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Lots of issues with my tone and rig. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Kurt M., Mar 6, 2002.

  1. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    OK. Maybe this should be seperate posts but here goes. My sound is missing something. I've got a variety of issues to deal with. Here's the current setup. Spector 4 into an Ampeg SVT Pro3 into a Genz Benz 4X10 XB. I also run a Symetrix rack compressor. I play hard rock. The style is aggressive. I play with my fingers and not a pick. I use a 45-100 string set. Blue steels at the moment. I've played this amp through a Harke 4.5XL and an SWR Triad. The Harke was junk and the SWR never seemed to live up to its name. I tune in drop D or drop C. I feel that the lows are mushing out on me. They don't seem to have the kick or the focus I'm looking for and that I'm hearing in other hard rock acts. Bass is sooo important to this kind of music. I've alway sworn by EMG's and both of my basses have them. The Spector shouldn't be the weak link here. Neither should the Ampeg. Although I'm about 7/8 of the way up and there are times when I could use more power. I could run a PSA1 and bridge a stereo power amp for some more watts. Or is the answer in another cabinet? Maybe the Bagend 15". Other issues for me are portability. I have everything I need in a 4 space rack. The 4x10 is a bit bulky and the Bagend may be the ticket if it sounds right. The other side of the coin is what I tell my band members -- that I really only use the amp as a monitor. I always run direct even in the studio. This train of thought leads me to believe that I should maybe investigate something like the Bass POD. As you can see I'm pretty lost. Any ideas/thoughts/suggestions would be great.

  2. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    I personally hate the ampeg heads. Swr sm900 has balls like a mofo. Take your cab to a store and ab between your head and it...id bet you find the swr has alot bigger cahones. If the swr thing is too sterile maybe try a mesa400+...to me they do the ampegish thing better than ampeg. If none of that works...the only place left to look is your cab. Ive never heard the genz benz stuff, but I know damn right well your bass and pickups arent the problem.
  3. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    Thanks for the above post. I guess using the SWR Triad turned me off to SWR. I really admire the build quality of the Ampeg. It has never let me down in the 4 years I've owned it. Has good tone control and a variety of usefull features. I've always felt that it gives me some tube *feel* without all the drawbacks of tubes. I tend to agree that the EMG/Spector combo isn't the weak link. I almost got on the Warwick wagon but I couldn't stand the balance of them. A/B ing my combo is a super idea. I will also reconsider the SWR if it has more balls!

    Thanks again.
  4. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    don't judge SWR by the triad man. that thing doesn't really do so hot by itself. you want balls, get a big bertha.

  5. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    What kind of hard rock tone are you looking for? That may help us figure out why your lows arnt doing so good and what could fix that.
  6. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    I hate to say this but it could be the SVT3pro. I owned one for about 2 weeks. I had been using an Ampeg SVT200T(solid state) for about 10 years and loved it but I felt it was getting old so I bought an SVT3pro. The SVT3 pro sounded mushy compared to the 200T. I believe the problem was in the tube drive. It always sounded the same no matter where I set it, off or all the way up, there was always this mild distortion to the tone. It seemed to take away from the attack or focus especially on lower notes. Some people like that kind of tone but it wasn't for me. I like to hear the attack at the beginning of each note played. kind of like a trombone or tenor sax. ta,ta,ta instead of fuzz, fuzz, fuzz :D Any way, if you have an extra power amp try running a cable from the pre amp out of the svt3pro into a power amp, or another amps power amp in. This will by pass the "drive stage". I did that and found that it really cleaned up the tone, gave it plenty of focus. Fortunatly me Ampeg dealer let me trade the SVT3 pro back in on a B4R(solid state) and i was able to get that clean tone all the way down to low B.:D

    BTW when I do want a little (or alot) of distortion in my tone the B4r has a "texture" button that I can push and get that gritty sound. In my opinion it sounds better the the svt3pro's distortion plus I can turn it off when I want.
  7. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    OK you guys are helping me thanks. CB56 thanks for your ideas. Actually I thought the Ampeg B series was a step down from the SVT Pro series. I think the B is all solid state and no 12AX's. But, I haven't auditioned the B in about 4 years so maybe it's worth a shot. I'm also wondering if I've adjusted my tube gain too high on the Ampeg. I do run at about full volume and maybe I need to back of the tube gain as it may be causing some distortion in the low end. But if I back it up I'll notice a decrease in overall volume. So, maybe more power is the answer. I adjust the gain (not tube gain) until the light just blinks on hard attacks. I'm also wondering if the Ampeg should have it's preamp stage re-tubed? Dunno just a thought. I'm also wanting to check out the new SWR 750X. It has more power and it has the overdrive stage from the MOBass. So, that may be a killer amp.

