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Basses, Amplifiers, and Cabinets you DO NOT like... and WHY!


getz out

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I would tend to agree with the comments on the SWR cabs, I don't like most of them enough to actually buy one...to my ears, they have lots of mid-range, sometimes harsh highs, and lack some low-end. The only exception to that is the Triads...to my ears, I've always felt like they were the most balanced sounding SWR cabs, and two of them are pretty potent but still not too heavy and bulky.

 

Dave

 

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I am reserving judgement on Acoustic Image. They are too clean/brittle on their own (I've tested them un-effected). Ed F puts a Boss VF-1 processor in front and likes it, so my "jury" is out until I test it accordingly. I like the size/weight, and have heard it played successfully with electric cello...

 

Tom

 

I love mine. But then the Wal has such a unique tonal character it really suits the clean sound of the AI.

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I'll have to echo the sentiment about the SWR LA series. I've liked just about every SWR I've tried--except that. Yuck.

 

Almost as bad as a Behringer combo. Almost.

 

I was trying out a Yamaha 6-string bass through a Behringer, & it seemed no matter what I did, with hands, pickups, or onboard EQ, it all sounded tinny and, well, just bad. So I tried another bass...same deal. Finally I picked up a Fender ("I know how these sound!" I tell myself), and yep, pure crap. My verdict was that their combos have a proprietary Poo Filter : no matter the input, everything comes out sounding like a turd.

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My verdict was that their combos have a proprietary Poo Filter : no matter the input, everything comes out sounding like a turd.

 

They copied that from Hartke. As we all know they don't make anything original. ;)

 

The SWR LA series is total crap as well.

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I am reserving judgement on Acoustic Image. They are too clean/brittle on their own (I've tested them un-effected).

 

Interesting that you describe the AI head as brittle - I find that the upper high end is relatively unobtrusive, even through cabs with unforgiving horns ... my complaint about my Focus III has been with the upper mid-range tone and the general lack of sonic character. With bass, I have been able to remedy these flaws with an EQ pedal and a touch of pedal-generated overdrive. In fleeting moments when I have had nothing else to think about, I've wondered whether I should have picked up just the AI Focus SA power amp (which is even lighter and smaller than the Focus III) and a decent preamp.

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The Ampeg 410HLF. The sound is okay if you turn the horn off & EQ things to eliminate some of the boominess. My major bitch about it is the stupid "bar" handle -- it's a back-killer. You have to be a hunchback in order to haul the thing around. It helps if you grunt and moan whilst doing it.

It's not simple to be simple.

-H. Matisse

 

Ross Precision Guitars

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Aguilar's DB680 preamp: the controls are tough to deal with and it makes everything going through it sound muffled.

 

Aguilar's GS112 cabinets: so insanely mid-scooped I have found them unusable. The fact that the cabinet is 19" deep doesn't help transportation, either.

 

Aguilar's DB750 amplifier: everything sounds like a loud DB680... muffled. Very unimpressed.

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Of all the Ampeg cabinets out there, I dislike all save the SVT410HE, the SVT810E, and the SVT15E. Everything else sounds very boomy to me, as Bumpcity mentioned. The fact that all of the cabinets weight 50% more than the competition is not a flattering feature, either.

 

I did enjoy the SVT48HE, but it is discontinued. You occasionally see them for sale. Great little cabinet.

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I am happy with my SVT210 sometimes I think it's too bright but it's a very good cab

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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I have a few dislikes, but I really don't think I can point the finger to any one manufacturer.. I, too played through an SWR combo a year or so back. Hard to tell how it sounded like, because the band drowned me out. In fact I don't care at all for ANY combo amp outside of a practice room application. Most are grossly underpowered, and my ears ain't at my knees.

 

I build my own cabs, and one thing you will never see in my rig is a tweeter. I get enough high end with the strings I use.. I am really beginning to like the 12's I built up. Running 600 watts through 'em really livens 'em up. Unfortunately, I INSIST on having my cabs at ear level.. so far the only solution is to lug my 410 around to set the 12's on top of..

 

My biggest gripe is all these tone controls onboard these active basses. Totally unneccessary unless you're running a direct signal to a power amp. Give me an active preamp to buffer the pickups and tighten the signal down the cord, and a volume knob, period.. Fortunately my bass has center detents on all the tone knobs, I routinely check them every set...

