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Looking for a Hi-Fi Rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SharkB8, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    Hello all....I've been lurking for a while, and just decided to post. I've been playing many instruments for about 20 years (mostly fusion/jazz guitar, but have fallen in love with the bass, and find most of the calls I get are for bass now)....

    I'm starting to look for a Hi-Fi sounding rig and would like your opinions. At home (and for a small monitor going to the PA) I play a SWR WM 12. Sounds good (at low volumes). I've played a lot through a super red head 2x10 combo, again, decent sound (just seems to be missing something). I've also played various other SWR gear (which is mostly what's available around me).

    I play a cirrus 5 (maple/alder), which is a good bass with a lot of tonal possibilities (thinking of upgrading to a Hanewinckel 6). I just haven't been floored by any of the sounds through amps. I get a good sound straight DI into a PA, but would like something to handle the other gigs (I play quite a bit, ~20 gigs/mo) and have use for some better stuff. My original thoughts are a preamp/poweramp setup with 2x10/1x15 cabs. Also, could anyone recommend good bass stores in Northern California (I'm willing to make the long drive to SF, if need be)???

  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Good idea re: the Hanewinckel 6, a definite step up. Get this rig (i.e. Euphonic Audio iamp 600 and Bergantino HT112 & HT210) and you'll not only have a fine hi-fi rig for just about any room short of an auditorium but you'll have excellent portability, too.

  3. Golem II

    Golem II

    Jan 4, 2002
    Macon, GA, USA
    I'm beginning to question the usefulness of a term like "hi-fi" for describing bass amps, but I'm guessing you mean something that'll give you the pure, uncolored sound of your bass (as opposed to anything with a lot of warmth or overdrive capability.) A good preamp for this purpose would be a Demeter VTBP, Avalon U5 DI or any EBS preamp. If you've got a lot of money to throw around, try a Glockenklang Bugatti or Bass Art preamp, or a high-end studio mic pre.

    I think the Avalon U5 would be the best in your case. If your bass has a perfect sound on its own, why mess with it? You can go to the PA with one output, and drive a poweramp with the other. It'd go nicely with a QSC PLX poweramp and Epifani or Bergantino speakers.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Some good places to find hi-fi bass equipment in NorCal:

    1)Gelb Music in Redwood City. They have Mesa Boogie, Eden, Aguilar, Ampeg, and SWR. I tried the Eden WT400 through an Aguilar 115 and Eden 410 XST and was very impressed. They also have a consignment shop with good deals to be found on used amps.

    2)More Music in Santa Cruz. I was knocked out by a rig identical to Boogiebass's-an iAmp 600 driving a Bergantino 112. It was the best sound I've ever heard-lush, full, and detailed, very articulate. The same head through an EA CXL 110 sounded very good but lacked the Berg's silky-smooth highs. The store also had both the 2 and 3 way EA 210 cabs, and a Berg 118-none of which I tried.

    3)Skip's Music in Sacramento has Ashdown, Peavey, SWR, and Genz Benz. I'm usually a fan of fat-sounding amps, but the Ashdown didn't really do it for me-it was just too murky for my tastes.

    4)Haight St. Music in San Francisco usually has a good selection of high-end bass gear. Just try finding a parking spot within 15 minutes' walking distance. Go ahead-I dare you.

    5)Guitar Showcase in San Jose has a good range of GK, SWR, and Eden stuff, and a large consignment shop. Last week I saw a coax Bag End 15 there, as well as an Ashly preamp and a Stewart 1000 watt amp. That could be the start of a good component system for about $1000.

    Hope this helps-happy hunting.
  5. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    Golem II, you hit the nail on the head. I am just trying to keep with the same verbage as I have heard around here.

    Thanks for the info. I've been to Skips (bought a few guitar related items there), but haven't found what I was looking for (pretty much the same equipment as a Guitar Center, with the exception of Peavey gear).

    Looks like a bay area drive is in my near future......
  6. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I second these choices.

    Also, if you can come up with the bucks, Wayne Jones is said to make some of the best cabs you'll find. He has a website, I think it's www.waynejonesspeakerenclosures.com

    I have an EBS Fafner, which is an integrated pre/power amp. To me, it's the best thing out there with tons of power and tons of headroom. You might look seriously at their line of products.
  7. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I have a new Bergantino HT212 an I'm very happy driving it with my Mesa 400+. Going to do a large beer-tent festival Sunday and I'm anxious to see how it performs there. Did and outside thang a while back an it was quite good.
  8. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Should be killer. I've driven my Epifani 212 with one of my 400+'s and it kicked major booty.
  9. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
  10. If money isn't an object, the most articulate cabinets I have tried, (and bought), are the Wayne Jones, but they are made to be played in two's.
  11. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    Hexbass, money isn't a huge object. That said, at 1.3k for a cab...and they are supposed to be in pairs...add a new bass...pre and power amp and all the fixins...not sure the wife would approve of the instant $10k gear purchase. Heck, I get a budget of about 3k a year for new gear...so I'd have to hold on for 3 years or so...unless I sold off some other stuff...hmmmmm....
  12. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    From their website:
    So. . .how does this make sense in light of the fact that their cabinets are ported? What is a statement like this supposed to mean? (if the bottom end doesn't come from the speaker, where does it come from? the box isn't powered! :) ).

