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Pirellithecat

Amp or Cabs - Good but could it be better when REALLY LOUD!and! .....

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Help needed ........ and I know this has already been done to death ... but worth a try.

My current set-up is an old pair of Vanderkley EXT 112's(each 300W/ 8 Ohms) and a Eden Terra Nova 501N.(500W at 4 Ohms).   Great for most stuff and really portable and flexible (one or both cabs)

For practice and moderate volumes it's really nice, but when playing loudly there's a certain loss of definition to the sound.  And by loudly I mean VERY LOUD - 2 guitars, keys, drummer, vocals ..... post 80's Rock! 

Set for max gain without clipping, EQ flat, and around 12 o'clock on the master (can be more but after 12 there's not much left!). The treble is turned all the way down on the speakers.

To improve this I'm not sure whether I should be looking to upgrade the speakers or the amp or both - so thought I'd ask.

I've tried various amp/cab combinations, but in the shop they all sound OK.    Favorite to date was the Mesa Subway 800+ with the Subway 12 inch cab and 15 inch cab in tandem.  But this is a bit steep price-wise as I'm certainly not an "advanced" bassplayer.   And I'd be far too inhibited to try such amps at volume in a shop!  Probably, not interested in lots of high frequency detail/hifiey sound, but do like a clean sound i.e. I don't like overdrive etc!

So folks - amps, speakers, or both and maybe  £1000 budget with second hand an option! 

Oh, and I'd prefer cabs that aren't too heavy (hence the 2 VK's at 13kg each).   In terms of amps, as long as I can pick them up one handed that's be fine.   I certainly don't need something really light, but wouldn't want something I couldn't easily carry!

Otherwise, I like the idea of the Ashdown ABM 600 Evo IV, (but would the fan noise be intrusive for the non LOUD stuff?) maybe the Eich T500, or the Markbass LM111 or Little Marcus 500 (or 800)  and and and .............  but I will need the grunt!

Preferred type of music Blues Rock.   I guess I'm old skool!

Any obvious answers?

Cheers

 

 

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Your amp is 225 watts at 4 ohm. That's why you have a problem at loud volume levels. You can change it all at once but the scatter gun approach might not work.

Your problem is an underpowered amp so I'd keep the cabs for now. I'd be looking at 500 watt amps and maybe even the Quilter BB800.

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From the amps listed Ashdown ABM 600. It has that depth and feel to the sound at high volumes/on big stages that stops the ever-increasing turning up to compete. I`ve found with the smaller Class D amps that they certainly go loud enough but at the high volumes or on bigger stages the sound thins out, which is where we keep turning up, whereas the ABM just doesn`t, it`s pretty much as near to an all-valve amp that I`ve found in a manageable size. It`s also very capable of old-school sounds and coupled with good cabs really shines.

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Backline is for monitoring. Put your bass into the pa if volume is an issue. If your pa isn't up to it then that's where I'd be looking to invest. 

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Your amp is 225 watts at 4 ohm. That's why you have a problem at loud volume levels. You can change it all at once but the scatter gun approach might not work.

Your problem is an underpowered amp so I'd keep the cabs for now. I'd be looking at 500 watt amps and maybe even the Quilter BB800.

Really?   It does say 500W at 4 Ohms on the unit and so I was anticipating 250 at 8 Ohms?  Or is my physics even worse than I remember.  My workings-out are;  with one cab rated at 300W and 8 Ohms the amp delivers 250W and I don't destroy the cab whilst with 2 cabs at 8 Ohms each  (giving a resistance of 4 Ohms) I get a louder output of up to 500W without damage. 

Or ......???? 

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Lozz - What's the fan noise like at practice levels?    My only real experience of fan noise with amps is with my current amp and this is certainly very noticeable at low volumes.   Maybe I'll treat myself to a big amp (eg ABM 600 or equiv) and a little quiet amp for practice and quiet sessions. 

So far everyone seems to be saying Amp rather than cabs so perhaps I should focus there first.

Thanks all

 

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41 minutes ago, Pirellithecat said:

Really?   It does say 500W at 4 Ohms on the unit and so I was anticipating 250 at 8 Ohms?  Or is my physics even worse than I remember.  My workings-out are;  with one cab rated at 300W and 8 Ohms the amp delivers 250W and I don't destroy the cab whilst with 2 cabs at 8 Ohms each  (giving a resistance of 4 Ohms) I get a louder output of up to 500W without damage. 

Or ......???? 

You are right. I was looking at the wrong page. Your amp is 500 watts. Sorry about that!

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30 minutes ago, Pirellithecat said:

Lozz - What's the fan noise like at practice levels?    My only real experience of fan noise with amps is with my current amp and this is certainly very noticeable at low volumes.   Maybe I'll treat myself to a big amp (eg ABM 600 or equiv) and a little quiet amp for practice and quiet sessions. 

