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Slightly distorted sound

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by appler, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. appler

    appler Guest

    Hey, everybody. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I play a Gallien-Krueger 400RB-IV amp into a Bag End S15-D speaker and today, for the first time, I noticed a slightly distorted sound. Is it possible that I'm underpowering the cabinet and I might have damaged the speaker? I've read a bunch of threads on blown speakers and clipping but I'm not clear on what those two scenarios sound like. The sound I'm trying to describe is a very slight distortion... really strong midrange, harsh and unpleasant and not at all like the clean, somewhat thumpy sound I usually go for. Is this what GK and Bag End sound like together? Perhaps I just haven't heard it in a band setting and now that I'm playing by myself I'm hearing new things. Thanks in advance for your help!


    Jun 13, 2005
    it could just be a natrual overdrive. If you turned up the input volume or the bass on the EQ.
  3. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks for the quick response! I usually keep the volume on my passive Jazz bass (Lakland Skyline JO 5) all the way up and the bass at 12:00, if that helps. I wasn't aware that solid-state amps had a natural overdrive; is that the case here? If so, I'm in the market for a new amp.
  4. uly_


    Jul 4, 2005
    Yeah you can get an overdrive-alike sound with a solid state. Just deal in a lot of low frequensies.

    It's of course not the amp you're overdriving, but the speakers who can't handle all the low stuff @ high volume.

    I do not think it's healthy for the speakers in the long run though ;)

    You should consider getting a tube preamp or head if you want some real nice overdrive.

    Edit: just saw that you have your bass knop flat. Well I'm not really sure then, maybe the signal comming from your single coils is goddamn hot? That's just a guess :) Also; do you have a compressor? There's a chance that a heavy string-attack can do just what I wrote before.

    I'm not into GK amps, if they do have some kind of VU Meter, try check out how hot the signal is! I get the exact same "overdrive" on my Ashdown MAG300 when I turn off my compressor because the VU Meter moves into the red field and i'm using a lot of low mids + deep boost.
  5. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks for the info. It is a pretty hot passive bass, but the problem I'm experiencing persists even when I press the '-12dB pad' button. I really do not want an overdriven sound.

    edit: I do dig in when I play... is this the root of my problem? My aggressive right hand technique has never given me trouble with other amps before, though. My strings are set up fairly high, so it's not the strings hitting the pickups or anything like that. Like I said, the EQ is set flat on the amp.
  6. uly_


    Jul 4, 2005
    Wow, that really sounds weird to me..

    It should sound natural to you if at high volume (aggressive string attak) it distorts.

    Does it distort even with a calm right hand? :)

    Edit: And you do remember to use the PASSIVE input on your amp/preamp/compressor, right? Still i'm not into the GK amps so don't know if they've got seperate inputs
  7. appler

    appler Guest

    Yes, but not quite as much. Maybe I should start playing with a lighter touch. I hope this isn't a technique problem. :meh: Can you or anyone else tell me what clipping or a blown speaker would sound like? I'm curious.

    The amp has one input with a -12dB pad button. I tried it both with and without the pad and the sound is the same, just at a different volume. This would lead me to believe that the issue I'm having isn't because I'm playing too hard because with the -12dB pad and a passive bass, there's no way that the signal I'm sending the amp is too hot.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    GK? Remember to keep the 'boost' control all the way down, if you want the cleanest overall sound - that boost control is connected to GK's 'Gate Induced Valve Effect' (G.I.V.E.-technology) circuit, which is made to distort.

    Also: I use the 700RBII, and my passive Peavey can actually cause a bit of clipping-scritch sound if I pop or thump hard with the pad off, and no in-line compression. I really like a little of the boost-distortion for my sound - but not that input stage scritch!

    I run the pad ON, and the pre-volume and boost up pretty-high. For super-clean, you'd want the boost OFF, the pad ON, and the master volume HIGH.

  9. uly_


    Jul 4, 2005
    I don't know, but if:

    • You're playing very light
    • You've tried to cut all low frequensies
    • Setting the amp / bass volume to a moderate level

    And it still distorts, you should really get a tech to first listen to it and see if he can do something about it!

    I have never heard a blown bass cab, but I could imagine that the sound would be really 'hissy' and the low freqs will sound like... like a guitar distortion set at it's maximum, if there will be any low freqs at all :)
  10. appler

    appler Guest

    Thanks, Joe. I'll see if this fixes the problem tomorrow when I can play loudly without waking people up.
  11. Kroy


    Jan 19, 2006
    Edit: What Joe said. :)

    This may or may not be what's happening here but I was in a guitar center just today and playing through an amp to hear it and I noticed it was kinda fuzzing out. A real light distortion kinda like what you're describing. I asked the guy who was helping me out when he came back around if he knew what it was.

    I had the master volume pretty low (like not even 1/4 up) and the boost (gain) was pretty high. He backed off the boost and ran up the volume and it cleaned right up. He said I was probably trying to a boost a really low signal and that's why it was doing that. I'm by no means a gear head so it would've taken me a really long time to figure that out. Anyway, might be worth a try, hope that helps.
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    GK amps do have a built-in overdrive. You can minimize it by turning the master volume way up, boost down, 10 dB pad on the input if needed, then control your volume with the input gain knob. This is counterintuitive compared to how people usually advise setting the pre / post gain controls on a bass amp.

    On my Backline 600 head, I need the input pad even with passive bass. Maybe my pickups are too high.
  13. appler

    appler Guest

    Okay, I just tried messing with those controls. First, I turned the boost all the way down. Then I set the master volume high up and the gain lower. With the pad on, I was unable to get a level of volume that would allow me to play with a band, so I turned it off. The clipping LED never lit up, so I wasn't worried. The sound had been cleaned up but it still seems harsh, especially on the open A, E, and B strings. Do I just not like GK amps? Is my speaker blown? Or is it the aggressive nature of the Bag End cabinet? It's very unlikely that something's broken here. Thanks for all the help, guys. Maybe I need to re-assess my amp and speaker situation. :confused: