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What tone profiles do different manufacturers have?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheIndieKid, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Assuming there’s one of you among the TalkBass community who’s been through a multitude of different amp brands while using the same bass, I was hoping (for my benefit as well) that we could create a thread that generally describes the baked-in (or not) tone from each amp /cab manufacturer, so we beginners and experienced tone-seekers have a reference. For example, I don’t know, but it would look like:

    -Dark sounding
    -Hump in low mids with subdued high mids
    -Ideal for bass players who use (x) strings

    This is purely an example and is not accurate. I know different cabs have different qualities, but a 12” or 10” seems to be the standard for combos. To keep it consistent, we could keep the heads matched with the cab they were meant to be paired with.

    Anyway, fire away!
  2. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    The only thing I could add, is that no matter how many times I've heard that brand x is muddy, there's just as many people who think it's clear and articulate. For those that think y is too bright, there's just as many who say it isn't that bright. I smell what you're stepping in with the question, but even very vague generalities will be met with contention by enough people to blur whatever truth you may be seeking.
    Relayer71, Andre678, Kro and 5 others like this.
  3. I understand what you’re saying. I guess the way to defeat that is to be as objective as possible and not say something is dark sounding or bright sounding, merely stating it has a dip in (x) frequency and a bump in (y) frequency.
  4. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    It's kind of hard to quantify as there are the factors of the cab used, the bass used, pedals/cable length and the room, but here's my generic input based on experience:
    SWR/Eden/Markbass/Trace Elliot: clean, like playing through a studio monitor set up. Purity of tone.
    Ampeg/GK: can be clean, but also have a nice grit to them, rock bass amps from the get go.
    70s-80s Acoustic and same era Peavey: colorful and punchy. Not for everyone since they are quite colorful.
  5. I don't want to appear pompous but every decent amp I have used now that I have kind of learnt my playing technique sounds very very similar to any other assuming the EQ is nominally flat. I believe that fingering/pick technique and your bass has way more influence on final tone than the amp. Of course, effects and extreme EQ settings will have a major influence too, but we all (should) develop our own sound because most of us play slightly differently. A good amp will still sound crap if playing technique is poor.
  6. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    Years ago I did some measurement on SWR, GK and Eden amps. With the tone controls at their neutral position, SWR boosted lows and highs and provided a cut at around 220 Hz. GK was similar but had the cut at about 500 Hz with more treble boost (IIRC).

    Eden's amp was flat with the tone controls at the neutral position. You had to dial in the tone you wanted. Their tone controls gave lots of boost/cut over a rather narrow adjustment range so they developed the reputation of having "powerful" EQ.

    My Aguilar TH-350 was a bit of a lower-mid hump (330 Hz?) with rolled off treble and slightly rolled off bass. Very anti-SWR.

    My Genz-Benz Shuttle 350 was flat with the EQ set flat. Like the Eden you had to dial in the tone you wanted, it didn't come with anything baked in.

    My Fender Rumble repeats the similar theme of boosted lows and highs with a mid scoop. I don't recall the frequency of the mid scoop but I would guess it to be around 500 Hz.
    BikerBob likes this.
  7. Totally agree. If you know the tone you want and the frequency profile to achieve it, almost any good amp with a flexible multiband (semi parametric) EQ section or outboard graphic equaliser can get you there.
    n1as likes this.
  8. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    This is what I was hoping to see--some measurements. There have been posts on this board about how to 'flatten' certain amps, like a GK needs to have the contour and presence off with the low and high mids bumped up to 2-3 o' clock to be "flat" sounding.

    I can attest to the Eden EQ thing. I have a WT-500 that I love. The EQ stays mostly at noon and the enhance knob off to 9 o'clock. The EQ knobs have detents, and one small click in either direction really makes a noticeable change.

    My Peavey Century 200 has a baked in mid scoop. From how the EQ acts and sounds, reinforced by the description in the manual, the mid is passive and cut only, the treble and bass are roughly +/- 15 db. The treble is extra bright, perhaps purposefully to make those 70s cabs without horns to cut. I tend to run it with the mids cranked, bass on 6 and treble on 1 or 2 to get a tone that approaches the flatness of the Eden at noon.

    My Fender Bassman Ten also has a pretty dramatic baked in scoop somewhere in the lower mids--300Hz-ish, particularly in the 'normal' guitar channel, which sounds better for bass, imho. Not sure if any amount of knob tweaking can flatten that curve.

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