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kasbridge

TH500 into 2xBB2 - anything better???

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Hi,
Current gig is a 10piece soul/funk outfit only need amp for stage sound as we are lucky enough to have a pro-level HK rig with engineer etc. In the past I used old school UK TE for years from 1x15 through 2x10 to 8x10 and everything in-between, 200w combos to RAH600SMX.

Last year I decided to go lightweight and bought a TH500 and a couple of Barefaced BB2 (Gen3) - interested in whether or not this setup could be bettered for the material I am doing - overall happy with the sound/tone although unsurprisingly the TH does not have the headroom of the old TE amps (imho) - I only really notice this on the few tracks that require percussive (slap) playing.

Guitar is usually Sadowsky NYC Jazz or Suhr Jazz through a Sadowsky preamp-pedal.

Thanks for any views etc....

Cheers,
Kevin

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[quote name='kasbridge' timestamp='1509478619' post='3399321']
Last year I decided to go lightweight and bought a TH500 and a couple of Barefaced BB2 (Gen3) - interested in whether or not this setup could be bettered
[/quote]

IME you get to a level when "better" stops happening. You can replace as much gear as you like but all you are doing is sounding different.

I've been very happy using a TH500 and 2 Super Compacts for a couple of years now and I just upgraded to the AG700. The new amp is a monster. Maybe you should try one of the AG700's.

Personal preferences can take you down many paths but as for "best". IMO you're there.

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Is the issue for stage volume, or for FOH tone? Are you being mic'd up on stage, and does your rig end up providing a lot of the bass sound actually going to the audience?

Many things that could help potentially, e.g. use of compression to better control dynamics, 'heftier' sounding power amp section (solidstate/tube), speakers voiced differently (I think Barefaced are quite neutral?).... list goes on! Always possible to spend more money ;-)

Edited by roman_sub

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+1 for the Mesa Subway D800.
Lots of clean power and a huge variety of tones on tap with the character/ voice control. Also runs at 2 Ohms and has a very flexible DI output for FOH.

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Thx guys - my setup is purely for stage sound - the foh is DI from the amp which is set flat as my Sadowsky NYC provides a nice sound on its own.

I know that some amps/speaker combos are just not optimal so good to hear mine is not wide of the mark - still got a 1x15-2x10-horn TE setup which blows it away though at least in terms of warmth and drive.....

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If you like the Aguilar sound, maybe a more powerful head of theirs would give you the extra headroom. If you have plenty lolly, a DB751 should suit (although not a true lightweight). failing that, an AG700 (which I use) is pretty pokey.

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[quote name='kasbridge' timestamp='1509557348' post='3399913']
Thx guys - my setup is purely for stage sound - the foh is DI from the amp which is set flat as my Sadowsky NYC provides a nice sound on its own.

I know that some amps/speaker combos are just not optimal so good to hear mine is not wide of the mark - still got a 1x15-2x10-horn TE setup which blows it away though at least in terms of warmth and drive.....
[/quote]

Warmth and drive are both forms of colouration (i.e. distortion). We put a huge amount of work into making the Big Baby 2 have as little colouration as possible, so it gives a very accurate (and LOUD) reproduction of the tone coming out of your amp (that's created by your hands, bass, FX and amp). Warmth and drive are both great characteristics of certain bass sounds, so if you're not getting them from the BB2s you need to look at what you're putting into them. With the right gear before them they will sound just as good (or better than) then the TE setup, whilst playing significantly louder and having much more consistent tone around the venue.

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[quote name='kasbridge' timestamp='1509478619' post='3399321']
Last year I decided to go lightweight and bought a TH500 and a couple of Barefaced BB2 (Gen3)...
overall happy with the sound/tone although unsurprisingly the TH does not have the headroom...I only really notice this on the few tracks that require percussive (slap) playing.
[/quote]

It's a quality rig and you're happy with the sound / tone which is a massive plus.

If the lack of headroom is just on a few tracks that require slap, then rather than replace your (quality) amp I'd have thought that a pre-amp / EQ pedal could work i) to give you additional signal boost, and ii) brighten up your EQ a touch for slap, and you could change settings for the slap tracks?

Is your [color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]Sadowsky preamp already working at full pelt?[/font][/color] If it's not and it has a decent EQ then sounds like that could be a solution. If not, maybe worth thinking about a different preamp?

Edited by Al Krow

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1509629667' post='3400426']If the lack of headroom is just on a few tracks that require slap, then rather than replace your (quality) amp I'd have thought that a pre-amp / EQ pedal could work i) to give you additional signal boost, and ii) brighten up your EQ a touch for slap[/quote]

Boosting the signal would reduce the headroom more and exacerbate the problem. The two options are an amp with more power or some outboard limiting/compression/soft clipping to control the dynamics and reduce the magnitude of the signal peaks when slapping. If the TH500 into the BB2s is clipping then the TE rig will also be clipping but in a way you prefer.