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I agree with dcr about G&L. I've liked the feel (though they are a bit heavy). It's the sound - I can tweak the treble, but they always seem brittle. I even tried a JB-2 (the PJ model) and it wasn't as brittle, but it just didn't do it for me. And dcr - that G&L you're looking for? I played a 5 once at a jam - it must have been one of the earliest models. It was smooth in my hands and sounded great.

 

I also have found SWR cabinets to be brittle at times, though the SWR workingman's 15 I have played were pretty good.

 

And headless basses? I need a volute, or I have the same feeling about my hand falling off as Jeremy.

 

Fender 5's are generally not to my taste, but there have been exceptions...

 

And I like the old Warwick necks instead of what they do now. I've played a few freom the early 90s that had a thinner profile.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I used to really dislike Fender basses, as I have gotten older I appreciate the wisdom in the design and the tone is unmistakable. I may even buy one in a few years. Do they do 6's?

 

Hell they don't even do a lefty 5-string, fretless, or MIM P-Bass. Bastards!

 

 

Lets see what else now...

 

Peavey Amps - With the exception with the ProBass 500 I just can't seem to get a nice clear tone I like out of them.

 

GK - I know that many on here are big GK fans (braces for the onslaught of rotten tomatoes) but they seem kinda sterile to me. I've only tried the combos though...

 

Fender Rumbles - Yucky Tone, Bassman's are much better.

 

Squier PJ Specials - Every one I've tried has a neck that started life as a bow and wouldn't flatten out lower then .018" . The electronics blow chunks too.

 

Passive Jazz Basses - Just don't sound nearly as good as a Precision to me. Active Jazzes OTOH are awesome IMO. What a difference!

 

Warwick Rockbass Streamer - Nice starter bass but charging $580 for a lefty when the righty is $420 (an almost 40% upcharge!) is simply an unacceptable price-gouge. In this age of CA manufacturing the arguement of "retooling for lefty runs" simply sounds like BS to me.

 

Yorkville Cabs - The perfect compliment for most Peavey amps. :P

 

Cheers

Newf :rawk:

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I would like to echo the SWR LA Series dislikes. The biggest one couldn't even compete with a drummer with hotsticks. They are wussie, borring and I'd rather a Fender Rumble.

 

Regarding fender 6-strings. I would be very happy if they made a Geddy Lee 6-string. I'm guessing though it would be so ugly they'd try to smite it like Rosemarry's Baby just after it's birth.

 

I go to many rehearsal locations for various bands and I am just ticked off when I end up with some Crate head. I call them "prude", they limit when you don't ask them too, I always try to bypass the pre with my BDDI.

 

Ashdown is a company I've wanted to like for a while now, but just can't. I still have not tried the Mark King head though.

 

I dislike the Aguilar GS112 combo purely cause of it's price. I can spend $1,400 on a lot more gear portable and with equal quality. (Sidenote.. I'm currious to try the GK212 Neo combo)

 

I like most of Mesa's amps, but dislike the Walkabout combos.

 

I dispise Warwick Rockbasses. Clunky, crappy feel and tone. Cheap but still overpriced for the market they are trying to hit. I get mad when a student brings one in as their 2nd instrument.

 

I've played many Carvin basses I thought felt great, but always thought the sound was missing some dynamic.

 

That's about it. Damn, I don't know ifI like this thread, I feel guilty and in a bad mood now.

 

Mike

 

 

Mike Bear

 

Artisan-Vocals/Bass

Instructor

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Okay, I'll play...

 

I LOATHE Eden...a 1000-dollar 1x10 combo...that I sold off 5 weeks later. The tone was nice, but couldn't get anything vaguely resembling volume out of it, which is why I bought the silly thing.

 

Ashdown cabinets...I bought the MAG410 Deep cab. Nice sound, but the bottom of the cab (particle board) split during it's first gig. The caster was the only thing holding it together.

 

Anything with aluminum speakers.

 

Most of the boutique basses out these days. I'm sure they sound great, but I can't play an instrument that I can't stand to look at.

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I'll finally play,

GK Backline112 I just plan hated it. It seemed a passive bass running through it was overdriving the pre to no end.(Even with the pad) That thing is rated at 100 watts and it came acorss to me at maybe 50 with a somewhat decent sound.

