NCD: Avatar

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Neek, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    A few days ago it arrived: an Avatar TB153, well packaged and undamaged. It was a bit of a surprise, since I had not had any communication with Dave of Avatar since the payment was finalized. As I was composing an email to inquire the status of the order, the delivery guy knocked on my door.

    First impression: Wow. I had ordered it with blue tolex, and the color is impressive! The duratex would withstand more abuse for sure, but I baby my cabs enough that the tolex will last long enough. I added a slip cover for a little extra protection while transporting and storing between gigs.

    free image hosting

    Since I didn't know the cab would be arriving last week, I had my amp locked up in the rehearsal space and couldn't get to it till the weekend. That also meant that I wouldn't be able to play with it before my show on Saturday night. I decided to take the risk of running the amp for the first time on stage, but I had my little GK rig in the car as a back up, just in case.

    So I get to the venue, set up in my tiny corner of the stage, and wait in nervous anticipation for the show to start to finally hear what the thing sounds like. First song comes and goes, and I can't really get a good feel of the tone. Between blaring guitars, standing right next to the drummers crash/china, and forgetting my hearing protection, I couldn't hear anything out of the ordinary with the bass. I could definitely feel it kicking behind me, though. At certain points in the set, I could hear what sounded like a faint rattle, or possibly a very crisp fret buzz, I made a mental note to tighten all the screws the next day, and learn how to EQ the amp to tame the sizzling SS roundwounds that the new 3-way had uncovered. But in the moment, it wasn't anything that was ruining the music.

    Buried on stage
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    At the end of the show, my band mates complimented my new gear, saying it was very "crisp". That kind of confirmed my paranoia that the treble was much more open on this cab than on my ampeg 15". So this morning I sit down to play through the amp to get a real idea of what it sounds like. Immediately I notice the previously mentioned fret buzz; but I quickly realize it isn't the fret buzzing, or the tone control on my bass or amp, and it didn't sound like a "rattle" per se (though I will still tighten all screws anyways)... It seems like there is an electric "sizzle" that comes from either the 1" driver or the 6" mid driver. It isn't a constant sizzle, it is intermittent, and it is triggered (sometimes) by playing notes from open A up (standard tuning). I can't EQ it out, and it happens with every one of my bass guitars. Could one of the drivers be damaged? Is there any way to test and be certain which one?

    Hopefully this is an easy problem to fix. The cab is intended to replace my GK MB210/Ampeg SVT-15e rig that I currently use for small/medium gigs.
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I hope it's ok beautiful cab and I think it would have been nice to get an email with tracking number how tough can it be to do that? I also hope someone can offer some advice I was looking at these cabs myself.
  3. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    That almost sounds like a popped solder joint somewhere in the crossover. Pull the jack plate and see if you can spot any loose or broken solder joints. Use a STRONG light and a magnifying glass.

    Could also be a loose "female disconnect" (sorry, that's what they call 'em, lol...) on one of the speaker lugs. Reach in there and check them while you've got the jack plate out.

    If you haven't already tightened the driver screws, do it with the cab lying flat on its back.

    Also make sure the horn driver isn't falling off the horn. I'm pretty sure it's a 2-piece assembly, but I can't remember.

    I'm sure there are other possibilities other folks will come up with.
  4. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    thanks mjac, Dave said it would take a little while to get the cab built, so I wasn't worried or anything; I was going to send the email only because I was curious on the progress.

    Craig.p, I'm a bit intimidated by the thought of troubleshooting any crossover issues on my own, but I appreciate your suggestions. I will open the jack plate and see if anything pops out as an issue, and also check the horn driver. By "female disconnect" do you mean the wire attached to the speaker could be loose? I'll look at that as well once I get back home in the afternoon.

    Before I left, I pulled the front grill off and placed my fingers lightly on the cone as I plucked some strings. the 15" cone was moving as I expected, but when i placed my fingers over the 6 cone, I couldn't feel it moving at all. It vibrated very slightly, but that felt like a result of the 15 speaker vibrating the entire cabinet. Having never owned any speaker enclosure with a 6" mid driver, I do not know if this is normal.
  5. The mid will not move much at all by touch, it doesn't need to, that is the job and need of the 15" woofer.
    Is it an 8 ohm cab so you can try the G-K with it (just in case it is the amp and not the cab)?
  6. does the tweeter have a lpad so u can turn the tweeter off and run it 15/6?
  7. Anybody run one of these with a 100watt tube head? just curious how my 100t will do with it.
  8. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    The cab is 4 ohms, so unfortunately I can't run it with the GK. The SVT-3 is the only amp I have that I can use to power the avatar at the moment. The jack plate has a knob which I assumed was to control the tweeter, but turning it to its extremes didn't make a noticeable difference in the brightness of the bass. Thinking back on it now, I should have turned the tweeter "off" and seen if it affected the sizzling. I will do that when I get home.
  9. You can run it with the G-K but you will have to disconnect the combo speaker.
  10. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    B string, that idea would have never crossed my mind. I didn't know the speakers could be disconnected from the amp. I have the mk1 series combo, if that makes any difference. Either way, I'll add that to the list of things to run through tonight. Thanks!
  11. I don't remember if the MK I was wired internal or not but eight screws and the speaker will come out to disconnect one lead? :)
  12. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    If I understand correctly, breaking the circuit between the speakers and the amp effectively removes the speaker load from the amp? Then I would be free to use the speakon extension cab output on the combo to connect to the Avatar?

    I just got home now, much later and more tired than expected. I will tighten the screws on the speaker rings tonight and tomorrow fool around with the GK amp, and take a peek at the other side of the jack plate.

    I appreciate all your input, fellas. If anyone has any other ideas or insight, shout 'em out!
  13. This is correct and you will be free to use a 4 ohm load on the 400RB.
  14. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    please come back and let us know what you tried and/or what you found if anything in your TB153 cab.

