Transparent Rigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lsu921, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. lsu921

    lsu921 Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2003
    Port Allen, La
    What are some rigs that you guys consider to be the most transparent. I'm tired of my rig dictating my tone. :mad:
  2. :D You will get 100+ responses, with each poster listing his/her favorite amp, since most everyone who has found a rig they like feel that it is 'transparent'!

    No rig is truly 'transparent', since even different cabs and amps within the same company that markets their products as 'transparent' sound different from each other:p

    The best thing to do is find a rig that matches the tone goals in your head (since no one really knows what an electric bass sounds like until it is plugged into something anyway!).

    If you could post up an example of the tone you are trying to achieve (maybe a recording by a well known player we could listen to), you would get more useful responses IMO!

  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    This one is pretty transparent:


    If you want straight bass tone, get a transparent DI and run direct to the board and use in ears. Or run a DI/super clean pre that can drive a really clean power amp.
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Transparent is tough. I think you can get close to that, but every piece of the signal chain adds something. I struggle with this all the time. I have always really liked how I sound in the FOH and even monitors. I would love to have that as my rig as most of the time my rig is a monitor. I am stand alone for jazz stuff but it usually doesn't take much of a rig to do those gigs.

    Of course, the reasons it sounds good in FOH systems are subs, crossovers, plenty of power, maybe a little DSP, etc. Tough to have that in a manageable bass rig.

    I have an Avalon U5 that I think sounds great. It adds it's own "pixie dust" but in most situations that is a good thing. I am trying to find a powered wedge that will be enough for those stand alone gigs. If it can do that, it will be able to handle monitor duties as well.

    Yamaha has a new line of powered PA/Monitor cabs coming out in a couple weeks that seems promising. I plan to try it when the local store gets them in with the Avalon U5.
  5. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010

    That is friggin funny.

    Its what I was thinking..but didn't know it existed...maybe thats why its funny to me.:D
  6. IMO, your issue is not 'transparency/flatness', but rather using a rig that is too small, compressed sounding, and not full range. Put more simply, you most likely just don't like the voicing of your amp, and also the limitation a rig that small puts on the low end presence, etc.

    Moving directly from that little Shuttle combo to some sort of 'DI/PA' type rig is kind of like driving one of those SmartCars, and then deciding 'cars are small and have no power and aren't big enough... cars suck, I'm going to buy a hovercraft':p

    For gosh sakes, get a cab with a decent full range sound that you dig (Berg, Epi, GK, larger Genz, whatever), and be happy:D

    Very few things harder to control on stage than a full range ID used as a preamp going into an amp without hi pass filtering optimized for bass guitar IMO and IME:)
  7. My opinion is the most natural sound I get from my basses is with Phil Jones rigs. I own two.
  8. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    In my main thing I'm 100% PA. I LOVE my tone through the various PA systems I've been in this year. I also do some jazz work at natural level (natural horn / piano levels) and just want to sound like I usually do through PA.

    I've gotten some great advice some months ago on how to get there, but never acted on it. It sounds like I really need to audition a Phil Jones rig.
  9. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    While not perfect, try to find some cabs that are somewhat inefficient. Most efficient cabs (those that get real loud with less power) do so by boosting low mids at the expense of the low end. This makes them louder, but not as flat across the frequency range. This adds a lot of "color" to the sound. Generally speaking that is.

    Cabs that are so-called "full range" but only have a woofer and a tweeter also have much coloration. Neither type of cab is either good or bad, but is more subject to the taste of the player.

    While I would agree that there is no one single cab that is truly "flat", there are some that reproduce your bass's tone more faithfully with less coloration. Most cabs that employ dedicated mid-range drivers (with or without an additional tweeter) will get you closer to a studio monitor and with less coloration.

    I can't think of many off the top of my head as I haven't bought or even tried a commercial cab in years (choosing to build my own cabs), but Acme comes to mind as well as any of the DIY fEarful builds (12/6/1 or 15/6/1).

    It is easy to generalize and difficult to be specific in matters of taste, but generally if you try out cabs that are two or three way with dedicated mids you should have better luck in what you seek than cabs that don't. And IMO, cabs have a greater impact on tone than the amps that drive them.

    And I agree completely with KJung that if you use too small a rig and push it hard it will have a more compressed sound leaving the lows sounding weaker and with less full range and clarity.

