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No Love For My Tone - Rig Overhaul?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IndyBass, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. IndyBass


    Jun 11, 2005
    Central Indiana
    My rig (Spector/SSD NS basses + SM-900 + Eden XLT cabs) has remained unchanged since the 94-95 time frame. I've been away from playing for a while, but now that I'm in a band again, I seem to be hearing the rig with new ears. I think my tastes/needs have changed, and my rig doesn't seem to satisfy me anymore.

    I'm looking for a warmer midrange punch with good live mix penetration, but I can't seem to get there. I can get different tones at the bass by changing technique and pickup blend, but I've never mastered the extensive tone section of the SM-900. I'm fully aware that mids are key, and I'm not one to just "crank the bass". I know what impact that has on my headroom and available power. I tend to run things flat.

    I wonder if I really have the building blocks of the tone I seek, and should continue to explore (wrestle with?) EQing options with my current gear. Or is there one compenent in the signal chain (bass or head or cabs) that I could replace that would get me closer to home?

    I've made good use of the TB "search" function over the last few months. A lot has changed in bass gear in the last decade, and it is tempting to let GAS take over and make sloppy substitutions, but I can't afford a lot of trial-and-error in this regard.

    I can try out specific pieces of gear in the stores, but I'm curious if you all think that one component in the chain has a more fundamental impact than all the others, and should be targeted first.

    I'm looking to avoid a complete rig overhaul if I can, but the tone must be found! I play primarily five-string in a "modern rock" band with two guitars and drums. I'm a fingerstyle groove player. Very little pick playing, and no slap.

  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I never really thought the voicing of the SWR line of heads fit the voicing of the EdenXLT line very well, and the 900 is not very 'plug and play'.

    Are you using two 8ohm XLT's for a total 4ohm load? If so, you might want to try the new EdenWT550. It's small, powerful, is very 'plug and play', has an inherent, warm mid voicing, and not surprisingly lines up very well tone-wise with the Eden line of cabs, especially the XLT's IMO.

    If you need the big wump, the new Eden800(b) puts out 1000 watts RMS into a 4ohm load bridged.

    Selling your 900 would get you about 60% or more of the discounted price of a new WT550.
  3. IndyBass


    Jun 11, 2005
    Central Indiana
    My XLT's are both the 4-ohm version. When I use both cabs (which is not always), I hang one off each side of the 900.

    Yeah, I read the phrase "plug and play" more and more often regarding bass gear. I guess that's what I'm after - more usable tones with less fiddling.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    The good news is, the WT550 can operate safely into a 2ohm load mono... so that's still a good call IMO... very warm, punchy and simple... just tweak the enhance a touch... maybe add a small amount of bass and let 'er rip!
  5. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    You may also want to consider Genz Benz. I find that its a good balance between the warmness of Eden and the clarity of GK. Their amps can also safely operate at a 2 ohm load.
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I am kind of going through the same thing. I have had my same Ampeg rig (SVT4 PRo + SVT410HLF) for quite some time, and I am looking for something different.

    My suggestion would be to keep the Eden cabs and get rid of the SWR head. Pick up an Eden WT800 head to go with them. Much less "sterile" sounding than the SM900, IMHO.
  7. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002

    +1. It sounds like a WT550 is exactly what you need.
  8. IndyBass


    Jun 11, 2005
    Central Indiana
    Thanks. So the early consensus seems to be that the head (or the pre, more specifically) is the long pole in the tent when thinking of the fundamental character of the tone, yes?

    Any other suggestions? Would any other heads (or pre's) cut through nicely with my XLT's (I have the 2x10 and the 2x12, btw)? I appreciate the help.
  9. I guess I went through the same thing awhile back. I say go tube amp; 400+, SVT, et al.
  10. i have read, and to a lesser degree found, that schroeder cabs make ANY amp sound much better, and cut like a knife in the mix.
    they come alive/sound better in a live band setting more so that alone IMO.....

  11. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    I like this guy! :p

    Genz-Benz is almost as warm as Eden, with an equally great EQ. But it's a just a bit more uncolored, more natural. Comparing Edens to my Genz-Benz, the Eden tend to go just a half-step too far (to me, the Genz takes it a couple steps beyond Gallien-Krueger and just a little bit short of reaching Eden).

