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LMIII vs. TH500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thiocyclist, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    I'm looking to unload my TC Electronic Classic 450 soon because I'm not a big fan of its EQ voicing ultimately. Otherwise it is solid (the Tube emulator is really great, I just don't use it; and SpectraComp is also great but I also don't use it). I'm pretty set on something smaller (footprint wise), like a MarkBass LMIII or an Aguilar TH500. I need to try them out in person but the EQ voicings look nice on paper and they get great reviews. The Aggie is a bit more expensive though. What do you say, TB?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I prefer the PF800 over either of them ;) but I dig the clean sound on the Markbass, though that's all it does. No dirt whatsoever. Between the two, I preferred the Aggie because it does clean and dirt and has an EQ I find a little easier to work with than the LMIII.
  3. speyer

    speyer Supporting Member

    What Cabs?
  4. Out of those 2 I'd go with the Aggie. For some reason the LM series never really did it for me.

    The GK Fusion series is a great option too. That's probably the furthest away from that RH tone. Tiny form factor - fits in a gig bag no probs.
  5. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    I have to admit that the distinguishing things for me are the flexible but single mid voice and dirt on the Aggie versus no dirt and two mid voices on the LMIII.

    fEARful 15/6, I love this cab and am sticking with it for sure.

    RH -- as in the similar TC head to my Classic right? Why do you like the GK over the LMIII for example?
  6. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    The MarkBass LM3 I believe uses a different type of power amp/module than the Aggie, hence different response especially in the low end. The only MarkBass I'd ever recommend is the F1 or F500 with it's class D power amp, like the Th500 also has, unless I'm mistaken. Ken would know.
  7. Yeah. Hard to explain - I found the LM2/3 to ba a bit dry and uninspiring. The MB Fusion seems to have more depth to it.
  8. Aggie Aggie Aggie, Oi Oi Oi !
  9. speyer

    speyer Supporting Member

    +1 on the aggie with 12/6 = Flexible vintage tones with a thick, present articulation that just slams IME. Really hard to go wrong with that combo!
  10. The LM3 is a great amp. It was my first adventure into small/lightweight amps. This was back in 2009, so not long ago.

    The micro market has advanced massively since then, and its a shame that Markbass, who seemed to bring an affordable version of a lightweight amp with great tone to the masses, have almost lost the plot.

    What we need is a LM4. Same bells and whistles as the Big Bang, (no messing about with the headphone issue though, and a proper mute button on the face) same tone as the LM2/3, a touch more power, better limiting, similar EQ (semi para mids please) and same size/weight as the LM3.

    I would pay a fair whack if they released that, as the LM3 I had sounded fantastic.

    Now, the TH500 will eat the LM3 alive in terms of output, but the tone is different. The Aggie is basically a more vintage voiced amp with slightly subdued and smoother treble/highs, very full and punch mids, and plenty of low end. THe LM3 is more even, and has a crisper high end.
  11. The fEARful 15/6 is a unique cab and IMO benefits from a specific set of amp features:

    1) More than typical power, given its combination of 8ohm impedance and moderate sensitivity (i.e., it really can use and benefits from a nice dose of 8ohm power.... 400 watts+).

    2) Precise control over both the bass to lower midrange ratio, and the upper midrange to treble ratio. That 'subwoofer' type driver is clean and wide, but can IMO and IME benefit from an amp that has some good sculpting down low to dial up the 'punch' and control the big low bass. Likewise, that 18Sound mid driver can be a bit 'rough' up top, and can benefit from a cut in the lower treble/upper midrange area.

    The LMII/III and the TH500 are probably my two favorite amps on the market. I've done a zillion gigs with both of them, and at 4ohms, with a cab voiced for bass guitar, they are different but great in their own way (with the LMII/III being quite neutral but still warm and 'not clinical', and nicely extended from the lows to the upper treble, and the TH500 being fat and big down low, strong midrange response with a bit of pleasant midrange distortion, and very relaxed and organic sounding up top.. no upper treble sizzle). Both are much more even, louder, fuller in the low end and more treble extended compared to the RH450.

    I would personally not recommend either of these to drive a single fEARful 15/6, since neither reaches the criteria above. While the Markbass has a lo mid and hi mid control, the EQ points do not match up with the 'needs' of the fEARful (i.e., the LMII/III low mid control is centered way too high, as is the treble shelving control, and the single semi-parametric midrange control on the TH500 is not optimal to voice that cabinet). While the TH500 hammers much harder than the LMII/III at 8 or 4ohms, neither will push the 15/6 to anywhere near max output.

    For those on a budget and looking for a small form factor, the GK MB800 meets both of my criteria... lots of wump at 8ohms, and perfectly voiced mid controls for the fEARful.

    IMO and quite a bit of IME on this one:)
  12. One additional point for the OP. IF you are happy with the volume level you get with the RH450/fEARful 15/6, then either of these heads would be an improvement... similar absolute volume but more low end and less compression.

