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Sometimes its good sounding sometimes not

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Torkk, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. Torkk


    Jan 16, 2010
    I have a Hartke HA3500 and a VX410, sometimes when I play heavy my cab sounds like it farts. I dont think I have a blown driver, I had 1 before and it sounds different than that.

    On the outlet where my head is plugged into I have TV, DVR, Playstation, and effects pedal and the in summer my AC.
    Would that effect my heads output and make it dirty when played heavy?

    I found 1 bad cable that didn't pass a signal. I thought that was the culprit but it still happens.
    I'm 1 short patch cable that is coiled up from the head to the cab, another 4' from my pedal to the head input and 10 or 12' from bass to pedal.
    How can I check those cable to sure they are 100% good?
  2. Well for starters, the one going from the head to the cab should be a speaker cable, not a patch cable. Make sure you're using speaker cable.
    Also buy a new instrument cable and swap out the other cables with the new one one at a time.
  3. Without an Ohm meter the best you can do to test cables is...
    Plug them in, grab the cable just behind the plug, twist it, turn it, jiggle it all around.
    If the cable has a bad connection that should reveal it.
    If the plugs have removable shells, take them off and look at the wiring.
    The connections should look solid and there should be no fraying wires.
    If they are molded plugs, not much to do but chuck em and buy new.
    Unless you know how to fix them, in which case you'd not be asking how to tell if they are good.
  4. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Once you figured out if the cables are ok, take the slider marked 30hz and bring this slider down about halfway or lower. I assume playing "heavy" means you are hitting the strings harder, correct? When playing more aggressively, you will need to watch how much low end you have in your tone, because you are asking the amp to use more power to create the volume increase. I suggest posting your settings by photo on this thread. You can also engage the compression knob a few clicks.
    Sartori, Sid Fang and deathness like this.
  5. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Really, really doubt that it's AC or cables. From your description, it sounds like you're just driving your speakers too hard. They will tend to distort long before you blow them out altogether, and that distortion doesn't sound like a blown speaker. As Gearhead17 said, if this is the case, EQing out the lowest frequencies should take some stress off the speaker, generally with less impact on your tone than you might think - most of what we actually hear in even a "low" bass is well above 100Hz, and "punch" is less a matter of low frequency reproduction than it it one of quick dynamic response to the attack of a note. Otherwise, find another VX410 and stack 'em.

    [Edit: I don't want you to risk permanent hearing loss for this, but if you get up close to your cab when the rig goes into distortion, is the distortion localized to just one speaker? Do they all sound *exactly* the same?]
  6. Torkk


    Jan 16, 2010
    All good info, It seems my cable from the head to the cab was an instrument cable. I found a speaker cable rather long for what I need but, I played today and it sounded better then ever.

    Whats the difference in an instrument cable and speaker cable? I know the instrument is shielded, and as it seems the speaker cable isnt. I had a lot of hum coming through today.

    As far as my EQ goes my lowest hz is a couple marks below flat, though I have the low contour jacked up a bit. The rest of the EQ is flat with a frown around 100hz
  7. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    You are right. Speaker cables aren't shielded. Mostly because they don't have to be. The currents going through a speaker cable are strong enough to overpower any background radiation.

    The major difference, besides lack of shielding, is that speaker cables are comprised of much thicker wire than instrument cables. Once again, this is because of the significantly higher current demands placed on speaker cables.
    Sartori likes this.
  8. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Is that to say that your distortion went away? That would be cool, but a little strange. I've never heard of instrument cable abuse resulting in that sort of distortion, but, hey, fixed is fixed.
    If, really and truly, you're hearing hum using an unshielded speaker cable that you were NOT hearing using an instrument cable between the amp and speaker, you have something strange going on. As cfsporn said, the signal between the amp and speaker is being carried by many Watts (as in potentially 350 of them), so for audible hum to be induced on that cable, it would have to be a really powerful electromagnetic field, one that I'd expect to be picked up by every guitar/bass pickup and mic in the room, etc. Are you *sure* you don't have that hum with either cable?
    If your distortion problem was fixed by the speaker cable, then this is all irrelevant. But if you're still getting the distortion, and that's the way you're running the EQ, then it does sound like something's wrong with the cab or the head. You're not driving things to where a normal healthy rig like that should distort. Again, while it's distorting, can you get close enough to the cabinet to determine whether the distorted sound is coming identically from all the speakers? If not, you've localized the problem to the cab. Otherwise, there's more triage to do. Can you run your amp into another cab, and/or drive your cab with another amp?
  9. It’s surprising how using the proper tool (cable) for the job at hand makes such a difference! :D
    Al Kraft likes this.
  10. Torkk


    Jan 16, 2010
    My setup is gets hum sometimes from the fact I'm hooked into my pc and sitting close to my PC.
    Signal path
    L2000 to Big Muff deluxe with direct out to my rocksmith cable to pc, the out of the pedal to head, or my Zoom B3. My stack is near my tv, and the power for the pedal and the head is the same as my TV and STB.

    The distortion I refer too might be wrong. When I play a hard heavy note it farted out of the cab at any volume. I didn't noticed any or much after I swapped my old speaker cable. My cables are pretty old I have to say, probably 15years or so.
  11. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Pushing high power into an instrument cable plugged into an amp output connection and expecting it to preform like an speaker cable would IME account for the poor sound when you "played hard". Sitting directly in front of an electronic device like a PC, laptop, etc. can get you plenty of odd electrical noises from your bass pick-ups due to EMI, especially if the device is being used in a wireless mode.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
    Torkk and Sartori like this.

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