Would you sacrifice warmth for accuracy?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bigfeet, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. This is a question I’ve been asking my self for a long while I like accurate sounding bass but I like some warmth in the mix. I like my Ibanez EDC-705 it has a very accurate sound to it but it lacks allot of warmth because of the luthite body (it smells too). I love the way mosfet amps sound but I have the whole warmth issue and tubes amps distort were mosfet amps can go. I really like my Ampeg SVTs for that more classic bass sound and they have a great crunch when distorted with scooped mids (if you turn off the horn) but lately I’ve been getting into the new Mesa Boogie and Warwick mosfet amps.

    If you had no choice would you sacrifice warmth for accuracy and could you recommend some accurate sounding amps and cabs?
  2. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Accuracy....warmth? Why, again, are they exclusive of each other? "Accuracy", as far as I can tell, should only have to do with being properly tuned and intonated, which has NO effect on your tone, no? :confused:
  3. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    i think he means accurate tone reproduction, ie. the amp reproduces what the bass puts out.

    i think you need a mixture of both. obviously every amp will color the sound of your bass in some way, so you have to find the magic combination that gives you the tone you want with your bass.

    as for me - i wouldn't consider my rig super warm, but it's a good blend, and clean enough that i can cut through anything.

  4. AndersK2


    Sep 11, 2000
    The only thing that counts is a GOOD sound, if it is accurate or not, is not important.

    What is accurate really? The acoustic sound of the bass? Or the electric?...
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Accuracy became a mania for me when I started gigging on DB and hating the way the pickups and amps colored the tone (compared to how it sounds unamplified).

    In that respect, the most accurate bass cabinet I have heard to date is the Acme B2, but it requires a lot of power and is NOT a good rock cab.

    I now use Epifani 1-12" cabs (I have 2) and these are a better compromise. They would be good for most traditional rock players as they have very strong but tight low end and are pretty smooth across the frequency range, take lots of power if you have it and are small and light. Using one with my DB I get a pretty good sound, use two with a P-bass and get slabs of old school rock tones, use two with a modern active bass and nail that "El Ay" studio sound.

    A lot of people will chime in here and say that Eden or SWR or some other brand is more accurate, but you know what? Put all those cabs side by side and listen...none of them sound much like each other! So it can be hard to tell what is accurate and what is not. Sometimes the cabinet that is LESS accurate sounds better because it hypes frequencies that sound good to your ear.

    Back to the original post, warmth starts with the bass. Play it unplugged (yeah, I know it aint too loud) and LISTEN. If it sounds tight and thin, no matter what you do your sound will be tight and thin. Better to get a warm sounding axe and build from there. You can NOT use EQ to warm things up, it may seem so at first (dime the bass, wow is that PHAT!) but after a while you'll hear it as an exagerration rather than true warmth.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Depends on what you want. In the electric bass world, this preoccupation with "accuracy" and hi-fi tone is all wasted motion, IMHO. How often have you dialed up a great, clean tone while playing alone and then found that it gets eaten for lunch when thrown into a band mix? Anymore, I don't even touch my settings until I can make the tonal adjustments that'll get a sound I like WITHIN the band context. Often, the tone that sounds right in the mix, sounds like crap soloed.
  7. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    [Greetings to all. I am a new guy here.]

    I don't think that warmth and accuracy need to be exclusive. I think that an accurate amp is one that responds very quickly to dynamics, has fast transients, and keeps the note well defined with a lot of clear harmonic content. This way you feel the amp respond to your playing. My Kern /Aguilar rig is very fast and accurate, and very WARM. This is different from the SVT feel, which seems to lag a little behind the note and rounds-off the attack of the note. Of course that roundness in the attack is a big part of the old school sound.

    In general, I would say look for an amp that has fast response, and rich harmonic content. (Good eq helps a lot too.) This is the amp that will sound best in the mix. An Acoustic Image Clarus is good for that. So is an Eden. I like a aggressive attitude in my amps which I get from tubes. How much tube growl/warmth it has is really up to you.
  8. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio!

    Jul 3, 2001
    Chester, Connecticut
    Former Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I don't think they're exclusive, either. In fact, I think they're really two different things.

    Here's an analogy. Let's say you have a really nice camera that produces very sharp images. It offers great control over depth of field, and a range of shutter speeds that allow you to capture fast action as well as stationary subjects. Very, very little lens flare, and no discernible aberrations.

    In other words, it's a very accurate camera.

    Does it mean the pictures you shoot will be good, or even interesting? No. You still have to compose your shots and capture the right thing(s) at the right moment, with suitable lighting.

    Now let's say you have a cheap point-and-shoot camera. Can you take great photos with it? Yes, if you compose your shots well and can work within its limits, but in general because its results are much less predictable, it doesn't offer the creative flexibility that the very accurate camera does.

    Accuracy is something you can define; it's faithfulness to a reference or standard, such as an input signal. Warmth is a feeling or quality--something you have to dial in and figure out to suit your aesthetic sensibilities, because there is no universal definition of it. One person's "warm" might be someone else's "muddy" or yet someone else's "fuzzy" or another person's "compressed."

    Remember that the preamp/amp/speaker is part of creating the sound of an electric bass, which doesn't have a sound of its own the way an acoustic instrument does. In addition to your playing techniques, you can use the electronic adjustments and effects you have available to create the sound you want.
  9. Steven Green

    Steven Green

    Jul 25, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Well, I like to mixe 'em...with my Mesa M-2000. I can blend a rich tubey sound with a super fat hi fi FET sound and it is great. You can be both at once easily! That said, it's possible with lots of other amps and cabs too. Just try everything you can and find what works for you...