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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by luknfur, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Just got an MB 150S and it ain't no Poly (which is more like an Ampeg B 50/100R). Read the manual and floundering for tone. About due for a mercy killing so if somebody would toss out a few of your favorite settings it may save me.

    I know most of you guys have the 150E, different styles, basses, strings, yadda yadda yadda - but close enough for me. Just need some direction. Thought maybe this post will give another user a new setting, otherwise I'd just PM. Thanks in advance. In the end, maybe I just need to get used to the amp but every little bit helps.
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Send it to me, and I will carefully adjust it for you. The process takes about six years :p

    Random thoughts:

    For me, starting out "flat" pretty much does it for both upright and electric. On the MB150E, "flat" means the big knobs are centered, and the little knobs are all fully counterclockwise. The "contour" knob gives you the smiley face EQ.

    In general, the controls on the MB150E don't have a lot of range. They are subtle.

    The amp provides some distortion, intended to be tube-like. To get more distortion, turn up the pre gain and turn the master volume down. Do the opposite for less distortion.

    Lo Cut is helpful in really rotten rooms if the amp is too boomy.

    This amp belongs up on a chair.
  3. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    I own & have used the 150S Combo for many small-medium rooms in a number of working situations- always with a 12" extension cab. (In my case either a Flite 112M or a Genz-Benz
    At 150 Watts RMS at 4 ohms, the amp takes on a different character than when used on it's own-It may really surprise you.
    As to eq settings, of course they will differ by style,player, instrument and signal chain, but a few common threads:

    The E version has the extended mid-range settings, but both versions have an active eq which is VERY sensititive! Even slight variances really differ the tone. The Contour and High Boost also color the sound, but not as drastically.
    I've never used the low cut, or the pad.
    The limiter evens out compression; I always set it about half way post- eq.
    My standard settings (with an extension cab) are Treble at
    12 O'clock,High-Low Mids between 9-10, and Bass at about
    1 or 2.
    I set the contour at about 10 O'clock, and the high boost around 8-9.
    Then I adjust the tone on my bass accordingly.
    I've used both a limiter and EQ pedal in the signal chain at times, both BOSS pedals, but also find that it can be a lot
    cleaner and simpler to play straight through.

    You might have to tweak the S version a bit more,it offers a wider bandwidth to adjust.
    I personally am delighted with how the MicroBass performs for me- Anything from clean, round tone to a real nice growl-lots of bite, good attack. I've amazed a lot of "co-workers" with this amp's output after bringing it in in it's gigbag!!
    Put a little time and effort in the unit, you may find just what you want, and don't discount adding another cabinet to the mix as well- Have fun, hope you find what you want.
  4. FR5


    Feb 12, 2004
    I have played a MB150S for a long time, both with and without extension cab (Eden 210T). I generally set the eq flat (maybe a bit boost on lowest frequency), contour at 2 o'clock. High boost at 12 with new strings and upping to 3 when strings got older. Never used the compressor or the low cut. Bridge PU fully open, neck PU about one third, and always in active mode with slight boost of lows and highs. Hope this helps.

  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Appreciate the feedback guys, not just in settings but the info on the general nature of the beast is very helpful - probably even more so than specific settings.

    The main problem I'm having so far is, like many pups I've ran, I'm not getting a seperation of frequencies. Instead of hearing a top mid and bottom in a tone I get a blended monotone. Primarily bottom feeder - like an Aggie cab. Top end is kind of like a dog whistle or nothing. I can pull some distinct mids but then the bottom is either muddy or the bottom and/or top aren't where I want them. When the bottom is decent, mids and top are practically transparent. Like playing only the E string. When I manage a decent tone it's the monotone issue. I'm not getting clear tones in general.

    I've tried a myriad of combinations from subtle to major. Pushed all the buttons and twisted all the knobs and ran it with a GS-112 then an Altec 421-8LF. Adding a cab was like adding more of the same. Nice distinct fat bottom is as close as I've really got so far. I've set the GK on the ground, elevated it; used different basses; moved around the room.

    No doubt it's been a long time but do you guys remember a similar experience at first?

