroeder's, while not flat by any means, sound amazing for their size. The 1210 is truly a remarkable cab, and 500 watts just makes it scream!

    Have fun with your search.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL


    that's a real shame. how much wattage were you pushing thru the Acme's? and how loud was your guitar competition.
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Acme's do seem to be a 'love it or hate it' sort of thing. I bought a number of Andy's cabs a while ago in my never ending search for small, loud cabs. I found them to sound great in the house and to be just buried in a live mix using electric bass (DB is another thing... they are fabulous). I used a variety of high powered heads (WW Ultra, iAmp800). When I A/B'd them with more standard cabs (Epi310 and even the 210, Eden, etc,), the extended low end response of the Acme's didn't begin to make up for the massive inefficiency, which to my ears translated as no punch in a loud, live mix.

    It seems there are enough of us commenting on this issue as to raise some questions about how these cabs actually sound out in the audience. You don't see these types of issues raised with other cabs.

    That being said... if you like them and they are working for you.... cool and rock on :bassist:

  8. My rig's an Ampeg SVP-Pro driving a 1400 watt Mackie power amp (I think my rack weighs more than the cab) into a 4 ohm B-4. I'd hope that's enough power, but the louder I crank it, the more I'm worried that things like slapping will send the drivers sailing through the grill toward oblivion (or the front row audience). I'm sticking a compressor in my effects loop to tame the transients.

    The Acme's done well in singer/songwriter settings and even lower-volume rock settings where I'm competing with two singler 12" cabs. Even then, it's all rumble and no punch. The first week in November I'm playing bass for a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and it'll probably be fine there, but I'd really like to get more mids in there. Think a parametric EQ could help? Presonus makes a nice looking 3-band that doesn't cost a mint.

    As an aside, has anyone else noticed just how sensitive Acmes are to even the most minute amount of distortion in your signal? My main axe is a Spector Euro 5 with a TonePump (which has the be the absolute HOTTEST preamp ever conceived -- almost to the point where it's unusable) and my B and E strings cause a little farting at higher volumes. The higher strings ring clear as bells, which I dig. Maybe it's a bum battery. There's no cone creasing.

    Any Acme users have EQ and/or attenuator settings for giving my cabs a little mid-range bump?

    And thanks everyone for your replies! Greatly appreciate! :)
  9. I suspect the Acme is probably suited more for a jazz player, or other music played at reasonable volume where "cut through" is not required and articulate, full bass is desired.

    I do PA support for a lot of the young bands, all of which play on Ampeg 6x10 or 8x10. "Cut through" is mandatory for the type of music played... screaming, strummed P bass thrash, in most cases.

    I've not measured the Ampeg cabs, but they have a gutless bottom and pronounced mid-bass (as does Eden XLT) and are excellent at cut-through. Neither of these gets lost in a mix. My daughter's bassist (www.aroarah.com) plays a 4x10 XLT and holds her own against the band's Mesa and Marshall stacks.

    It all depends on the style you play.
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1 Good points and excellently stated! I would also add that 'cut through' is key to many other styles of music... pop, funk, etc. However, to your point, there are probably situations where that low efficiency, full range, relatively flat Acme sound would just kill.
  11. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL


    well, EQ'ing the midrange is key here. midrange is how you get heard and how you cut/punch thru any mix. and while a parametric could help, the ampeg preamp looks like it has its own semi para setup, which should help.

    i'm not too familiar w/ your preamp, but any bump in the 100-180Hz should give a nice hefty weighty presence to your sound, while a bump in the 200-300Hz range should give you a more fatter, punchier, inyourface kinda sound. you might however have to cut a little in the 400Hz to alleviate the boom in certain rooms. then, adding a nice dash of upper end midrange in the 1k range will give you that cut to be heard over certain screechy guitars.

    also, dont be afraid to crank certain EQ ranges. the acmes arent voiced in any particular midrange or upper end region, so the more the better will help you stand out more. BUT, the only frequency range you should be wary is the addition of more bass or lower lows, since the acme already has plenty of, and will invariably cause that extra bit of distortion w/ your Low E and B.

