What is 'flat'....?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by KJung, May 17, 2005.

  1. A number of people on this site have described various heads as 'flat'.... Acoustic Image, Walter Woods, iAmp800. I am lucky enough to have owned all three of these wonderful heads at one time (Clarus, Ultra, and 800)... and each amp, using the same speaker (Epifani410UL) and the same basses (MTD535, Rob AllenMB2, Lakland 94-55, among others) sound VERY different set 'flat'.

    So.... does 'flat' exist? My opinion is that a 'flat' amp is defined by most players as a head that sounds good (to them!) with the tone controls not engaged or set at unity.

    So..... what is 'flat'!!!!!???!!!!
  2. rabass6

    rabass6 Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2004
    Owner, Groovemania.it
    A simple idea: put a cd into the head, and listen carefully to lack of frequencies, or a bump in some area.
    I tested my Focus and Acme lowB-1 that way, and it sounds unbelievable flat and accurate
  3. Kindness


    Oct 1, 2003
    I tend to think of flat as "not overemphasizing any particular frequency" or "not peaky." This is different than uncolored. Uncolored does not (substantially) change the tone's characteristics. In my interpretation, there can be any number of "flat" heads that each impart their own sonic signature on the signal without overemphasizing any particular frequencies. If that's not what flat means, then I can't decipher what the heck everyone is talking about on this site. ;)

    (I think your version of flat "what sounds good to an individual" is probably closer to the usage on this board.)
  4. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I would define flat as a signal identical to plugging an instrument directly into my A/D converter. If it sounds the same as when I record DI then I consider it flat. But hey, that's me...
  5. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    I'm sorta with Kindness here. Flat is different for every amp but it essentially boils down to the non-compensated EQ state of the amp with nothing boosted or cut. However, you define it, it's the best state to start from when attempting to get "your sound!" ;)

  6. I agree with that. The same thing goes for speakers... a lot of players on this site describe ACME's and Accugrooves as 'flat'.... but they have very, very distinct sonic characteristics (IMO).
  7. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Very true.
  8. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Yeah, they are distinct because they don't favor any particular frequency band and instead put out very close to what you put into them.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    "What is flat?" is a deep philosophical question. I suspect most people would describe flat as what sounds good to their ear. It's like the ultimate Pauly Shore question: "What is the meaning of life?" No one knows the answer, but everyone has an answer.
  10. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I have put acme cabs through pretty expensive spectrum analyzers on a couple of different occaisions.

    Outdoors on a nice clear day they are: +/- 3db's from 22khz down to 32hz and -6db down at 30hz.

    THATS flat.

    I've never tried or even heard an accugroove but if they sound different they ain't flat and thats not necessarily a bad thing.

    I started doing to an extant what bass tasters does with cabinets a couple of years ago till I got bored with it and ran out of time. Your avaerage bass cabinet is so far awawy from "Flat" it's rediculous.

    It's not good, it's not bad it's just a different way to get an eq preset to work with.
  11. BT,

    If you were doing RTA analysis, then I suspect you also saw how much bullsh*t there is in claimed vs actual performance for a given cab.