What happened to Hartke?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Kael, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    OK, I know that many people were never big fans of hartke, but my old 3500 mosfet head sounds great (a trifle hissy/noisy, but I can compensate for that). Unfortunately, after about 8 years of hard use, it is spending as much time in the shop as on the stage (picked it up used in a pawn shop anyway). Time to buy new, right? Found a Hartke 3500 head at what looked like a good price, pop down my cash, and take it home.

    Man did it suck! The tone was thin, had absolutley zip for sustain, and did not even sound like the same compression unit was in the amp. Ran both heads flat and tweaked the EQ. At no point could I get the new head to come anywhere near the sound of my old head. These are just not the same amps, and no one on this planet can convince me they came off the same assembly line just different years. Sat there and and A/B'd the two heads for about thirty minutes before returning the new 3500 head in disgust.

    I now feel like a complete ass for recommending hartke to several of my friends who have been looking for heads over the years. The new head was listed as HA3500, my old head (the good one) just says 3500 mosfet on it. I'm guessing that Hartke opted to tone back their quality in order to lower price and play the quantity game.

    Sorry, evidently I just needed to rant....
  2. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    Sad to read that, I use a Hartke stack and I´ve been very pleased with it, but after playing several Ampeg amps an cabs (in many gigs, from small to big) I´ve realiced that I need to change my amp towards that ampeg sound because it suits better my style and my band´s sound.

    I´ve only good things to say about my Hartke amp, but lately more and more people is talking about their bad experieces with Hartke products. You migth be right, maybe they just cut their product´s quallity out to keep themselves in the market game. :meh:
  3. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I have a HA5000, circa 2001, no problems with it. Sounds great. I get compliments all the time on my tone. :cool:
  4. Over here ive seen MASSIVE drops in Hartke products across the range. Almost 50%.. My local dealer told me they changed theyre source of production. In the same way Fender alot of their operations from Japan over to Mexico.

    This might explain the change in sound also?

    Also, He could be full of ****.. so i dunno.
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    It appears to me from observing hartke's product lines over the past several years that it has shifted its focus from pro-range gear to student/hobbiest range gear. The price point is much lower for its cabs and combos. I would imagine that is a function of its attention to its bottom line $$$$ goals, and I would imagine that cheaper components/production costs would factor in that as well.
  6. Seraph


    Jan 3, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    hum, i got a 15 watt hartke for taking it around with me to peoples houses and the such, it sounds great to me, specially considering its so tiny, the bugger can practically eat my friends 50 watt guitar amp up
  7. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    i've never consider hartke as pro gear, but mid range.
    I've tested the cabs which I fine nice, very efficient, but accordind to the heard, I was so disappointed to hear that the tube side was so crappy. No low end, basses sucked a lot, I've tried to have a round and fat rock tone .... I gave up within the five minutes....
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Huh? :confused:
  9. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I was wondering when DW would show up. :)

    Different strokes for different folks. It depends on what you get. Some are great and for the money you can't beat 'em.

    Trendy spending is the name of the game these days. :rolleyes:
  10. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    My Hartke 7000 kills!
    It may be "mid range" in some peoples head's but I guarantee it'll give a lot of amp's a run for the money.
  11. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Any more opinions on the sound/durability of the "newer" heads as opposed to the older ones is appreciated.
  12. icks


    Jul 12, 2001
    I am sure they are very good heads for the price. but there is much much much better.

    i didn't like what i've heard when I tested a 1x15+HA3500 with a warwick thumb.

    According to me, it's not normal with such a setup.
  13. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I'm about to buy an Ampeg SVT-4 Pro. I've been intrigued with the Hartke cabinets: 4200 (4 x 10" with a horn), and their 1800 (1 x 18"). The aluminum cones have also peaked my interest. Most of the comments I've seen in this thread tend to lean toward the negative, but they seem to apply toward Hartke's amplifiers. So... what about their cabs? Mahalo from Hawaii... :cool:
  14. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I can't comment on the 3500. I own a 3000[300w] and a 5500[500w]. Both are good sounding solid amps in my experience. I've had no reliability issues yet! They are both used with Avatar cabs and are plenty loud for my gigs! As for being 'mid level'? Whatever!! I will say this, if you are a rocker and dig that overdriven, fuzzy sound, don't buy a Hartke! Even though it has a tube pre, you just ain't gonna get that sound out of her!
  15. Don MC

    Don MC

    Oct 24, 2004
    No such thing as 'Pro', 'Mid range' or 'Low range'. Just stuff you like or dislike.
    Pricing is completely irrelevant. Has nothing to do with sound. At least not with how the likes of you or me like the sound of a given amp.

  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

  17. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    I was looking at the 810 I saw at sams ass...they only had the aluminum coned one. I wanna try out the paper coned cab..
  18. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    Don't know about the amps. Never used them.

    I do know about the cabs, though.

    The XL cabs are TOP SHELF. Great sounding units. Among the best I've heard, played, or owned. Granted, mine are at least a decade old. Their newer stuff could be crap for all I know, but if any of it remains good, it would be the XL series stuff. The Transporter stuff may be junk for all I know...never tried them...again, it's their "newer" stuff to me.

    I have been hearing an industry buzz about the lowered quality of their products, though I have no first-hand confirmation of this. I do know that they have apparently compromised their "mission directive" because originally talking to Larry and Ron, they were 100% committed to aluminum. Hell, at first I couldn't even talk them into anything but 4x10" drivers. Eventually, they relented and started making 15s.

    Apparently now, they even make paper drivers. I really never thought I'd see the day, after talking to them. They seemed so 100% commmitted to the concept of aluminum drivers. It would appear that they have "compromised" their vision. I will stop short of saying "sold out", as I haven't tried the new paper stuff...but I am rather dissapointed that they have apparently joined the legions of others who just make simple paper drivers.

    Are their paper driver cabinets any better than "the next guy's" paper stuff? I have no idea. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has tried them, and perhaps what other cabs they have compared them to.

    I will stand by their old original XL cabinets, though, as I feel they are some of the finest ever made.
  19. I have heard a lot of people comment about the decline in Hartke's quality since they were bought out by Samson sometime ago. I bought my Hartke 3500 in 2001 sometime and absolutely love it. I have it run through a 4.5XL cab ( i thought i should get the heavy duty cab for my style of music) and it sounds fantastic. The only complaints I have with it is I wish i would've went with the HA5000 or 7000 so I could get the biamp to run a Hartke 215XL underneath. My 4.5XL doesn't give me quite the amount of low end im looking for but it isnt far enough off to suggest buying a different company. My dad has the 410TP cab and the HA5000 and it sounds just as good as mine, but hes playing country and I'm playing rock so its apples and oranges. I do recommend the Hartke to anyone looking for a good inexpensive amplifier that will give you a broad range of tones.

    I've never tried the VX paper series cabs at all. The aluminum cones give me that unsurpassed clarity that I like in a bass sound. Man, I just wish I had a 15" biamped to go underneath it. Would be perfection for me.
  20. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Yeah, Jack Bruce probably needs to re-think a few things.