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Markbass died. Only used it for VLE. Similar options?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ianrossbass, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    So... I have a tour beginning in a few days, and right as I was starting rehearsals, the Markbass Ninja I'd been using daily for the past two years decided to kick the bucket in a blaze of acrid-smelling... er, silence. Dead silence.
    Not having time to shop around, I dragged my Bassman 800 rig out of studio retirement to get me through this upcoming engagement. I think it sounds fantastic, but my tone comes from my pedalboard, and I was simply using the Markbass for stage volume and the glorious, life-changing, can't-live-without-it VLE control, sending a polished signal to my ears and FOH.
    Tonally, the Bassman kinda smokes the Markbass in terms of dialing a sound up at the amp, but as I've explained, that's not what I'm doing, and at the moment, I sure miss some sort of dead simple LPF; I now can't get rid of the fizz from my distortions without affecting the upper mids somewhat. The Bassman is also irritating to transport, requiring a heavy vintage-style road case for a tour. It sure looks great, though! Except this artist puts LED screens in front of the backline, so that doesn't matter.

    All that to ask, what are my options for loud and dead simple but with that LPF type of control I am now obsessed with having? The Quilter Bass Block 800 looks extremely appealing but I read one user's post on here claiming the high contour knob had the effect I'm looking to avoid of cutting too broadly down into the 6k or lower range. Maybe some others of you can either confirm or deny... or recommend me one or twenty two or eighty seven different amps to check out. Perhaps I just need a power amp and a cab simulator/LPF in a pedal. I used to use a Markbass Super Booster (with tone controls) but it fried itself earlier this year, in the midst of a show. Needless to say, I'm a bit over the brand at this point. Just fishing for some opinions on my best options.
  2. Why don't you buy another Markbass head? Like the Little Mark or the Big Bang? I think all their models have that filter
    Chrisk-K and Jazzish like this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Broughton HPF/LPF might do it for you. Paging @JimmyM
  4. kasbrey


    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    The Zoom B3n has a Minimark amp sim which is basically just the Super Booster. The Quilter contour control works well for me to achieve a similar effect but you would have to try one to see if it met your requirements.
  5. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Yeah, it's standard in their stuff except perhaps for the new MM line, which seems slightly different. I have no complaints about the sound of Markbass products, but when I've only owned two of them and they both died within two years whereas I previously used the same Ampeg 4pro rig for exactly a decade with not one issue to speak of, I'm (I would hope) understandably wary of being burned again.
    I have the MultiStomp, so I've messed around with that model and thought it sounded as good as anything in that unit... which is to say it's the right effect but I don't think the unit sounds great as a whole; the conversion is really unpleasant to my ear. In fact, it put me off anything digital until I decided to try an MS-3 at the beginning of this year. I can use an EQ in one of my FX on the MS-3 to bring in an LPF, which I used on a fly date recently with a 4pro as backline, but to my immense frustration, the global EQ section doesn't include either the LPF or HPF. ***? :D
    Good to hear one mark for the Quilter. Thanks for the input.
    javi_bassist likes this.
  6. kasbrey


    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    The Zoom B3n is quite a step up in sound quality from my MS60b especially if you keep it simple by sticking to one or two effects in a patch. There's dedicated LPF and HPF effects in there too.
    Alik likes this.
  7. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Sorry to hear about the short life of two Markbass heads. I have owned (and used) an LMII for many years, with good results, and just like you, I love the VLE knob. Super convenient when an "old school" tone is needed for a song or two.

    I was VERY close to getting the 1000W Ninja as an addition to the stable, but I will go the EBS Reidmar 750 route instead.

    Good luck!
  8. BogeyBass

    BogeyBass Inactive Suspended

    Sep 14, 2010
    Depends on the cab your using

    And how much gain, or how heavy the distortion is.

    Fizzle sizzle comes from the top end above 3 to 5 k

    Also when using massive amounts of gain there is alot of emphasis in the hi mids from so many gain stages.

