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Should I add a second Berg?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jazzmcs, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    Hey guys. I recently swapped out my Demeter HBP-1 for an Aguilar DB 659. This goes into a Mackie 1400i and a Berg AE410. I made this switch because I wanted a thicker more characteristic pre. The Demeter is a bit too tight and clean for me and therefore gets lost in the mix in the cover bands I play in. With a new set of strings I'd say the DB659 into the AE 410 sounds just about perfect in a tight sounding room. But on the gig in a somewhat muddy room the tone wasn't very articulate or clear and as my strings age (over two weeks old) the tone gets very dull. I learned the Demeter does have the advantage of sounding more articulate and punchy in a muddy room vs the DB659, even though the 659 is certainly thicker. With the 659 on gig I had to crank the highs and mids quite a bit on the pre and my bass to cut through the mix (again there was no lack of thickness the Demeter lacked). One probable reason for cranking the highs and mids is because I have to stand within five feet of my cab at all times so the cab is blowing at my knees (I used to play a much larger rig and had never experianced this issue until the last few months). So in a muddy room, what sounded like the perfect tone in a tight room standing the same distance from the cab, just lost all of its definition. So that's bassically my issue and it seems adding the AE210 on top of the AE410 might fix this problem but I'm just not sure and admit that it may be an overkill. Seems that most everyone up here thinks one would never need anything more than an AE410 for any moderate sized gig. Heck, I'm only playing small bars and I'm considering going bigger, lol. Also, I tried stands for he AE410 on multiple gigs and they all took way too much low end out of my tone. The band really wants to feel the bass on the floor under their feet. So what do you guys think? Should I cough up the big bucks and get the AE210 or should I keep tweaking my tone (man I wish I could make one cab work, argh)? I admit I am a bit frustrated at this point but I know a lot of you have been through this sort of thing before.

    Thanks :)
  2. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hmm... if you still have the demeter, i say fiddle w/ the para EQ. its my goto for the problematic.

    next rehearsal, with the "Q" at noon, boost about +3dB and spin the frequency center knob to find the right sweet spot for your band mix. feel like its not enough, just crank s'more! feel like you're hearing stuff you dont like? cut -3dB, spin the freq knob, and go around again.

    some tips, want a fatter sound? go for a lower freq range, widen the "Q". want more punch? go for a more middle range, narrow the "Q", and go from there. need more air, presence knob. and use the cut/boost knob to taste.

    feelin' boomy? go for the furthest lowest range, use a medium "Q", dial back -3dB's and slowly move up the frequency scale, til you lose that boom. or you could just go for the lowest freq, use the widest "Q", and cut as much as you need.

    feelin' too crispy, same as above, but try anything above 4kHz or so. and especially the presence knob on the demeter. i usually have mine rolled all the way back unless i'm running thru a tweeterless cab, or a super lower middy voiced one, ala ampeg, schroeder, etc.

    course as we all say, playing technique, basses, rooms, bandmates, 4x12 cabs, keyboard amps, didjeridoos, etc. can play a HUGE part in this, so fiddle til you find what works.
  3. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    So you think I should go back to the Demeter and experiment more with the para? I was hoping to stick with the new DB659 since at least in my reheresal space it sounds thicker and more tubey than the Demeter. It was the DB659 that was lacking the articulation in a muddy room rather than the Demeter (well pretty much every bar we gig in is muddy, lol). It sounds incredible with new strings in our well padded rehersal space of course. The problem with the Demeter and the reason why I switched to the Aggy was because the Demeter sounded too thin and lacked character. So yeah, I guess there are three things I can do.

    1. Put the Demeter back in and keep tweaking the tone to get more thickness at gigs.
    2. Keep the Aggy and add another cab to make it easier to hear articulation in muddy rooms.
    3. Just keep tweaking the Aggy and hopefully find a tone that works in muddy rooms with the single AE410. This seems nearly impossible but maybe I am missing something. Remember I did bring up the highs and mids on the Aggy and my bass quite a bit to hear any form of articulation at the last gig. The Demeter does not have this problem (it's problem was very little character and rather thin) though I'm sure even it would benifit from a second cab since the sound would be much closer to my ears.

    What do you think?
  4. RTL

    RTL House Chicken Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Leander, TX
    You can never have enough Berg's.

    End of discussion :D
  5. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    I also want to add that maybe trying the sweep of the para on the Demeter is a good idea even if I add another cab. I have never tried sweeping while playing before but I get it now. Thanks. Although I do not want to add another expensive cab because it seems like an overkill, I do wonder if the hassle and big money would be much appreciated on the gigs?? Having that extra 18" of height from adding the AE210 might have a bigger impact than I think??
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I'm not a big fan of the Demeter pre for the reasons you describe. Nice, pure tone that can get buried in a mix.

    The 659 is a great pre, but is more aggressive and punchy than fat and big sounding to my ear (the Demeter is neither IMO). Unfortunately, the AE410 is also aggressive and punchy, and as often happens, too much of a good thing can sometimes be a problem.

    The AE410 can really benefit from a bit of a cut in the upper mids and a boost way deep down low. However, I remember the 659 having a lot of meat in that bass control, which is exactly the thing the AE410 needs the least of (i.e., upper bass/lower mid boost). Sometimes, that 'inarticulate mud' is too much upper bass in the mix.

    I'm not sure what to tell you with that particular combination. I bet it sounds punchy, a bit growly, and very nice, but if your band is looking for you to put a pillow of low end under them, that's probably not the optimal rig.

