Shootout: Tone Hammer vs. Subway vs. Olympic MkIIIS + HxStomp

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by MascisMan, Jun 28, 2019.


  1. Subway Flat

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  2. Subway EQ

    8 vote(s)
    25.8%
  3. Tone Hammer Flat

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  4. Tone Hammer EQ

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
  5. Tone Hammer EQ w/AGS

    8 vote(s)
    25.8%
  6. Olympic Flat

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  7. Olympic EQ

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  8. Olympic EQ w/Low Gain

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  1. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    The stars have aligned and for some odd reason I have found myself with all three of these DI's in my possession at the moment. So...shootout!

    First, the details. The test bass is a Precision Bass with Alder body and Pau Ferro fingerboard. Pickup is a Lollar Overwound hooked up to a GunStreet Wiring Volume Bleed circuit. Strings are fairly new Slinky Roundwounds (100 ga.). Volume and Tone are at 100%.

    For recording I used my HxStomp as an interface going in to Audacity. The Stomp Preset is completely empty and there is no Global EQ (or HPF/LPF) set. Chain goes Bass - DI - Stomp - PC. I am using no compression or EQ alteration within Audacity. All DI's are using their 1/4" (post EQ) outs in to the Stomp. No XLR outs were used.

    Tracks are in order of the bullet points. For the descriptors (if you "pop out" the file to listen):

    "Dry Bass" is the bass running straight in to the Stomp then to the PC



    "Flat" is EQ set flat.
    • Subway - Everything at 12:00. Voicing set to "Flat"
    • Tone Hammer - Everything at 12:00
    • Olympic - Bass at 7:30ish/8, Mid maxed (5:00), Treble all the way left (6:30ish or "off"). "Top" switch neutral. "Cab" switch neutral




    "EQ" is as follows (all unmentioned controls are flat):
    • Subway - Bass at 1:30, Treble at 1:00, Voicing at 9:00, High Mid at 1:00
    • Tone Hammer - Bass at 1:30, Treble at 1:30, Mid at 1:00, Mid Freq at 10:00
    • Olympic - Bass at 12:00, Treble at 9:00
    • For the Tone Hammer "AGS" track, AGS is set to 9:00, Master adjusted for level
    • For the Olympic "Low Gain" track, Gain is to 10:00, Master adjusted for level
    • For the Olympic "High Gain" track, Gain is at 2:00, Master adjusted for level





     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  2. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    I also recorded a series of tracks using my usual Stomp preset going in to the DI's. Really just to see how the DI's flavor would mix with the Stomp preset tone. I can post those as well if people want to hear them. For that test I added an FxLoop block at the end of my preset and then used the Loop to put the DI in effectively making the chain Bass - Stomp Preset - DI - PC. Since the Stomp preset somewhat dominates the tone it doesn't highlight the different DI's as well, but, still interesting to hear the effect.

    One thing I primarily noticed when comparing the DI's head to head is that they are more alike than different. I don't radically tweak EQ from flat usually. Just small boosts and cuts here and there. So for my needs, any minor variances in textures or personality between these three would largely be lost in a full band mix probably. The similarities forced me to look at secondary and tertiary features of the DI's to try and find a "winner." All of them are winners though and would serve just about any one or any gig in my humble opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  3. Yep, exactly my thoughts too. Just minor differences between them, all can sound great together with a good bass.
     
    MascisMan likes this.
  4. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Agree.

    Don't get me wrong. When listening to the EQ'd tracks they do sound different, especially when adding in AGS/more gain (obviously). Just not sure the differences are that radical.
     
  5. Bass_Kiwi

    Bass_Kiwi

    Mar 31, 2012
    Thank you for this shotout.

    Well I´m not sure, if I can feel the tube o SLO. I was expect more warm sound..or is it just me?
     
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  6. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    @Bass_Kiwi I agree to an extent. The "EQ" tracks are pretty clean which means the "Gain" knob on the SLO was down almost all the way. I didn't adjust the gain on the SLO until the "Low Gain" and "High Gain" tracks. I think the tube warmth you are referring to started to rear its head a this point.

    Perhaps I should record a SLO track with the Gain in between the "Clean" and "Low Gain" settings I was using. Around 8-9:00ish...

    I will also mention that when I did the tracks with the Stomp Preset feeding the DI's the tube saturation became more apparent. Im assuming that the signal from the Stomp Preset is fairly hot going in to the SLO giving it some boost in the gain staging. I will post those Stomp tracks a little later so you can see.

    But yes, on the "Flat" and "EQ" (with no gain boost), the "tube warmth" is not very apparent at all.
     
