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Transparent Bass Amps ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ilovepink, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    I love a transparent amp. That is why I have been playing through a PA for years. I would like to find a genuine bass amp that offers simple, pure transparency. Any sugestions?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
  3. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Ahh man I thought this topic was gonna be about something completely different. I was expecting plexiglass cabinents or glass heads or something... that'd be cool too though :p
  4. Uh...pardon my ignorance, but what is meant by a transparent amp? (im assuming it has something to do with the way it sounds?)
  5. Ilovepink

    Ilovepink Banned

    Nov 17, 2003
    What I mean by a transparent amp is one that does not impart its own sonic "signature." I am lookingt for an amp that will simply reproduce the sound and tone of the bass itself, not the amp.
  6. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    i too love a great transparent sound.

    amp head wise, EA iAMP800 is pretty neutral sounding, too.

    but for me, an Avalon U5 direct box powered by a quality ss power amp like a QSC or Crest would be a great neutral sounding rig. another great preamp would be a Demeter VTBP-201s. very hifi, and straight forward in its presentation of tone.

    then complement this rig with an Acme bass cab, and you'd have quite the hifi yet neutral sounding rig. IMHO, the Acme bass cabs are by far the more neutral and relaxed sounding bass cabs that wont hype the sound of your bass from one end of the frequency spectrum to the other.

    heck, i've used my pair of Acme 1x10's as a mini PA, and i actually prefer the sound of them over my JBL EON1500's. FYI, i'm using my Acme 1x10 cabs as speakers, along with my Mackie 1202VLZ & Stewart World 1.2 to power my Creative Jukebox stereo system. and the sound is pretty farking nice.
  7. i hate transparent amps cause my bass sounds like crap but only a few days till i get a new bass :) :) :bassist:
  8. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    the demeter bass preamp (201/201s/hpb-1?) is well known for being transparent, and the acmes are supposed to be great, especially at their price point.
  9. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I would second the iAmp-800 recommendation.

    I have a Dem 201S and it is fairly transparent in a (good) tubey sort of way (I use it with a QSC PLX1602).

    I think the BBE BMax and any good poweramp would also make a fairly transparent sounding rig. I'm very impressed with the BassTasters sound clips of it (especially the non-EQ'ed clips).
  10. I thought my Demeter pre was all but see through 'til I played a Millennia and a Glock. wow...!

    I am really happy with my Stewart power amp, though.

    from the depths of sound,


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Euphonic Audio are extremely clear uncolored amplifiers. They also have a very versatile EQ section. The Avalon U5 is a awesome preamp as well, however it has a very limited EQ. That is fine if you play with a perfectly flat setting, but you would need a separate EQ if you don't have active electronics.
  12. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    What's the point of a "transparent" amp when there are no cabs that even come close? I think it's a silly criterion to judge an amp by.
  13. have you played through AccuGroove?

    from the lows,

  14. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    The overall tone of a bass system is obviously the sum total of the tone of your bass guitar + the tone of your head (or preamp + poweramp) + the tone of your speaker cab(s) (+ any effects or equalizers or whatever).

    Some bassists are seeking a particular tone and attempt to purchase the various components that will combine together to give them as close as possible the tone they are after.

    If your bass guitar has the tone you're after, you want the rest of your system to add as little as possible (besides volume) to the bass' tone.
    A transparent amp in that case would at least reduce the overall tone change from what the bass guitar sounds like acoustically. Bass speakers are evolving and improving all the time. I doubt that many are truly 'transparent' at this point in time, but that seems to be the goal of a fair number of manufacturers today (and maybe even more tomorrow).

    My ideal system would be one where the bass guitar(s) sounded great, the preamp (or preamp section of the head) could achieve a transparent tone, but also allowed for different types of EQ'ing and tonal flavorings based on the playing environment and type of song being played (I don't want my bass to sound the same on "Smoke on the Water" as "Peaceful Easy Feeling"), the power amp (or poweramp section of the head) to be as transparent as possible, and the speaker cab(s) to also be as transparent as possible.

    YMMV though and that's why there are different approaches by different manufacturers.
  15. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    You just described the EA philosophy, and I think they do a pretty good job of it. The sound then comes from you, the player!

  16. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    have you ever played thru an Acme cab? :D ;)

    besides, i think our asking bro might be using PA cabs, which are a great for bass.

    oh, and totally forgot, but i remember Terry B. of BP magazine, mentioning how the Millenia STT preamp had THE MOST unreal transparent sound. if its good enough for recording those stradivariuses... hook up a power amp and a Meyer PA cab, and you're good to go.

    IMHO, if you want "transparent", there you go.
  17. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    in comparison a ampeg would have one of the least transparent sounds around? am i right?
  18. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    well, being not-so transparent aint necessarily a bad thing. i love my Kern IP777, but its the most colouring preamp i have, with its dark, smoother, brownie voice.

    but all good bass amps, heads, preamps, etc. have varying degrees of transparency that at least, let you know with your eyes closed, what bass it is your using.
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I am very much digging my current rig. ART Tube Channel mic Pre, Crown CE-1000 and MM 2x12 cab.

    The whole transparency thing is a tough question -unless you play upright and mic - what does it actually mean ? Everything adds coloration, string choice, pickups hell even the pots you choose ...

    I would describe 'transparency' as allowing the character of the instrument itself to come through and allowing you to discerne the sometimes minor variations between instruments that are by and large similar.

    My current rig seems to do that and doesn't seem to add very much other than volume unless I'm twisting knobs on the EQ.

    The Pre and the cab are huge parts of this. The cab and amp, when used with a different (dedicated, but low end) bass pre sounded terrible. I was more successful with a Hartke 3500 driving the MM. It was under powered but at least the tone was close. The Tube Channel and the Crown, paired with a couple of JBL 1x15's sounds good, but you can really tell that the cab's have a exagerated frequency response. They sound nice, just not 'transparent'. In some settings, blues rock or R&B, I'll take the JBL's.

    Actually just in case I need to move the walls back a few feet, I have an ART Tube EQ on the way so I can run that setup in dual mono, with the 1x15's having their own EQ ... wild overkill for me... but what the hell!
  20. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    that came off wrong, and its AN ampeg. I love the way my stingray sounds into my ampeg amp. I just think the tone does not just come from the bass. I saw a jazz player play a little EA combo the other day. Sounded great, a def good jazz sound. Not what im looking for exactly but it was smooth as heck.