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Markbass amps in need of a compressor?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by countrybassman, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. I recently tried out some of the Markbass amps (littlemarkIII and Littlemark tube800) with my Sadowsky 5 string with active pickups, and could not set the gain higher than a 1/4 turn with out the clip light coming on with slap playing. Also could not turn the master volume up without the speakers totally bugging out. I really like the tone of these amps at low volume but am afraid if I push them at High volume they will distort. Would adding a compressor solve this problem? Please advise with any comments on this......thanks:confused:
  2. Nope. I play a Sadowsky and slap regularly. My guess is, this is either user error (i.e., cranking the bass control on the Sadowsky) or over aggressive technique (there are a few TBers who play with such super hard technique that they overdrive the MB input, which does not have a 15db pad control... this is probably a 1 in 1000 player situation.

    My Markbass heads are set with the input gain around noon, which is just below the clip indication on hard slaps on the E string. If I crank the bass control on the Sadowsky, of course, not only will the output get hotter (and remember, that's what the gain knob is for, to adjust for different bass output levels), but you will put a lot of stress on any small cab.
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    My J-Retro equipped bass has pretty hot output and still doesn't clip my MB head unless I really push levels way high.

    In the past, I have used a touch of compression (EBS Multi Comp) to level out slap funk stuff a little, but most gigs these days I'm trying to cut down on what I carry and don't bother taking my pedalboard out with me. I find it not too difficult to keep everything pretty even, as long as I take care with the technique.
  4. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    My Peavey Cirrus has remarkably high output with the onboard EQ set flat. I set the input gain on my LMII somewhere 10:00-11:00, but when set there the clip light only comes when vigorously slapping the low B (with the master volume all the way down of course). This is just fine for normal playing, I rarely ever slap on the low B, so it's no problem. With my Fender, which has active pickups in it, I can turn the input gain on the LMII all the way up to 1:00 and have no issues, whether slapping or otherwise, with the input gain being overly sensitive.

    How are you setting the EQ on your Sadowsky? If you are boosting the bass at all, dial it down and start over. You may find that it's better to boost the bass on your amp instead of your bass if your bass has too hot a signal.
  5. I could of had the bass control on the sadowsky up too high.......thanks
  6. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    I guess I may be that 1 in 1000 with my LMIII. I see the clipping light pretty much througout every gig, even though the gain is set usually around 7-9 o'clock. That's with Fralin-equipped passive Jazz, Duncan-Equipped Pbass, and a stock 55-02.

    How does that work anyway? Is it a potential for long-term damage, or is it just a sound issue? Can I run that head clipping the gain all the time?
  7. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Markbass amp + Markbass Compressore = yum . . .

    Just a different opinion . . .
  8. litlock123


    Jul 10, 2009
    i just dig the sound of my bass with compression in general. Just my opinion
  9. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I go straight in to the LMTube with a Rob Allen (gain around 10:00) and the Sadowsky PJ is at about 1:00. No comp, no clip. No bass or treble added on the PJ.
  10. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    When I owned the TA501, I dialed in a little of the built in compressor, just to get the right amount of " squish " on the top end. I also use compression a little in every rig I use, just for this purpose. For the F1, I use a BBE opto comp pedal, which is a very soft knee type, and just the right amount of squish for the F1, imho.
  11. No long term damage, just tone. If you are one of the rare ones that either has an extremely hot output bass, or extreme gorilla technique, then you might need to change to an amp that has a pad feature (i.e., either a 10db or 15 db pad, or a separate padded channel input, usually labeled active).

    That being said, nothing wrong turning the gain down to make sure you aren't overloading the pre. However, if you are still clipping the input with the gain almost off, then yes, you have an unusual combination of extremely aggressive technique and/or a super high output bass.

    I can't quite imagine that, but every once in a while, there is someone who has this problem.
  12. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Well, very good to know there won't be damage. I am sure I don't have unusually high output basses... maybe I should change my stage name to Donkey Kong?
  13. :D I have a couple of buddies with very very aggressive strong right hand technique, and it causes them issues also with a wide variety of gear.

    The good news is, there are plenty of amps with input pads or gain-reduced 'active' inputs that take care of most of these 'hot signal peaks' types of issues. Of course, if you dig tube distortion, that kind of technique can be a positive, since you can nicely overdrive a tube preamp to get that growl and grit!
  14. I've got very good technique and play with a compressor 100% of the time. One of the reasons why I haven't purchased a LMIII is because lack of a built in compressor. That's just me. I slap and pop fairly aggressively and I really like what the compressor doesn't for my sound in particular. BTW, been using onboard and outboard compressors for over 25 yrs, so it's very much so a staple of my sound.:smug:
  15. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    You might like the TA501 , it's got a great compressor.
  16. jasonmasters


    Dec 18, 2008
    My benavente has an 18 volt pre-amp so it's got a pretty hot signal. I Run through two tube compressor pre-amps before going into my amp and I Have the gain around 10 o'clock. it clips like crazy if I dont compress it. I dont imagine this would happen if I had a passive bass or one that only took a single 9-volt
  17. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    I am not really noticing a bad tone too often. I have some trouble making my jazz bass work, but I am thinking it's a speaker issue. The 55-01 killed it for 4 hours straight the other night, including a little slap-work. I think I may have another blown Aguilar 1x12 out of my pair.
  18. Cool, yes I would.:D
  19. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    My LMII won't even clip until about 3 o'clock with my P bass. Even then you really have to beat that bass to clip the amp.
  20. Just FYI, the 18 volt thing does not increase the output of the preamp, but increases the headroom of the preamp. There is no correlation whatsoever between 9 versus 18volt and the level of signal coming out of the bass. Many basses have internal trim pots, and allow you to set the active level to be identical to the passive output of the bass.

    IMO, if a preamp (9 or 18volt) is set extremely hot with no way to trim it back, that is a poor design decision.

    It still blows my mind that people would 'need' compressors to make a live rig work. I can understand using a compressor due to taste (although I can't stand a compressed slap tone myself)... but 'needing' one to keep the input signal from clipping a preamp with the gain set correctly is a strange concept for me.

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