    It's so frustrating that people can build fine, high-quality things (be they basses, cabs, etc), and then feel that they have to find some pseudo-scientific evidence or arguments to justify why theirs are better than anyone else's.

    They look like fine cabs, and word on the street backs this up for sure. But I just get tripped up when I read things like that.
  13. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    geshel, I think I know what he's talking about. I hear it when I listen to Eden 2x10 XLT cabs. People will probably disagree, but to my ear I hear an unnatural low bass reproduction that's obviously not coming from the speakers as it doesn't sound anything like the rest of the notes. They just tune and port the cabinet to create and amplify low bass that's virtually non-existent from the speakers themselves. I don't hear that with some other boxes.
  14. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    The problem is the language used. Like I said, it's all coming from the speaker. If he would say, "we don't design our cabinets to have an artificial low mid-bass hump", or that they "use a design which is smooth and even sounding throughout the bass", that would be less confusing and more accurate.

    They obviously rely on tuning :rolleyes: because the box is tuned (even if it was a sealed box, it would still have a tuned resonance*). And that involves a "tunnel" (first time I've heard that phrase, I'm guessing he's referring to ports? Or is that a dig at EA's transmission-line designs?). In that sense, fundamentally, their box is like that of most other 2x10 designs.

    *Having said all this, it's possible that it's not actually a port, but instead an aperiodic damper for an "infinite baffle" type of design. But I'd be suprised if they could get enough low-end from such a design.

    Anyway . . . I guess I'm assuming a bit. But it still comes across to me as a vague remark that seems to be aimed in the direction of other manufacturers, that gives some misleading sense of what it is they're doing "wrong".
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    If you're looking for "hifi" then i'd look at solid state equipment. seems to be more adept at reproducing near exact replicas of your bass at higher volume without the inexactitudes of a tube preamp pushed to its coloring limits.

    EA's heads are voiced for both upright, and electric basses, its the more versatile yet nicely sounding SS units. My iAMP350 is amazing for my Azola BB2. clear, crisp, airy, exact, and that's all i ask of it. and the EQ will mold and shape your tone to whatever you'd like. need more power? i heard there's an 800 watt version out soon. IMHO, its the best SS amp out now.

    Acoustic Image's Clarus head is prolly the most transparent of them all, apart from a real DI like the Avalon. its built for uprights, so you know its gonna be exact. to me, its almost like a mini PA cause its soo exact. but i've heard the EQ is limited for electric bass.

    in the tubey hifi arena, a big second for the Demeter VTBP-201s.

    James D. made his name on tubey hi-butt-fi audio equipment for years, so you know its got a deep pedigree.

    gobs of tubey tone, that's still crisp, glassy and gorgeous. again, its not quite as "transparent" as an Avalon DI, but its more tuned to get the best sounds outta your bass, rather than a "be-all-to-all" type of box. of all the pre's i've used, i find its not nearly as colored as other bass pre's, yet adds that tube love with great affect.

    btw, after swapping out the stock EH 12AX7's for a set of JAN GE 12AX7's, its since become fuller and richer. it does now have a slight dip in the mids with this tube, but i couldnt be happier with it seems to have a wider sound stage. people, tubes make a diff!!!

    unfortunately, the EQ isnt as drastic as i'd like, but with a nice rack EQ, i'm sure you could do amazing things with its tone.

    cabs wise, you've got a load of choices, but Epifani, EA, and Accugroove all get my vote. bergie's are great, and i'm the biggest fan, but i dunno how "flat" or "uncolored" they are.
  16. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Lots of great suggestions here. I especialy like jokerjkny's Clarus suggestion.

    I share GolemIIs' and others concerns here as to what is Hi-Fi. Defined by Webster's,"...an approximately exact reproduction of sound achived by low distortion and a wide range of reproduced frequencies from approximatly 20-20,000 hertz". The problem is in the 'approximately exact,' which is why people in audiophile circules won't agree on a hard and fast definition for the term Hi-Fi and so if we won't either, where in good company.

    Hi-Fi doesn't stop at 20kHz or two channels or five, it seems to be ever evolving and that's what makes it a hobby for some and a profession for others. What it does mean is to TRY and reproduce as faithfuly as possible a live audio event with as much dynamic range, bandwidth, with as little noise and uncolored as possible.

    In the recent past many of us electric bassist (uprights too) have realized the tonal potential provided by the use of different woods, laminated or carved, pick ups, bridge and nut designs, body and neck shapes, bolt on, neck through etc. While at the same time realizing that the components being used for amplification were adding way to much color for there particular tastes. My Polytone pickuped upright through the SVT was my wake up call.

    So, if you've listened to your instrument through a quality DI and headphones and you really liked what you've never heard before comming from that old bass and you want to reproduce that sound as faithfully as possible with an amplifier...your going to need Hi-Fi...and a little more money.

    Welcome SharkB8

    How about an Accugroove cabinet and an Euphonic Audio amp?

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