questions about Hartke

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kudelabass, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. kudelabass


    Oct 26, 2005
    Hey guys, Are there any Hartke users out there? They don't seem to be very popular. I don't know why. I have a 10 year old 5000 top and 4.5xl cabinet. The thing slams. I'm curious for your thoughts. Thanks Kudelabass
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yes, Hartke gear seems despised and underrated on TB. Don't know why. I've heard they have had some reliability concerns, but my stuff's been good so far. The other reasons could be..

    * People don't like the ali drivers... but see next point...
    * The cheaper cabs with paper drivers apparently aren't too good (Transporter and VX series - haven't tried these, only use the XLs)
    * People just don't like the sound, maybe too "hi-fi", don't get any gritty sort of overdrive from the tube sections of the heads? I dunno.
    * Of course, there's always the possibility that people knock them without having tried them ;) One guy on here was raving about how much he really HATED his old Hartke cab a while back, but he didn't seem able to articulate why he didn't like it, only that "it sucked". :rollno:

    None of these reasons seem universal enough to warrant the bad press they get. I have a 5000 head, 115xl, 2.5xl and 210xl cabs. I also have a 3000 head that I use with the 2.5xl for smaller gigs. It all works great for me, pumps it out loud and very clear with well thought out useable features. I really like the sound for the reasons maybe some people hate it, very clear and uncoloured, what you put in is what you get out. I've had compliments about my sound from other musos and from sound guys. Hartke seems pretty good to me! :bassist:

    EDIT And... just remembered... if you look at reviews of Hartke gear on, say, Harmony Central or the online music stores, most people who've actually bought and used Hartke stuff seem pretty happy with it overall, at least on a par with most other makes. Hmmm...
  3. I have 2 Hartke 4.5xl cabs and so far I have had no problems.

    They do have a slightly edgy tone from the alu, which can easily be eq'd out if you don't like it...

    They are very responsive and punchy (I think the alu has less flex in the cone than normal speakers) and they are very articulate in that they clearly produce every little nuance of your playing.

    I do understand how they might not be everyone's cup of tea when it comes to tone though. They aren't the best cabs if you are into really powerfull full lows, but they are very crisp and tight for slapping.

    My advice: combine a 4.5xl (or 2) with a non alu coned 15 for a better setup...
  4. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Well, Stu Hamm used Hartke for a long time.. Can't be all bad :)
  5. Hartke is good for me - I like to combine a 4.5XL with my Sovtek paper tone 410 cab for my favourite tone. With the brightness of the aluminum cones on the bottom and the solid feel paper cones on top, it seems to best match the tone I hear in my head with my ABM500 running almost flat. With either cab on its own, I seem to have to either boost high mids and highs with the Sovtek, or cut all mids out with the Hartke to get a decent tone. Never had any reliabilty problems with Hartke either, but I have heard that their alu cabs are suspect to damage from sudden changes in heat more so than paper coned cabs.
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hartke amp user here [3000, 5500]. No problems to report! I don't like Hartke cabs though!
  7. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I have an ancient Hartke rig, and I don't really have any complaints. The head's (an old mosfet 3500 model) never failed, and though the cabinet (a 4x10 XL) developed a weird loud resonating farty noise at one point, that was easily fixed.

    At one point, I was getting a little tired of its sound and was considering ditching it for something else, but I'm digging it fine right now.

    It's almost borderline vintage, as far as Hartke gear goes anyway. ;)
  8. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    FWIW: I went with a VX series 4x10 cab b/c I wasn't too fond of the alumin sound, and I've been pretty happy with it. In fact the reason that I went with Hartke for the cab is that I read so much about them when I was in college that I got brainwashed into thinkin that they were IT (this was 1989 and later).

    I've mated it with a BW Peavey 1x15 and powering it with my HA4000 head and I really like the sound of my rig! I have had the head repaired tho, we'll see how it lasts!

