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Need bass rig help

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FunkyMonk88, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. I'm currently playing on an Ibanez SR305M with active pickups, an awesome fun playing bass, through a GK Backline 600 head, plugged into two GK 4x10 cabs. One an MBX 410 and the other a BLX 410. (Both outdated models I know.)

    I recently upgraded to the 5 string Ibanez and have noticed a lot of muddy sounding lows and too punchy of highs. My old bass had passive pickups so I'm wondering if the -10db pad is one of the problems. (Which I take is the active/passive switch?)

    So my main question is: From what I've been told, the cabs being plugged in together are "underpowering" the Backline head, which I didn't even know there was such a thing. It still sounds "decent" when plugged into one of the cabs and none of the speakers are damaged (yet). I've done plenty of toying around with the tone/volume but I'm a big time slap n' pop kinda guy and the highs aren't pushing through as much as they should compared to the lows. It's not the bass itself because I brought it to my local guitar center and played around on their demo amps and it sounds great. So it has to be a rig problem.

    That being said, if I truly am underpowering the head, I've been thinking of selling both the head and the more outdated BLX 410 cab (since it doesn't come with the horn like the MBX,) and purchasing either a 700RB or 1001RB head to compensate so I have more headroom/tonality to play with without overworking the Backline head, and eventually also getting a GK Neo 115 as a replacement cab for the low end response after buying either bass head. Was looking for some more expert input on this matter as I'm a newbie here on TB and in rig setup in general.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this long ass of a post, but I'm completely lost. Any feedback and advice would be greatly appreciated!

    (PS With the Bi-amp controls on the RB series heads, the MBX cab has a horn but doesn't say anything about the horn being bi-amp like the Neo series cabs do, I don't know if that will cause problems in mix and matching, and if I should just sell the MBX cab as well and start from scratch again.)


    The cabs and head, BLX on top and MBX on bottom
  2. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Where to start! :)

    How are you running the knobs on the bass?

    I owned that MBX cab until very recently. It had a horn in it and a switch in back to turn it on and off. Is it on? Does it work? Mine was pretty quiet compared to the one in my Neo 212. Anyway, if it works you might want to run that cab on top so you can hear it.

    There's no such thing as under-powering your amp.

    Both cabs are 8 ohms, right?

    How are you running the EQ on the amp?

    The GK Neo 115 is a nifty little cab. I'm thinking of picking one up this spring. But it will not have more "low end" than a 410 and it will probably not make a good partner with a 410. Better to use cabinets that are more matched, identical ones if you can manage it.
  3. Aye Karumba!

    If the cabs are both 8 ohm there is no issue.

    "Underpowering" doesn't exist.

    +1 for looking into eq and horn function.
  4. Hey thanks for the quick response, I usually have the master at around 3 o'clock and the level A volume around 11 or 12. (I don't mess with the Overdrive channel on it.)

    The horn switch is there but I've never really touched it so that may or may not be an issue I'll have to mess with.

    If there's no such as underpowering your rig then the guys at my local guitar center are ****** salesmen. The cabs are both 400w @ 8 ohms so plugged in together that should drop to a 4 ohm load if I'm not mistaken. While the head is rated to handle 300w @ 4 ohms and 180 @ 8. So I'm not sure mathematically how much wattage both cabs can put out together in a 4 ohm load.

    As far as the EQ goes I have the treble turned up slightly to around 2 o'clock, any more than that and it sounds like daggers in my ears. With the High/low mids and Bass at around 12 o'clock

    If I shouldn't worry about selling the cabs (they both work great independently,) would you suggest keeping the two cabs because they're pretty much matched? But still upgrade to one of the RB series heads to not overwork the Backline head?
  5. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    This above is better than what I'm going to say. But I might try just using one 410 and get that where you want it, then dial in the other one,and then add them together see what happens. I don't know why you would need two 410's anyway.

