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Much Better! Re: How to make a Hartke sound good?


groover

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Hi everyone. I just found out last night that I have a regular once a month gig. I played with this group one time in January and I evidently left a good impression.

 

Anyway, their house system is a Hartke 3500 head through a Hartke 4x10 with aluminum cones. This system had a very honky, nasaly mid range that I really did not like and could not eq out. The B and E strings sounded full but the A, D and G strings sounded very weak. It seemed as though there were a wide range of frequencies that were notched out. I played with the EQ and compressor but could not even out the tone. The house PA system will not handle the bass so I had to rely on the bass amp.

 

Since I've always seemed to play with good sound systems in the past, I've always just went direct, and used a Peavey TNT 115s for stage volume if needed. I've never had a need for a higher power amp nor do I have the money now to invest in one. My Peavey is not the greatest sounding amp either (though I think it sounds way better than the Hartke) and I doubt it has enough power to handle this gig. I really want to do this gig, but it looks like I'm stuck working with the Hartke.

 

Have any of you guys worked with this set up? Is the thin nasaly notched out sound a result of the cabinet or the head and is there a way to even out its tone? Thanks!

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Originally posted by getz76:

Hmm... what bass are you playing?

I played an OLP MM3. It's strung with Rotosound SwingBass 66 (.130-.045). I know its not exactly a Sadowski or the like, but I've always got decent and even tone out of it through every other amp/system I've played through. I am playing there next week and I intend to bring my P-bass with EMG pup see what difference that makes.
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I have two of the Hartke 7000 heads and I think they're pretty good but have no distinct personality of their own. The 7000 is basically the same as a 3500, but is a biamped version. I use a sans amp bass driver to add character to the sound. What I do like about the Hartke heads is that they are pretty transparent in a way, and are very versatile. All that said I do prefer Ampeg heads.

 

The Hartke aluminum 4x10 cabs absolutely suck IMHO. The honking timbre your hearing is from those cabinets. Their paper coned cabinets sound a lot better.

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Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Did you try bypassing (or setting flat) the EQ and compressor?

Whenever I play through an amp for the first time I always set everything flat and play through it for a while before I change anything.

 

 

Originally posted by C. Alexander Claber:

Are your pickups set correctly? If they're set too level, rather than being tilted towards the high strings and away from the low strings, then that could explain it.

 

Alex

Yep, I have ajusted the pup with treble side closer to the strings, I did this shortly after I purchased the bass. I've played this bass through several other amps and did not have this problem.
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My best guess is to try a Sansamp BDDI as a front end to the Hartke. This will at least warm up the sound a bit.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Agreed on both counts. Those aluminum cones were once cool but they simply don't sound good. The Hartke heads are fine, and a good preamp makes them very nice indeed (if used with a good cab).

Originally posted by GTRBass:

I use a sans amp bass driver to add character to the sound. What I do like about the Hartke heads is that they are pretty transparent in a way, and are very versatile.

 

The Hartke aluminum 4x10 cabs absolutely suck IMHO. The honking timbre your hearing is from those cabinets. Their paper coned cabinets sound a lot better.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I had a Hartke rig with the 3500 head and a 4 x 10" that I got rid of for weight reasons. I've tried various much more expensive but more portable alternatives without finding anything that cuts so well through a big band. I played a Yamaha Nathan East through it and had nothing but compliments on my sound. I know a lot of people don't rate Hartke gear, but my experience of it was completely positive.
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Originally posted by groover:

I played an OLP MM3. I know its not exactly a Sadowski or the like, but I've always got decent and even tone out of it through every other amp/system I've played through. I am playing there next week and I intend to bring my P-bass with EMG pup.

I have a feeling the P-bass might sound better than the through that Hartke. Is it the Transporter cabinet (410TP)? That has a lot of mid-honk, and it's being exaserbated by the MM-style bass most likely. The P-bass should have a lower-mid honk and might sound better.

 

In either case, dip the highs on the eq, leave compressor off, and then turn the "enhance" knob all the way down.

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I agree that it's likely the cabinet, all the Hartkes I've played through have had this symptom.

 

Beyond that...What Maury said.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted by getz76:

I have a feeling the P-bass might sound better than the through that Hartke. Is it the Transporter cabinet (410TP)? That has a lot of mid-honk, and it's being exaserbated by the MM-style bass most likely. The P-bass should have a lower-mid honk and might sound better.

 

In either case, dip the highs on the eq, leave compressor off, and then turn the "enhance" knob all the way down.

Yea, now that you mentioned it, I do remember the cab saying Transporter on it. I'll give those settings a try.

 

Many have mentioned the SABDDI, I used to have one of those but I sold it since I wasn't using it at the time. I've been kickin' myself for that ever since. Maybe there will be an ebay purchase in my not-to-distant future...

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The pre need not be the SansAmp. If you have a pratice amp whose tone you like and it has an effect out or direct out, simply feed that into the Hartke's passive input.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I had that exact set-up. (3500 & 4x10)

 

Try leaving the Hartke EQ on but, set it completely flat. Let the Bass do all the work. If you have to nudge a freq here or there...do it from the Bass itself.

And turn that damn compressor off! Let the soundman compress your signal if he has to.