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Can't quite imagine how loud your stage must be if 2 x BB2's and a decent 500w amp aren't giving you enough just for monitoring.

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[quote name='mrtcat' timestamp='1509633228' post='3400475']Can't quite imagine how loud your stage must be if 2 x BB2's and a decent 500w amp aren't giving you enough just for monitoring.[/quote]

The thing about slap bass is that the loudest peaks can be a huge amount louder than the average level - 20dB, 30dB etc - particularly if your pickups are set quite high relative to the line between the last fret and the saddles. Pre-Barefaced I used to clip a 2kW power amp fairly often when slapping if I didn't use any compression.

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Now if you played a recorded slap line through that same rig, it would go crazy loud because the post-processing has taken the peaks under control in a good way.

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Kev,
The way I see it, keep your cabs.
You liked the old Trace stuff, spacious, organic and tonefull. If you go the digital route eg TH500 etc I think you’ll be going round in circles trying the GB, MB etc etc trying to get the sound you have in your head.
Your cabs are easy to drive and Im surprised you haven’t gone for the SMX300.
IMO for a bit more umph go for an Eden WT550 which is very close to the Trace - you should ‘feel’ content. These Eden amps have the traditional transformer and circuitry you can see, easy to repair - although shouldn’t need to, whereas the class d stuff has a chance of being binned if went faulty.

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[quote name='alexclaber' timestamp='1509631524' post='3400447']
Boosting the signal would reduce the headroom more and exacerbate the problem. The two options are an amp with more power or some outboard limiting/compression/soft clipping to control the dynamics and reduce the magnitude of the signal peaks when slapping. If the TH500 into the BB2s is clipping then the TE rig will also be clipping but in a way you prefer.
[/quote]

I took the OP to simply mean 'lack of volume' rather than strictly 'headroom'. If he did mean 'headroom' then I take your point Alex, otherwise I stick by mine with one key word changed:

[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]If the lack of [s]headroom[/s] volume is just on a few tracks that require slap, then rather than replace your (quality) amp I'd have thought that a pre-amp / EQ pedal could work i) to give you additional signal boost, and ii) brighten up your EQ a touch for slap, and you could just change settings on the pedal for the slap tracks?[/font][/color]

Edited by Al Krow

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[quote name='alexclaber' timestamp='1509634174' post='3400483']
I used to clip a 2kW power amp fairly often when slapping if I didn't use any compression.
[/quote]

Maybe the answer is a decent compressor?

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Ask your FOH soundman what he thinks of the bass tone / volume during this slap section. He may already have a solution to have these audible or working within the mix, eg using a compressor. However, whatever you end up doing rig wise, consider whether it would affect what FOH would get via DI - what serves stage volume may or may not serve him (/her)...

Edited by roman_sub

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1509651581' post='3400649']I took the OP to simply mean 'lack of volume' rather than strictly 'headroom'. If he did mean 'headroom' then I take your point Alex, otherwise I stick by mine with one key word changed:

[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]If the lack of [s]headroom[/s] volume is just on a few tracks that require slap, then rather than replace your (quality) amp I'd have thought that a pre-amp / EQ pedal could work i) to give you additional signal boost, and ii) brighten up your EQ a touch for slap, and you could just change settings on the pedal for the slap tracks?[/font][/color][/quote]

It doesn't matter whether he meant headroom or volume - the point remains that you can't just add some signal boost in the preamp and make your rig magically louder. If that was the case we could all use tiny rigs! ;) If his rig is lacking either headroom or volume (and turning up the master volume doesn't help) then adding boost earlier in the chain won't do anything for him.

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[quote name='alexclaber' timestamp='1509704674' post='3400973']
It doesn't matter whether he meant headroom or volume - the point remains that you can't just add some signal boost in the preamp and make your rig magically louder. If that was the case we could all use tiny rigs! ;) If his rig is lacking either headroom or volume (and turning up the master volume doesn't help) then adding boost earlier in the chain won't do anything for him.
[/quote]

With due respect Alex, I think that's rubbish. Adding a preamp pedal to a signal chain can and does increase volume or I've gone completely deaf (which I haven't), provided the cabs can handle the extra power and there is no way that two of your BF BB2s won't be able to, right?

A power amp is boosting (literally 'amplifying') whatever signal it is receiving and whether it be by replacing underpowered pots on your bass or boosting the signal via a preamp the power amp can only boost the signal that it is fed to it in the first place.