So far everyone seems to be saying Amp rather than cabs so perhaps I should focus there first.

Thanks all

 

Well I’ve not noticed the fan at all, but then we rehearse at same volume as we gig, not daft loud but we’re a punk band so unlikely to hear a fan with all that going on.

27 minutes ago, Pirellithecat said:

P.S. ABM 600 or Rootmaster 500/800??  Not much difference or ......

I’ve got the RM500 EVO2 as well. For regular stages and pubs not much between the two, but get on a big stage and the depth and feeling of sound from the ABM comes into its own.

Have to say though, the RM500 is the weightiest sounding small Class D amp I’ve had, and I’ve had Markbass, Aguilar, GK, TC amps, the RM for me beats them all - but the ABM does trump it.

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serious question. Are you wearing ear defenders? If not you should be.

500W into two 12's you'll be pushing out over 120dB where you stand and the rest of the band may be adding another 6dB. Your average sound exposure will be well over the 100dB level. Over half an hour exposed to those sound levels you will be permanently damaging your hearing and it will get worse each time you play. It seems slow at first but the hearing loss will become noticeable and then seem to accelerate. I speak from experience and wish I had used ear defenders earlier. Your guitarists and drummer will all have problems too. Maybe it has already happened and that's why they won't turn down. Maybe it's already why you can't hear yourself playing in the band.

On a practical level you could try re-eq'ing if that's a word. You say it sounds nice at practice levels. Do you reset your eq when you play with the band? Most of your amp power is used up by the deep bass, and that can't be heard over the rest o the band. If you reduce the deep bass a little and boost the upper bass and low mids you'll sound bassier in the mix and it'll give your amp more headroom. If you want to be heard over the band then you need more mids generally. These are the frequencies our ears pick up best so if the guitars have all the mids and you have none they are going to drown you out. Bass eq'd for live work sounds awful played at practice levels but it's what it sounds like as a band that matters.

Final point, are you actually not loud enough or just struggling to hear yourself? Try getting a long lead and go out into the audience area or record yourselves and have a listen. It's natural in a band to want to be louder than everyone else so you can hear what you are playing. You have a volume war. Nobody wins at war.

 

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Phil - thanks for the warning - you're right -  one of the bands is just too loud and maybe they either reduce the levels or I should seek an alternative!  However, it's the tonal quality of the bass, rather than not being able to hear it, that's the issue.  Even with a "less-than-really-loud" band the tonal quality isn't really what I'd like - OK, it is still loud, and "yes" ear defenders could be a good idea.  I guess the sound at 9 o'clock, maybe 10 o'clock is good enough, but anymore the quality deteriorates (not distorted as such, just "unclear") from 9.30 onwards. 

So the shopping list is; 1) Ear Defenders, 2)?Amp, 3)?Cabs.

However, I get the feeling from the responses so far, that it's more a volume/amp issue than a cab issue.   Is that correct?

Thanks everyone for suggestions to date and the warnings re. hearing (which is probably pretty poor already - certainly the high frequencies are a little lacking - well apparently those that are produced by female (the wife's) speech!!!)    

,  

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If your sound is being smothered and you need to be heard in a band that is too loud then one way is to clean up your sound. I dep with a very loud guitarist and while I am not as loud as his regular bass player, apparently I am more easily heard out in the room, because my gear has a better definition and cuts through.

+1 for hearing protection. Start using it while you know you don't need it!

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Yes, completely agree a clearer rather than louder sound is what I'm after.   And whilst the current set-up delivers this at lower volumes, as soon as you get to louder settings the clarity goes.   How do you ensure a "clear" sound?   Is it an amp thing or ???

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1 minute ago, Pirellithecat said:

 How do you ensure a "clear" sound?   Is it an amp thing or ???

My clear sound (at any volume) is Aguilar AG700 or Thunderfunk TF750 amps through 2 Barefaced 112 cabs.

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No .1 Do as Phil Starr says.

Just because it says 300W on the speaker does not mean the speakers will handle 300 W down to zero. Many a speaker will have a power capacity that dips in the 50-70Hz range; it depends upon the overall speaker design and the drive units. The Vanderkleys may well have no dip - no one can be sure. There may be a minor fault somewhere on the amp or the speakers.

If the illustration on Gear for Music is accurate than you have the facility to radicaly reset the eq. Turn off the "Bass boost" switch and cut the bass down to -15.

2. Leave the Low-Mid Bass Range set on 165. Re-start & test, with the emphasis on getting the low-mid settings right - slowly increase the level.
3. Likewise with the High-mids. Set the range anywhere between 600 & 1K; re-start, test & adjust.
4. Presumably the "Enhance" switch works in the middle-upper range. Check the manual. Start with it off and slowly increase but without causing the clip light to function.

