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Efficent way to improve Bass tone

Discussion in 'Bass' started by EricWatkins, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Hi, I'm a keyboard player foremost but on occasion have been known to play bass. In my current band, my bass player would like for me to sit in on bass for a few songs here and there.

    He plays through a pretty nice Musicman bass. He used to play it through an old SVT head and 8x10. His tone was basically just beautiful all the time. THe band plays country, and 80s rock and pop. His tone always sounded great on everything.

    Well eventually, he started having problems with the head. No one around here knows how to work on them so he was looking at having to send it to Nashville for a good reputable tech. He instead decided to start over with a fresh rig.

    Enter me: For a long time, this bass player and I were in two different bands that shared the same practice studio. Both bands were (and still are) great friends. In the former band, I played bass through an SWR Workingman's 4004 head with a 2x10 and another 15. Great little rig. Easy to use. Coming from being a keyboard player my whole life, it was a real thrill to just plug in a cord and play. THe SWR rig had a great tone for the band I was in at the time which was heavy stuff like Cold, Sevendust, Fozzy, and so-on. I used to get compliments on the tone and I'd say "Thanks, I plugged it in all by myself" (lol).

    Anyway, because of that tone fitting well with what we were doing, this other bass player decided to get an SWR rig only his is like 700 watts I think with 2 - 4x10 cabs. Long story even longer, he hasnt been happy since. The tone is kinda sterile compared to the SVT tone and he wants that warm fuzz back. When he played through the SVT, it just seems like every tone came out beautiful no matter where he was on the neck. Almost like a really natural but potent compressor. Does this make sense?

    SO now I'm trying to figure out what he could do to warm things up in his tone without buying a new SVT rig because he probably spent 2200 on the SWR. I'm just wondering if there is an overdrive/compressor that could help. Stompbox, rack, pod, whatever. THe only thing is, I'd like to find something within a small budget. Like a few hundred bucks or something. It's mainly for him but I would also be interested in a way to warm up my own bass sound even though I dont play out with it anymore. I'm sure I'll use it again someday in this band or another.

    Thanks for the long listen.

    Eric :D
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain. The original SVT was a real monster and a spoiler. You might try a Tech 21 Bass Driver to warm things up. It's analog, so there is no dynamics-robbing modelling going on. It's built like a brick outhouse, and is certainly within your price range.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Moons got it.....The bass driver is a nice tube box. Its NOT going to get you real close to the SVT, which has tubes driving the tubes....... :wink: The SWR Interstellar Overdrive pre is another way to go. I dont know what SWR head he got, but I have one and its never been 'sterile'...real clean ...yes....real accurate...yes....but its a little one and I use it for the highs in my rig. I use an Ampeg SVT Pro III on the bottom.

    The BBE bass preamp is another thing to look into. I'm surprised that the SWR isnt a hybrid...aka: Tube pre solidstate power...Most of the bigger amps are. Maybe he just hasnt learned the nuances of this amp yet. It takes a lot of tweeking and dialing with a new head especially after coming from the SVT.

    I dont know what cabinets he bought, but I will recommend the Avatar neo-dyniums. Extremely punchy and warm and at 65lbs per cabinet an easy move.

    I know this isnt exactly what you were wanting hear, but lets face facts.....there is nothing like an SVT. Nothing.
  4. Crankitup

    Crankitup Guest

    i wouldn't recommend avatar at all. poor construction and terrible tone!
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    WTF??? What Avatar were YOU using?!?!?!? Personally, I have a Big Ben 15 and it makes my 70 Bandmaster look like a (vaginal orifice placed here). Anyway,the Eminence Neos ROCK on bass !! There were some issues with those whimpy speaker-mounting screws vs. T-bolts, but those got fixed a long time ago...I would put a 4x10 Avatar up against an 8X10 SVT cab any day...Sorry, DD, I know you don't need the support, but really...
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Thanx Moon....Yeah, there were issues....about 5 years ago!

    I was hell-bent on an Ampeg cab untill I heard one of these......The efficiency is amazing and they go really low. Since I play a 5 string some of the night, I WANT a 'B' note to be a 'B' note....fundamental and all. The SVT cab NEVER got me a fundamental though it is a sweet sound theres still things lacking. All those speakers certainly make up for anything in most ways but there are no Subharmonics to speak of.

    Not so with the Avatar cab and the Neo's.

    Anyway...everyones entitled to their opinion. Hopefully its a real-world real-time and real-usage one so we dont confuse folks who are looking for solutions they havent expeienced yet.

    BTW...I've been playing bass for around 40 years now. Owned one of everything so far.
  7. saxnbass

    saxnbass Guest

    I'm a bass player and would like to say that the BDDI (Tech 21's Sansamp Bass Driver DI), as we call it, is what you're probably wanting. It gives a warmer tube sound, and can grunge up the tone if wanted. Also, boost bass a tad on the head, give it some nice mids to cut through, and have treble either flat or cut a tad. Assuming he has the 750X head, it also has a really good distortion built in.
  8. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Thanks everyone. I'll see if we can audition the sansamp somewhere. Much appreciated.

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