My old Hartke = high end gear ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jimfriar, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. I have read lots of threads here about Hartke stuff - both positive and not so positive. I have one of the older 3500 Mosfet heads and a similar era 4.5 XL cab. These were regarded as high end stuff back then. Now I see Hartke stuff selling for next to nothing - and I'm not sure what happened to them - but my rig puts alot of other gear to shame IMHO. I have thought lately about "upgrading" to Ampeg or Eden - but the rigs I have tried aren't any better sounding than mine. What is the real scoop with Hartke ? Does anyone know ?
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I have to say sometimes I think it's just a fashion thing as much as anything else - Hartke gear really doesn't seem to be "in" on TB at the moment. This may be in part down to some of the quality problems that have been reported with newer stuff, although I haven't had any issues with mine (a fault I investigated that I originally thought was my 5000 head's was in fact traced to my V Amp - doh!).

    Whatever the reason, Hartke gear doesn't seem to enjoy the good reputation (on this forum) of some other makes. Seems strange to me, as if the reliability is okay (as mine appears to be) then in terms of sound quality and performance they are as good or better, in my view, than a lot of the other more highly praised gear currently about.

    Once again, it's down to different strokes, I suppose.... but I would advise anyone after a head/cab/entire rig to at least check Hartke out. My rig REALLY kicks ass, handles just about any style or tone I want and I think I got a very good deal.
  3. big evil robot

    big evil robot

    Feb 27, 2005
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Innovations Music - Retailer
    old hartke = kick ***.
    new hartke = suck ***.
  4. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    What would be the kick ass cut off point, I have a Hartke 115xl and to me it kicks ass and it's gotta be about 5+ years old maybe more, I have no idea since I bought it second hand years ago.
  5. acexxxoasis


    Apr 12, 2005
    I would prefer a non biamping head because the 5000 head has too little head room to compete in one of my bands
    but the amp has NEVER let me down the sound is very transperent and clean just distorts way too easily with 8 ohm cabinets. the cabinets are not as good as the heads I think.
  6. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I still don't understand why so many people say this tbh, I'm quite friendly with the bass guy at my local Sound Control (they just bought out the old chain) and he owned a 3500 for 15 years with a 410tp, just upgraded to an ampeg SVT-CL and says that he still finds the Hartke compares well to it. He also thinks that a lot of what people say about the old vs new is just nonsense, I have a 1 year old HA3500, it's done outdoor gigs and indoor venues, never let me down and I love the tone. So I guess I'm a wierdo then. At the age of 15, the bang for buck is extrodinary, I tried everything else I could get hold of for the price and decided on the HA3500 simply because I love the preamp, the eq is great and the contour knobs let me add a little extra kick for slapping.

    Also, don't whine about the fan noise, in gigs it's never noticable, a thermally sensative fan is a possible mod for those who find it intolerable. It sure isn't an amp for those who love ultra warm classic sounds but for someone like me who adores crisp, punchy, finger and slap style it is awesome. Some people say the tone is too harsh, you have a 10 band eq, use it! When I did a side by side with the VX410 and the 410tp I found the aluminium cones are noticibly clearer. I would have a 4.5XL if I had the money.

    Yeah I have to agree with bassybill that it does seem like there is a sheep trend with people slagging off Hartke atm, don't diss it till you tried it. Everyone seems to love Ashdown atm though, here's a story for them. When looking for my amp I was keen to try a MAG 300H, rang my local music store and they said they'd stopped stocking Ashdown because they'd had several blow ups in the heads and Ashdown customer support showed no interest in fixing them. My HA3500 has no problems either, has performed admirably. So please TB, stop being such biggots about Hartke!

    (Please note the above opinion may well be totally biased but is based on the conclusions I drew when buying my amp, it was compared with Behringer Ultrabass, GK (can't remember the model), an SWR working man's and an Ashdown MAG 300h.)

    So yes your amp is high end for sure, fly your hartke flag with pride!
  7. take the logo off and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone complaining about the tone.

  8. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Good call, there aren't many tones that you can't get out of a hartke, only a Trace Elliot 12 band series can surpass the eq. I think Hartke isn't ultra high end like mesa and ampeg but is certainly high end, sure prices are pretty low in America but in Britain a HA3500 will set you back about £350 (after haggling) and the 4.5xl about £400-450. Good price for good gear imo.
  9. It's just my personal opinion, but I've never liked the Hartke sound. A friend's Kickback 15 always sounded really honky in the mids and to get a decent sound that was more "flat" than honky, you'd have to crank the bass and treble. It was weird, especially as I leave my current amp's EQ nearly flat. I've played a number of other Hartke amps and never been particularly impressed, but I've found my sound elsewhere (Eden, actually), so it's all about what works for you.
  10. Fair enough, but what I meant was basically if you had no idea or telltale marks that it was a Hartke, I'm sure you could dial a useable tone out of it.