    as for your distortion w/ the low B, you might be pushing TOOO much wattage and volume for the poor acmes to handle the extra output of the heavier low B string. again, adding the proper section of midrange will help you cut and punch thru, without having to use too much volume or wattage. thus, w/ my iAMP-800, i can fill a room easily w/ plenty of mind shaking bass tone by messin' with just the proper midrange.

    this is what i found with my Demeter HBP-1 (fully parametric EQ section) & Peavey DPC-1400x. i'm pushin' PLENTY of power and punch against most bands i've played. i.e. worked fine in a funk rock trio w/ a 50 watt plexi half stack & accompanying 100 watt Fender Twin Reverb.

    course, in the end, something as simple as getting an Eden 410XLT will fix all your problems w/ no EQ'ing whatsoever. course, for moi, there's never enough proper low end to make me happy. after going from my Acmes to any other mid priced cab, its like going from a proper bass sound to something that sounds like thick guitar string. sure it cuts, but is it satisfying? up to your ears.

    i'm a little sick right now, but hopefully, i made some sort of sense. but you can do a search on the forums, and find LOTS of other suggestions from myself, and guys like Oddio, Alex Caber, etc. good luck!
  12. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    +1 to what Joker said. Don't be afraid to get kind of drastic with your EQ - a nontraditional mentality is going to take you much farther.

  13. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    +1 to what LB said. :cool:

    and yea, you can add him to my search list. ;)
  14. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA

    On an SVP-pro that would equate to boosting the mids on position 2 and engaging the ultra-bright (not ultra-hi) button.

    I'd also reccomend trying turning off the ultra-lo button and turning up the "drive" control almost halfway (but don't allow the preamp to clip).

    You can get any tone in the world out of an SVP-Pro if you spend some time tweaking it. Before you sell your cab, try spending some quality time with the EQ and your band.

    One last note, I'd say your "too boomy" and "distorting B string" are the same problem, you are running too much energy in the LOW lows. You need to get your sound focussed up between 100 and 200 hz, cut out som of the 30-100hz, and both problems will resolve themselves.

    Or just get an Eden 410XLT.
  15. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    That is the issue.... those 30-60 hz freq's eat up massive power and usually turn to mush in most live situations. If you are going to cut those frequencies anyway to get a good, punchy bass tone.... what's the point of having a cab that rolls off so low. It's again the 'myth' that to have a good low B sound you want a ton of low B fundamental at 31 hz. Many times, that equates to a sloppy, boomy B string in the context of a band.

    IMO... it's always better to find a cab that has your preference for tone 'built in' than to try to work around a cab that doesn't have 'your tone' with EQ. Of course, for many people... the Acme's are 'their tone', and that's cool.

    Again.... the only reason I'm posting here is that the originator of the thread is not happy with his Low B cab and asking for advice. Since I ended up having the same feelings and issues, I'm jumping in. For all of you that don't have issues with the Acme's... continue to enjoy them and rock on :) :bassist: :)
  16. Pretty much agree with all the other posts.

    I had a Acme Low B with an SWR 350, it sounded great at home. In a band setting playing rock it didn't sound right.
    I now have an Aggie 4x12 and Yorkville xs800h and have more cut through now. The Aggie doesn't sound as good alone as the Acme, BUT the Aggie works better in a band setting.
    I'd like to get a Classie, 400t or Fender 300t when I have $$.

  17. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I think a lot of it has to do with the musical setting/application you are in, and what one can realistically expect out of these things.

    Jamesblue mentioned his Low B lacked some punch in a band setting with an SWR 350 - without knowing the exact setup it's impossible to say, but it looks to me like a case of being severely underpowered (and that's assuming you had a B2).To compare one with an adequately powered 4x12 in a band setting seems a bit "little apples and oranges," but nevertheless...

