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Smaller cab advice for Hartke 3500 TA

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ArtyMorty, Oct 11, 2019 at 7:11 PM.


  1. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Hi,
    I recently joined a rock band again after being a studio musician for the past 10 years. I bought my live rig back in the 90's and it still works great but I'd like a setup for smaller to medium gigs.

    I'm out of the loop concerning today's offerings. My current rig is a Hartke 3500 TA head with a Genz Benz GB215 both in great condition. I replaced the fan inside the Hartke so its quiet now. I was thinking the simplest and cheapest solution would be to buy a smaller cab to pair with the Hartke for smaller gigs. But, technology has advanced in recent years and I'm not sure if this is the best option.

    Another idea is to just sell my entire rig or just the Genz Benz and buy 2 smaller cabs and pair them up for larger shows or buy a combo/Amp setup and add a second cab to that when needed. I'd like to keep this under $500.00 unless I sell my whole rig of course.

    Our drummer is very dynamic and plays pretty loud. Our guitarist uses Marshall combo amps - 1 or 2 depending on the gig. Everything gets mic'd through a mixer to a Yamaha PA system which includes wedges. I'm a dynamic finger player and hit the strings hard during heavy parts. I use a SanSamp Bass driver ahead of my rig and the Di/XLR out will go to the PA depending on the gig.

    Do any of you own a Hartke 3500 TA and have a favorite smaller cab you use with it?
    Am I wasting my time and need to ditch the Hartke?

    Thanks.
     
  2. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    That's a nice rig. Nicely matched head and cab. The amp has 350w at 4 Ohms and the 4 Ohm cab is rated for 300w. Not too shabby.

    My concern is that you're not packing enough watts to keep up with the kind of rock ensemble you're describing. The cab isn't too bad. It's so large, though. Not gonna fit that in the back seat of your Prius. You might be better off with a pair of 8 Ohm 210 or 212 cabs. And get an amp that'll make at least 500w at 4 Ohms. I would.
     
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  3. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Thanks Scott . I'd rather lug around a smaller lighter and more powerful setup for sure. I've been looking at combo amps like the Fender Rumble series and see the great reviews, but I think I'd rather do something like an Ampeg PF500 or GKMB500 head and cabs with the specs you mentioned. I'll dig around the TB forums for more info.
     
  4. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I wouldn't buy a combo amp. Not for my main rig, anyway. Also, I have owned the GK MB500. Played it for years. A couple of years ago I traded it even up for the Ampeg PF-500. They're both nice. The Ampeg is bigger and heavier and sounds darker and more retro. The GK is light and sounds very hi fi. I think I prefer the Ampeg. Matter of taste I guess.
     
  5. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    If I choose the Ampeg I wonder how it will pair with my SansAmp BDDI. I use the SansAmp mostly to emulate an SVT(ish) tone paired my Hartke so I wonder if by using it with the PF500 it will sound like a muddy mess.

    Can adjusting the PF500 controls result in a driven SVT tone?

    I see that you use multiple cabs. Which is your favorite to use with the PF500?

    Thanks.
     
  6. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I don't know the answer, but I think you're wise to ask it. Me, I tried hard to love SansAmp stuff. I burned through at least three of their products in the past. Problem is when I plugged them into my stuff they just had too much baked-in coloration. I think the real issue is that I was trying to use it as a dirt box in front of my amp when it's really supposed to be use as a cab sim direct to a PA. Sans amp. Know what I mean?

    I've only ever used my Ampeg once! And that was just a couple of months ago. It's my back up amp/alternate rig. Plus I have it out on loan to a friend right now. The one time I did use it I was playing the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Big boomy room. I was also testing out for the first time my Peavey Headliner 112 cab. That was the whole rig. Together they sounded deep and dark. Definitely not clanky or hifi. And they carried the room well. I expect it would be amazing on my GK Neo 115-III cabs. They're a little thin on the low end to begin with. The Ampeg might kill on those.
     
    ArtyMorty likes this.
  7. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    You might want to watch this.

     
    ArtyMorty likes this.
  8. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Your input is much appreciated. Our gigs consist of festivals, breweries and some Art galleries. I don't think there are any small/bar gigs on the schedule. I looked up the GK Neo 115-III and I like the specs and reviews but I'd only be able to afford one for now at that price. The Peavey is low priced but I do like a little clank and sizzle when I dig in or if I want to add a little distortion.
     
  9. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Will Do!
    thanks.
     
  10. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Wow I wouldn't even need my SansAmp pedal with a PF head it seems. I see that Asheville's GC has them in stock so I'll go check one out. I'll include some Ampeg cabs in the test too I guess. You've been a big help Scott!
     
  11. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit SUSPENDED

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    I'll chip in here; IF...you go the combo route, try to find a Mesa Venture. They come in a variety of flavors, speaker-wise. The one I played for years was 600W, 4 ohm, with 2x12's. I nicknamed it the mini-fridge, if you catch the reference. It not only kept up with our drummer, I could almost bury him!

