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My setup: Not loud enough

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Vorak, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I recently purchased a new head and cab and I've found that I'm not getting enough volume from it. I'm not sure what the problem is but maybe you guys can help.

    The setup is:
    Ampeg B2R 350@4ohm head
    Hartke VX410 Cab

    I can get plenty of volume for small practice areas but I recently took my rig with me to try out for a band and I wasn't able to keep up with the guitarist and drummer. They had to hook up an extra 4x10 cab they had to mine so I could be heard. My question is, do I need a new cabinet? I know the VX's aren't the greatest and if so, what cab should I look at getting? Should I save up some cash and buy a nice 4x10 ampeg cab or is there something else you guys would recommend?

    If anybody has any suggestions please let me know. Thanks!
  2. blackstingray


    Feb 13, 2006
    how loud were they playing? what were your amps settings? is the bass passive? if so did you have the input pad on? is your graphic eq on (if it turns on and off, i don't know because the only amp i've owned with a graphic eq was a hartke ha3500, where you can turn it off)?

    maybe one of those could be the problem? oh, and if you're playing that loud, wear earplugs!
  3. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    What impedemce is your cabinet? - if it is a 8 ohm cab you are not getting 350 watts. You are getting half of that.

    Remember the rule of thumb for bass [because you are moving so much air] is twice the wattage relative to your cabinet. So if you have a 600 watt rated cabinet you need 1000-1200 watts to get the most out of it. Low 'B's and fast transients like slaps and pops require power to create them.

    Do youhave a passive or active bass and depending on that what input do you use - is there a passive/active switch on your amp? Try out both and compare.

    Run your bass hot - volumes 80% and see where you are then

    Another note - everyone rates there equipment differently - this should not be a huge issue but 350 watts is not everyones 350 watts!

  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Well, that isn't the world's most powerful rig, fer shure.

    You can probably help yourself some with EQ. Lower the sliders for the deepest (power-sapping) bass, and lift up some of those mids to help yourself "cut through". A smiley-face EQ is definitely NOT what you want here.

    Under other circumstances, I'd suggest that you ask the rest of the band to turn down a bit, but if you're just trying out, that's probably not an option. Is it a gigging band? If so, do they have a PA? (In other words, would you have PA help when you play out with these guys, or does your rig have to carry the whole load?)

    If the EQ doesn't do the job, then yep, you probably have to think about spending for a more powerful head or a more sensitive cab.

    One other tip: Be careful when they hook up a second cab to your head; make sure they're not putting an (impedance) load on your power amp that's too low for it to handle.
  5. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I play a Schecter Elite 4-string bass (EMG-HZ's). My graphic EQ was turned on and I messed with it a lot. I get plenty of low end bass but the volume just didn't get loud enough. Once we hooked up the second cab (4x10 Behrenger, not sure what model) I cut through like a knife though. That is what leads me to believe that my cab isn't up to par.

    Could the problem be that the amp is 350W @ 4 ohms and only 200W @ 8 ohms while the cab only can handle 400W @ 8 ohms but it can't run at 4 ohms?
  6. Not sure what the specs are on the cabinet, but I found the B2r to be a very quiet 350 watts. Decent head and an ampeg (very reliable) but doesn't have the output you'd expect. Have your buds bring the extra cab for your gigs!.
  7. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Could be a big part of it, yes.

    The cab is what it is. IF it's an 8-ohm cab, then you only get 200 watts from your head. Period.

    If they hooked up a second 8-ohm cab in parallel, you now have a 4-ohm load to the head (8x8/8+8 = 4 ohms). Then you get the full 350 watts, 175 into each cab. And the greater speaker area will boost your volume a LOT.
  8. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Alright, so would you suggest I pick up another cab to turn my half-stack into a full-stack? If so, should I go with another 4x10 cab or say a 1x15 or 2x12 or something? Should I ditch the Hartke 8ohm cab all together and go with one, nicer 4x10 4 ohm cab?
  9. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
  10. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Welcome to every gigging bassist's dilemma.

    This depends on what YOU want.... how much you want to spend, how much you are willing to haul, etc. There certainly are single-cab, 4-ohm solutions to your dilemma (Eden and Schroeder come to mind as two of the most sensitive cabs out there). But, of course, they're not cheap.

    Probably would be cheaper to pick up a second 8-ohm cab, maybe something like a 2x12 Avatar.... but then you have to haul both cabs to be heard. And unless you own an SUV...... :meh:

    It's a decision only you can make, bud. Good luck.
  11. bassplayin


    Dec 5, 2005
    Mids are your friend.

    I'd suggest notching down the lows (40hz-90hz) and some of the low mids, and then boosting slightly in the 700-900hz range as well as around 2k.

    Also, try not to stand close to your amp. While guitar cabinets are very directional and "beamy", bass frequencies require more space to develop. If you stand 10 feet in front of your bass rig, you'll notice that you can hear yourself much more clearly.

    My .02
  12. Vorak


    Dec 6, 2005
    Madison, WI
    That may be the problem I had at the band tryout. We were packed into a really small area and the guitarist had his amp aimed upwards a bit and off the ground.

    Thanks for the help guys. I'm going to try out the EQ suggestions when I get home and look into another cab I think.
  13. amistybleu


    Jan 15, 2006
    Thornton, CO
    you have a 4 ohm amp and a 8 ohm cab:crying:
  14. bassplayin


    Dec 5, 2005
    If the guitar player had his amp off the ground and pointing up, you'd be hardpressed to find any EQ setting that'd work- his/her mids were stepping all over yours!

    A 4ohm cab will certianly help you get the most from your amp, but in the situation you described it really wouldn't have made any difference at all. To double the perceived volume, you have to quadruple the power. The ohm load/power issue really is of little concern- 350w@4ohms or 225w@8ohms- VERY little difference in overall volume. You might get a tiny bit of extra headroom running at 4ohms, but not enough to make any sort of tangible difference in the situation you described.

    There are an insane number of variables that can sabotage ones tone. Adding cabinets and getting the uber-powerful amplifier isn't always the first place to start, contrary to popular belief.

    And don't be afraid to tell the guitar player to turn it down. We're supposed to do that- it's in the bass players handbook!
  15. wolfs


    Jan 18, 2006
    With one guitar player, and it sounds like they're playing a combo of some sort (?), you shouldn't need anything more than a 4x10... tell them to turn down, boost your mids, have them dial the low freqs down a bit in their EQ... plus if you're playing live, your guitarist shouldn't have to use his combo as a monitor, rather projecting it out into the audience. That should help with the stage volume, too.
  16. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Well, yes and no.

    Just a switch to a 4 ohm cab, everything else being equal, won't help very much.

    But a switch to a very sensitive 4 ohm cab (one that puts out more dB/watt) can make a big difference. I have an SVT 3Pro, only a bit more powerful than his B2R, and with several of my cabs, it's lacking in the headroom department. Wouldn't even consider gigging with any of those combinations. But mated to my very sensitive Schroeder, it's more than ample.

    And actually, to double the percieved volume, it's 10x the required power. And that, obviously, would be far more than his current cab can can handle.
  17. bassplayin


    Dec 5, 2005
    Sensitivity and the right ohm load absolutely makes a noticable difference in clarity and response.

    As for the power/perceived volume bit, you are incorrect. This topic has been debated a gazillion time in forums over the years and the clearest explanation I've found for how watts equate to actual volume is located here. The second section, specifically.

    This is good stuff for any musician to know, IMHO.
  18. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000
    The problem is the head actually. Those heads are quite gutless even though they are rated at "350 watts" I had to push one I borrowed into clipping to be heard and my current amp (300tube watts) I can keep up with a 4x12 with the same cab 1x15 cab I used with the Ampeg.
  19. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Your link certainly confirms your numbers.

    I've always gone by the "10dB = twice the perceived volume" equation (which requires 10x power), such as stated in this link:


    If an increase of 6 dB = "twice as loud", then you need 4x power, as you said. If it's 10 dB, you need 10x.

    I suppose "percieved volume" isn't such an exact science.... :smug:
  20. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    I hear 'ya, but tube watts and SS watts really can't be compared.....
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