    In my own band, I use a pair of B2s, and most commonly stack them vertically. We also have a pair of Marshall guitars amps onstage, along with a relatively light-hitting rock drummer. Venues are generally the larger rock clubs here in Chicago (Joe's, Cubby Bear, etc) up to the festivals and venues like last week's in Festival Hall at Navy Pier. In other words, big PAs, somg big stages, monitor support, decent onstage blend, though it can get pretty loud sometimes. But in all the hundreds of gigs these last few years, I've never once had trouble hearing myself.

    Part of the recipe for success in doing so is in my main bass with the band - a Pedulla Thunderbass with the Thunderguts circuit. As you may know, this enhances the midrange sound of the instrument with a lot of authority - authority that comes through clear as a bell with the B2s and helps me cut through a Strat and a Les Paul.

    And stacked vertically, the B2s project much more than a more traditional setup, with better dispersion (think of a line array system at a shed show).

    I think part of the problem some people face with Acme's is that they are so used to "boosting" bass, they sometimes overlook the fine tuning tweaks necessary in the mids to really cut the way you want. It definitely took me a while to get the hang of it.

    For people looking to cover a big room with no PA support, yeah, you'll probably be better off with a 4x10/1x18 megastack. But to me, the combination of portability, projection and booty can't be beat (for now!).

    One last thing - cause I know how loud Acme's can go if given the right amount of juice - there is precious little discussion having the entire band turn down the volume for better blend (soundguys LOVE this!). Or the beauty of wearing earmolds/plugs to help hear things at a more comfortable volume. I read posts sometimes about guys who can't be heard using 3000 watts into their B4s and can't imagine what their eardrums look like!

  18. Fuzzhead


    Sep 26, 2005
    I have heard this about Acme...that's why I chose Accugroove El Whappo. That and creased speakers from slapping, big drop-off after the low B, unscrewing speakers to change the fuse, and carting huge power amps around. But they are cheap.
    Compare the El Whappo to an Eden before you buy...I find you don't need scooped speakers if your preamp is up to scratch EQ-wise. I always had to remove some 100Hz from my eden 4x10 to avoid boominess.

    Here's my theory of Bass EQ...

    20-30Hz...adds punch in the kick drum area...great for low B strings if your amp/cabinets can handle it...you need at least 500W power amp/800W cabs to avoid power amp distortion in a loud band...use a lot less EQ in a live situation than a lower volume level, if you want to avoid boom.
    80 Hz...adds bass/bottom end where I hear it best.
    200Hz...adds meat. Gives that Mudvayne-type thickness, great for muted ghost notes. Thickens up fingerstyle.
    1.5KHz...removes "honky" midrange.
    3.5 kHz...adds sparkle to plucks.
    5 Khz...high end or treble.

    These are the most useful to me, and Q width will affect them also. You can also use 400 Hz and 800 Hz for more midrange control. Just turn the frequency knobs one at a time and let your ear be the judge.
    I also found the cheaper SVTs to be lacking in parametric eq...although the Classic head rocks!
    Cheers :)

    PS For an Acme B4 you probably need 1200W at least to get it's best tone, from the reviews I've read anyway...they are VERY inefficient.
  19. I took your advice, cleared my head of all conventional wisdom regarding EQ, and wound up with a truly bizarre looking EQ configuration. Ignoring the aesthetics angle, though, the sound is MUCH improved. Basically I:

    * Moved the low cut filter on my Mackie up to 40Hz instead of 30.

    * Lowered the bass control on my pre to about 9 o'clock.

    * Cranked the mids control to about 4 o'clock at position 2.

    * Turned off ultra-lo, turned on ultra-bright

    Much punchier, less boom and click. My only issues are a bit of honkiness I need to kill and low B still lacks a bit of clarity. I think a compressor should tighten up the sound.

    Thanks for all your help guys!
  20. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    The force is strong within you.

    Lonnybass :cool: (Acme Wan Kenobi)