    I bought a new 4 ohm, TB153 from Dave @ Avatar I believe it was in late summer of 2011 IIRC . Anyway, with 8 bass cabs I rotated cabs in a few bands that played different styles. I moslty used the TB cab in a country-rock band using either my Markbass F1 or GB Streamliner 900 head.

    The last time I used this cab Oct of 2012 was with F1 head; in a smallish club at quite moderate volumes. I started hearing distortion from the cab, esp around low A and below. I leaned down and could narrow it coming out of the mid 6" driver area. I turned down and finished the set. But when I tried it with more regular band volume again, it was distorting badly. I finished the nite running my bass directly into PA board.

    The TB153 is sitting here next to me since then. I've not opened it up to see what it might be, I think craig.p suggests might be something I should try as I'm probably out of the warranty period.

    Back when I got this cab I read where some TBers had issues with the xover it their TB cabs. I contacted Dave about this. I did as he asked and I took a picture of the xover in my cab and emailed it to Dave. He confirmed that I did have the older xover some had issues with but that if I was not having any issues now I prolly shouldn't be concerned about replacing mine with the newer xovers others were getting from him.

    When I asked again about possibly getting the newer xover for my cab a Avatar employee replied that I would not notice any benefit from the newer xover tone-wise or other. And since I was not having issues with my current TB cab they said I should keep it as is but to contact them should a problem arise.

    Well as I stated this issue arose in Oct 2012, pretty sure its' past the warranty period. My local speaker repair man stated he could build me a new xover as good or better than one I can order from Avatar and for a few bucks less. I've just not got around to taking it to him.

    Gigs slowed abit after Oct/Nov 2012 and with my other cabs/combos to use, I've not bother to mess with the TB cab. But I think I should first try to see if its just a loose wire or screws in the cab before I go drop it off. I sure dig using this cab and the gigs are picking up again and I'd like to put it back into rotation now.

    So I'll do something with it soon. Just wanted to see if you tried and found anything that was just loose in your cab that I might try to find as well. I may get around to mine this week or next so I'll post back with any results. Please do the same here if you can make time. It is a darn nice cab so hope your's (and mine) is an easy fix. peace, e.
  15. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    ErnieD: I had read about the issues with the older xover when I was doing research prior to purchasing the cab. I figured that since Dave had sent new xovers out to replace the faulty old ones, then those same new xovers would come standard in any orders placed after their release. But I could not help but wonder if maybe the xover in my cab is one of the faulty "old" ones (/paranoid over thinking). Granted, the distortion coming from my cab isn't really bad, but it is bad enough to warrant concern.

    Either way I sent Dave an email today regarding my issue. I figure it would be best to take full advantage of any warranty coverage I have while I can, rather than dive headfirst into troubleshooting electronics that I don't fully understand. But when I get home I will still take a peek at the back of the jack plate/xover/tweeter and see if anything looks wrong (not that I know what "right" would look like :meh:).

    For now I have all the screws tightened, and I'm working on ruling out my SVT-3 as the issue.
  16. mam1862

    mam1862 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Northfield, Ohio
    When I had mine the crossover blew after a few months of use. Dave sent me a new one and it was real easy to replace. It took about a 45 minutes but I took my time as I did not want to do any damage to the speakers. Dave is a real solid guy to deal with.
  17. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    I also spoke to Dave just after I bought my cab and he was very easy to talk with and helpful.

    My cab sounds like the mid 6" driver is torn when you put your ear right up to it. Like a burnt voice coil on any driver. But from all I've read here seems more likely its the xover went bad. First I should open the cab up and check for any loose screws, hanging wires, etc. Then I may call Dave to discuss but a very qualified speaker repair shop in Houston that's been around for years and they've reconed speakers for me in the past may be where I'll end up going.

    I too don't like diggin around inside my cabs no matter how easy it should be. I seem to make those matters worse. So hope OP gets some help from Avatar with his cab and posts back on what the fix was. e.
  18. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    Not much as far as new developments yet. I've been so busy these past few days I don't get much time to sit down and troubleshoot the issue. I checked the connections on the speakers and jack plate, they all seem solid. Double checked that the tweeter wasn't rattling inside the horn assembly, no problem there. The tweeter control on the back works, I can hear the distinct hiss from the 1" driver when I have the tweeter on full and the tone wide open, then turning the knob to disable the tweeter kills the hiss. The crackling/sizzling/sputtering noise persists regardless of whether the tweeter is on or off, which leads me to believe the 6" driver is the culprit. I will be calling Dave at Avatar tomorrow to see what he suggests.
  19. Neek


    Nov 26, 2008
    South Florida
    Finally got a chance to call Avatar today. I spoke to Dave, he was a real nice guy, like mentioned above. We discussed three possible causes of the problem: my amp, a damaged speaker, or an issue with the crossover.

    After talking about the issues (not as briefly as this summary might make it seem) he suggested that it could be a cold solder joint in the crossover. Without hesitation he said he could have a new crossover in the mail on its way to me. As suggested by Dave while I wait for the new crossover to be processed and shipped tomorrow, I plugged in my soldering iron and reheated all the joints on the crossover in my cab to try and fix any bad joints. It is too late to plug in and test out if that solved the problem, but tomorrow I will run the test for sure. If that solved the issue, I will be sure to call Dave and let him know all is well. I figure I have a few hours to test the amp in the morning before the guys at Avatar even start their day due to the time zone difference.

    Needless to say, the help Dave has provided has been great. Emails get replies, phones get answered, I really appreciate the customer service. And I also greatly appreciate all the help from this forum. I'll post back tomorrow with an update.
  20. Cool, waiting to hear how it turns out!