    It is capable of a lot of different tones, has a very pro-level set of features, & can get LOUD. Mesa hasn't made them in awhile, but it is one of the few perfect combo amps ever made. Take it from a self-proclaimed combo addict (SWR, Eden, Mesa, Fender, Trace, Ashdown, Genz Benz...) If I could only have one, it'd be the Venture.
     
    ArtyMorty likes this.
  12. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Glad to help. And these are just my opinions. Others no doubt think differently about some of these things.

    I think once you get enough watts in your amp (500 at 4 Ohms or more), you gotta have the right speaker cab(s). If, for example, you just used your new amp to drive the old Genz Benz GB215, you might be pushing it to keep up with the band you're describing. It's a good 4 Ohm cab and no doubt has quality drivers. But two speakers, even if they are 15s, might not leave you much headroom in that group.

    The other problem is that the Genz Benz is too large to carry around. So how do you solve the problem of needing more speakers that are still easy to carry? Two cabs, that's how.

    A 210 or a 212 cab is going to be smaller and easier to maneuver than that 215 cab. Then just get a second one. Now you've doubled your drivers from two to four and cut down on the backbreaking carries. Just make sure you get a pair of cabs that are exactly identical, or very close to it. Pay especially close attention to the power handling rating. They should be exact or close.
     
    ArtyMorty likes this.
  13. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    will you always have FOH support?

    like scottfeldstein, i think that won't be enough rig. i had a 600 watt head with a 1x18 cab, and it wasn't enough to hear myself with a dynamic drummer and loud guitar player. i mean, literally you couldn't hear me - my bandmates complained about it all the time. i added more cabs and 400 more watts, and that made a difference.
     
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  14. As much as I have a soft spot in my heart for the ha3500, I did pretty much all of my heavy gigging with one, it was barely hanging on going into 2 4x10s against a hard hitting drummer and a full stack. Plus side, one gig I sheared all of the knobs but the volume knob and a few sliders off, so it was quite literally set and forget! I've moved on to a darkglass m900 but they do make a 500 watt version. I've found that they Have the perfect blend of vintage and modern tones and everything in between. Rock solid amps!
     
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  15. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    I looked up these combos and they look durable. Those are wicked grills! Thanks for the heads up. I'm pretty convinced to go modular at this point but you've opened my eyes to more possibilities. I wonder how many beers fit in one of those. :)
     
  16. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit SUSPENDED

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    THAT is correct!
    Many...:D
    You're welcome! You're also right...probably better to go modular.
    ...as are these...as in horrible... 50aa9b1e3e51a24b1b153d40d0b6b244.1000x988x1.

    B4yXz3J0NCC_iuCj.


    ...I...just...don't...get it...
     
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  17. Did you ever get yours "upgraded" from MOSFET to JFET? Hope not.

    That head is good enough for a loud rock band. I've had a 3500 MOSFET TA amp for 20 years and it's always outperformed its rating. It's a very loud amp. It's not the same as the HA3500. I suppose the power supply was re-designed for the HA and it doesn't have the same feel or immediacy that the MOSFET TA version had. But it WAS made to be safer... ;-)

    It's the amount of speaker that will limit you more than anything else. Get a pair of relatively efficient, modern cabs (like something from the Mesa Subway series) and you should be good to go if you want to keep using that amp.

    Also, I recommend changing out the old Sovtek tube to a JJ - it opened up what was otherwise a stuffy sounding tube channel if you want to use both preamps.
     
  18. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    Yes I'll have FOH support for medium to large shows. The band owns a large PA/Mixer system. Wow so you had to up your watts as well. Maybe I should consider a higher wattage amp like the PF-800 in case I have to add more cabs. I'm going to keep my Hartke/Genz Benz setup but I'm not sure I can integrate it with a PF-500 rig for a large show if I had to last minute. Thanks.
     
  19. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    That's a perfect description of how the tube channel sounds lol. I put the JJ on my "to buy" list. Thanks.
    I used this setup in a loud 3 piece Alternative Rock/Grunge band in the 90's and it was loud. The guitarist used a full Marshall stack and my rig kept up no problem but we always had FOH support. On stage the balance was awesome. I'm pretty much in the same situation now but I didn't want to carry that huge cab around to smaller shows. I think what I might do is buy the cabs first and go from there. Good to hear that yours has lasted all these years. Mine was only gigged for about 5 years total and stored in an SKB till now - its in great shape.

    Edit. Oh I forgot to answer your question. I've never changed anything inside the amp. I bought it new in 95' or 96'.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 8:16 PM
    frankie5string likes this.
  20. ArtyMorty

    ArtyMorty

    May 17, 2008
    WNC
    ooo Darkglass! That is one cool looking head. There goes my Youtube for tonight. Are you using the 2 4x10's with it?
     

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