Why does my pseudo-biamp rig sound so lame?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Martinyeomans, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Martinyeomans


    Mar 4, 2012
    So I figured "I've got the gear, why not biamp it?" I did and didn't get the outcome I was expecting. Here's the rig...

    G&L L-5500 through a Markbass Super Booster into a Peavey Tour 450. Speaker out of the Peavey into an SWR Triad Cab. Tuner out of the Peavey into a Dean Markley RM100 one hundred watt tube power amp into an SVT 118e cab.

    I know the system isn't truly a biamp system since I'm not splitting the signal and sending the highs and lows to different amps. The idea was to use the Peavey as a full-range system and to push a hundred tube watts into the 18 to dial in massive bottom when I wanted it.

    Actually, the Peavey/Triad portion of the system sounds great. The problem is the volume of the Dean Markley. Even on 10 the volume is so low that it's like it's not on when I turn up the Peavey to normal practice levels.

    I'm wondering if it's the level of the signal going into the Dean Markley. I tried sending to DM's line in from the Peavey's FX send but got silence. Only the tuner out worked at all though the volume is way too low.

    What am I doing wrong. What do I need to do to fix it?
  2. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    1.) Use a crossover


    2.) Ditch the 118 and get a second Triad
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    The sensitivity on the 18 is low and combined with the fact that you're trying to push the lows through it (which take more wattage to get equal volume) means you don't have the power to do what you want to.

    You're correct that it isn't biamped you're just multi-amping. True biamp is dependent upon not just having a couple amplifiers but having a coherent crossover so that each amp is only handling the specific frequency range its intended for sent to speakers that are not full range, but designed for whatever part of the frequency spectrum they're reproducing.
  4. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    It's just a really odd combination of amps & cabs. Running two amps can work well (I do it on occasion) but the way it's typically done is to run one amp with effects or overdrive and another for clean low booty.

    You're basically covering lows with two rigs and they're fighting each other somehow.
  5. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I suspect that one of the two rigs is inverting the polarity of the signal. Thus the rigs are cancelling instead of adding.

    Edit: Just because you have the gear doesn't mean it's a great idea to use it all at once.

    Edit2: Expecting huge low end from a cabinet just because it has a large cone is a myth. Size has little relevance to how much bottom end it can put out.
  6. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I suspect the tuner out doesn't have the juice to drive the poweramp. Get that sorted out and I would try the setup the opposite way. If you don't have a crossover, try driving the 18 with the Peavey, set it up for clean lows and dial the mids and treble out. Th en use the tube amp and the other cab to run mids and highs, dial the bass out of that one.

    Though, I suspect you are missing a preamp to control this tube poweramp.

    May be a little simpler to just use the Peavey and a dirt pedal, unless you have some sort of pre or eq pedal that can push the high amp and take the lows out of it.
  7. Never expect a random hookup of amps and cabs to sound good. The reason they sound bad could be a combination of all the responses.

    You could make it sound great. Do what Will suggested but use the Peavey amp effect loop send to the crossover, lows back to the return and the highs to the tube amp. That puts all your tone control in the Peavey preamp. Crossover should have plenty of poke to drive the tube amp.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    what they said.

    100w tube amp ≠ massive lows for bass, just the opposite.

    if you gotta try a rig-up like this, try using that higher powered solid state amp into the 18 for the lows, and use the tube amp with some overdrive into a smaller cab for mids and highs; just avoid any tweeters or horns, they sound nasty with distortion.
  9. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    There is a reason people say don't mix cabs.

    That said, running a tuner out into the tube head could result in an impedance mismatch that causes it to receive a very low signal...or the tuner out could just have a very low voltage to begin with.

    Try using an A/B/Y box, and switching the position of the amps (Peavey into the 118, DM into the Triad).
  10. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Tuner out into a power amp? That there is your problem. You have no preamp in that chain. Might as well plug your bass directly into a power amp.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're not mixing driver sizes are you?
  12. Bad for so many reasons

    Tuner out

    No cross-over, so full range going to both cabs

    Miss-matched cabs

    Both cabs designed for lows, neither good to just be the highs

    Less power to lows than to highs.

    This is a concept that is often not successful even when it seems like it ought to work. In this circumstance, it's got nothing going in its favor.
  13. LOL!

    Only 4 different sizes.
  14. Martinyeomans


    Mar 4, 2012
    Thank for the excellent advice. I am pretty well guilty of both of the above. I can't pass up a great deal on craigslist so I've got a bunch of miss-matched bass gear I'm playing with - hoping for "magic". This setup certainly didn't work out well.

    I'm back to the Peavey 450 into the Triad and dropped the rest for now. It's clean, hifi and thick - not perfect but not bad. The quest for the perfect tone continues.

    I just can't bring myself to get rid of the Ampeg 118 though. It's just too dang cool!!!
  15. Rick James

    Rick James Inactive

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    +1. Lows need more power than highs, not less, and tube 'sweetness' is what you hear in the mids and highs, not the lows. You've got your amps powering the wrong speakers.
  16. deathsdj


    Sep 18, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    All you need to do is get your signal problem solved. The tuner out is your issue. I successfully run two combo amps, a Peavey TNT 115 and a Peavey Basic 112 (mismatched drivers and it sounds kick ass). To get the right signal to the amps I used a Boss LS-2 which worked perfectly but I want to use it somewhere else so I got a Radial Bones Twin City Amp switcher. The Radial takes care of everything and even has a switch to change polarity if you are having phasing issues and a switch to correct ground issues. It is also buffered so you get a good strong signal.

    I got a lot of naysayers around here when I mentioned what I was doing but it works great. I run my TNT clean for massive bottom end and I run my pedal board through the Basic. Eventually I'll have effects on both amps, the crunchy stuff on the Basic and the smooth stuff on the TNT. Its still a work in progress but I'm loud enough to practice with a band easily and it sounds really good.

    Matching gear does not matter. Matching speakers does not matter. Setting everything up correctly and dialing in a good sound is all that matters.

    Good luck!

  17. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i'd argue that it very much does matter if the goal is a good "normal" bass sound with balance, fidelity and headroom.

    when you get into blending clean and crunchy sounds then yeah, the rules kinda go out the window.

    even then, basic practices still matter, like using the more powerful rig for the cleans and focusing it on the lows while emphasizing mids and highs with the overdrive part of the rig and only needing a smaller setup for that overdrive component.
  18. You could have so easily said something like "you can sometimes succeed despite it," but no, you had to go with nonsense offered as advice.

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