Edited by Al Krow

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1509706073' post='3401001']


With due respect Alex, I think that's rubbish. Adding a preamp pedal to a signal chain can and does increase volume or I've gone completely deaf (which I haven't), provided the cabs can handle the extra power and there is no way that two of your BF BB2s won't be able to, right?

A power amp is boosting (literally 'amplifying') whatever signal it is receiving and whether it be by replacing underpowered pots on your bass or boosting the signal via a preamp the power amp can only boost the signal that it is fed to it in the first place.
[/quote]
If the power amp is running out of 'steam' (which it seems to be in this case) simply boosting the signal being sent to the power amp will not increase db or headroom. If what you say was true we could all use tiny power amps and just add, or turn up, a preamp.

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[quote name='MGBrown' timestamp='1509707483' post='3401029']
If the power amp is running out of 'steam' (which it seems to be in this case) simply boosting the signal being sent to the power amp will not increase db or headroom. If what you say was true we could all use tiny power amps and just add, or turn up, a preamp.
[/quote]

Hmmm...still not sure that is correct. Let's consider some basic physics (and confession that was my degree subject) to see if we can get consensus:

If you have a tiny input signal no matter whether you have a 1000W amp or 200W amp you're not going to boost it that much. An example would be an underpowered 'pure' filter signal on a COG T16 Gen 1.0. You can feed this into an amp and turn up the gain / master vol all you like you won't get a louder filter sound coming through. However if you boost the filter signal with a pre-amp (or correct the underpowered issue as Tom has done on this year's Gen 2.0 model) it makes a massive difference.

The main difference, in my example, is delivered to the input signal which you can increase by '100 fold' whereas at the power amp level you can maybe get to x2 or x3 with a more powerful power amp.

Edited by Al Krow

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1509706073' post='3401001']
With due respect Alex, I think that's rubbish. Adding a preamp pedal to a signal chain can and does increase volume or I've gone completely deaf (which I haven't), provided the cabs can handle the extra power and there is no way that two of your BF BB2s won't be able to, right?

A power amp is boosting (literally 'amplifying') whatever signal it is receiving and whether it be by replacing underpowered pots on your bass or boosting the signal via a preamp the power amp can only boost the signal that it is fed to it in the first place.
[/quote]

With all due respect, I don't think you understand what's going on. If the TH500 is very poorly designed then it may not be able to provide enough gain to raise the voltage of a quiet bass signal to the max voltage its power amp can put out. But it isn't poorly designed - like all Aguilar amps it is a good amp and should be able to raise the voltage of all but the most oddly quiet bass to the point that its power amp clips. And these are not quiet basses, they're good basses and they're already running through a Sadowsky outboard preamp.

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Hi Kevin,

Just a thought in regard to your original post. You said that you're running out of steam (whether it be volume or headroom) only when you're slapping. When you slap, do you cut all the mids out of your signal for that classic super scooped slap tone? If you are, I suspect that that is the cause of your problem. Try leaving the mids in your signal and you might well be OK.

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[quote name='alexclaber' timestamp='1509709686' post='3401063']
If the TH500 is very poorly designed then it may not be able to provide enough gain to raise the voltage of a quiet bass signal to the max voltage its power amp can put out. But it isn't poorly designed - like all Aguilar amps it is a good amp and should be able to raise the voltage of all but the most oddly quiet bass to the point that its power amp clips. And these are not quiet basses, they're good basses and they're already running through a Sadowsky outboard preamp.
[/quote]

Alex I agree with all of the above (but obviously not the first part of your response :)) but I still don't think it's correct to say that a preamp has no bearing on volume? (See my subsequent response to MGBrown).

From a practical solution I think Osiris, once again(!), has very possibly identified a possible cause and easy solution here. Any lack of mids is likely exacerbated by the trademark slightly baked-in mid scooped Aggie 'sound' (and dare I say, without being too controversial, maybe further reinforced by the 'mids' voicing on the BF BB2 cabs that others have commented on?)

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1509711502' post='3401085']
Alex I agree with all of the above (but obviously not the first part of your response :)) but I still don't think it's correct to say that a preamp has no bearing on volume? (See my subsequent response to MGBrown).[/quote]

If the existing signal chain can drive the power amp to clipping, then adding another preamp will have no bearing on volume. The chance of needing an additional preamp to raise the voltage with this particularly gear is vanishingly small unless something is faulty.

I do appreciate your enthusiasm but I find myself doing an awful lot of face-palming when reading your posts whilst thinking "this chap thinks he knows a lot more than he actually does. And is possibly a hi-fi enthusiast or 'audiophile'..." ;)

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