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Thunderchild 115 Advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by racecar5, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. racecar5

    racecar5 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    Just acquired a 115. I play only 50-60's R&B and Blues. Have all prerequisite basses P"s, J's, MMSR5, Yamaha5 all with flat rounds. An MMSterling4hh with rounds. Heads are GBShuttlemax, GBStreamlliner, TH500 and an old Eden WT. I want some opinions on how to get that old school sound and also what to know about the swithch in the back and the port plugs? Looking for that bass sound that surrounds you but can snap and sizzle with the Sterling and round wounds. Thanks Guys.
  2. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Turn the knobs until it sounds how you want?
  3. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    There are descriptions of the switch and port plug options here, on Duke's website.
  4. racecar5

    racecar5 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    The info on Duke's website is very good and technical. But, how about some real world users out there. Need your thoughts on amps and port plugs. Where is KJ I always respect his thoughts.
  5. Man, you are loaded for bear with amps and basses:p

    OK, here are my thoughts, from doing many gigs with my TC115 with a number of different amps, most of which you own!

    In general, you will find the TC115 a bit bigger down low than most other cabs, a bit less punchy since it doesn't have a significant upper bass/low mid rise like many cabs, and you will also find the upper midrange a bit cleaner and more 'relaxed'... zero 'grind' coming out of the cab. The treble extension is pretty similar to high quality cabs with tweeters.

    So, a bit 'studio monitor' sounding, which for some styles is can sound a bit sterile to me. The good news is, your Eden, the Shuttle Max and to a lesser extent, the TH500 all have voicing and EQ that will get you most anywhere.

    To start, I will say that the big, relaxed tone of the Streamliner did not work for me AT ALL with the Thunderchild cabs, no matter what I did with the gain and EQ ratio's. Just a bit too much of 'wide and relaxed' meets 'wide and relaxed' to me. If you are looking for punch and warmth, I would first focus on your other amps.

    The Shuttle Max is heaven with the TC115. A bit of bass bump (which on that head primarily impacts upper bass, which is good for that cab), and it sounds pretty darn good. The upper mid brightness of that head kind of yin yangs with that cab to push it to sound a bit more 'two way bass cab traditional. Then, you can add more burp if you want with the low mid semi-parametric, and expand the deep low end as you like with the very nice variable lo filter. MM heaven with roundwounds!

    Hard to not make that head work. Your Eden will get you to a similar place with a bit of upper mid boost, and a bit of boost in the low mids using the lowest semi-parametric EQ. Stay away from the enhance control:D

    I've been gigging the TH500 with my P Bass and the TC115 a lot lately. Very nice. Use the upper treble roll-off switch (optional, but I like that with the P), dial down the treble a smidge, boost the bass a VERY small amount, and then boost the mids to upper midrange with the semi-parametric mid control (I typically boost at around 2 to 3 o'clock... which is approximately between 400-700hz, depending on the rooom. That kind of 'roughs up' the mid and upper mid response of that cab, which the P likes. (Edit: Also, remember that the drive control is not a 'distortion' knob on the TH500, but rather an 'old school knob), rolling off deep bass and upper treble simultaneously. I almost always have that engaged between 8 and 10 o'clock with the gain at moderate settings with the TC115 to tighten that low end up and 'warm up' the top end of that horn. Works GREAT with a P.

    I've never felt the need to use the port plugs... all the heads I have do a good job of controlling the low end, so can't help you there. I believe the recommended way to use the port plugs is either all in (4), or 2 in on the diagonals to even out the airflow behind the drivers.

    Hope that helps a little. The cab does take a bit of getting used to, since you can't really EQ this class of cabs to mimic the more typical bass cab tonality of that round low end and that bit of grit and brightness coming from the top of the driver IMO, but it sounds darn good in its own way.
  6. racecar5

    racecar5 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    KJ Thanks for the quick response. Have had the cabinet for less than a week but have played 2 gigs with it. Have used all the amps. You are right about the Streamliner a little too much of a good thing plus even after 6 months with this amp it is still confusing to me the way the controls interrelate. My 12 year old Eden was sounding great with port plugs out and not a lot of knob tweaking. The TH500 was very mid present and wasn't a very good fit for straight ahead blues but then again not much time to tweak on the knobs. I think we agree on the Shuttlemax plugged it in for my last set and found it very hard to get a bad sound out of it, any way i turned the knobs. I guess I'll leave the port plugs out (when would I need them?) Also, the switch is on in the up position, correct? KJ again thanks for the help your thoughts are always right on.
  7. Port plugs change the tuning of the cab and basically roll off deep low end. It is a nice way to remove the deepest frequencies that might sound a bit bloated and boomy in certain rooms. More of an issue with DB players than electric, IMO.

    'Up' is the 'no roll-off' position on the TC cabs. Check it out with the Shuttlemax at home. Turn up the treble a bit on the Shuttlemax with no bass plugged in, and crank the master. Put your ear relatively close to the horn and move the switch. You will hear the very top end reduce in the 'roll-off' setting. It is pretty subtle, and I almost always leave the top end fully extended. However, for a P Bass or other bass that lives in the upper midrange area, it allows you to crank the treble control or high upper mids on an amp an not get 'clicky and sizzly'.

    Give the Aguilar a bit more workout. It is mid range present when set flat, but just a smidge of boost on the bass control massively fattens it. Dial in a bit of low mids (with the freq control almost all the way counter clockwise) and it is something down low. That drive control is very useful for sculpting the low end. It is a bit like the Streamliner in that the gain, drive, and EQ interact, and there are some pretty extreme differences with slightly different ratios. For me, the reason I moved from the Streamliner to the TH500 was the ability to much more easily dial in super mid punch, and the ability to have a warm and somewhat 'vintage' tone without tubes was a big positive to me from a reliability/hassle standpoint. IMO there. I'm still a bit Streamliner fan, but I was much happier with it when paired with a very midrange voiced and bright cab like the Berg AE410.
  8. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    My experience with the 112 (two years) and 212 (two hours) TC cabs: if you have the right amp and bass for your intended style you can leave the port plugs at home and forget the tweeter rolloff switch even exists, pretty much. I've never used either on a gig. ;)