yet another Shuttle/LMII comparison

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tolson36, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    I happened to be at GC and they had an LMII for $475. So being curious (not unhappy with the Shuttle)--but yet hearing several folks claim that the LMII is louder than the Shuttle; I decided to pick up an LMII for a loudness comparison. I had an LMII awhile back before the Shuttle and remember that I didn't like the amount of headroom I felt I got running at 8-ohm through a single cab.

    I recorded my bass playing into a wav file so I could have a consistent signal into both amps (eliminating at least one variable). I EQ'ed the signal on both amps to as close as possible the same (but I know that's a tall order with just my ears so I won't claim the EQ was exact). I ran both through my 2 12" cabs and used a decibal meter from about 3-4 feet away. I made sure both preamps were running entirely clean (by my ears). Then I brought up the volume levels to the point where I could just start to hear distortion of equal amounts on both amps (audible to my ears). I should note however that the distortion on the Shuttle at that point sounds like tube grind whereas the LMII sounds like SS distortion.

    The numbers (C-weighting) were Shuttle 117.5db, and LMII 116db. I also have to say I could get the Shuttle a little louder still if I wanted more grind (which wasn't objectionable) but I could not do that with the LMII---overdriving it further made me worry for my speakers.

    as an aside--I also ran the NEO-Pak and got a number of 114.5. However, if I wanted to run a little more grind--I could also get it up to the level very close to the LMII (and still without any distortion that sounded worse than a tube-amp type of grinding distortion.

    Sometimes on a gig, I like to really dig-in---I really don't feel the LMII would give me a decent safety margin while the Shuttle would not make me worry as much. I feel I could keep the Shuttle at a higher level and at worst when I dig in I'd get some grind. I feel the LMII would make me want to back off more. Realize that you could add a limiter or compressor to the LMII and possibly improve the situation.

    Personally I don't see how anyone can make the claim that the LMII is louder than the Shuttle. And that's whether or not distortion is taken into account. Perhaps into different speakers that are a better match for the LMII? I don't know. What I do know is I convinced myself after having some doubt and being totally prepared to make a switch. However, I'll keep the Shuttle for the reasons given. (the extra features and better warranty/repair options on the Genz stuff is a big extra for me as well)

    Next was my decision on keeping the NEO-Pak over the LMII as a backup. While the LMII is slightly louder than the NEO-pak---I still think it's the fact I can run the Neo-pak dirtier and make up the difference. And when I really dig-in--it seems like I still feel more comfortable (less worried) doing it with the NEO-pak--even given the lesser power. I'd probably be more inclined to use both cabs though. My goal isn't to start a big argument here---ymmv---different speakers, eq points, playing styles can all come into play.

    PS--one other difference too was that it seems that the volume knob on the LMII gets to a certain point and doesn't get louder--seems to somehow increase alot on the first half and not as much on the back half of it's travel. Could imagine that having the volume come on so quickly in the lower part of it's travel could contribute to a perception that it's louder than it really is.
  2. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    New Jersey
    Maybe your definition of grind/clean sound is different than everybody elses? The Shuttle dirties up much to quick for my tastes, so even though its at least capable of being louder than the LMK as an absolute, the useable headroom for me was not nearly as available with the Shuttle.
  3. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    could be but at the levels I measured---both heads had a little distortion on the peaks and were clean overall--and yet the Shuttle measured higher. note--both pre's were clean

    "everybody else" ?? that might be going a bit far :)
  4. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    well--I have all three right now :)

    but one of 'em has to go---still might keep the LMII over the NEO

    incidently---I went to GC and told them I'd been hearing of deep discounts on some Markbass gear. They offered me the LMII at that price $475 (and that 12" combo with the LMII head for $750)
  5. Smallequestrian

    Smallequestrian Rock and/or Roll

    Jul 6, 2004
    New Jersey
    I say that because almost everybody that I have read who has compared the two thought the LMK had more clean headroom than the Shuttle.
  6. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    could be they were ignoring the bit of hard distortion this amp can give you on peaks.

    I wish I could have totally bypassed the EQ on both amps to eliminate any EQ differences ---I think they were very similar but it's always possible that a spike in a single range of frequency could cause the clipping. After my static test I did play around with the EQ to try to get the LMII to show higher dbs but couldn't.
  7. Your test is totally different from what I experience, and also quite a few others. Something doesn't seem right.

    I think your DB meter thing is the problem. A little 15 watt guiter amp can get louder than a huge bass rig if you don't take frequency range into account. The LMII gets significantly louder WITH a full range, deep bass, totally clean tone IME. The Shuttle starts sounding a little more like a guiter amp when really pushed... compressed, slightly grindy, lacking full, open low end IMO and IME. To be fair, with that 'tube emulation compression' or whatever built in, I think that was part of the design goal of the head. You either dig it or not I guess.

    It would not surprise me that a bass head that has a more midrange oriented inherent voice might scope out louder on a DB meter, given that midrange tone takes less oomph to generate than a full, even, wide tone with real deep bass response.