    They're worth considering. The GBE600 has a tube pre that is blendable with the FET, and gives out a little bit more power. The other bonus is better L.F. Extend/Mid Scoop/H.F. Attack - with the GBE600, you can control how much (as opposed to the either ON or OFF of the GBE400) to get it exactly how you want. The GBE600 also comes with a 2-button footswitch (channel selector) with a 4-button option footswitch (the three controls I just mentioned, plus a mute) - the GBE400 is not footswitch-capable.
  12. DAcat

    DAcat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    I will tell you from my personal experience that the "Sterile sound of an SWR 350" suddenly came alive when paired with a Schroeder 410 cabinet...I've since tried that cab with about 6 different amps and every amp was louder,and had far better tone than I'd ever heard from it before...and when played with the band ,the impact was even more noticable-the bass notes are clearly heard and the Schroeder design is probably responsible for the way the cabs project the bass frequencies in a way that they "cut through the mix" so well in live situations...try one if you can with your SWR900 head(a Schroeder 1212 cab handles about 800 watts,a 1210 about 750 watts,and a 410 handles 1400 watts!) ...I think its very likely that a single Schroeder 410 (or maybe even a 1210)cab would be as loud as both of your Eden cabs ....(you could probably sell your two eden cabs for about as much as it would take to buy one of the above mentioned Schoeder cabs) and it would IMHO,be easier to haul around and, give you far better tone...but only your ears can say if that is so ... ;)
  13. murphy


    May 5, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    I totally agree that you would be satisfied with Genz Benz bigger amps GBE 600 or the mighty and heavy 1200.
    or high power Eden heads.

    Another cheaper option might be to get a different preamp and just run it through the poweramp section of your SWR.
    I use an ART tubeEQ as a preamp that sounds alot like my Eden WT800 pre.
    Is light ,1/2 rack space and cheap!! :p
    Also try and use your power amp bridged for better overhead
    So many great options, but easily solved
    Good luck

    One more thing :rolleyes: Have you tried a sansamp bassdriver DI for grit?...they are way cool :bassist:
  14. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Yep. The WT800b would ge a great choice here.
  15. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    +1 - Instant cure for sterility.... :cool:
  16. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    The Eden stuff will be a really great match for his cabs, and I would hardly call the Eden stuff sterile. In fact, it's gonna be pretty similar to the mesa stuff, though it won't overdrive and grind like an svt...
  17. Do you like the actual sound of your basses?

    Play them through a high quality stereo system, or one of those practice pods with good headphones. I find this very revealing for the tone of my instruments.

    Borrow a good quality wireless, and hear what you sound like from the audience position.

    Bass amps and cabs are all about coloration. I play an SWR IOD and power amp, which is pretty much a straight-wire preamp arrangment with no coloration. The opposite end of the spectrum is Ampeg, and probably Eden, which I understand are highly colored. That is the personal preference part you will have to decide.

    My JBL drivers are highly colored. I'd assign them Bright Yellow if trying to make a text description. They are very different sounding than my reference speaker system, which is very uncolored. I don't care for the solo JBL coloration, and never hear it in a live mix.

    Amp/cab coloration in the mix is much different from solo. Rigs that suck when solo are often glorious in a mix.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I was going to suggest the Thunderfunk amp. I think every TF review I've read has included the terms "thick" and "punchy", and that matches my experience as well.

    But as bgavin said, maybe it's your basses. Instead of running flat, try changing EQ settings. I'll also echo his comment that it's critical to get good tone in the mix. A common mistake is to get great solo tone and then wonder why it doesn't work in the mix.
  19. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    As much as I love my TF... if you read the previous posts, he has two 4ohm cabs... so the TF won't work. All the recommendations for either the WT550 or WT800(b) seem to be where he needs to go..... lots of power, warmer sound, and more plug and play than the 900... which is what he's after. Also, in the spirit of his request for 'minimum changes', the Eden heads just sound great with Eden cabs... which is what he has :)
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My bad... I should've remembered that the TF won't do 2 ohms.

    I will put in an obligatory mention of pre/power setup. Many amps these days put lots'o'watts into 4 ohms/channel. Some of them are lightweight, which is nice...

    Pre/power is a little trickier to set up than consolidated head, but the advantage is modularity: e.g., once you find the right amp, you'll be able to swap out the preamp if you decide you want a change of pace. I own a few preamps: clean and dirty, tube and solid state... and enjoy swapping them to suit my mood and/or the style of music I'm playing.

    There are many advantages and disadvantages to rack systems (do a search here), but modularity is the great advantage IMO. Just one more thing to consider. :p