    CB didn't I see that you were selling the Bagend 15's? If so what didn't you like about them? I've been thinking of trying one. Mostly because they are so portable.

    No one really is knocking the Spector or the EMG's. I'm really agreeing with most of you that it may be time to dump my beloved Ampeg!

    To the person that wanted to know what kind of sound I'm talking about -- I'd say listen to Tool like Undertow. The bass has a very focused bottom. I'm loosing low end punch. "Growl" which to me is a hint of distortion (not really fuzz) is also a quality that I'm missing. As we tune lower (E to D or C) it's just getting worse. As I was considering a 5 string I really need to make sure my rig can hang with the lower notes.

    Thanks again -- this is really helping me out.
  8. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well perhaps it IS your bass. Spectors with EMG's are focused, but it can only be focused to a certain point if you tune it really low like C. I've always felt I get more punch in those registers with a B-string, instead of a floppy E-string. Who knows, maybe a 5-string spector would do better??

    EDIT: I'll just add that i don't know squat about your amps and cabs, so you can take that in to consideration when reading my post. :)
  9. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    Food for thought. I do agree that sometimes a 4 tuned low does mush out. I'm also experimenting with diff gauge strings. I did for a short time play a Hamer 5 String with EMG's through my rig and the same lack of low balls was there. I'm really thinking I need to consider new amps.

    I also forgot to mention that I tried the Sansamp Bass Drive DI. I thought this might give me the growl I was looking for. I still have it but don't use it. Really it never cut it.

  10. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I think your prob is the SVT3. Those things never cut it for me, always sounded under-powered for their published ratings.
  11. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    Is your cab 4 or 8ohms?The SVT3 Pro isn't known for being overly powerful.The Genz Benz XBs are known for being real tight on the bottom end when driven with a lot of power. I agree with the other guys on here about the power issue,you need more .If your driving your amp that hard it's a given.
  12. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    One rule of thumb I've always followed that may help in this instance is that the louder you turn up, the more you have to roll back the bass knob on your amp. Louder amp = more bass = mud, unless you cut the bass back some. Also, add midrange liberally to give your bass some voice that will really punch through. That growl that I always hear on lots of rock records was pretty much unaccessible to me until I started going nuts with the midrange and finding the right amount.

    Edit: My reasoning for cutting the bass is that wavelengths for low frequencies are LONG, so when you really crank them, the possibility of standing waves in the room and the reflections in general really skyrockets. If you cut the bass back and essentially "tune to the room," you can make it work well.
  13. bah, my SVT3 Pro kicks serious ass. I run it through two cabs, both ampeg classic series - a 4x10 and a 1x18. I play a 5 string and we often tune down to A - so my B string is tuned to A and it still wails - yes, it gets a bit muddier than at B but hell, the thing is a flopping around ;)

    My volume rarely goes above the 1/2 way point, and it still cuts through both guitarists. I cant believe you're almost all the way up (7/8ths) and its not loud. That just doesnt seem right to me at all.

    You also say you run direct most of the time. The direct out on my SVT is really hot - i only have it up 1/4 of the way when we play gigs. Its the one thing about that head thats touchy for me cause that thing is so hot.

    Is you bass passive or active? I dont want to insult your intelligence, as I'm sure you read your manual, but if its passive you need to turn off the -15db attenuation. I also set my tube gain pretty high.

    My vote is that you need another cab, or a better cab than what you have. Personally, I could never play through just 10's.
  14. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    Thanks everybody.

    Blues Bass 2: The cab is 8 ohms. Remember the Ampeg only puts out 275W into 8 ohms (450W into 4 ohms). I bought the Genz Benz based on how it sounded the 2X10 sounded good so I thought the 4X10 would sound better.

    JazznFunk: I could try some more mids but I felt that I had enough highs/mid highs etc. I usually run my instrument's tone control toward the trebble side. I also select Ultra High on the amp which enhances frequencies in the 5K range.

    DiN: Good to get some input from another SVT3 user. You're only half way up with 4X10's and an 18! I do realize that you're getting the full 450W because of the two cabs but I can't imagine that being all that loud. I play in a hardrock band. Both of our guitar players play Mesa Triple Rectifiers. I think they turn to like 3 or 4. If I wander away from my rig on stage I can easily loose track of myself. I mostly use the rig for stage noise or to monitor myself. Like I said I'm 7/8 up most of the time. I can in no way outpower the guitar players. I do play an active bass and I do swithch the -15db switch on (in). Many soundmen still insist on a direct box so I don't always get to use the direct out of the Ampeg. I do agree that a third or half way is more than enought when I do use it. I've never had anyone complain about the amount of signal the EMG's produce. Very hot pickups. I've played this Ampeg throught a Hartke 4.5XL, SWR Triad and now the 4X10XB Genz Benz. It's never set the world on fire volume wise. I also have the EQ Level slider pushed up a bit to give me more umph. Really this thing just isn't that loud. I'm going to try and mess with my settings at next practice and see if I can't dial in a little more quality low end. I may have to sacrifice overall volume to some extent. I'm still considering the Bag End speakes for a bunch of reasons mostly size/weight.