    The last time I ran across something like this was with my Lightwave - trying to figure out if that was how it was supposed to sound. Turns out it was how it was supposed to sound and I've spent more time playing any one of the rest of my bases in a given week than I have the Wave in the two years that I've had it. Even tried it with the GK.
  6. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    I don't know if there is a specific technical solution for getting the sound you want from that rig.
    I suppose every rig sounds good or bad, right or wrong, depending on who is playing it,their particular attack & style,and the instrument being played. That's why there's so many differences of opinion about gear.
    Interesting to me in your initial post, you mentioned Polytone.
    When I was doing a number of casual, small-room, lower-volume jazz/pop gigs, I looked into the smaller combos for that purpose- The Baby Blue, I-Amp, etc, and ultimately bought a Polytone. It worked and sounded very well.
    Down the line, I tried and replaced it with the G-K, which was even smaller,and had more eq, headroom, and a brighter, more modern sound.
    I was using a Sterling bass at the time, and with it's very strong preamp, got incredible bottom from the bass/amp combo, and found a great tone by scooping the mids-The high freq's were so pronounced, that if I didn't roll off the treble quite a bit, glass might have shattered!
    A lot of the tone came from the excellent MM 3-band eq,
    but I don't use the Sterling anymore, and I stll work with the MicroBass.
    Could be that the G-K doesn't voice well with your axe, you didn't say what you play, but I don't know if thats all that plausible- I have a '69 P-Bass, as basic as you get, and the
    G-K does a good job amplifying that as well.
    You MIGHT try some sort of eq- Maybe something simple like
    the Yamaha NE-1 parametric (I think they're still around) or
    it's equivalent- Aphex, e.g. or maybe the BOSS graphic eq pedal might boost the frequencies you want to bring out in the mix.
    I understand your "concerns"- getting the tone and the sound that you hear in your head and FEEL out of your gear can be a challenge-
    Hope that offers some support, wish I could be more specific-
    Good Luck!
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I know what you mean. Anything different than what a players used to seems out of wack. Just want to make sure I'm not missing anything here. One post I read a while back a guy seemed to be having a similar experience and somehow he got the idea to lay the amp on it's back on the floor and it seemed to work for him. I did that too and it that did bring out the mids and top more like what I'm used to hearing.

    The Lightwave Saber C is the only stock bass I have. The others are modified with various pups (Bart Rics, Marcus Miller J's, Steve Bailey Active J's, Epiphone T-birds, and Jim Cairnes soaps [J's] - at the moment) that are run straight to the jacks with no onboard controls. The basses range acoustically from thumper to bright. So there's some variation there.

    I had an NE-1 and sold it and it hadn't occured to me to use the GEB-7 cause the amp itself has so much frequency control.

    The amp definitly has a modern tone. In fact the difference between the GK and the Poly makes me think of the difference between active pups and a good set of passives. At this point, the GK seems to mask quite a bit of the signal from the pups.

    Too early to tell for sure but the basses seem to all sound pretty much alike through it. Does that sound even remotely accurate to you guys? Same style to same tunes I mean.
  8. realdeal

    realdeal Banned

    Dec 10, 2004
    One thing your last post reminded me of, is that the MicroBass, small as it is, has "the" G-K sound. I used a 400RB
    for a long time before I became a tube fanatic, and thinking back, the little combo seems to me to have the same "punch" and clarity that typify Gallien-Krueger. That's a good thing!
    Bob Galliens' G.I.V.E. technology produces one of the best tube-like growls and resonance in a SS circuit I've heard-
    He's really a brilliant guy, quite a background too!

    Back on track,you have quite a stable of instruments and pups, and seemed very dialed into their particular sonic qualities! I've played a lightwave bass a little and imagine it would have it's own voice through any amp. Otherwise, I've always considered the MB-150 on it's own, for its power-to-size ratio, and aforementioned GK sound and eq. I've used it with the MM, a G&L, My P-Bass, and a Tobias with Bartolini
    P/J's and a TC-7 preamp. They all sound different-like the bass itself- but all seem to have the GK MicroBass voice when I play them throught that unit, as opposed to my Mesa and Ampeg tube rigs. I've also played through just about every other rig on the market too, at one time or another.