    Best of luck and let us know if you find something to your liking.
  10. lsu921

    lsu921 Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2003
    Port Allen, La
    Thanks for the comments guys. I love the tone of my bass going into my GK practice amp into my headphones. Sounds awesome. Once I get it going through a speaker, in the combo, or on my big rig it's boomy and somewhat muddy. I can never get the clarity I'd like. I just sold an AG500/GS112x2 rig and picked up a GK700RB-II/GK NEO410 both with similar results. The AG was much more high mid heavy while so far the GK seems to be low to low mid heavy.
  11. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    Thats the Beastie Boys amp.... So cool!

  12. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    If money were no Object. a Meyer monitor would most likely fill the need.
    I did a long strig of gigs with a pair as my monitor... effing incredible is all i have to say.. I could never afford to buy a pair for myself.

    A more practical thing may be a Fearful setup....

  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    I don't know what you are talking about. "transparent"

    I guess you mean you don't want your amp coloring the sound. Then go for a clean solid state amp like Eden.
  14. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    Yeah, I would like to get a Bergie HT112ER and a Shuttle 9.0 but those Bergies are expensive.
  15. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    Not true. I love my rig but it's not transparent at all.

    For transparency, I've heard the Littlemark II is pretty good.
  16. I was being a bit 'tongue in cheek' with my comment:smug:.

    My point was that no rig is particularly transparent/flat. Yes, the LMII/III is quite flat on the scope (GREAT sounding head), but like every other piece of gear, it has its own voice based on the level of distortion in the mids and the hi pass/lo pass filtering, etc., etc. And of course, once you match it with a cab, then another 'voice' is added to the rig.

    Again, as you did, MUCH better to find a rig that matches what you want versus chasing a so called 'transparent' rig, which really doesn't exist anyway.

    If the OP gives us some examples of the tone he's going for, I'm sure many could give suggestions regarding cabs and heads that might pair well together to get that sort of tone with the least amount of knob twisting.
  17. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    If transparency is the goal, IMO Eden amps have their own coloration and are not that transparent. They roll off the highs above 12 kHz and deep lows below around 40 Hz and tend to have a somewhat "warm and fuzzy" midrange. I've modified mine to make it more open sounding.
  18. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    Yes, I know :p

    Noting the tendency of everyone to recommend their own gear for any kind of "what amp/bass/strings/etc. should I get?" question. Just it would be hilarious if I recommended what I'm using for a "transparent" sound.

    True that just about any amplifier does have its own voicing, even if it's relatively flat. Cabs, too. I'd bet that a lot of people who think they want absolutely flat, transparent reproduction of their bass's sound would be surprised to hear what it actually sounds like at volume.
  19. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Cabinets, by their nature, are inherently harder to make flat across the frequency spectrum than amplifiers. Drivers, crossovers, and cabinets all have to be carefully crafted to even stay within 3 dB from 30 Hz to 15 kHz. Designing an amplifier without obvious coloration is easier, though even the highest quality amplifiers still impart their own sound, though the nuances may be subtle. I've taken my Energy Pro 22 monitor speakers to a few quieter solo and duo gigs and they did sound great, but they would not work for a band situation. Also, frequency response is only the tip of the iceberg as far as "transparent" sound goes..... as there are various other sources of distortion to consider.
  20. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Everything in the signal chain affects the tone. Impossible to find real transparency, even that which might be obtained running a bass direct into a board.

    I've achieved something close to it, but it is still a matter of subjective opinion. Comparing my 210/6 cabs to what I hear in headphones in a studio and to our PA, my rig sounds fairly close and that's about as close as it needs to be for me. What I hear from my rig onstage during soundchecks is very similar to what is coming out of our tri-amped PA. Exactly? No, but it's close and I'm happy with it.

    I feel that cabs impart more coloration to one's sound more than an amp does, because the cab is what it is. There is no adjusting the sound of the cab after the fact, but one can play around with all the controls on a bass amp head to alter what coloration the head may impart.

    If one really wanted to get a sound as close to DI'd, I still suggest finding cabs that are two or three way that have dedicated mid drivers. Those with woofers/tweeters seem to have a dip in the upper mids and a lot of commercial cabs have that lo-mid hump that color the sound more. is a rare occurrence that one can hear themselves clearly in a full band mix (especially at higher volume) without boosting mids beyond that which one could consider flat or "transparent". It's always about trade offs and while transparency might be a goal, it is (IMO) seldom achieved in the context of a full band onstage with good resulting tone.
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