    Thanks again.
  15. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    Hmm...check this out

    There's your problem. At 8 ohms, your SVT3 Pro only puts out 300 watts RMS, while your 410XB can handle 700 watts RMS. Your cab isn't getting enough power it needs to properly reproduce those lows. The frequency response is 45hz at +-3 dB, so and a low B is approx 31 hz, which means a C or D will be somewhere around 34 and 37 hz, respectively. In other words, your amp doesn't have the juice to push your cab down that low. Adding the power amp would DEFINITELY benefit here. If it were me, I would try that before I tried anything else, especially if you already have the power amp.
  16. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    I'd be careful with pushing your amp so hard. There simply isn't enough juice behind that 3-Pro to push that power hungry GB.
  17. yea, one of my guitarists uses the same Mesa head as yours with a Mesa cab, the other uses a Marshall 1/2 stack. All i can think of is its got to be your cab then, or more depressingly, maybe something is wrong with the head, but I doubt it. My 1x18 moves some serious air so it can get loud pretty fast. The 4x10 cab really cuts through too.

    I've used this rig with both my MIM Fender Jazz (passive) and my new Fender FMT American Deluxe (active) with little master volume change between the two - just eq tweaking. My eq boost is only like one notch above the center line. I am also in a hard rock/metal band and play with my fingers.

    Welp, good luck man, it needs to be loud! :cool:
  18. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    I think Hunter has the right idea. I think we'd all agree that you can never have too much power. When I bought the GB cab the power handling was 500W RMS and the Sensitivity was 104bd. All in all I figured this cab would be fairly efficient.

    I don't have a seperate power amp. But, I think I might try using the Ampeg as a preamp and using the PA power amp at our practice place for some more juice. Just an experiment to see what I get. I'm tending to agree that I don't have enough juice to fire up the GB 4X10. I'm still itching to try the BagEnds. I might go with and S12D on top of an S15D. That would give me a 4 ohm load. My amp should push that combo a bit harder. It would provide the portability I was looking for until I could retool the amp. The serious amps from Ampeg and SWR are easily over a grand so I'd have to do some saving to solve the current power problems.

    Thanks as I said before everybody here has been so helpful. At least now I know where to look.
  19. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    Sorry it took me so long to get back kurt, I was out of town yesterday. Did you try by passing the tube drive like I suggested? I'm just curious if that helped. As far as the B series Ampegs being a step down I guess it just depends on how you look at it. Yes the B series cabinets are a cheaper version of the classic cabs but the B series amps are great. The difference being they are solid state amps instead of tube amps. I consider my B4R to be a step up from the SVT3pro both in tone and power. Anyone who doesn't consider the B series amps because they think they are lower quality are missing out on some great amps. As far as the Bag End cabs go they are great. Plenty loud but I didn't think I was getting the low end out that I wanted out of the S15-D. If you go with 2 Bag End cabs I would suggest that you put a S15B-D on the bottom and either the S15-D or S12-D on top. The S15B-D is a larger cab that weighs about 60 pounds and has better low end. I have my S15-Ds up for sale locally but i am thinking I might want to hold on to one of them just because they sound so good and are so easy to haul around.
  20. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA
    CB I didn't try using my Ampeg as a preamp only. That will be next. I definately have come to believe that I need more power. I know the B4 has more juice and that would be welcome.

    I think I'm going to try out a BagEnd S15D. Believe it or not I've found one local for $300. You say you weren't getting the lows you wanted out of the S15D. You're the first I've heard say that. But, I'm obviously not getting what I want out of a 4X10 so I guess I'll have to try the Bagend for myself. I agree that the S15D paired with the S12D should make a great combo. The fact that it's two seperate/light pieces should make louding and unloading easier. Reallly as I stated before the speakers just help me hear myself on stage and at practice. Live and in the studio I've always run direct. The Spector with EMG's usually makes the engineer or soundman happy. It has plenty of level.

    As far as upgrading to another Ampeg. I will carefully attempt to audition other amps. I've never had much luck with making a strong decision based on what I've heard in a music store. I usually end up needing to live with the gear for awhile to decide if I like it. I'm thinking about jumping ship and trying the new SWR 750X when it comes out in April. Or I might go with a single space preamp and a PA type power amp approach.


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