    I'm making a blanket statement for sure as there's always exceptions...but I've had to make due with some pretty horrible backline rigs in my day, and a Hartke is the least of my worries.

  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK

    +1 again!

    See above.
  12. dood


    Dec 9, 2004
    sitting down,facingforward..UK
    Endorsements: Shuker Guitars, Dingwall Designer Guitars, D'Addario, Planet Waves, Barefaced Bass
    I LOVE my hartke 4.5xl cabs. Really. they sound good to me and can shift lots of air. Unfortunately my back is knackered and I now have to think about lighter gear. I'm selling mine.

    if I had a roadie tho.. I'd buy another 2!!
  13. I actually was running a Hartke HA4000 head pushing a Hartke 2X15 cab along with a Hartke 4X10xl cab on top of it. It sounded great and pushed it fine, but like someone said, Hartke was falling out of style so I picked up an Ampeg SVT4-pro head. I was going to get the matching ampeg 8X10 cab to exchange for my Hartke cab setup, but when I was testing the head against my cab setup and the 8X10 cab, I (and everyone in my band) thought the Hartke cab setup sounded much better than the ampeg speakers.

    So I have been playing the SVT4-pro with the above Hartke cab setup for about a year now and often get praised on my bass sound.
  14. Can't really say I liked my Hartke VX 4 x 10 too much. I keept getting complaints about the audience being able to feel me, but not hear me. That thing couldn't cut through the mix to save its life, which ultimately, it didn't do that either.

    I've tried some of other hartke stuff though, and its not too bad. I'm not a big fan of aluminum drivers and I'm more of a 12" speaker person, so hartke doesn't work out for me.
  15. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Just out of interest, what ya gonna be selling your 4.5xls for, I see you're in uk, I might just be tempted if the price is right and I can be convinced they'll add even more to my 410, I got a spare jack on my back plate, was kinda tempted by a 115 but who knows.

    I have to agree I didn't think much of the VX cabs when I tried them in comparison to the aluminium cones. I know aluminium isn't for everyone but I personally can really dig them. Btw, there is a 12 inch option from hartke:
    It's heavy but full range for sure, worth a try if you can find somewhere to try it out, I've seen positive reviews of every member of the Pro series.
  16. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    That would be a 2.66 ohm load, how did the HA4000 cope being only rated down to 4 ohms?
  17. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I can't comment on the cabs but I own a HA3000 and a HA5500. Both have been reliable and sound good enough for my needs! I have to tell you though, many many cats beat the crap outta their gear! I've seen Ampegs and Aguilars that look like they've been in a war and the use of mismatched cabs/impedances is outta control! I've seen Metal bands kick their stacks over! Some folks here won't admit to handling their gear like that when complaining about reliability issues. It's always 'Brand X sucks'!
  18. I have one of the newer 3500s. I suppose for what I paid for its a pretty nice amp, however I feel like I've outgrown it. It sounds a little on the sterile side, plus its not really as loud as I like, its also fairly noisy. There are many better amps out there.
  19. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I'm going to have to give my $.02 on this matter. I think, after trying a new Hartke with a new cab next to the old Hartake (both I think were 300-350 watt models) in a GC, then switching cabs, I can say that while the cabs they make havn't changed in good quality, their heads sound drastically different. The old one kicked the new ones's ass. As for Ashdown, I love the heads, but the cabs and combos (due to the speaker) are very unreliable. When I had an EVO-II, it sounded great and didn't let me down.
  20. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    I'm sorry but anyone who says that the 3500 is not loud enough is having a laugh or just has no idea how to use the preamp. Let's put it this way, my settings atm are for a nice sound - eq curved up to max at the mid, at +/- 0 at 30hz and 8Khz. The low pass is set to +5. Compression at 5, tube at 10, ss at 0. My bass is set to a bit of boost on the pre but nothing special Master volume is at 1 and my door is producing an irritating rattling noise. At 2 we hear the door contemplating giving up. At 5 our guitarist begs for mercy. At 10 the vibrations fill the room, anything not tied down begins to shake, the sound practically kicks me in the chest and people swear at me from the street, chavs with "pimped sound systems" suddenly seem insignificant. Bearing in mind this is with a single 4x10tp so only 240 watts.

    I admit the solid state pre is pretty poor, tube it up and add some eq and the last thing it'll sound is sterile. You can always swap the tube for added warmth as well. You do realise to get something twice as loud as a HA3500 you will need 3,500 watts, good luck to you on that one, you'd better have a big house if a HA3500 aint loud enough for you. If you have the money for a mesa or an ampeg then of course it's probably a better amp but that just isn't a fair comparison. Even though I know some day I will get a mesa or ampeg or trace tuber, I will never ever sell my Hartke, it is just so felxible.