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Why am I never happy with my amp/cab tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tony G, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    By request :D

    I've gone through a lot of amps in recent years, but I'm fairly happy with my LMII. It has a great sound and a versatile eq. But I seem to have my issues with cabs as well. I've used a number of different Avatar, SWR, Genz Benz, and Epifani cabs and now use Bergantino cabs. All of these cabs were/are great, but each of them have their pluses and minuses as well.

    Why can't I get the tone in my head? Does it not exist? Should I just learn to live with what I sound like?
  2. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    i've found it relatively easy to get the sound i want, so my conclusion is that we all have different ideas of how close is 'close enough'

    TB was a great resource when i was researching before my purchases--not a lot of options available locally, so i had to do a fair amount of reading, but it worked out for me
  3. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I just have the problem of not being able to stop and say "it sounds great and it's light, DONE". :eek:
  4. ()smoke()


    Feb 25, 2006
    until new equipment is free of charge, i'm pretty good at saying 'Done!' :D
  5. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Yes you'd think that would do it for me as well. I don't usually go out and buy new stuff though. If I can get a good deal on something that I've been wanting to try, I'll go for it with the thought that it can be sold without losing too much money.
  6. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    ...I thought it was normal for us bassholes to be constantly searching for the mythical "golden tone"... Lord knows I haven't found it yet. :D
  7. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    It sounds like you've been through some premium gear in search of your own ideal of the perfect tone. Does any other artist out there come close to what you hear in your head? Even then, you know, and I know that cloning someone else's gear chain may get one in the ball park of a particular sound and tone, but you weren't trying to copy someone else to begin with. It is that individual tone vision that nearly becomes a mystical and often frustrating quest for a lot of us. I'm lucky that I'm pretty content with the gear I'm using these days, but I've yet to find that perfect do it all amp rig. I guess we have to learn from the guitarists around us who assemble a small arsenal of different amps and speaker cabs to get their tone mojo on for each and every occasion. I hope you find what you are looking for someday.
  8. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I think it is very difficult especially if you play multiple styles.

    First off different instruments sound different so if your not a one axe guy that could make things difficult.

    I found my Epi 502 with a NYC 212 sounded great for slap and smooth Jazz type stuff.

    I found my IAMP 350 and Bag End S15D sounded great for the Jaco tone.

    I could go on and on about things I've owned and what I loved about them but it's not possible to play different rigs on the same gig and it's not practical to have 6 different rigs depending on the situation although some do.

    I think in most cases we find a set up that suits the majority of our styles the best and that is always a compromise.

    At least that is my experience.
  9. YCBass

    YCBass Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    I replied to the counterpart thread in the Basses forum, but since you're asking about amps/cabs specifically I'll reply here too.

    Have you tried Schroeder cabs? Eventhough I don't own any (yet) I feel the urge to recommend them. My friend uses a LMII with various Schroeders and it sounds great through all of them.

    The same guy sold his Schroeder 410 recently and I got to hear the guy who bought it from him at a gig in an open air shopping center, it was loud and clear - and that was from far away when I was walking from the parking lot. He also used an LMII.

    Good luck!
  10. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    I think if you have money to be able to spend on new gear you will always be looking for *your* sound:)
    When you don't have money for new gear, you have found it;)
  11. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Seems like I usually run out of money when I've got stuff that I hate. :eek:
  12. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    I think that when you're talking about the high end gear you've been using, they all sound really good, but they all sound different from each other. Because of this, when you have been playing with one set of gear for a while, you become used to it. Then when you try something else that is equally good, but sounds a little "different", that difference can be exciting enough for you that instead of "equally good but different", you hear it as "better".

    When it comes down to it, based on your style, basses, and the tone you seem to gravitate towards, I think that the LMII or UL502 and the AE410 or 410UL are the peices you'll be most happy with, depending on the mix/match and the mood that you are in as far as those "differences".
  13. I agree Peter. My wife always laughs at me with my "here's my salsa gear, here's my acoustic jazz set up, here's my general jobbing rig..etc" Generally two different rigs could get me through 95% of the situations but I'm always wanting to sound authentic in each style. I've found that my EA and Markbass gear get me there with some effects pedals thrown in for good measure.
  14. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Another thing to think about....some here at TB are into the latest, greatest, lightest bass gear. That usually translates to "modern sound". If you discover you just like the sound of a P or J bass into an SVT or Bassman or Acoustic, all this equipment won't get you there.

    I think I went way too far into the modern sound before realizing...hey, my favorite sound is a passive Jazz into an amp that adds coloration (a tube that is pushed a little).
  15. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I think this post makes alot of sense. I know it's funny, but think about it.
  16. I think the best remedy is to just get the sound to a point that isn't awful, then just play. Give the sound sometime to settle and then twist some dials, and see what happens. Playing is the best cure for G.A.S.
  17. 4-string


    Jul 23, 2006
    You need a new bass. ;)
  18. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Interesting comment. Put your ear to the horn of your bass. Do you like the sound. Is it too nasally or dark or light or brittle or thick or thin? If it doesn't sound just wonderful then you need something else. Sounds like you have gear that should flat give you the sound of your bass.
    Second possibility. Folks think that 15"s give bass and 10"s give treble or this more bass means crank the bass or they look at the panel of eq on their head and dial in what it would do if you were describing to the amp in English what to sound like. Like 1/4 bass and 1/3 mids and the rest treble. Well the amp doesn't necessarily arrive at sound that way.
    My experience. Had a Ken Smith bass BMT Elite G. It was all that. But rarely sounded good. Read an article in BP about a session guy with a similar bass and for his work he turned the bass and treble all the way up. I tried it. Amazing bass guitar for me. Did three albums and a lot of gigs. I would never have turned those eqs all the way up but the blend of them became so sweet. Who knew? So my thinking was preventing me from getting to my sound. Hope this helps.
  19. To get "your tone"

    first: you have to fall in love with playing the bass

    second: you have to fall in love with teamwork, with being in a band

    third: learn the basics of string types, basses, combos / amps / cabs

    fourth: forget the rest and just play
  20. peter jack

    peter jack

    Jun 8, 2008

    fifth: read the talk bass forum:D

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