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warwickhunt

4 Daft Geordies and a whole bunch of gear

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I've just taken delivery of a used Tech Soundsystem Black Cat amp and I could do with some help Does anyone have a manual or any spec on this amp?

You may wonder why I need one when the thing only has 4 knobs (colour/bass/mid/treble) but I am getting so little variation (and I mean virtually no shift) out of ANY of the tone controls that I'm wondering exactly what frequencies and by how many db they are cutting/boosting. There is no manual on the Tech/Tecamp site (that I can find) and I have sent an email to them enquiring.

Does anyone out there own one of these amps or one of the others in the range and is this normal? I'm going to try it with a different cab and a fellow BCers ears later just in case it is me, though I have done an A/B with my Thunderfunk and that seems perfectly 'normal'.

:)

[size=5][b]You may wish to skip the first part of this thread as it would appear to have morphed... then again it may give you some insight![/b][/size]

Edited by warwickhunt

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Ah ha I have the manual from the Tecamp site (very confusing that they don't have it on the Tech Soundsystem, which the amp is badged as) and I'm slowly working my way through translating the German, main things is the figures.

Any help still appreciated.

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I thought I had one mate, but it may have just been a spec from Thomas Eich himself. Mebbe worth giving them a bell?

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[quote name='dood' post='52764' date='Aug 30 2007, 01:21 PM']I thought I had one mate, but it may have just been a spec from Thomas Eich himself. Mebbe worth giving them a bell?[/quote]

Didn't recognise you with your latest stage gear on!

I've dropped him a line and in the meantime I've loosely translated (babelfish) the pdf manual from Tecamp site. The tone controls are B/M/T @ 40/400/6000 hz but no spec for the +/-

These tone controls are so subtle I'm stumped as to whether I am missing something, nothing pulls/pushes/switches so!!! Are these just the subtlest controls in the world? It's just as well I have a decent bass I'd hate to think how I'd manage to EQ a 'bag of sh*te'.

I've given it a rest for a couple hours so I may just go back and see if my ears have sensitised to the amp, the core tone is great but not a lot of scope for tweaking at the moment.

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Give Mike a call at the Bass Merchant. I know he had one in the shop for ages so he should know what it is capable of.

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[quote name='whynot' post='52787' date='Aug 30 2007, 01:52 PM']Give Mike a call at the Bass Merchant. I know he had one in the shop for ages so he should know what it is capable of.[/quote]

Good suggestion... I tried but he may well be busy at the moment!

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I may have partly solved the subtlety of the EQ... it appears the EQ is completely passive; no boost, cut only.

I assume this means that the full travel from max to min is the equivalent to 50% of the sweep of a 'normal' EQ. So from centre detent (5) on a standard amp to rolled fully off (0) is the same as this amp going from 10 to 0.

Does that make sense to ANYONE or am I talking sh*te again?

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Passive EQ can be pretty weird - often interactive with 'flat' at unexpected knob positions. The easiest way to suss it out would be to play a CD through your amp and through some hi-fi or PA speakers and twiddle until it sounds normal - that's your flattest position. The Fender/Alembic tone stack is flattest with bass and treble at 2 and mids at 10, whilst a true cut only EQ on a preamp with flat response should be flat at 10,10,10.

Really nice amp, btw!

Alex

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blimey - where did you get this from? If you don't like it, please give me first dibs.

The EQ on the TVM is passive too and reacts very differently at different volumes. The treble is much more subtle when the amp is being played quietly - so much so that you thinks it's quite dull. You then turn up the treble to compensate. However, if you then turn the volume right up, the treble becomes too harsh.

I find the best sound on mine is obtained by setting EQ flat and using gain and middle to dial in some character. I don't know whether the Black Cat conforms to this though.

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I love passive EQs. Well, the ones I've used in my Trace Commando and V-Type (does that count as passive coz I think it uses valves in the EQ stage??) - they sound mint :)

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Actually that does sound very familiar! I wouldnt be surprised if it has the same tone stack as the V-type/Alembic FX/BBE T-Max and ..well, Marshall / Fender showman etc. No cut on the mid control is fully clockwise and I think flat on the bass and treble controls is nearer 1 o'clock ish.

Yes Mertom, the V-type and Commando amps are both passive tone stacks.

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Cheers boys!

Your comments on passive EQ strike a chord about a preamp that I once owned and I'm certain that was similar... flat wasn't flat and the EQ reacted differently at differing input settings; I'd completely forgot about that. That could also explain why not one of the controls on the front panel has a single legend on it to identify 0 to 10 / -5 to +5 etc.

I'm going to run it through a few cabs in a variety of settings and thoroughly test it but I must admit I was concerned that I'd bought an amp with duff tone controls. In hindsight my initial tests (and alarm) were all done in the house with the amp at moderately low volume so possibly cranked and with the perception of flat being... anywhere, I may crack this beggar.

Thanks again.

Oh and 'if' me and the black thing don't get on (unlikely) I'll bear you in mind BB!

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I use this excellent free app to demonstrate how different passive EQ tone stacks interact with each of their controls.

It's brilliant and covers nearly all of the more well know designs. (including the ones I mentioned above)

[url="http://www.duncanamps.com/tsc/index.html"]http://www.duncanamps.com/tsc/index.html[/url]

In the little .gif on the RHS you can see how the bass is affected as the treble control is turned up, for example.

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[quote name='bassbloke' post='53564' date='Aug 31 2007, 07:43 PM']I assume you're just using one side of the Black Cat into your 610, which I guess is 6 Ohms. That's a shame[/quote]

I hear what you're saying but the 105db sensitivity of the 610 is such that it is probably relative to a 101db 4 ohm cab (I think I got those calculations right, Dood & Alex will pick me up if I'm out a bit :) ). The one think I've not noticed lacking is output!

It is a shame that the 610 isn't 8 ohm to capitalise on the 1000 watts but I can't imagine needing it... I'll struggle on :huh:

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Jeez WH - I hope you have some ear-plugs!

Think of it like an old valve amp like Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox, Selmer etc. The tone controls did not have the effect of huge cut and boost like modern amps, and also had a subtle interaction that was difficult to suss if you tried to understand it rather than just using your ears.

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[quote name='bass_ferret' post='53658' date='Aug 31 2007, 11:46 PM']Jeez WH - I hope you have some ear-plugs!

Think of it like an old valve amp like Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox, Selmer etc. The tone controls did not have the effect of huge cut and boost like modern amps, and also had a subtle interaction that was difficult to suss if you tried to understand it rather than just using your ears.[/quote]

What was that you said fearplugs! Nah our lass scares the beejezus out of me as it is :)

I'm coming to terms with the controls but I'm seeking local opinions as to what does what, this weekend... hope the whole of the NE has their own supply of earplugs.

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[quote name='warwickhunt' post='53664' date='Sep 1 2007, 12:00 AM']What was that you said fearplugs! Nah our lass scares the beejezus out of me as it is :)

I'm coming to terms with the controls but I'm seeking local opinions as to what does what, this weekend... hope the whole of the NE has their own supply of earplugs.[/quote]

Hope yesterdays gear'fest helped with the decision making. Its an interesting amp that one, seemed to prefer being driven quite hard and seemed to like my East powered Precision mutant.

That Tech cab of yours is amazing, a six by ten should not weigh so little, it defies the laws of physics, I'm surprised your not able to pack all your other gear inside it and travel home in it as well, afterall it must be made from the same stuff as Dr whatsits tardis!

For the rest of you, WH and I got together yesterday with the following gear to check out various theories re cabs, amps and sounds;

1 x Thunderfunk head
1 x Tech Blackcat head
1 x SWR 750x head
1 x Tech Neo 6x10
1 x SWR Goliath 4x10
1 x SWR Son of Bertha 1x15
1 x Schroeder 21012

2 x Warwick basses
1 x five string precision thing

I don't think we actually discovered anything new despite the multiple variations of amps and cabs other than the Tech cab on its own doesn't quite have the rounded bottom of the 4x10+1x15. Having said that, the difference is small and certainly not worth the weight penalty of the 4x10+1x15.

The Blackcat head likes being driven hard, and the eq is very sensitive to preamp volume and master volume settings. That said, it had a nice sound through the 6x10, definitely old skool.

Surprisingly, the SWR head did not sound that good through the tech cab. The Thunderfunk sounded pretty much the same through all the cabs save for the Schroeder, where the character of the cab would have need some eq tweaks to match the others (we ran all the amps and basses flat, or as near to flat as we could given the difficulty of deciding what was actually flat on the Black Cat!).

I think we concluded that the SWR sounded best through the 4x10+1x15.

The Tech cab is seriously sexy, the weight or rather lack of weight, is hugely seductive.

The Thunderfunk is a nice sounding amp. Perhaps a little too clean for my liking, but it suits WH's Warwick basses with a really well defined full range sound.

The Blackcat is similarly a nice amp, a little dirtier sounding than the Thunderfunk, but we both concluded that we'd be a little concerned about that passive eq setup in a difficult room.

It was great to get to a/b all this gear. Also, it was the first time I've been able to get up close and personal with a Warwick bass. I found both easy to play, light weight and the necks were not as clubby as some would have you believe. WH will, I am sure, be along shortly to clarify which of his arsenal of basses we were using.

All in all a fascinating couple of hours, only problem being is that I am left with serious gas for a Tech 610 :huh:

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[quote name='JPJ' post='54854' date='Sep 3 2007, 05:41 PM']The Blackcat head likes being driven hard, and the eq is very sensitive to preamp volume and master volume settings.[/quote]

Exactly like the TVM which is positively hifi sounding at low volumes.

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Yes that was a bit of a mini gear-fest!

We may well have WoT adding to the debate later on as I've just been along to his drummer auditions to demo the TF and Tech with his cab... The Tech is still with him!

Just to clarify this hasn't been about gear masturbation, I have 'concerns' (for want of a better word) that the Tech amp may not drive the Tech cab the way that I want. Added to which I've been going through Neo speakers for the last few years and I wanted to hear a 'traditional' speaker again to identify if I prefered one to the other.

