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LMIII or TH500 with Epifani UL310 S1

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by g4string, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    I just scored an early Epifani UL310 S1 (with B&C drivers) at my local GC for a pretty darn good deal. This is going to be my main (and only) cab. I just ordered a LMIII to go with this guy....but I am kinda having a little buyer's remorse and wondering if I should have got the Aguilar instead.

    In the past, I have had both heads....but used with different cabs.

    One of my all time fav rigs was a LMII with an S2 UL410 I had several years ago. That rig was KILLER!!! It was smooth, loud, fat, etc, etc. It really was a nice rig. The whole reason I picked up the UL310 was to try and get back some of that same mojo I had with the UL410. Thus, the reason for me ordering the LMIII....well plus MF has a 15% so the amp was $509 shipped. $100 off is a pretty enticing offer. If I ever start gigging hard again, I could see myself getting another UL410. If that were to ever happen, already owning a LMIII would make the UL310-to-UL410 transition a smooth one.

    FFWD to several months ago....I had a Baer ML112 stack with an Aguilar TH500. Very seldom did I use two ML112's. I usually rolled with one....guess that's neither here nor there. Just thought it might be useful info. The rig sounded good in a mix. You can tell it was one of those rigs that are meant to sound good in a mix and not in your bedroom. I struggled to get a sound from that rig that I really liked though. Yes, it sounded good in a mix.....but it really didn't float my boat. I need a rig that will sound good in a mix AND make me smile. I really couldn't tell you what part of that rig was the issue....was it the Baer cabs or Aguilar head?? I dunno. the rig was punchy and grindy for sure. It just lacked the smooth-thick-freakiness of past rigs I have owned (including the LMII/UL410). Another thing, after my short tenure with the TH500...I realized I am NOT a dirty bass player. I like my tone clean, smooth, fat, and creamy. And as we all know, the grind and dirt behind the TH500 is the real genius part of this amp.

    Apples to apples, I think (dare I say know) the Aguilar is going to be a better build quality than the LMIII. Additionally, I would gather the TH500 is going to be louder than the LMIII (ie, knowing the way Aguilar "limits" their head -vs- the way MB limits their head). The drive knob will be a useless feature for me on the TH500....while the filters on the LMIII are something I missed on the Aguilar. I think paired with the UL310, the Aguilar TH500 might sound a tad more controlled, tighter, more punchy. I just wonder will it have that smooth/thick/creamy factor I have been missing???? One more thing is the mute switch...not a deal breaker. But having one is nice. Although, how hard is it to reach over and turn you master all the way down.....not that hard really. The mute switch is a moot indifference with a slight nudge towards missing it.

    Another thing is warranty/CS/Reliability. I HATE the way MB has handled warranty issues in the US. Their warranty service provider, VST, scares me. Although, they do have a center in the DFW area should the need aver arise. Although I do not expect to have a warranty issue, it's the nightmare stories that put me off. It's not a deal breaker.....just a put off. MB's warranty is 2 years -vs- Aggie's 3 year warranty. As far as Aguilar's warranty is concerned, I have no fears/nightmares as to how they would handle a bum TH500.

    I guess it basically boils down to sound. Which head will sound the best (with the UL310)? After the 15% off, the Aggie is $100 more than the LMIII. Although we're only talking a $100....it's still a $100. With a wife/kids/mortgage/etc, saving a $100 is something that can/will sway a decision. Will the Aggie still have that mid-grindy sound with the UL310 as it did with the Baer? Or, will I be able to coax some smooth-buttery-creaminess out of the TH500 with the UL310. I am all set to keep the LMIII when it arrives. But if I am seriously going to be missing something with the TH500, I will give the amp another shot. Otherwise, I will just be happy with what I have. Thoughts?????????????
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    First, totally disagree that the Aguilar is higher quality than the LMII/III. Both are very good, and both have great reliability records. I've gigged both a lot.

    +1 in that the Epi UL general tone, and the ML112 are at different ends of the spectrum. The ML112 is tight down low, and very even up top. The UL tone signature is big and wide down low, with a massive hole in the upper mid response, which results in that 'sweet' sort of top end with the tweeter kind of floating above the sound of the drivers.

    One of the things I didn't dig so much about the LMII/410UL that I gigged quite a bit back in the day was the lack of lower midrange voicing in the Epi and the very high voicing of the lower mid control on the LMII (at around 400hz, versus the more typical 150-250 that would have helped even out the low end of the 410UL.

    The 310UL(I) has quite a bit more upper mid response than the 410UL(II), but still has that very open, somewhat 'hollow' (IMO) sounding low end. For me, the switch from the LMII to the F500 fixed that, since the semi-parametric mid control allowed you to bump up the low mids of the Epi nicely.

    However, that didn't seem to bother you on the gig, so, for me, with that cab, it would be the LMII/III all the way... much more even voicing than the TH500 (which I own and like quite a bit), and a sort of 'warm but clean' voicing that fits nicely with the Epi vibe.

    So, IMO, stick with the LMIII!
  3. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    The low mid control on the LMII/III is centered around 360Hz, and yeah, I agree, that's too high, for me anyway. I thought about buying an eq pedal.
  4. JxBass

    JxBass Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    I agree with Ken. I used my LMII with a variety of Epi cabs for quite awhile. LMII/III & Epi is great combination, IMO.
  5. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX

    Thanks for the advice.....funny how sometimes things run full circle. Back to the UL/LM combo.
  6. dharmashawn

    dharmashawn Owner, Handlebar Moustache Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    I use a LMIII and 310 NYC. Recently left a project and I really dig my tone at low home volumes these days.

    Still can't jive with that tweeter though.
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Remember, the VLE is basically a variable hi pass. You can take the edge off any tweeter without actually turning it down. Fantastic filter for those guys who have two way cabinets but don't really dig the sizzle.

    All the VLE will do is gradually cut more and more treble...starting way up high, moving through the low treble, then at extreme settings, moving through the upper mids and mid mids.

    The sweet spot for controlling tweeter upper treble sizzle but still having some lower treble definition and attack is around 9 o'clock or a bit more, with the Epi tweeter at noon... IME.
  8. dharmashawn

    dharmashawn Owner, Handlebar Moustache Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Nice, I'll try that tonight. That thing is always off and I was honestly thinking about (the unthinkable) ripping it out and maybe replace it (and crossover) with a LA6-CBMR.

    I am sure the Epifani club would burn me at the stake

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