I do have to say I like my Carvin BR12. The adjustments are very touchy and a little goes a LONG way. The compressor REALLY compresses. It pulls 100 watts @ 8ohms and if you run an ext. you 'll get 120Watts @ 4ohms. Loud enough for rehearsal and small to medium sized gigs not TOO rockin'

Got a 78ish Fender precision, very comfortable with the baseball neck, but I also play an OLD Ibanez SG800 thats got the thinnest neck I've played. It does works great for me. The neck CAN be a little tempermental with drastic weather change.

And last, Carvin BB76 fretless; Flat neck, like the sound BUT not allot of tonal options with it. But I hope that my fingers can contribute something to my sound.

I realized writing this I gotta get myself into some stores and try out more gear! Not nearly hating as much stuff as the rest of you. :)

 

Brocko

 

*I reserve the right to come back and change my opinions about all this stuff after I check out more gear and get upset!

Don't have a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. ~ Johnny Carson
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Peavey TKO: Agh: it's what a guitar player thinks a bass should sound like.

Maybe that's why a guitar sounds better through mine than a bass. :grin:

 

The EQ on the TKO doesn't do much, it's either too harsh or sounds like a fart in a rubber trashcan. It's good to have in the living room, if relatives visit with their kids I don't worry about it being damaged. I've tried to kill that thing and it just won't die.

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I used to have a Gorilla combo amp as my practice amp. First amp I owned. I will never own another. Talk about a thin tone without any robustness! Wow.

 

However, it's what got me started and there's some merit in that...I think...

 

Peace.

--Dub $$

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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They are built like tanks, which is great, but I do not like the way Peavey amps/cabs sound.

 

I owned an Ernie Ball Stingray in the nineties and for about five years it was my main bass. The craftsmanship was excellent and it was a stunningly beautiful instrument with a butterscotch finish, 3 band EQ, and a figured bird's eye maple neck.

 

However, that bass was brighter than Hale-Bopp, no matter how I EQ'd it. It was great for slapping (which really isn't my bag), but, try as I might, I could not get a warm fingerstyle tone out of it. Also, the string spacing was uncomfortably wide for me and due to a sharp edge on the bridge or saddle, I used to break strings on it regularly.

 

I wouldn't say I hated it, but it wasn't the right bass for me, so I traded it in and eventually ended up with an American Standard Jazz (strung with TI jazz flats), which fits me like a glove.

 

Diff'rent strokes...

 

http://valdefierro.com/gcole22.jpg

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I used to have a Gorilla combo amp as my practice amp. First amp I owned. I will never own another. Talk about a thin tone without any robustness! Wow.

 

Me too. I asked for an amp one Christmas and Mom came in with a Gorilla. I think it was 50 watts with an eight inch driver. The salesman told her it would blow the windows out of the house. Yeah, only if "suck" can be measured in decibels. She didn't know any better, and she's my Mom, so I still love her.

 

I am currently the owner of a Hartke 115 XL and 210 XL. Got 'em off eBay. Let me just say that I have become extremely disillusioned with the Hartke cab. My affection for them came from an admiration for Will Lee's work on the Letterman show. I just HAD to have those cabs.

 

At first, I loved them. But I wasn't listening very critically. The "new" hadn't worn off yet. The critical listening began after another forum member came to see me play one night. We were discussing our gear and his comment about Hartke was something to the effect of, "Well, if it's what you like....".

 

He wasn't being sarcastic or mean. He was merely stating that he didn't care for the sound of those cabs, but I was the one who had to be happy with them. (He will probably read this and think that he made me feel that my gear was inferior, so I absolutely refuse to mention his name. So do not bother trying to apologize, Dave Sisk! It's just between us. :grin:)

 

Anyway, the sentiments pretty widely held here concerning Hartke cabs are true. After using them for about a year and a half, I can say with authority that they are totally deficient in depth and they color your tone in a way that is now almost unpleasant to me ears. They still look cool to me, but they are going by the wayside as soon as possible.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Quinn, You should try the Music Man Sterling. It's probably right down your alley. I purchased one of these a while back and love this baby. With the 3-way coil switch and 3 band EQ, you can take out the high end and get either Mids, or bottom end you can't believe. Give one a try. I also have the Stingray-5, which has the same set-up as the Sterling. Ken
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Here's my hate list:

 

1) Pencil thin necks like on the SR Ibanez and 4 string Jazz basses. My hands just don't seem to be able to ajust to them.

 

2) I am beginning to dislike having too much eq and tone shaping options. I'll spend way too much time tweaking while not making my tone any better, and then end up with the eq flat or near flat anyway.