"I don't play Bass..I play SONGS."
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Originally posted by coyote:

The pre need not be the SansAmp. If you have a pratice amp whose tone you like and it has an effect out or direct out, simply feed that into the Hartke's passive input.

That's a good budget solution.

 

It would also be a good idea if you can spend some quality time with the rig before you have 5 minutes to setup and play in front of people.

 

I played though a Hartke rig as you described plus the 15" cab added on. I had the same impression you described. When I walked into the rehearsal space I was stoked. I had been looking at Hartke's in magazines and catlogs and heard so many positive things about them (plus the aluma-cones looked cool). I just couldn't seem to dial in a real good sound. Anything that was decent dissapeared when the guitarist started playing.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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Try what tucker71 said, since it sounds like experience.

 

Like others here, I have played through "house" 3500s and been happy. I have not played through Hartke cabs, so I can't speak to that.

 

Keep trying - it's better to use the house rig if will work for you.

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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Thanks guys for all your responses. I hope I didn't offend any Hartke fans/owners. I do want to work with the house rig. That was just my first ever experience with a Hartke amp. I will try the suggested EQ and compressor off settings before I decide to lug additional equipment or spend any money.

 

Thanks again!

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Sell it, then buy Ampeg.
I was gonna say something about a tall building but if you can actually get money for it . . . ;)

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I own an HA2000. I'm not a 'fan' of any brand of amp, so I'm not offended (even by folks who imply dropping it from tall buildings lol). I only know from experience that the amp itself has plenty to give if you give it a good signal and a good speaker cabinet.

Originally posted by groover:

Thanks guys for all your responses. I hope I didn't offend any Hartke fans/owners.

Thanks again!

I use a Crate (yeah, people joke about that too) BX100 combo amp - 100 watts, 15" speaker. I feed its effect send to the 200w Hartke, which drives a Peavey 4x10 cab. My bass player brought his Ric 4003 to rehearsal on Wednesday, and the house was shaking from it! It was LOUD, it was CLEAR, and it had character.

 

That rig naturally won't satisfy the terminally-hip :D , but it does the job very well.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I have the exact same setup: Hartke 3500 and TP410. I haven't had the problem you've described, but I usually go through an effects box first. When plugging in direct, I like to use more tube preamp for a warmer sound. (If you're looking for that Peavey "all transistor" sound, turn the tube preamp off and max the solid-state preamp.) When the tube goes bad, though, using the tube preamp just sounds nasty; maybe it needs a new tube?

 

I think Hartke recommends setting the preamps first (but don't turn them both up to 10), the master volume, the contours (low and high), and then activating the EQ and messing with that. Go easy on compression or just leave it off.

 

The cab is 8 ohm, but the head sounds better when driving 4 ohms (2x 8 ohm cabs). See if your Peavey combo will let you bypass the head, so you can plug the output of the Hartke straight to the speaker (assuming it is 8 ohms). With an 8 ohm load, the 3500 only puts out 240 Watts; with 4 ohms it does 350 Watts.

 

I've run both of my TP410's from one 3500 and it sounds more full to me than running just one 4x10. I've also used a MesaBoogie 4x12 for a bottom cab before, and that seemed to really beef up the bottom end and round out the tone. Sure, the Transporter's aren't the top-of-the-line -- even for Hartke -- and they are very "bright" tone-wise but I think they do well enough, especially when paired with something more conventional.

 

So ... yeah, maybe a DI or FX box is the cheapest way to go. Or just borrow your guitar player's bottom Marshall 4x12 -- he's not using it anyway!

 

And to you haters out there, just remember, Hartke was designed to Jaco's specs; you're just jealous! IMO the aluminum cones punch through the mix better -- don't know why butcherNburn had trouble -- rather than just adding more Watts of low "rumble". I had no problems contributing to my drummer's deafness over the guitar player's full Marshall stack. :P

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I'm another Hartke hater. I owned the 3500 head for a long time and it never delivered great sounds. I got the best results with the compressor off and graphic EQ off, and the tube and FET pre-amps set to equal gains (usually 5 and 5). I used pretty much only used the master volume and rotary bass/treble controls on my 3500. The best advice seems to be, "keep it simple" with the 3500. My Hartke head was always a little muddy sounding and never transparent; the last thing its tone ever needed was "warming up".

 

I never owned the matching Hartke cabinet, but I played one years later at a band audition and was pleasantly surprised. I was able to get a pleasant tone out of an old Peavey head and Hartke 410XL cab, without any fuss at all. I have also briefly tried a Hartke 410 Transporter with an Ampeg head at a store with poor results. I don't know, maybe Hartke has quality control issues or maybe the 410XL is a vastly superior product.

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I've never liked the Hartke heads with any cabinet combo but I do use the Hartke 4.5XL with my Ampeg SVTIII Pro. I love the sound of this combination with every axe I have ever had. Currently I mostly play my Modulus Quantum 5 w/EMG's but like the sound also with my 77' Fender Jazz and my Hamer 5 with 2TEK bridge.

I have found many times that technique plays in to the sound just as much as the equipment. Keep experimenting with the set up and I bet you will find a sound that will work for you.

My last comment is that the transporter and paper cone versions by Hartke do not match there XL series at all. The XL's are 100% better! Ask Jaco!

 

Have a Great Day!

 

harleyboy

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