Why do some folks hate Hartke so much?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sedan_dad, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    I've read in places the hate some folks have for Hartke.
    Some folks hate the heads,some the transporter series and some anything that says Hartke.
    I was just wondering whats up?
    Is this a common feeling?
  2. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    Certainly not a common feeling, but the Hartke rig I tested would always deliver too much treble for me (Hartke 5500 + 410XL cab).
  3. thedoctor


    Jun 20, 2005
    The main problem I have with Hartke aluminum cone cabs is they are VERY difficult to get off the Hartke sound. You can hear the distinct aluminum sound under almost all EQs and settings. The paper-cone Hartkes are completely different. Their lower-than-should-be cost and asian manufacture contribute to the stigma. I own three different Hartke cabs and use them selectively for their different sounds. I must say that none of them comes close to my Trace. If you like the Hartke sound, you will love them. If you want flexibility, look elsewhere. IMHO, of course. Your opinion may and should vary.
  4. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    I've owned three of them in the past and will never go back. The heads sound sterile and the cabs are too bright. They are "ok" in my book, but nothing beyond that... After you try better gear, you won't go back there...
  5. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    A few months ago I Played on a 3500 with 4-10s at a gig, and it sound cool to me. Last night I was at a St. Patrick Day outing, and one of the bass players was using a Hartke rig, he sound fine to me. I'm not big on Hartke, but a lot of the bassist I come across here use them, and they all had a nice sound IMHO. If you like the way they sound use them, most ppl on these forums say my rig is out dated, but I like the sound of it as do others that have heard it, so go with what you like.
  6. vroc38

    vroc38 Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Seems to me that there were some reliability issues with the heads a while back.

    I used a house 3500 3-4 times, but could never dial in a tone that worked for me.

    I saw the Smithereens once, and Mike Mesaros used a Hartke rig. It was the most nasty and horrible tone I have ever heard coming from a pro's rig. Nothing but harsh mids and highs, and this was with a P. He sounded great in the FOH, so it must have been some weird personal preference.
  7. "Hate" is an awfully strong word I think. How can one hate an inanimate object? OK, I'll make an exception for traffic lights. I don't like Hartke because I think they sound bad and in my opinion the build quality isn't up to professional standards.
  8. ebe9


    Feb 26, 2006
    South Africa
    Like the Hartke heads but the aluminium cone cabs are just too bright in my book.
  9. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I used Hartke for years. My old 3500 was a great head and not once did I experience any trouble with it. Great tone with ample power. However, that was an "old" Hartke head. The newer heads do not have the reputation for durability like the old heads. Plus, they don't seem to be as powerful (3500 vs. HA3500) as their older counterparts.

    The aluminum cabs definately have their own sound. It isn't a sound you can just EQ out either. Some like it, others don't. As far as reliability with the aluminum Hartke cabs, I think a lot of it has to do with users not understanding how the aluminum is affected by temerature. If you carry your 410XL to a gig and it is 30º outside and you gig inside where it is 75º and start jamming without letting the cab get up to room temp, you are setting yourself up for cone failure.

    Personally, I like "old" Hartke. I think a sweet combination would be a Hartke 210 or 410 paired with an old school 115 or 118. You would get the fullness yet still have the punch and clarity that a Hartke cab provides.

    Ofcourse this is all IMO and YMMV.
  10. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I don't "hate them" per se. It's just that every one I've ever played sounded like crap. So..."hate them" is strong, but "not for me" is entirely accurate.
  11. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    wow, not sure...i've used eden cabs a lot in the past (my vocalist is curently using my 410xl in the rehearsal space), and i've never had a problem...i use it with my eden navigator, and i've always been able to get a lot of bottom...the only time it's ever really too trebley is when i plug in my wenge necked mtd 535...i guess ymmv, and all that sort of stuff, but i think they're ok...i would dig a rig with a 4.5 xl + a 215xl...i don't think they have an 8 ohm 215, though...
  12. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    I have an HA5500 amp and an XL115 cab that I use with an additional JBL 1x18" ab. Sounds great.

    I don't know why anyone would hate any product.
    It's all a matter of taste.
  13. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    i used mine for ages and it never broke. amp and cabs. In a short span of time, a friend's iAMP (5 or 600) broke 3 times. I also recall reading about some of the much beloved Schroeders on here needing to be reshipped due to reversed speaker wiring.

    I mention this not to crap on your post, but becasue when high end boutique gear is broken, breaks, etc we only hear about how great cusotmer service is... NOT about the fact that it was broken/damaged/built wrong. With hartke and meddium level gear, I notice people focus on the fact that it broke. Clear double standard.

    i agree. Mine definitely took a heck of a lot more tweaking than my current eden/AMP.

    I saw them in 1990 or 1991. they sounded bad, bass and all.

    I am not claiming that hartkes are the cats meow, but the "reliability" card is one that sticks inmy craw.

    (do people have a craw?)
  14. wolfs


    Jan 18, 2006
    Hartke's never wronged me. I used a 3500 for awhile and thought it was good (great for the money). I have an appreciation for inexpensive gear and like a clear SS tone... so Peavey's and Hartke's are both cool in my book. Never liked their cabs (except I kinda dug the big pro 18" cab but I could never see buying it, mostly dug it for sh!#s and grins).
  15. lbpark

    lbpark Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Mobile, Al.
    I learned how to play through a little 30w Hartke practice amp with my headphones. Doesn't sound fantastic, but it gets me by when I want to practice. I still use it almost every day.
  16. I bought an HA5500 head with a 410tp and a 115xl when I first started playing bass. I didn't have any exposure to other amps and cabs. It took me a while to get a good sound out of it until I started using the crossover better and picked up and MXR M80 DI box. Now I can get any sound I want out of it. I can get the trebs out of the sound entirely without any tweaks to the amp settings. It's all done from my preamp in my bass.

    That being said, when I bought my cabinets they came with a sticker on the grill that wouldn't come off. I contacted customer support and explained the issue. It took me 2 weeks of pulling pieces of sticker off using hot water and vinegar and there is still sticker all over the grill. It took them 3 months to send a new one and when it arrived.... it had the sticker on it. I told customer service to *&^% off after that. Apparently they can't understand repeated emails. So I will never buy another hartke because I don't think they want to go the extra step in customer service.

    Here you can see what's left of the sticker still.

  17. Have you tried Goo Gone? That should remove the sticker residue.
  18. The 210 combo I played a few times at school gave me a bit of a 'wooden' tone. Without much warmth/definition etc. I didn't quite like it with my bass. But it sounded good with somebody else his bass..
  19. I haven't yet. I just kinda moved on from it. I don't gig out with it so it just sits in the music room.

    The whole point for me was that it is stupid to put this type of sticker on a metal grill with 1000 holes in it. If they would have used a different type of sticker it would not have been an issue. Unfortunately the customer service guy didn't seem to care nor did he seem to even try to resolve the issue. I can't tell you how many emails I had to send just to get an initial response. That made me want a new grill to drive the point home that didn't have the sticker. Easy enough right? I even offered to send the old grill back at my expense. But apparently they don't understand what "No sticker" means. So I sent another email stating that this grill also had the sticker. No response back of any kind. Screw 'em! I'll shop elsewhere!

    I don't intend this to sound like a rant. Sorry if it did.... ;)
  20. I was at the music store today and played a Hartke rig that consisted of VX215,VX210 and the 3500a head. I could of walked out the door for under $1,000.00. The rig sounded pretty good. Now that I know what $1,000.00 can get me, I am ready to search for some used gear and spend half as much.