    The TH500 would feel a bit more 'at home' (I often describe it as a 'better' RH750), since it is mid present, punchy and 'warm' like the RH amps, but has much more low end wump and a more present top end. The LMIII would be a different experience.. much more even, wide and clean. At 8ohms, the TH500 will bury the LMIII, so with that cab, and assuming you don't absolutely hate your RH450, the TH500 would probably make you pretty happy.

    The MB800 will be much 'bigger and brighter' and much louder and more full in the low end with your 15/6.
  13. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    It depends on your needs. The LMIII is a plug-and-play, sound-good-at-any-gig type of amp. Set the EQ at noon and use the VLE/VPF filters for your flavor (vintage-ish or hifi) and you're good to go. Every note is even and clear all the way across the spectrum. Class A/B power is a plus for a lot of people, too. Now, that strength is also its undoing for many. Clean and even is all you will ever get, so it's never "exciting".

    The Aggie is pretty much the opposite. You have to spend some time with its EQ section. While the Drive control can allow some dirt, it changes the EQ behavior as you twist it, as everything is very interactive. It does the tube amp thing very well, and as such can have extended low end and not much up top. It's build quality feels amazing, and it looks badass.

    So again, depends on your needs. If you want a vintage, tube amp type of flavor and don't mind twisting knobs at the gig, go with the Aggie. If you want easy and clean and just do your dirt or other flavorings with pedals, go with Markbass. With your cab, though, MB may be reaaaally clean.

    I miss my Little Mark sometimes, mainly when I'm playing jazz sets. I wonder if I had picked up something like a Myco Three if I could have had the best of both worlds.
  14. Nice intelligent breakdown... Good work man.
  15. thiocyclist


    Sep 19, 2012
    KJung, when you talk about amps as having bassier or cleaner voices, how are you arriving at that conclusion besides experience? Is it something to do with the power amps being different, i.e. I don't get the mechanism that gives these amps their different voices (when their EQ pres are for instance fairly similar).

    People are asking, do I love or hate my TC Classic 450? I like it, it is plenty loud with the 15/6 (never felt it needed more volume, I am shocked anyone would need more out of it), but I am looking for a little different tone. Its overall tone I would call "neutral warm" and I don't find the EQ super useful like I originally thought, because it starts at 200 Hz and only works up to 1600 Hz. I guess this is a "vintage" setup for the EQ, but it's not that practical. Something that efficiently isolates lows from low mids and highs would be better. I do like its features (comp and dirt controls) but don't need them and rarely use them. The biggest problem I have ever had is that in a VERY loud mix (like... hear it six blocks away from rehearsal loud) I lose articulation and it becomes felt but not heard. But this situation is rare... still, I catch glimpses of it in loud stage monitor situations where I need to turn up more to hear myself yet doing so produces too much of the "felt" portion.

    Does this help you advise me?

    A local shop has the TH500 and MB800--I'll check these out--and GC should have the LMIII for me to try. Kind of leaning Aggie-wards right now as I really always have been but you guys have pushed me further that way. Hesitant to consider GK as I have hated their stuff in the past (5-6 years ago).
  16. Experience. No way to tell what an amp sounds like (or a cab for that matter) from the spec's given. Most of the difference in amps seems to be driven more by the design and voicing of the preamp.. clean versus a bit of controlled distortion, baked in EQ curves, hi and lo passing (this REALLY gives the TC amps their 'emulate a sealed cab' type tone), different EQ shelving slopes, frequency Q's, etc., etc., etc. Also, with the class D amps, lots going on in complex power management circuits across manufacturers.

    From you description of the 450 classic, I think you would be VERY pleased with the TH500. Louder, bigger down low, more powerful EQ, and to my ear, a bit more 'legitimate' growl and grind from the preamp versus the more 'effect' sounding RH 'overdrive'.

    Again, it won't push that fEARful to anywhere near its full volume and low end potential, but if the tC450 is enough for you, then no problem. The GKMB800 is much brighter and more aggressive, but you can control that a bit with the EQ, dialing down the treble and bumping the low mids a bit.

    Sounds like you can try these all, which is cool. Make SURE to bring you cab, since that cab has a strong voice that interacts strongly with all this stuff.
  17. With this in mind...

    +1 to all of this.

    Between the TH500, PF-800, and the LMIIi I would toss the LMIII in the trash and then struggle between the TH500 and the PF-800. I really like the ampeg with a fEARful cab, but the Aggie sounds fanfunkingtastic with it as well.

    Between the TH500 and LMIII, Aggie all the way no questions asked.
  18. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I use a Tone Hammer pedal/di with my fEARfuls and like it quite a bit. I used to own an LMII but found it a bit lacking at 8 ohms when the volume was pushed. My understanding is that the TH amp is fairly loud for 500w (same power amp module as the Streamliner 900). Also the TH has a nice variable mid control which is very useable. For those reasons I'd go with the TH.
  19. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I like the MBLM3 tone. If you want a clean and punchy amp the LM3 is a great choice. You can always add dirt with a pedal. Plus it's small and easy to transport. Add a
    2x10 cab and you've got a very good small rig that can handle a good variety of playing situations.
  20. Why would he add such a limiting factor to his rig? :confused:

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