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Trapped in a box full of geese.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by PhilaCPJ, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Before posting, I delved through the depths of the TalkBass forums trying to find the solution to my problem. I've read comments on individual components in my signal chain, but have yet to find enough detail to go about fixing the issue at hand: when standing in front of my live rig, I feel like I'm trapped in a box full of geese that HONK HONK HONK.

    Let's start with the components. I dumped this in the amp forum, because I think my outboard preamp's the issue. Here goes:

    1) Spector Euro 5 with an EMG BQC pre and an EMG 40CS in the bridge position.
    2) Ampeg SVP-Pro with the original factory tubes.
    3) Mackie 1400i power amp
    4) 8 ohm Eden 410XLT.

    The Spector's a bright sounding instrument, but I love the way it feels and sounds direct through my headphones.

    The SVP-Pro's a little suspect because I've never been able to coax a truly inspiring tone from it. Every bass I've sent through it has always come out with a pair of wings, a nasty disposition, and that incessant honk. I've seen people praising the tweakability as a means to get any sound you want out of it. Conversely, I've also read complaints about the SVP-Pro sounding "boxy". The tone is also a bit "wooly" sounding with what, to my ear, sounds like distortion. The wooliness could be the Eden, as I've heard it likened to throwing a blanket over the speakers.

    I'm not clipping the power amp, as the VU meters are about half way up at most. The drive control is down all the way and my input level is set to clip only when I'm beating the living crap out of my Spector, which is virtually never. The signal is straight out of my bass.

    My gear isn't crap, so there has to be something I'm missing.

    Right now, I need to figure out which EQ frequencies are responsible for that honky/styrofoamy quality. Some say cutting around 1000Hz will mellow the tone. Some say 500Hz is where honkiness lurks. I'm also curious about when people say "I'll cut or boost here" how far they cut in decibels. 3, 6, 10, 12?

    As far as the Eden "low-mid" hump goes, which frequency is that? Sometimes the tone gets all muddled and I suspect is low-mid muck, probably because I'm boosting too much of whatever it is on the pre.

    Would throwing some Tung-Sol 12AX7s in there help out? Maybe my tubes don't have enough headroom or they're just garbage.

    Any and all suggestions would be great. Thanks for your help in advance.
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    A Spector bass is midrangey

    EMG BQC..is all about midrange..midsweep

    Eden's have a mid hump

    I would say you have too much stuff going on. Set your eqs flat..on you bass too and start from the beginning. Less is more in your case i think.
  3. I don't have experience with your bass or speakers but I would guess that it is a combination factor of those two AND the preamp. Honkiness can be associated with frequencies anywhere between 500 and 1000 hz. I would shoot for a 3 to 6 db cut around 800 hz. The low mid hump you are reffering to is generally around 160 hz.

    If the overall tone isn't anywhere near what you want and you know you like your bass I would start looking for a different cab first. Take your gear to the local music shop and try as many different cabs you can. FWIW I hear a larger tonal difference with cabs than I do with preamps.

    Try different strings. That's an inexpensive way to change your tone. I find that DR Low riders have enough low and high end to offset some midrange honk.
  4. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Its true that what you are describing is the basic sound of the D-410XLT, but you should be able to get around it with the EQ on the SVP.

    Boost the sliders on the graphic one at a time until you find the one that makes the honk worse, then cut there. While you're at it, listen to what each slider does to your tone, and try to learn it. Also, try the same thing with the mid frequency selector.

    My favorite setting on the SVP-Pro, when using Eden XLT speakers is: drive 11AM to 1PM, Bass 2PM, mids flat, high under noon to taste. Ultra-Lo ON, all other switches off. If it still seems honky, cut at mid position 2 or 3.

    You just need to spend some time messing with the pre to get a feel for what all of the controls do. The "drive" control has a HUGE impact on your overall tone that is hard to describe.

    It sounds like you are not gain staging correctly either, since you're getting distortion. Try turning on the input pad and setting the input gain so that the red LED never comes on, and keep the master lower than 50% up. From there, control your overall volume with the controls on the Mackie.
  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    One part of your post makes me wonder. It's the part about you standing in front of your rig...