  9. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I've been using Hartke stuff for a long time and gig regularly with it. Currently, I have a 3500 head (the older one, not the 3500a) with a 410 + 115 cab and it has been totally reliable and trouble free for me. (I am picking up an Eden D210XLT next week, which I'll use with the head for smaller settings).

    I like Hartke equipment because it's somewhat reasonably priced and has decent features for the price point. It's also relatively lightweight to transport, which at my advancing years is a key consideration. When I bring it into a new gig setting, nobody is looking at it with disgust ... it's got instant name recognition (important to me especially since I'm usually scaring people to death with the basses I use ;) ).

    Hartke is, in my opinion, just plain vanilla type equipment. Nothing exotic, nothing particularly fancy, but absolutely gig worthy and dependable ........ :cool: I kinda like vanilla .... :)
  10. I don't own any Hartke gear but the heads and cabs i've tried instore have always seemed fairly nice and good value for money. I think that Hartke aren't popular here because a lot of users can afford nicer and more expensive gear.
  11. rayzak


    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    My best bud swears by Hartke. A few years back, he bought an all SWR rig and just never was as happy with it as his Hartke stuff. Earlier this year, he bought a Hartke 5500 and an 810XL(aluminum cones), and he's lovin' life again.

    I play through it now and again and think it sounds pretty darn good. Different than my Aggie stuff, but still cool.
  12. threshar


    Jul 30, 2002
    I've got a 5500 head and a vx1508. I love the thing. the sound is super tasty good. I did have a problem where 1 of the 8's started going retarded, but got that fixed up, no thanks to daddy's junky music. Grumble.

    Its got nice hellacious low end and nice POP.
  13. RobertUI

    RobertUI Thumper Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Herndon, VA - NoVa
    Well put! I think that this is why I like my rig so much, the sounds of my basses seem to be the greatest impact on my sound, the amp/speakers are doing what they're supposed to... making me LOUD!
    Killer Of Giants likes this.
  14. Check out the CREAM live at the Royal Albert Hall Cd for a very good example of what kind of sound you can get from a Hartke rig. Jack Bruce is using 2 8X10 And 2 1X15 all aluminum cones and they sound deep and fat with the right bass and a little tone tweeking. :ninja:
  15. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    The only reason Ive never experimented with Hartke is cause I saw the Aerosmith bassist using a huge setup stacked to the ceiling and I didnt want any association. I think its good quality stuff. I dont like the name itself much either. I recently purchased a VXL pedal and its great, on par with more expensive gear even.
  16. I too have a VXL pedal, which was very inexpensive, and sound great on a recent recording we released on a Depeche Mode tribute CD. The output level jump with the shape mod is very annoyong, but otherwise the pedal is great. The tube sim is cool too...
  17. danman


    May 18, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    I used to have a 3500 head. It was great.

    I also think that he professional 2400 is one of the best 2X12 cabs I ever heard.

  18. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I don't care for the Hartke stuff, but I certainly don't mind when someone does! The aluminum cabs are very harsh sounding to my ears. The cheaper paper coned cabs just sound "cheap" for lack of a better term. Not much low end or definition.

    The heads I've tried (several different 3500) have been just what they are. Lower dollar, decent heads. They are certainly gig worthy, but not particularly my sound.
    stevie p likes this.
  19. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I am no longer a Hartke user...I've switched over to GK. But I found the 3500 to be decent. It wasn't filled with a tonne of bells a whistles, but the price was very affordable. Good gigging amp for small/medium sized bars.
  20. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I get a kick out of it every time I read statements like this.

    With large shows, cabs are for stage monitoring. I'll guarantee you can't hear his cabs on that recording at all. Dollars to doughnuts he went through a DI into the board.

    I saw Tony Levin last year with Peter Gabriel. He got great tone with no speakers, through his in-ear monmitors. Sounded great on the live DVD I bought too. Must be the speakers. :smug: