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gjones

I hate Trace Elliot gear

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I was reading some posts on a basschat topic today about a Trace rig on ebay and how great they sounded back in the day. Different strokes for different folks I suppose but I've never got on with TE stuff. I can never get (in my opinion) a good sound from the things. When I was getting serious about bass, in the 90's, these were the holy grail of bass amplification but I never got on with them. In the past whenever I turned up at a gig where the backline was TE or a rehearsal studio (where all old TE gear goes to die) and one of these greeted me I knew I'd be spending most of the first hour trying to get a halfway decent sound. Thank goodness for lightweight bass heads because now if the bass amp is a Trace I can just plug my TC head into the cab and get a decent sound right away.

Does anybody else have a dislike of TE stuff or am I just a weirdo?

Edited by gjones

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I think it sounds fine really, although maybe that's just it; they sound "fine". Not brilliant or fantastic, just fine. Good at their job which is being lugged around to gigs and filling in the low end of the frequency spectrum. I just tend to stay away from trace gear purely because they're not the lightest amps to chug around.

Edited by EdwardHimself

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[quote name='gjones' post='1353636' date='Aug 27 2011, 03:47 PM']I was reading some posts on a basschat topic today about a Trace rig on ebay and how great they sounded back in the day. Different strokes for different folks I suppose but I've never got on with TE stuff. I can never get (in my opinion) a good sound from the things. When I was getting serious about bass, in the 90's, these were the holy grail of bass amplification but I never got on with them. In the past whenever I turned up at a gig where the backline was TE or a rehearsal studio (where all old TE gear goes to die) and one of these greeted me I knew I'd be spending most of the first hour trying to get a halfway decent sound. Thank goodness for lightweight bass heads because now if the bass amp is a Trace I can just plug my TC head into the cab and get a decent sound right away.

Does anybody else have a dislike of TE stuff or am I just a weirdo?[/quote]


I don't like the sound of them. The best you could say is that the noise they make can be heard over the noise made by two guitarists and a metal drummer.

That from my limited experience of their two-ton 4x10 and an amp with a graphic equaliser that glows in the dark.

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Just like yourself, I have never managed to get anything more than an ok sound from a trace unit.
They have always sounded sterile and bland to me.
I appreciate that's what some people are after, but for me - no thanks.

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I had a great Trace amp but I wouldn't go for one again now. The 12 band graphic never really worked out for me. Very bright/trebly with not enough low mids.

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Back in the 80s, I did a gig, and was excited to see I would be playing through a TE stack. I wasn`t so excited after trying to get a sound out of it that I liked.

I think, because they have a very versatile tone-shaping system, it is very difficult to get a good sound out of them. And they do seem to have a signature sound, no matter what bass is going through them. That said, I`ve heard some cracking tones out of them.

Maybe you just need a year or two to find them.

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I loved them. I had two TE heads, both had the pre-shape and that was good enough for my ears.

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[quote name='Lozz196' post='1353706' date='Aug 27 2011, 04:46 PM']Back in the 80s, I did a gig, and was excited to see I would be playing through a TE stack. I wasn`t so excited after trying to get a sound out of it that I liked.

I think, because they have a very versatile tone-shaping system, it is very difficult to get a good sound out of them. And they do seem to have a signature sound, no matter what bass is going through them. That said, I`ve heard some cracking tones out of them.

Maybe you just need a year or two to find them.[/quote]

Pretty much this. The SMX type amps give the impression of being really really versatile when you look at the specs: 12 band eq, valve/solid state pre, dual band compression, two different pre shapes. However just engaging the pre shape gives 'the trace elliot' sound which is really difficult to get away from, unless you have spent a good deal of time with the amp. Not the most 'plug in and play' amps to be honest.

The sound of the amps is very much 'dialed in' rather than being transparent. If the Trace Elliot sound isn't your thing, you can try just creating your sound with the graphic which can produce any number of tones, which again is a bit of a pain to do during soundcheck and in the wrong hands can produce horrible results as well as good ones.

I played a TE combo from the age of 14 to 21, so I feel confident of getting a good sound whenever I use one, which given I tend to use my own gear at gigs, is not often, though I have an old TE head as a back up. The main plus points of getting second hand Trace amp is that it is generally cheap, loud and reliable. The reason that it is cheap though is that they are generally heavy as hell!