    I guess one thing to do is make sure the input gain on the 659 is not cranked too much, since you will start to get that tube compression that will add to your issue. Flatten out the EQ on the 659, make sure your Berg tweeter is cranked up a bit (maybe to noon), and if you have an active EQ on your bass, try boosting the low end there, which might be a little wider and deeper than the 659.

    Just guessing here. I've spend quite a bit of time with the 659 but don't own one. I do gig the AE410 quite a bit, and it takes a bit of EQ power to open up and settle down.

    Good luck! If there is any way you can get your hands on a head like the Carvin B1500 that has huge low end and lot's of EQ control, you can at least test if the AE410 is going to be able to give you the low end plus definition you are looking for. If that doesn't do it, then I would look to a different cab.
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    it probably will, but i've gotten out of the habit of merely telling people, "buy this NOW," and think its best to exhaust everything you can possibly do with your current gear, until the only choice is to spend the bens.

    btw, something to keep in mind is 250Hz range. some engineers like to pull that freq out of the kick drum, to let the bass sit nicer in the mix. try adding a nice push of that freq to your sound. might be a good starting point to find your place in the mix.
  8. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    Thanks guys, Kjung I have wondered if I have the right cab for me. I used to play through an SWR 6x10 and never had problems on stage with thickness or articulation but I was about to kill myself trying to carry that up and down the stairs of my new house now that I have a busy gig schedule. So I went to the AE410 as a light weight one cab solution vs the Epi lightweight cab fearing it would be too thin in the mix. Though, like Jokerjkny said, I do want to exhaust all options before dropping big money on a second Berg or replacement cab, I need to keep to keep in mind that maybe the cab just isn't going to work for me. All I can say is that the SWR 6x10 did work with the Demeter possibly due to its thickness, possibly due to its sizzle, and possible due to the simple fact that it sits closer to my ears. The only other fact is that I am struggling to make the AE410 work with either the Aggy or Demeter pre. Again, maybe its the less sizzly tweeter, the low height of the cab, or just the wrong sound all together. I just don't know at this point. Man I wish I had the money to buy a bunch of these other lightweights because I have really learned that you can't truly tell until you get on the gig in your average muddy room. As you also noted maybe I still don't have the right preamp too, argh, lol. Any other opinions on this matter??
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Hopefully you can make it work. I wouldn't be a big fan of spending the money on the 210. If getting closer to your ear is key, I would just get that AE410 up off the floor about a foot. That would still allow the acoustic coupling with the floor (i.e., not too much low end lost), and would help you hear. I would suggest tilting it back, but that smooth finish and 16" depth doesn't really allow that if you put your rack on top.

    Also, make sure to try the rig in a number of different rooms. Some rooms just suck, and some rigs suck in some rooms. It's just a fact of life.

    If there is any way to borrow just a simple, relatively flat solid state head that puts out 500+ watts into 4ohms (like a GK700RB, a Markbass LMII, etc.), just to try for a set on the gig, that would help you isolate the problem (i.e., is the pre voiced to work against the cab, or do you have the same issue with a wider, more even amp head, which would suggest either a 'hearing issue' with the short cab, or a cab issue)
    Good luck!
  10. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    Hmm, I was considering picking up an LM2 anyways due to curiosity. Are you saying that the LM2 is a wider more open head than my Aggy or Demeter? If so I may just have to try one and return it if it does not work out. Just hard for me to believe that only 500 watts would be enough since I push over a grand right now and it still does not sound clear in most rooms. It would be a dream if I could find something light like that to work with the light AE410. That would make me serioulsy rethink things. What do you think? I noticed there are also the Shuttles??
  11. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    Meant to note in my last post that I played with it up on a 2foot stand for a couple months and seriously missed the deep low end. I also tried with the cab just 6 inches off the floor and the cab sounded rather mid rangely and lacked low end. It seems to only sound full on the floor unfortunately.
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I was really talking about voicing more than power. I don't think the LMII would be enough for you.

    Also, given that you notice the cab being too midrangey even up 12 inches suggests that the very mid present voicing is not for you. You aren't losing that much low end when you do that, you are just hearing more of the midrange that is actually coming out of that cab.

    I tell you what, here's what would be the best test if you can pull it off. It sounds like you have a Guitar Center close by given your 'pickup up an LMII' comment. If they have a Markbass SD800, which is very widely voiced head (deep lows and aggressive upper mids and treble), that would be a good test. That particular head just SCREAMS with the AE410 IMO. It's not going to be warm and tubey like your 659, but that might just be the problem. If there is anyway to try that head with the option of returning it for a refund, that would really tell you a lot. If that doesn't fix your articulation issue, then IMO nothing will with that particular cab.

    Again, just brainstorming. I have very good luck with that cab, but I like it relatively clean, with lots of mid punch in a busy mix. I'm not anchoring a loud trio or anything.

    Also, per an earlier post, I don't think the Epi410UL is your solution at all. I also love that cab, but it's very deep and wide and pure... more 'funk friendly' than 'rock friendly' IMO.
  13. jazzmcs


    Feb 26, 2009
    I'll seriously think that over, thanks man :) Yeah, actually my personal style of music is Funk and Jazz. I like a mix of Marcus, Wooten, and Patitucci so its quite a bit different than my money making bands, lol. So that SWR 6x10 tone was actually more me just way too heavy. I do the cover bands so I can make some money at night. Not too many cats around here to play real funk or fusion with unfortunately.

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