    Have you have one of your bass playing buddies play through your rig while you listen out front ? If not, do that first. In a lot of rooms, a good stage sound turns to mud 30 to 40 feet away.

    In one room I play in, if the bass sounds good on stage, it's going to sounds like total crap at the other side of the dance floor (and it's not a big floor...) In there I have to drop my volume way down, drop the deep bass, bring up the low mids and keep the treble under control. It's a horrible stage sound, but that it sounds good out front is what is important ...
  6. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    That was my personal experience with Eden as well. I've head them sound great but not from me. I tried really, really hard but, I just couldn't get rid of that sound until I got rid of the cabinets.
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    As noted, keep all EQ flat... including on the bass. If you're still getting goosed, then simply try engaging the UltraLo switch of the SVP. That's a mid cut. If that doesn't work, disengage the UltraLo and try cutting midrange using the rotary control. Try positions one thru four of the vari-mid (#5 is more treble than midrange). I use the graphic EQ on the SVP as a last resort... it's solid state rather than tube, and sounds like poo when clipped.

    You can also try tweaking your bass, but I'm not familiar with how its EQ works.
  8. My daughter's bassist (www.aroarah.com) has a D410-XLT that measured out with the hump in the 80 ~ 120 Hz region. Fb=44 Hz, and Fh=83 Hz.

    The honk is also a big part of why Eden's cut through in a noisy mix. What sounds good in the mix usually sounds awful when solo. I wouldn't record with a D410-XLT, but they do the job in a live environment.

    If you can, borrow a good wireless and see what you sound like from the audience position. It is quite revealing.
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    OK, then. I guess this'd be a good opportunity to say again:

    "That's exactly why I use a PA CABINET for my bass!"

    I'm a little poor, so I bought what seems to be the best bang for the buck, which is the JBL JRX125. That's 2X15, and a 1"-throat horn. It cost me US$399.

    If I were less limited with budget, I'd love to look into some of the several equivalent cabs that sell for two and three times this - MANY companies offer 2X15s and a big'ol horn, in a nice, vertical array; Sonics are 2X15s, a horn with a TWO-inch throat (the crossover freq on my JBL is 2000Hz; I think it's 1400 on the Sonic), and a bullet super-tweeter; Acoustic make a nice looking one; I think EV makes one (wait.. who makes the 'Elliminator'? I think that's the EV line); JBL makes one, or maybe TWO other higher-priced models; A couple companies make ones with one or two fifteens, little midrange cones (some in short horns), and a tweeter-horn; I'll bet companies like Meyer and EAW make a Full-range with such a compliment...!

    Remember that those are some super-duper crossovers in some of those full-rangers that are optimized for the exact response of the drivers, and better than a flat-response, generic active crossover (but DBX makes a special management system that has custom DSP functions JUST FOR the JRX series, to time-, phase- and freq- align them! ...Another thread, altogether!).

    My little cab sounds GREAT, and the dispersion is nice and even and wide. The main problems that I have with it are: it doesn't have extended lows (but the lows it has are nice and burpy and authoritive - burpy, not honky, now mind-you...), and the vent-ports 'chuff' - like flflflflutter - at high volumes.

    JBL's next series up from mine advertise special shaped vents to reduce this kind of 'distorion', so I'm sure they know about it; that's probably related to the cost-savings to get these things down to four buckskins like that.

  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    ..And I'd almost forgotten about the Yamaha S215!

  11. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    That's my old cab right ? I'd describe it as wolly or woofy, but honky, that cab? No way. The Ampeg tube pre-amp voicing is a big part of my tone. SVT 3 & 4 pros here. I have huge bottom with either head. I'm thinking you really need to spend some serious time with your EQ. Also a BBE would be a good idea, I swear by mine. You're welcome to come back to my house with your rack and cab and we'll figure it out. You're also welcome to try any of my stuff for comparisson. I've personally never like the inherent tone of Spectors, they always seemed to be voiced too nasally for my taste. YMMV

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