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SUB4 vs Ray34

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Deftones86, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Deftones86


    May 16, 2013
    Hey guys...need some opinions.

    I can get a Ray34 for $350 (used) or I can get a SUB4 for $250 (brand new). My friend has stated not to buy the Ray34 because it's inferior to the new SUB4's. he said the hardware and tone of the Ray34, despite its $750 pricetag, is not as good as the SUB4, at $250.

    Can anyone with the requisite knowledge please weigh in?
  2. ljholland


    Oct 19, 2013
    Having played both....the Ray34 is a better bass. The bridge and other hardware are a step up. I'm an experienced guitar player with top shelf gear....but aspire to bass playing - I know good stuff. Soundwise, I'm probably not the best authority but I found the 34 deeper sounding and more authoritative. The finish on the Ray34 is more traditional paint/clear coat whereas the Sub is stained. The pickups on the Ray4 were crazy hot. I hadn't realized how how until I plugged in a few Ps and Js for comparison.

    $350 is a nice price for the Ray34 as most I've seen are around $400-500 used. That said, the Subs are nice also and a great deal. I really like how comfortable the rosewood neck Ray4 feels...it's light and felt right at home with no issues or buzzes. However, given that close margin, I'd get the Ray34.

    FWIW, I only have my experience with a few instruments and unfortunately, most of that at Guitar Centers but, I liked the Ray34 more than the USA MM Rays. Most of that was because the MMs at GC were an embarrasing disaster. Every single one was set up terribly so it's hard to evaluate how well they'd play after 10 minutes on a bench. Also, every Ray4 with a maple board had horrific fret sprout. It's nothing that wouldn't be solved with a file in the right hands and pretty common in the winter but it was more than I'd ever seen before in a showroom.

    Anyway, I would say you can't go wrong with either but I'd pick the Ray34.
  3. EdgeXXL


    Dec 13, 2013
    Tucson Arizona
    I have had both a Ray34 and a SUB Ray4. The Ray34 is made with better woods, the finish and hardware are better also. Like ljholland said its a better made bass.

    That being said I don't have the Ray34 anymore but I still have the SUB Ray4. The SUB is much lighter. My SUB is the mint green model and it has a painted finish not stain. The setup right out of the box was outstanding.

    As for the way they sound I didn't see much difference between the two. SUBs have a 2 band EQ with volume, Bass, treble. Depending on which Ray34 model you are looking at it could have either a 2 or 3 band EQ. That's where the most difference in sound will come from.

    I would play both and see which one you like the best. You won't go wrong buying either one. The SUB Ray4 is one of the best values out there in its price point.
  4. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    Id pick the ray34 over the sub ray. Both are good but the ray34s are better
  5. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    The Ray 34 is better. Better components straight across the board. Comparing the sound, there is a difference but in actuality, not all that much but it's there.
    The Sub is still a great buy for the price though if that's an issue, I have 3 Subs and perfectly happy with them- I was going to buy the Ray 34 but after trying the SUBs, decided that it wasn't warranted in my case- I m fine with the SUBs. Now there are finishes that are painted- white, black, mint green and then there are the satin finishes, walnut, blue, red, black and honeyburst. The black and the mint green on the Ray 4s have maple fretboards. The rest are rosewood.
    Buying a used SUB is even cheaper, my white one and my walnut finish were $159 and $149 respectively, both in perfect condition. The pickups on the SUBs are pretty hot (at least on my 3) but don't present a problem to me. There is a fix to make them more manageable if one is so inclined to, but I didn't bother and don't need to.

    I recommend trying both to see what works for you and seeing the differences for yourself- it may be that you might be fine with the SUB and save the money. Ray34 though is the better quality bass.
    Don't forget that there is also a SUB SB4 which doesn't have the Ray body but is slimmer and the pickup is wired in series as opposed to parallel as those in the Rays. This gives the SB4 a different sound with more mid to low mid. I would try that too. Reason why I'm saying that is I suspect the price of $250 you mentioned is actually for the SB4 which is $249. The Ray4 is $289. You may have the prices mixed up between the two SUB models. There are coupons of course that reduce the costs further for these. Even better if you buy used. Currently, there's a walnut finish for $199 at GC online.
  6. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    I would agree that the ray 34 is made of better components and is a step up, however I bought the sub4 simply because I thought it sounded better. It was deeper and punchier than the ray34's I played ( 4 at GC ). The sub is a well built bass especially for the price, its light, and it gets the stingray tone for very little cash. The pre is hot and some will distort a bit at full boost. I'm going to try mine at 18v when I get around to it to see if that clears it up. Plays and sounds better than a bass in that price range should. Just my .02
  7. pudgychef

    pudgychef Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Chongqing, China
    OP: Is it possible your friend is thinking of the older MIA Music Man SUB basses? They were (imho) very good American made basses with USA electronics and some US hardware and I would say were 'better' basses then the SBMM Rays or the SBMM SUBs

    between a Ray 34 and a SUB4 - I would opt for the Ray 34...nice basses and a good deal at $350
  8. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    I agree
  9. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    The Ray34 has a bit wider freq. response but many will dial out the brightness anyway. The Sub is a better choice for a backup bass IMO because of the price. The Ray34 is more designed to be a main bass because it's more substantial. It's a Stingray for those who can't afford one.

    Both are good. I had the Ray34 and traded it for the Ray34CA, which is more "vintagey".
  10. guymanndude1


    Feb 5, 2004
    I love my Ray34ca, I think it's one of the best deals going. Mine is the silver metallic, with matching headstock. It looks and sounds awesome.
  11. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    I switch between my RayCA and my Carvin on gigs. It is a very good bass for medium-bass money. The setup was mint right out of the box and the truss-rod access wheel makes adjustments a breeze. Every bass should have that wheel!! Mine is Tobacco Sunburst. Very classy.
  12. guymanndude1


    Feb 5, 2004
    I had a Pre-Ernie Ball Stingray, back years ago, I really like this Ray34ca better.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I actually tried both and went with the SUB Ray4. The hardware is fine albeit cheaper but is it really cheaper than the Ray34? I know the bridge on the Ray34 is more in line with a real MM but it's not the same. I believe the preamp in the Ray34 is closer to the MM as well. Having said that, I upgraded the cheap electronics in the SUB Ray4 with a full EMG system (pickup and 2 band preamp) I found here on TB for $60. So with MF discount, the bass was $251 + the $60 for the EMG system, my total investment was $311. Mine is black (not stained) with maple board. The action is very low and the neck has very little relief. Almost flat with zero fret buzz. Honestly, I wouldn't pay another $350-$400 for the Ray34 (new). Used for $350.....maybe. I'd have to play it first.
    bullie76 likes this.
  14. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    The problem with cheaper basses is sometimes they don't put the time into the neck treatments. The Ray34 basses are stable and stay that way. You may have to adjust the truss rod a lot more on the SUB but as I said before, it's pretty easy with that wheel.
  15. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I've had my SUB Ray4 for over a year and have yet to adjust the neck. Damn near completely flat and no fret buzz. Extremely low action. Action is even lower than my Laklands which are pretty damn low! Fret ends could be rounded off but that's it. Great neck on mine.
  16. himluis1


    Sep 28, 2012
    i just got this one .. new for $350 i was about to buy a sub ray when i saw the price tag on this is a guitar center exclusive ray34ca it sells for $599.99 ImageUploadedByTalkBass1393049529.667275.