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Its a personal thing - i can't stand ampeg's but maybe I just have not experienced a good ampeg rig yet

I use TE stuff

I don't particularly like the the tranny heads, but I use an all valve TE V6 and thats the dogs

Maybe you should try out an all valve TE rig before making final judgement?

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I've just been talking about TE amps with another bass player..I was comparing my old TE 715 combo to my current Markbass Jeff Berlin combo. Where the TE has a warm valve sound and a built in compressor the Markbass just sounds so "transister-y" - I think the Markbass lacks any sort of character or warmth and it's outstanding qualities is that it's loud and light. Yes, the TE weighs the same as two elephants but it's got the same depth and resonance..

Maybe it's the love of that 80s bass sound that I love...

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I own, have owned and have played through in no particular order: Trace Elliot, Ashdown, MarkBass, Crate and Ohm, Marshall, Peavey, Ampeg, Behringer and probably several amps. I have never had any trouble getting a good sound as long as I start with everything flat, and then either tweak what needs tweaking or leave it alone. However I have also see people twiddling the same amp and getting a crap sound by not setting input & output volume correctly, pressing pre-shape buttons & adjusting the graphic eq into smiley face.

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They were a good rig 20 plus years ago..and then SWR came along and raised the bar. TE never recovered.
Now they are totally outclassed by new amps..but bang for buck and a starter rig for someone who doesn't mind the weight...still worthwhile.

I never used them myself though..out of choice, altho I did own an all valve combo. I never liked the graphic myself

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Recently used a 4x10 combo with a 12 band equalizer (GP12?) at a gig.
Poor on stage sound but when I was listening back to a video it was good and a few musicians in the crowd said the bass and drums were sounding amazing.

Not sure if that's down to the FOH or just the distance from the amp but it was strange to say the least. One thing it didn't have a problem with was volume, that is a combo that screams.

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I think thats one of the strange things about bass amps. Get a great sound on it`s own, doesn`t seem to come through in the mix.

I love the Ampeg sound, through seeing so many bassists sound awesome using it, yet when it`s played on it`s own, it sounds middly, twangy, and nasally, yet works soooo well in the mix. I now love the sound of Ampeg on it`s own (with a Precision, of course), but I was so disappointed the first time I used one.

I`m also not keen on Markbass gear on it`s own, yet again, in the mix - superb.

So maybe that`s why TE gear is so successful - and credit where credit is due, it does look good.

Edited by Lozz196

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Each to their own. Trace Elliot amps (the early ones,anyway) are the only amps I've ever plugged into and got the sound I want without any fiddling. Bloody heavy though..

Edited by Spike Vincent

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[quote name='Lozz196' post='1353862' date='Aug 27 2011, 08:16 PM']I think thats one of the strange things about bass amps. Get a great sound on it`s own, doesn`t seem to come through in the mix.

I love the Ampeg sound, through seeing so many bassists sound awesome using it, yet when it`s played on it`s own, it sounds middly, twangy, and nasally, yet works soooo well in the mix. I now love the sound of Ampeg on it`s own (with a Precision, of course), but I was so disappointed the first time I used one.

I`m also not keen on Markbass gear on it`s own, yet again, in the mix - superb.

So maybe that`s why TE gear is so successful - and credit where credit is due, it does look good.[/quote]

That's a good point, i think that's true about my bass amp.

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I went through much of the Trace range in the 90's. Never had a problem with the amps, just the cabs.
Main amps I used were the original AH250 and a couple of later SMX heads. Used with 2x10 Alligator cabs mostly during that period.

I did an overseas gig last year and the bass rig laid on was the latest Trace 4x10+1x15 and I think the current 500w head. Initially I smiled and thought this isn't so bad.... then I plugged in and turned it on. Just couldn't get a decent sound out of it all night, but would like to have tried the head with a different cab.