    People often call it a metal scoop.
    Using a scoop for normal tone sounds horrible. With extremely high gain distortion its not really a scoop. it's a slight cut to de emphasis all the boosted hi mids from gain. And if done right a slight cut or variable filter will find the sweet spot.

    That's for mid sizzle

    High end sizzle for bass can be cut as low as 3 to 4k but around 5k is good balance
    For not being to murky

    I've been cleaning up old school fuzz pedals for bass with guitar multi band EQs cause the high bands are high enough to do a hard cut at 6.4 k and then either do slight boost or cut at 3k for clarity.

    Likewise not scooping but slight cuts in 400 or 800 will clean up mid fizzle.

    Likewise for clarity or clean up the 1.6 k
    And 3k bands can be slightly cut or slightly boosted for clarity.

    Anyways good old boss GE7
    Expensive sorta. People like to throw little snobby fits soon as you mention Behringer. But literally exact same pedal for 24 bucks...all done

    I build my own distortion pedals now and all my designs include a 5k 4 pole LP filter and a little Q at cutoff for presence. Fizzle sizzle auto cleanup built in
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
    jeff7bass likes this.
  9. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Thanks for the detailed response. I find I can actually go as low as 5k with an LPF and still get enough of what I want, but if the EQ is a shelving type it becomes too drastic. I used to use an MXR EQ on my board to do some similar cleanup to what you describe, but I have slightly different preferences as far as midrange boosts and cuts. I stick with a pretty mid forward tone in the 500-800 region and don't find myself needing to do much except back it off or boost it back up when going from gig to gig. The only worry I have at the moment are the extreme high frequencies. It's definitely possible that, as one of the previous posters said, what I want is just the custom built LPF pedal. I remember bookmarking that thread a few years ago now but it didn't seem like a necessity at the time because the Markbass gear was fulfilling my needs.
  10. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    bafonso and StrangerDanger like this.
  11. Bobbylon


    Dec 17, 2012
    Charleston, SC
    Do you own or have access to a separate power amp? You could just use your markbass as a preamp (assuming the problem with the markbass is the power section)
  12. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
  13. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.
    VLE= Passive Tone Control wired backwards so as you turn the knob up the highs cut. Pretty easy to replicate with the right value pot and cap.
    matante and ianrossbass like this.
  14. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Thanks for linking. The standalone LPF would do me fine, especially since it seems designed to be mounted on the underside of a board if need be. I can see the benefits of having the dual unit and freeing up some space below 30 or 40hz, though.
    Since I'm out of warranty, I've confined it to a rack in my studio. Indeed, the preamp still works, so at least it's not a total write-off.
    As I said, been down that road. I loved that pedal right up until it started crapping out and I paid to have it repaired at a trustworthy rehearsal and rental place here in LA only to have it crap out for good at soundcheck on the first day of the next tour! The Broughton HPF/LPF is an even better alternative in my book because I would never use the Markbass VPF filter.
  15. BaZZZZZ


    Sep 16, 2015
    No... In markbass VLE is active filter with a sharp and variable cut-off frequency... It reminds Alembic variable filter (I have it, if you intetested). And Markbass VLE and Vpf can be made like onboard pre on one stack pot.
    agedhorse and ianrossbass like this.
  16. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.

    My ears say its same as passive tone control active or not. Has same affect.
  17. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Okay, let me try to shift the focus away from the tone shaping aspect of my question and back to the stage amplification part. If I were looking to go with a class D power amp instead of a class D bass specific amp, is there a particular model that stands out in the 800-1000w range (my current cabs being Markbass NY Ninja 122 and Fender Bassman 610 Neo?)
  18. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    the nice thing about the unit with both filters is that there's a ton of clean gain if you need it
    ianrossbass likes this.
  19. kasbrey


    Aug 23, 2002
    York UK
    The Quilter. XLR in and has a bonus preamp that is very high quality.
  20. Red Planet

    Red Planet Inactive

    May 29, 2005
    I'm cranky in my old age.

    QSC PLX1804 very light very powerful 900 watts x2 @ 4 ohms will not bridge

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