    I bought the NE-1 on a whim, and found that it smoothed out the mids on my Mesa, and amped up my P-Bass a little.Very
    little use for it otherwise.
    I've had the most use out of the GBE-7 when I use it for a particularly boomy room- It was a real boon when I had a regular gig at a room that was open-air right on the beach-
    really smoothed the tone out.
    And even considering the Aphex Xciters, or something like the Raven Labs True Blue.....
    You have a good point- there's pretty extensive eq on the amp, so you should be able to keep the signal chain clean.

    Have you played through GK rigs with your basses before?
    Like I say, the little MicroBass seems very true to the inheritant tone of this brand, so maybe it's not your thing-
    Then again, you might find yourself playing out, tweaking around- and VOILA! You find it!
    That's alway's nice! ;)
  9. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I like this amp with the eq set flat. I always have the limiter turned off. Sometimes I boost or subtract based on the band situation or room... but I don't have a "setting" per se.

    My philosophy is this: if an amp or bass is not giving you the tone you are after with everything set flat then it probably isn't your bag. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody likes a different sound. From all of luknfur's extensive experience with pickups I don't have to tell him, but just as a general rule: EQ usually won't drastically change the character of an amp. (Well, one exception is the "drive" control on my Ampeg SVP.)
  10. Quick question, when you had the external cabinets connected, did you try turning off the internal speaker in the combo? That internal speaker is a darker sound. for the guys who want a cleaner high end sound, I suggest going with the MBE head with the Neo 112. For me, the MBE combo has a great tone when playing with my fingers, or if I want a Jameson slap tone. It's also great for fretless and acoustic upright players. It definitely will not do a Marcus Miller type tone.
  11. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Inch by inch, making some progress. Thanks for the input - ALL OF IT.

    When I had a wall of basses with onboard preamps I almost always ran eq flat - but when you've got nothing onboard but technique and hand position it gets hairy in a hurry.

    Over time I pulled the onboards and wired them as outboards then moved them on down the road when I realized I really wasn't using them at all. The NE-1 could get a great fat tone but I got to where I could pull that from the amp and pups(What a deal for those guys that got them from MF for $30). The GEB-7 I use mostly to define a frequency range I'm trying to figure out - like where the meat is in a pup.

    I think the manual said the low cut switch on the GK is to simulate the 400RB. Never played GK so it's all new to me. Basses, pups, amps all tend to have their tone so I figured it's just an adjusment period. But you guys know the amp so you know it's characteristics and that's useful information cause that will help speed either the learning curve or the exit strategy.

    When I added a cab I ran it both ways - internal speaker on and off - but it was into a GS 112 which is actually kind of like apples to apples. I can't remember if I cut off the internal with the Altec and L-Acoustics or not but I don't think so.

    I've been dinking a bit with running the neck pup through the GK and bridge through the Poly (since I'm a bridge guy). Sort of weaning myself: little GK, little more GK, ... actually I was really just trying to get some playing time on the GK to make sure it worked properly - but couldn't stand to play it by itself. When I gave up trying to create a tone that way and just set the GK to match the Poly, it started to jell. Then I pulled the Poly to see if the GK worked to the tune by itself - and it did. It was different but I could play it that way.

    So at least, I've got it to where I can play it - and that's a start. If nothing else, it makes it easier to see that it is in deed functionally properly - used amp.

    By the way, how do you date these things? The amp is supposed to be about a year old and the serial number begins with 1F03 so I'm guessing maybe 2003?
  12. 1F is the model code. 03 is the year, and the next two digits would be the week. Then it goes Exxxxxx.
  13. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Great! That puts it at October of '03. Thanks
  14. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Just noticed you work for GK. Didn't see in the online manual what the actual frequency range of the MB 150S is, do you know or can you find out? From the specs it's apparently at least 40Hz - 2.5kHz.

    Also I was noticing a periodic clicking from the amp like a reset. Seems read mention of as much in a thread but can't find it. Seems typical enough otherwise.

    Thanks in advance.