    That being said, the Shuttle sounds great and so does the LMII (although they sound quite different), and both are probably 'loud enough' for most applications. I think where all this 'volume' stuff came from was that a couple of Genz endorsers went WAY over the top in their descriptions of the Shuttle performance (the first 'micro lead sled' and all that ridiculous rot). Also, the higher wattage spec of the Shuttle set up some mild expectations regarding full range volume and punch compared to other lower wattage micro's that wasn't met IMO by the actual product performance.

    IMO and IME.
  8. heavyhitter


    Jan 24, 2008
    Bit off topic but I picked up my LMII "scratch n' dent" from Musicians Friend for $375(free shipping) There is a 1/2 inch scratch on the side other than that its perfect.

    Sorry off topic but if it helps some TBers save some green to look there I figured it was worthy of a post.
  9. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
  10. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    I don't know Kjung

    I used C-weighting which should recognize low-end---and I EQ'd them similarly.

    Agree, it's not scientific but if I EQ two amps to where I like to hear them and they sound similar, and then the db meter shows the Shuttle is louder, and I also hear it louder to my ears. Which one is louder? After the initial go I also messed with the LMII eq (increasing the low) and still did not get db numbers any higher.

    I would like to do the test again and this time EQ them both toward the low side. I always thought two power amps--with the same equalization would be a fair test of relative power delivery--regardless of where your bias (high or low) was at--as long as they (both amps) were both the same EQ.

    But I gots to tell you--that the lowend that the LMII clearly has that the Shuttle seems to not have so much is below 40 which I personally never want in a bar/gig situation. We have our subs rolled off at 50 so why would we want a stage monitor to be capable of significant below 40 performance?

    It's possible that C-weighting still does not take into account all frequencies that would advantage the LM-II. Now keep in mind--this test was through two 12" speakers which inherently are going to rolloff volume below 40. So it could be that yes--the LMII is capable of being louder if run through speakers that are much more capable if below 40 performance. However, for my needs--if I prefer a more middy sound (and that's bass mids--not guitar mids).

    I think I'll repeat the test with a sub I have--post later

  11. If the Shuttle is loud enough for you, and you dig the tone, then all this other stuff is a moot point anyway. Sometimes you just need to crank it up and play, and if it sounds good, it sounds good!

    Also, the low end profile of your tone is much more driven by your bass cab than the low end roll-off of an amp, so that is also kind of a moot point.

    Again, it sounds like you dig the Shuttle, and that's cool. It's a nice sounding head and it does what it is supposed to do. I personally like the more flat, wider, transparent tone of the LMII, and the fact that the LMII scopes out pretty flat when the pre is 'set flat', which I really dig (that is 'plug and play' at its best IMO). I found the Shuttle somewhat thin sounding down low without the bass boost on, and lacking headroom and being too boomy with that bass boost engaged (I hate those 'all or nothing' switches versus nice variable filters, etc.).
  12. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    I agree on the switch. Personally I think the low EQ of the Shuttle could be lower (I think it's 80). The LMII low control does do a good job of acting as a rolloff and can get you to where you want to be. I've found if I don't rolloff the low on the LM-II--I see the speakers move way more than I'd want to see.

    On the Shuttle I wish I could engage the switch and still have a control centered at 40 to fine tune it. ie get rid of the below 40 stuff a little.

    HPF maybe?
  13. BrennP90

    BrennP90 Guest

    Jun 26, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Anybody use a Shuttle with an AE112? I was going to get one for mine but was worried about the power output being too much.

  14. I think the new Shuttle Max 6.0 will 'fix' part of this issue. It has the three pushbutton controls now as variable filters, plus a lot of other goodies. It looks darn nice.
  15. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I must agree that the tone controls on the LMII are well placed in useful frequencies. Because it sounds so good we tend to use it flat with a touch of VLE most times (or I do). However, a friend recently visited me with a Bergie AE112 which we were comparing to one of my Goliath Junior 210s. The Bergie was "drier" sounding and with what appeared to be an upper mid bump while the Goliath had more lows. I found that by cutting the lows on my SA450 and boosting the upper mids I was quickly able to get very close to the Berg sound. +1 for Markbass tone controls, very useable and it was the first time I really apppreciated the parametric tone in the 450. Those Markbass amps really are quite special.
    Makes me surprised that Markbass cabinets just don't seem to have taken off - how can they get the amps so right yet be out of touch with the speakers? I have never tried an MB cab but will have the oppportunity to try a MB Traveler 112 shortly, so that should be interesting.
  16. tallboybass

    tallboybass Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Could you tell us the settings you ended up with on both amps?

    Thanks, Alan
  17. tolson36

    tolson36 Guest

    Oct 20, 2003
    the LMII was all flat except rolloff to about 9:30am position on the low knob

    Shuttle was same except total rolloff of high knob and about 11am position on the low knob.

    I played around with LMII by increasing low-end to 12 and low-mid bumped up a little--both and vice-versa.

    once again--speakers may come into play

    PS--nope--ran both through a 4-ohm sub and the Shuttle is still louder---so no--I really don't get the hit on the shuttle. :)