5. Slowly bring the Bass level back up, but not too much. Minus 12, minus 9; Try it & see the result.

Good luck. 

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I've never quite understood the "louder, louder, louder" philosophy. I'd have thought nowadays, in 2019, the availability and technology of decent PA equipment means that a band can get a really great sound (which in a concert situation will be their "on stage" sound, to an extent, although there would be additional monitoring for singer(s)) AND simultaneously not need to reach high sound pressure levels, which are basically unhealthy and your ears can't hear to the same quality at that volume anyway. So, wearing ear protection is a must - but then why haul around a large/expensive/heavy amp and need ear protection, when it could be smaller/cheaper/lighter?

Indeed, there was a thread about IEM/going ampless recently if I recall.

Is it something the drummer's doing with their technique or equipment which is driving the volume up and up? Or simple stupidity from the guitarist(s) with old school valve amps and not many brain cells, meaning there is a volume war?

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Volume is usually related to bad hearing. This may also mean another thing:

If the g-player (or you yourself) is standing in front of the cabinet, that stands in the floor, there is no reasonable way of hearing that g-word. Then the obvious solution is to push the amp and listen to the reflections. Stupid from acoustics point of view, but sadly, a very common issue.

Consider a different layout in the rehearsal place. Put all amps beside the drummer. Take few steps back so you can see and listen to the wall of sound: drs, guits, b. Is it different now? Do you really need that much power when you can hear all the instruments, not those poor reflections?

Edited by itu

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I think volume wars can be hard to avoid if your guitarists are using big old 100w/50w valve heads and driving them hard to get 'the tone.'

I'm lucky in that my guitarist now operates with a 20w all valve Blackstar combo (or two for a big stage) it sounds great - still flipping loud - but not the frankly daft pressure levels that the old school big valve heads deliver.

 

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1 hour ago, paul_c2 said:

I've never quite understood the "louder, louder, louder" philosophy. I'd have thought nowadays, in 2019, the availability and technology of decent PA equipment means that a band can get a really great sound (which in a concert situation will be their "on stage" sound, to an extent, although there would be additional monitoring for singer(s)) AND simultaneously not need to reach high sound pressure levels, which are basically unhealthy and your ears can't hear to the same quality at that volume anyway. So, wearing ear protection is a must - but then why haul around a large/expensive/heavy amp and need ear protection, when it could be smaller/cheaper/lighter?

Indeed, there was a thread about IEM/going ampless recently if I recall.

Is it something the drummer's doing with their technique or equipment which is driving the volume up and up? Or simple stupidity from the guitarist(s) with old school valve amps and not many brain cells, meaning there is a volume war?

Exactly this. Using backline to generate high volume levels is such an outdated way of thinking. Guitarists are by and large pretty rubbish at moving with the times. We don't have any amps on stage at all and our foh sound is huge, full, balanced and comfortable to listen to. 

PA and monitoring are the future. Huge loud amps are just a sign of not moving with the times.

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It is headroom. It sounds as if you are getting the volume you need. Re-eqing (it's a word now) will give you more headroom. Perhaps using a high pass filter. But it is the power section of your amp TRYING AS HARD AS IT CAN!!!!!!! And sadly 500w is usually only half the story. I have a/b/c 'd amps, all 500w and they were not all equal. HEADROOM is where it is at. 

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Thanks everyone.

And I do "get it" - however, you have described the guitar players accurately - 50-100W all valve amps with 4 x 10 Marshal speakers. (x2 sometimes).  And a crap PA with no monitoring.

I'm not actually trying to get louder,  I just want the sound that I make to be clear so that I can hear it.   I do wander off into the front of the band to listen, I do play around with the EQ (mostly on the bass leaving the amp flat) where necessary, I don't use any of the "boost" features or tone shaping.  I stack my cabs or lift them off the floor so that it's not just my ankles that get the full lustre performance.  But the tendency is, even if I practice loudly (viz 4 meter square room) for a decrease in tone quality as volume increases.

I am in control of my part of the equation (or want to be) and I still want to get a better sound for the sake of argument, at reasonable sound levels.  It might be that I'm just being picky but there you are.

There are a lot of Basschaters discussing amps and speakers with much more clout than mine so I'm probably not alone in looking for a "better" sound (rather than a louder one), and really the question was, should I look to "improve" the amp or try different cabs.

So far it seems that headroom might be a limiting factor to the D-Class Amp that I own so I guess buying a second hand amp, eg Ashdown RM 500/800 or ABM600 (although the description of the Trickfish for sale on here does sound enticing) might test this theory (oh and some ear defenders and probably a new band!)).

So thanks Owen - I think you're diagnosis fits.  Might I ask, of the amps you tried, which worked well for you (and which weren't so impressive)?!

Hey Ho!

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