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Trace Elliot or Hartke

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Kiril Basso, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Hello, guys! I've played through a TE GP12SMX and through a Hartke HA3500 with 4x10 and 1x15 hartke cabs. I am using my trusty Fender PJ with EMG's on it. Adored the sound and volume from both of them. Is there something I need to know about those amps in terms of hardware problems, maintenance etc. Best regards to all of you fellow bass players!
  2. You’ll be able to make he Tace sound like a Harkte but not the other way around, imo. Not an especially big fan of the Harkte stuff that I’ve tried, and I’m a long time TE fan so forgive me as I’m biased. :thumbsup:
    TE gear is mostly easily serviced apart from the SMX circuit and transformer. I’d assume the HA3500 is newer so parts might be easier if a failure occurs. Certainly for the Trace you could probably source a replacement amp for the cost of repair.
  3. I adore that fat, deep Trace sound, and the power of it. The Hartke has the grid and aggression (playing in a heavy metal band). Didn't have a chance to explore more sounds out of the Trace. Is it a problem that it's an old school amp. I know that it was a must buy back in the late 80s and 90s.
  4. Some people will tell you to buy new so you have a warranty etc. I have 2 older trace amps - The GP12SMX and a V4. Built in '98 and '96 respectively. The SMX was my main gigging and rehearsal amp for 3 years doing 6 hours of practice/rehearsal and at least 1 gig a week where it was used as backline for most of those, so that would be around 4 hours in a night. One gig was an all day event and it was on solidly for 14 hours. I've only ever had to replace the preamp valve.
    I bought that around 2002/03.

    The V4 I bought around 2005 and it blew up on me, but that was my bad taking it to a gig before getting it checked by a tech. The original valves blew and took a few resistors with it. It's had 1 service since the initial fix and still got the replacement JJ KT88's I installed. This amp has done countless hours of home use, gigs, backline, rehearsal and studio time.

    Personally I don't see an issue buying these second hand - it's worth shelling out a bit extra for a service before you put yours through its paces and have a tech check things over, but this gear was handmade in the UK. The Gibson and original Peavey era models I'd possibly avoid though as they were known to have issues. The Gibson versions had green circular buttons rather than white squares, and the first Peaveys had a green oval LED around the face plate. Both take overs had the model names and ranges simplified, so I'm assuming what you've tried out were pre-Gibbo
    andrew likes this.
  5. This is the exact one! The bass I use is quite powerful. Got the gain knob at around 6, and the master around 3. The drummer and myself were the only ones heard. :D The EQ settings were linear. I boosted only the 100 and 160hz sliders without cutting the mid frequncies, something that is seen regularly. Both of those gave me that awesome bottom end that cut through everything, without loosing articulation. Every note was heard clear as day.

    Attached Files:

    ObsessiveArcher and Microbass like this.
  6. The Chuck

    The Chuck

    Dec 11, 2013
    Wilmington, NC
    The HA3500 is bulletproof. I had one for 20 years. It's a good solid amp IMO. Never had any issues with it.
  7. Ace! I love that preshape button... So good and fat. I normally boost the low mids a bit and the 1.3k to around 4dB and adjust the 30/60Hz depending on the room. Valve blend on full, compression around 75% low, 50% high and balance centred. Probably not the most efficient EQ'ing but man it sounds good!
  8. Like I said it wasn't mine, I probably would have a chance to buy it at some point because the owner is a friend of mine. I remember that all of the compression, balance and tube knobs were centred. But oh my God is it heavy and big I would say it is about 50 kilos maybe.
    Microbass likes this.
  9. It'll keep you fit! I use mine for deadlifts and squats instead of buying weights :D
  10. Practical if I could say :D
  12. Personally I prefer a separate head and cab to a combo, but as long as everything is in working order I see no issues!
  13. Is the AH500-12 a good head of choice ?
  14. I'd say so, plenty of power for sure!

    You have a few different preamps; the 'AHxxx' normally refers to which power amp is in the head, although some older models when the ranges were smaller just had an AH150/200/300 etc.

    The preamps most popularly seen were the GPxxSMX - these are hybrid pre's with the built in compressor. The GP designator indicates the slides; so GP7 was a 7 band, GP12, 12 band.
    The Series 6 was once of the most popular and I believe used by and made famous by Mark King. There are several versions ranging from 7 band, 11 band and some 12's.
    There is also an SMC version which I think was a small combo version of the Series 6. The SMX series gives you the most versatility - if you null the compressor bands and the valve blend you basically have a Series 6.

    Some other amp models make things slightly confusing such as the AH500X which is a 12 band Series 6 with 500W RMS and a hoard of bi-amping and crossover options.

    Just IMO, I think the Gp12SMX is the way forward, then it's about choosing the power. Mine is 300W, with 2 cabs I've never needed more and always had headroom left.
  15. Chrome Dome

    Chrome Dome Chrome Dome Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2013
    Piqua,Ohio 45356
    Here is my AH500-12,and it's for sale!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  16. The combo i've used was 250 watts pretty sure.
  17. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    that is old school cool!!!!!!!! ...what a bass amp should look like......big, tough, looks like a tank, in your face grille and tuning ports drool
    Microbass likes this.
  18. Chrome Dome

    Chrome Dome Chrome Dome Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2013
    Piqua,Ohio 45356
    Sorry,for the duplicate pictures? I crashed your conversation,sorry if you thought I intruded. Might be a quite a bit to ship overseas,and to price it for a good deal. Here locally $300.00but to ship overseas and the weight might be more than you would want to invest?
  19. Kiril- might wanna join the TE Facebook group, there are a few Europeans on there that put their gear up from time to time. Hopefully make things more accessible!

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