 

3) Hartke, Behringer and Peavey for all the same reasons others have already mentioned. I have been able to get a decent workable tone out of everything else I've played through.

 

4) Parker Fly, MM Bongo and boutique basses with the upper horn connected to the neck, I just can't seem to get past the "looks" of these basses.

 

5) Nickel Wound and coated strings. I just personally like the sound of bright steel strings like DR HiBeams.

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I am currently the owner of a Hartke 115 XL and 210 XL. Got 'em off eBay. Let me just say that I have become extremely disillusioned with the Hartke cab. My affection for them came from an admiration for Will Lee's work on the Letterman show. I just HAD to have those cabs.

 

At first, I loved them. But I wasn't listening very critically. The "new" hadn't worn off yet. The critical listening began after another forum member came to see me play one night. We were discussing our gear and his comment about Hartke was something to the effect of, "Well, if it's what you like....".

 

He wasn't being sarcastic or mean. He was merely stating that he didn't care for the sound of those cabs, but I was the one who had to be happy with them. (He will probably read this and think that he made me feel that my gear was inferior, so I absolutely refuse to mention his name. So do not bother trying to apologize, Dave Sisk! It's just between us. :grin:)

 

 

Uh oh...when will I learn to keep my big mouth shut! :crazy: Jay, sorry if I in any way contributed to your discontent with your cabs! Check the raleigh.craigslist.org and if you find anything that looks good, I'll be happy to go check 'em out for ya.

 

The bassist who kind of inspired me to take up bass back when I was playing drums used (and absolutely loved) the Hartke cabs with aluminum drivers. I really think it's a matter of taste more than anything else. I've always thought Stu Hamm has a great tone, and he uses Hartke cabs. They certainly do have a characteristic coloration to them that I've never been fond of. Now that said, I actually played through a Hartke head and one of the Hartke 810T cabs a while back in Sam Ash (when I was unable to put down the Tobias Killer B and ended up buying it), and I have to admit I was able to dial in a pretty good tone with it. But, that's a big cab to lug around...

 

Dave

 

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I said no apologies!

 

There really is no telling just how much influence this forum has had on my discontent. I try to be my own man. But, you and many others here have helped to open my eyes and ears to what is out there and make me a better listener. The Lowdown has had a lot to do with that!

 

Not a negative thing, at all.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Eden WT-300/400/550/800 amplifiers; pretty much any Eden with a tube front. I know people love them, and I think they sound okay solo in a store, but every time I have used them as a backline I found the inherent, over-saturated tube sound was mushy in the mix.

 

So Getz76. What do you think of tube fronts in general. After reading this I ABed the BBE BMAX and BMAXT on basstasters and the T was less bright. Do most tube fronts have less brightness... or what some would call more warmth?

 

 

 

 

 

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JD,

 

I try not to make sweeping generalizations of gear and designs.

 

I have five pieces of bass amplification with tube front ends; Demeter VTBP-201s, Kern IP-777, SWR Interstellar Overdrive, Aguilar DB359, and Mesa/Boogie Bass 400+. I have three pieces of bass amplification with solid-state front ends; Eden WT-405, SWR Workingman's 15, and Gallien Krueger MB150E.

 

I dig all of these. Some of the favorites:

 

http://mauryspadoto.com/hivezero/nice_rack.jpg*

 

They all sound different. When set correctly, the Demeter is one of the cleanest sounding preamplifiers around in the price range for bass. The Kern has an inherent girth (low end response). The SWR can get clean, but sounds best when pushed into the raging overdrive zone. The Aguilar sounds like a refined SVT.

 

* the Warwick preamp is not mine

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That picture looks familiar! Oh wait, that's my living room where all that gear is! :grin:

 

The Warwick preamp is not mine, either. But it is mine temporarily. I'm enjoying it. :thu:

 

By the by, I've found that there is some gear that I've more or less sworn off of for completely petty, irrational reasons. ("Irrational reasons" -- paradox?) There are some items I refuse to own simply because I can't stand the person who uses them. Ridiculous, right? Yes. But sadly true. :(:rolleyes:

 

Thankfully there are very, very, very few people whom I loathe in the first place (I am about the Luv, after all), and it's quite a small subset of those people who are bassists! ;)

 

At least the market is big enough that there are ample amps, cabs, and basses to choose from -- even if I rule a couple of items out for stupid reasons!

 

Peace.

-Dub $$

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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