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I've had mixed results. I owned an AH250 which I didn't like because it lacked warmth and was too scoopy, even when the midscoop wasn't working. I played through a couple of Series 4 combos which were pretty good, very clean sounding but really needed better speakers. I've also gigged through a Series 6 4x10 combo which sounded really growly but no sparkle. The various valve amps I've tried (Quatravalve/Twin/V4/V6) have been awesome and of course I own a V8 now which sounds like nothing else.

Horses for courses. I prefer my Shuttle 6 for gigging though.

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[quote name='JTUK' post='1353824' date='Aug 27 2011, 07:13 PM']They were a good rig 20 plus years ago..and then SWR came along and raised the bar.[/quote]

I saved and saved and saved for my Trace amp thinking I had landed in heaven when I got it. Reasonably happy with it but mainly pleased with how it looked. Then heard an SWR, saved and saved and saved, traded the Trace at a big loss for an SWR which blew the Trace away. I only just moved the SWR on after 15 years to buy a Tecamp Puma. HAving said that I would have loved a V type.

Edited by RichF

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[quote name='Spike Vincent' post='1353864' date='Aug 27 2011, 08:24 PM']Each to their own. Trace Elliot amps (the early ones,anyway) are the only amps I've ever plugged into and got the sound I want without any fiddling.[/quote]

Yup, Have loved the sound out of my Trace GP12 4x10 combo for the last 15+ years.

[quote name='Spike Vincent' post='1353864' date='Aug 27 2011, 08:24 PM']Bloody heavy though..[/quote]

Yup.

[quote name='gafbass02' post='1354007' date='Aug 28 2011, 12:11 AM']I loved my old trace stack. If I could still move it, id still have it I reckon.[/quote]

Completely agree!

But it was last year's epiphany with modern lightweight gear that moved me on to pastures new. A Genz Benx 2x12 cab that weighs barely more than a third of my combo, plus a fantastically capable TC RH450, and I've never looked back. Well, I do look fondly at the Trace Combo that I can't bare to shed at current prices, but still haven't used since getting the new gear...

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I quite like traces, they've never blown me away but they're solid amps that have a usable tone.

I have the same thing with ashdown though so I understand, if I turn up the bass, they're wooly. If I turn down the bass, they're thin. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground where they still have enough bass to sound fat in the mix but still have definition. I've tried various MAGs and ABMs and they all have the same problem to me. I've never even got a usable sound out of one, never mind one I like.

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[quote name='whynot' post='1353891' date='Aug 27 2011, 09:24 PM']I went through much of the Trace range in the 90's. Never had a problem with the amps, just the cabs.
Main amps I used were the original AH250 and a couple of later SMX heads. Used with 2x10 Alligator cabs mostly during that period.

I did an overseas gig last year and the bass rig laid on was the latest Trace 4x10+1x15 and I think the current 500w head. Initially I smiled and thought this isn't so bad.... then I plugged in and turned it on. Just couldn't get a decent sound out of it all night, but would like to have tried the head with a different cab.[/quote]

Personally I would say try the cabs with different amps.

I have been using the current 2x10 and larger 1x15 over the last 2 1/2 years without any issue. Taking away my lack of knowledge at the time for the dangers of mixing speakers without crossovers (thanks to Alex Claber and Bill Fitzmaurice et al.), the cabs are pretty good, though falling short of what I consider the top of the line stuff (EBS, Mesa, Bergantino etc). But from experience I prefer them to comparative Ashdown, Ampeg and Eden cabs, if that means anything!

I was thinking of buying the new 12 band 600 watt head when I was buying the cabs, but I found out that the EBS Fafner was cheaper and I had first hand knowledge of that amp. I would love to try one but the new amps just look a bit too plastic and cheap compared to the older ones that I could buy for less than half the price.

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Like their heads, especially the valve jobbies, but increasingly found myself knob twiddling in my on my old GP12 head so went for a more basic preamplifier and have now ended up with Eden which I am much happier with. the old cabs, I agree with whynot, they weren't too hot. Funnily enough the new 1518 is actually in my top 3 1x15s, it works brilliantly with an LH500 :)

Horses for courses definitely. They have a soft spot in my heart as I grew up using them but I think there's better out there now and certainly more user-friendly preamps.

EDIT: I could start a thread saying I hate Ampeg because I can't stand them, but I won't :)

Edited by Merton

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