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Need Advice: how can I warm up my tone?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Aram, Nov 26, 2003.


  1. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Hi all,

    I'm not happy with my tone in my main setup. It is as follows:

    SD Basslines soapbars --> OBP-3 preamp --> Demeter '201s --> Bergantino HT210

    As it stands, it's too bright and glassy...kind of Dave LaRue-ish -- not that there's anything wrong with that tone, i actually like it, but it's not for me.

    What I'm looking for is more of a Steffan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band) / Timmy C (Rage Against the Machine) tone...or at least how they sound on their albums.

    I know I could swap the basslines for some Barts, but that's kind of a costly experiment -- I'd have to sell a used pair of Barts if that didn't work out. Plus, I do like the sensitivity of the Basslines.

    Maybe I should get a new preamp? According the basstasters.com, the Aguilar sounds like the way to go, but damn, it's so expensive, and i think used is a bad idea since the warrantee is non-transferable.

    Is there something I could add to, subtract from or substitute in my signal chain to warm up my sound? Maybe some kind of rackmount unit?

    :help: me please!?

    Thanks in advance,
    Aram
     
  2. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Also, I forgot to mention I find myself rolling off the treble all the way on everything -- the onboard preamp, the demeter and the tweeter on the berg. This gets me a little closer to the tone I like, but I'd rather not have to do that -- I'd rather it just be warmer to begin with.

    Thanks for reading.

    -AC
     
  3. Mike A

    Mike A Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Kentucky
    Consider swapping the Duncan Soapbars for Bartolini.
     
  4. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Just a few quick suggestions...

    Get a cab/cabs without tweeters, if yours have them.

    Change pickups to passive, alnico 5, vintage wound pickups and run the bass in passive mode.

    Add tubes to the mix...an SWR IOD preamp, Aguilar, etc.
     
  5. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I have been rolling off the tweeter on my Bergantino, and I do like that sound...maybe adding a 15" would thicken it up.

    What about a rackmount unit? I have a free rackspace...would a Sansamp do the trick, maybe?

    JPJ -- I'm reluctant to swich out the p'ups, because if I don't like them it's a costly experiment. But it might come to that...

    Any other suggestions?

    -Aram
     
  6. Aussie Mark

    Aussie Mark I come from a land down under Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    Sydney, Oz
    Endorsing Artist: Fender; O'Neill Amps; Cave Passive Pedals
    Flatwound strings is another option. If you are looking for a less bright tone, once you try flatwounds you'll never go back to roundwound strings. Try a set of D'Addario Chromes or TI Jazz Flats and you'll see what I mean.
     
  7. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Tim's tone is from tube heads. I play a Eden WT-800 with tube pre's I get a nice deep thumpy tone. His tone is also dirty, he used two to three ampeg tube heads. One clean, one with distortion, his tone is unique. But if you want to get a deeper softer tone before you start swapping pups and doing drastic things incorprate some tubes and go from there, tubes will 99% of the time improve your tone. Or try one of those tube emulators, sansamps tech21's they are about $150-$200.
     
  8. Fulltone "Fat Boost" (Pedal)
     
  9. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I don't think you're problem is your pickups or your preamp or your strings. I think it that you're only using a 2x10.

    Add another cab and it will be so warm you'll be ripping you're clothes off. A 15 would definitely do it. Even a second 2x10 would help.
     
  10. Agreed. A 2x10 on it's own is not the warmest. In the current age of hi-fi bass amps, I feel that something is being lost. Namely, dirt. I dont mean overdrive, but that slightly gnarly fat warm sound that drew us to bass in the first place. The current obsession with getting bass as clean and precise as possible is anathema to me. I hate it. That's why I play an Eden head. It's fat, warm, never needs EQing (most Eden users run them dead flat) and sounds great in any venue.
    I think your pickups are fine, but I would consider changing your amp setup. I have had both Barts and Duncans on many basses, and currently favour Duncans, but really, in a band situation, the amp and speakers are your main source of your sound, the bass is relatively unimportant.
    To sum up, try adding a 1x15 first. If you need more, try some TI Jazz Flats. If you still dont get it, replace your pre/power amp with a known "fat" amp, such as Eden, GK, Fender Bassman, etc. Avoid "hifi" amps such as SWR, Aguilar etc.
     
  11. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Great advice so far guys -- thanks a lot!

    I guess a 115 will thicken things up nicely...I haven't had the need for more woofer space yet, but regardless, I have been GASsing for a Berg 115. I think it'd make a cool standalone too.

    flats are a good idea, or maybe even nylon tapwounds...I had them on a fretless that I sold, and I loved the sound. They were LaBellas, and they had a nice growl to them. I will try one thing at a time though...first of is to get another cab.

    Other suggestions appreciated as well.

    AC
     
  12. mike mcd

    mike mcd

    Dec 11, 2002
    You could also check out the Electro-Harmonix
    Black Finger for real tube sound as an alternative to one of the more expensive tube preamps.
     
  13. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Something doesn't sound quite right Aram (no pun intended).

    Have you tried another bass through your rig? With the OBP-3, Demeter, you still have to roll the treble completely off on everything? I'd have somebody look inside the bass to make sure everything's wired up properly.

    I personally think the Bergies are a bit too bright, but they're not that bright. With all the trebles rolled off and the tweeter turned off you should be in mud city.

    Do a more thorough troubleshoot by swapping out each piece of gear in the signal chain one at a time before you rush out and buy another cab.
     
  14. mike mcd

    mike mcd

    Dec 11, 2002
    I also meant to add that you should be able to get a warm sound without adding more speakers. More speakers will give you more of whatever your bass and amp already sound like, which for you will be a more of a sound that is not warm enough.
     
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Another thought or two. Do you have a fresh battery in the bass? When you boost or cut the bass control on your bass do you notice any difference at all?
     
  16. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Hey Craig -- interesting point. The bass does sound somewhat bright through my Eden/Acme rig, and through my Carvin combo, and I do prefer the treble rolled off on all three rigs, but I think it's just the combination of the active Basslines and the OPB-3.

    The worst (in terms of brightness) is through the Demeter/Bergantino though. I don't know if anything is technically wrong (though I did buy the Demeter used, so that's definitely a possibility), or if my tastes have just changed: I find I'm digging the hifi sound less and less. I think I'd like something in the middle -- not quite hifi, but not too warm and fuzzy either.

    Another thing I just thought of trying would be the caps that Carey Nordstrand puts in his OBP-3's...aparently they filter out some of the highs, which might be just what the doctor ordered.

    -Aram
     
  17. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    The preamp seems to function pretty well -- I definitely have a fresh battery, and through headphones it sounds pretty darn good (though, again, I do roll off the treble a bit). I find I need very little EQ through headphones however.

    Oh, and I exaggerated a bit in my second post: I don't roll the treble controls off completely...just a lot of the way. That makes it less shrill, but still not warm and full enough IMO. But I have the OBP down like 80% (from flat), and the Demeter down around 65% (from flat) if that makes sense...
     
  18. Aram

    Aram

    Feb 2, 2003
    New York, NY
    Definitely true -- I'll have to check out that Black Finger as well. And a Sansamp...I was just talking to a guitar player that swears by them, and they're pretty inexpensive.
     
  19. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    First, I would agree concerning the mod that Carey does to his basses to "sweeten up" the preamp a bit. I'm having the same done to a couple of the ones that I currently have on order. It should make the NJ4 I should be receiving soon a fantastic fingerstyle bass.

    As far as the possibility of trying a 15" cab, this may help, but it will depend on which 15" you get. In other words, going right back to a "modern" 15 probably wouldn't be the best thing to do. If you are happy with your Bergantino cabs (except for the high end), you might look into their NV line of cabs. The vintage line of Ampeg cabs would also be a good place to start, and you can always go the Fender/Sunn route as well. I'd look for cabs that don't have horns/tweeters in them. I've found that the high-end of an active preamp-clean pickups will generally give you all the highs you need for most styles of playing. By eliminating the horn from the cab, you allow the natural sound of the bass to come through the entire cabinet and won't have to mess with fiddling with crossovers, tweeter levels, etc. Nuthin' beats the simplicity of the ole "plug and play" philosophy...right! :D ;)