  7. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Maybe I will create some tracks with more radical EQ settings also...
     
  8. Bass_Kiwi

    Bass_Kiwi

    Mar 31, 2012
    With warm I dont mean distortion, but rich harmonics. I have to say a was little disappointed with the sound, but it makes sense, if you say, that the gain knob was almost all the way down. In thread about SLO guys said, that with the gain knob knob under 9 o´clock it sounds sterile.
     
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  9. Bolsyo

    Bolsyo

    Oct 18, 2015
    Norway
    They all sound really good. I preferred the Mesa slightly completely clean, but I always have a touch of drive on. Kinda disappointed by the SLO, was expecting a lot more from it's fabled tube. Overall really happy I went with the Tone Hammer, not to mention that I got it used for half the price of a SLO.
     
  10. Janforth

    Janforth Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    Florida
    Thanks for doing this, very cool to hear, all are excellent, and usable, I chose the Subway flat, but would easily use any of the others.
     
  11. Flavors of goodness.
     
  12. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Appreciated guys!

    I am going to upload the Stomp Preset + DI tracks in a bit also.

    Yes, keep in mind that on the SLO, the Gain was really low in order to create a "clean" tone. From my experience, the tubey-ness doesn't really start to come alive until you turn the Gain knob to around 9:00 and above. I will try to re-record the Oly EQ track and add a little gain (but less than the Low Gain track).
     
  13. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Here are the Stomp + DI tracks. Same settings as above, just with the bass + Stomp preset (which I can provide details on) feeding the DI instead of just the bass.

    Stomp Preset Dry (no DI, straight to PC)



    Stomp Preset to DI's Flat







    Stomp Preset to DI's with EQ





     
  14. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Stomp Preset to TH w/both Flat and EQ + AGS





    Stomp Preset to Olympic w/both Flat and EQ + Low Gain



     
  15. Liam Wald

    Liam Wald Supporting Member

    May 17, 2011
    California Coast
    I really don't see the value in judging the tone of anything through a computer. But that's just me.
     
  16. Bolsyo

    Bolsyo

    Oct 18, 2015
    Norway
    @MascisMan my preferred setting with AGS is gain 9-10:00, mid freq 3:00, mid level 9:00, treble 11:00, bass 1:00.

    AGS seems to add a lot of mids, so scooping them a bit out at 3:00 freq and reducing the treble/presence. AGS interacts with all the other settings, which is explained a bit here: Could an Aguilar Tone Hammer be set to sound like a DG B3K?
     
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  17. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Awesome I'll try it!
     
  18. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Dingwall-Fender-Bergantino-Dunlop-Tech 21-Darkglass-Nordstrand
    Not sure what you mean.

    All music recorded today uses a computer, and the vast majority of the marketplace uses a computer (either desktop/laptop or smart phone) to listen to music as well.
     
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  19. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Love these kinds of side by sides. Thanks for investing the time/energy. The subway took it for me, dug the EQ'd most but the voice in general is more what I go for. I was surprised to see the olympic being more of a pref over the Aguilar...goes to show how perception can sway your opinions.
     
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  20. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Thanks cosmic!

    Did some more testing tonight with the Tone Hammer and Olympic.

    First up, I dialed in @Bolsyo suggestion above. Great link by the way! Learned a lot more about the Tone Hammer.



    Following the suggested link, I also dialed in a "B15-esque" tone as mentioned by @krispn. For this setting I recorded three tracks. Track one is as normal with the aforementioned bass. The other two are with a different bass that has flatwounds on it (as suggested by krispn). The flatwound bass is a P/J of sorts, body is ash, neck is maple. Nordstrand Big Blade in the neck and the "J" is a Nordstrand Zen Blade. Volume and Tone 100%, strings are Slinky Cobalt Flats. Track 2 is just the P and Track 3 is the P and J. I should also mention that I kept the AGS on at around 9:30 for the "B15" tracks.







    The next three I moved over to the Olympic. I grabbed a couple EQ's that others use from the SLO thread. The third is a new EQ I created. First is all controls maxed out, Gain at 9:00, switches neutral. Second one is @scubaduba EQ. On this one I'm unsure if he uses one of the cab emulators, I ran the EQ with no cab simulator though. His settings for roundwounds are as follows, Bass 3:00, Mids 1:00, Treble 9:00, Gain 8:30
    Volume 2:00, Treble switch either neutral or down (-). I ran as neutral. The third is my own. Bass 3:00, Mids 3:00, Treble 9:00, Gain 10:00, Volume 1:00. Basically like scuba's but with a little more mids and gain.





     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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