    You need to learn more about amps/cabs and how they work before you start changing equipment IMO. Just keep asking questions and people will help you.l

    Anytime you're using different cabs together it's a crap shoot.
  6. I actually usually only play through one cab at home and leave the other at a buddies for band practice. Does one cab not having a horn kind of throw things off a bit when they're both plugged in though? With the backline head there isn't any controls that can affect the horn like with the RB series so I'm just curious as to what I should do here

    Edit: I'm not sure how to really to tell if it's a horn issue as I've never turned it off. It seems to work but don't know how to go about toying with it to see if that's the issue
  7. The BLX is a entry level cab, MBX a good cab but more on the mellow side. If both cabs sound better on their own than combined, one cab maybe "out of phase".If I had your setup the BLX would be on the bottom but not even hooked up (not a fan of BLX cabs).
    You have one decent cab (MBX) although maybe not voiced as you need and one entry level cab (BLX) you need to eliminate first. Work on better cabs before you change heads would be my advise.
  8. Yeah I'm no professional by any means but the MBX is definitely greater. Like you said about the BLX though, that's exactly what the Backline head is comparted to a better bass head. How might mixing a Neo 4x10 in with the MBX work out in your opinion before upgrading heads?
  9. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I was wondering that myself, maybe one of them is wired wrong and is canceling out a bunch of sound from the other.

    About the horn. Try turning the horn on and play some crispy, high notes. Rub your hands on the strings and see how much string noise you get. Then try it with the horn off. You should be able to tell a difference.

    It doesn't matter if both cabs don't have one. Nothing inherently "wrong" with that.

    I think that amp has a contour knob. Are you using it?

    And what about the knobs on your bass? How are they set?
  10. The NEO would be a huge upgrade and also allow you to dial in how much horn you get from the cab (turn the MBX horn off as the NEO has a better quality horn).
    The BL600 is the 400RB IV power amp mated to a different preamp board, so the head quality is there.
  11. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    It's not really the horns, the bigger issue for you is that you're cabs aren't the same.

    You say elsewhere that they work great independantly. 1+1= problem.
  12. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Someone want to walk him through the 9v battery test? I would. If I really knew how to do it. :)
  13. Yea I've fiddled with the contour knob before a bit its set currently around 2 o'clock (im not sure what it does.)
    As far as the horn goes it's a little late to be testing anything out now, I don't want to wake anyone up but I'll look into tomorrow
  14. Would not having the -10db pad pushed in be causing any of this? Is that pretty much the active/passive switch? Also It's got a brand new 9V in there
    Oh and when both cabs are plugged in together I got a lot of "clipping," maybe from the head trying to pump out too much juice, I didn't have this issue before when playing my fender jazz passive. Sorry with 8 years of playing, I'm still learning a lot about the amp side of things
  15. If you hear distortion on hard hit notes you need the -10 switch.
    The battery test is easy: Grab a good 9 volt battery, unplug both cabs, with the now free end of the 1/4" cable touch the battery + to the tip and the - to the metal "sleeve". All speakers should move out away from the back side of the cab. Turn OFF the horn and do the same with the MBX. If the cones on both cabs do not move the same direction (or if some cones don't move as much as others in the same cab) you have a problem cab.
  16. Yeah I do get a lot of distortion when not using the -10db. As far as the battey check goes I appreciate the help. I hope I'm just an idiot and there is no cabinet problems. If anything a Bass head circuitry problem because I get a lot of clipping. The cabs, although different models, are both rated the same so that's why I figured it wouldn't matter much.
  17. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Well, you are technically using an active bass, no? My SR300 and my SR505 both had passive pickups but an active EQ. I never had to run the -10db pad switch with them on my MB500, but ... if I had the EQ knobs maxed I probably would have had to.

    And you still haven't given any info about the knobs on your bass. How are they usually set?
  18. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    You mentioned you are running your input volume at 11 o'clock with a -10db pad. You night try running it without the pad and turning down the knob. It's also a good idea to start with the instrument's active EQ pretty flat. Then you can change the settings on your instrument to get different sounds for different songs.
  19. I'm not sure if the pickups are active or passive then actually, but the bass requires a 9V so I figured they're active. The EQ Knobs might be active then?

    This is how I have the bass head set up usually for the most part, without the -10db pad turned on. As far as the knobs on the actual bass I usually leave those flat. Even with the slightest tweak to the mid or treble boost/cut it makes a big difference, too punch if turned up to high. The big question is why my lows are so low, and my highs aren't high enough, and why it might "clip" so much? (Still not sure what clipping is but I know it has something to do with the signal.) I'm thinking its a bass head issue, but then again that's why I posted this thread.
  20. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Are you sure the battery in your bass is good?

    Try turning down that contour knob. I call it the "disappear" knob, because that's what it does in a mix with a band.

    Basically you're saying that your tone is too bassy, that it has no highs, no "cut" to cut through. Am I right?

    Ditch that contour knob completely. Cut the lows to 10 o'clock. Boost the high mids to 2 o'clock.

    And get back to us on that battery test. I have a feeling something is up there. Especially if these cabs sound great by themselves but horrible together.