Yesterdays little demo demonstrated a multitude of things...

1) A 6 ohm cab @ 105db sens' is quieter than a 4 ohm cab @ 100db.
2) A 6x10 with Neo speakers is an absolute pleasure to lift compared to a 4x10, 1x15 or a 12+2x10 with ferrites. After watching JPJ's jaw hit the floor when I lifted my cab out of the back of my car with virtually one hand it was almost as amusing as wondering if I was going to induce a hernia or force the tortoises head out when I lifted any one of his cabs!
3) The Tech amp is soooo dependent on what and how hard the front end is driven.
4) That JPJ made my Warwicks look like toys and a 5 string Fenderstein looks silly on me.

As has been said there was no 'Wow, I didn't expect that' though some things did through curve balls. SWR suits SWR but not particularly any of the other amp/cab combinations as much. It was also surprising how much the maple bodies of the 2 Warwicks really pushed the mids out.

I am probably surprised as much by the way that the Tech amp reacts so differently with what is being put into it (especially after visiting WoT tonight) as by the fact that the Neo drivers in my cab are not as mid pronounced as I thought they were. I would like to add that I've done a bit of research and the debating over on TB re Neo v Ferrite was quite illuminating; contributions by several members who regularly contribute to knowledgeable debates on BC were pointing out that the driver materials need not have any (or limited) effect on the tone as much as the design of the cab that they are being put into. My 6x10 with Neo's probably sounded more 'old skool' than any of the other cabs we A/B'ed.

No rocket science folks but good fun and it certainly has helped me along my road to making decisions... though I think Mrs JPJ is gonna be p*ssed when he buys a Neo cab!

Once again many thanks to everyone, especially JPJ & WoT for helping me through this. Ta.

Edited by warwickhunt

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you should write the whole thing up, and send it to BGM.

They could do with a new feature - real bassists, with real gear!

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Reet... my turn!

Warwickhunt kindly dropped by our dep drummer audition with his Thunderfunk and mysterious TecAmp Black Cat in tow.

I left my usual amp & pre in the case (AI Focus & EBS Microbass II), plugged my 70s flat-strung P into the Black cat into my Schroeder 21012L, flattened the EQ & fired it up.

YOWZA! Instant WoT-friendly tone! Round, warm and distinct. Just how I like it.

WH mentioned that he thought the EQ doesn't do much. I reckon TecAmp have got it spot on.. who needs +-20db, anyway? This is more subtle.. all I need.

As it happens, I left it flat anyway and it sounded mint... very much like my AI/EBS, in fact - a tone I love.

Then I swapped to the Thunderfunk & fired it up. Hmmm. I realise I'm in a party of one here, but... Thunderfunks don't do it for me. It has a 'bark' about it that doesn't suit my style. It'll probably be great with roundounds, but I'm too old-skool for that.

So, back to the Black Cat... much better. Set'n'forget.

I'm determined to sort out my current 'humming Genz' issue (see my thread elsewhere), but if I wasn't, I reckon be on the lookout for another TecAmp...

Oh, aye... the Black Cat has a totally bling illuminated neon stripe along the bottom. What's there not to like??

Edited by wateroftyne

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[quote name='wateroftyne' post='54994' date='Sep 3 2007, 10:06 PM']Oh, aye... the Black Cat has a totally bling illuminated neon stripe along the bottom. What's there not to like??[/quote]

What is it about blue lights on amps that just looks so much cooler than reds and the like? :)

We now just have to establish if digital power sections have a different 'delivery' of output to... non-digital!

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[quote name='warwickhunt' post='54999' date='Sep 3 2007, 09:19 PM']We now just have to establish if digital power sections have a different 'delivery' of output to... non-digital![/quote]

In my experience... yes. It's splitting hairs, but standard transformers seem to THUMP! THUMP THUMP! every note in the chest. Digital amps seem to compress slightly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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[quote name='warwickhunt' post='54999' date='Sep 3 2007, 10:19 PM']After watching JPJ's jaw hit the floor when I lifted my cab out of the back of my car with virtually one hand it was almost as amusing as wondering if I was going to induce a hernia or force the tortoises head out when I lifted any one of his cabs![/quote]

My jaw is still aching today, when you lifted that monster out of the car I thought for a minute Charles Atlas had moved to Blyth and taken up bass playing!

[quote name='warwickhunt' post='54999' date='Sep 3 2007, 10:19 PM']though I think Mrs JPJ is gonna be p*ssed when he buys a Neo cab![/quote]

I havent mentioned that yet, its her birthday today and I just didn't have the heart......

[quote name='warwickhunt' post='54999' date='Sep 3 2007, 10:19 PM']What is it about blue lights on amps that just looks so much cooler than reds and the like? :)[/quote]

How did I forget to mention that cool blue light! Senility must be setting in or I'm suffering from post gig trauma!

[quote name='warwickhunt' post='54999' date='Sep 3 2007, 10:19 PM']We now just have to establish if digital power sections have a different 'delivery' of output to... non-digital![/quote]

whoopee, count me in, I'll get the kettle on again!

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