Show us your bass rig!
I’ll kick things off by introducing you to my good series of friends – Presonus Studio Channel, Crown XLS 1000 and old mate Hartke 4.5XL.
Presonus Studio Channel
Whilst not a specifically bass-oriented piece of equipment, this thing has still got all the right stuff. Tube preamp, full compressor and partial parametric EQ with bypass switches for the compressor and EQ – not that you need them, dedicated input for both passive and active instruments, XLR and 1/4 inch inputs and outputs – the best part being using one does not exclude the other, so you can DI right out of it into the FOH and still keep your finely crafted tone.
The signal is run through one 12AX7 cranked up to twice the voltage. The tubes that come with Presonus gear are pretty average, so literally the first thing I did was swap it out for a Tung Sol. If anyone tells you there’s not much difference between different brands of tubes – tell them they’re dreaming! Putting the Tung Sol in this thing made it punch through the mix and sing like a bird.
You can see here I’m pushing the gain hard and driving the tube harder. This gives me a nice warm tone that is still strong enough to retain the punch, and give me just that little bit of distortion when I dig in.
The compressor is surprisingly versatile for an integrated unit. I didn’t play around with this too much – I used the guideline settings for medium-high ratio, fast attack and slow release, tweaking them slightly until I got the sound I wanted. You can see I have it set to soft knee – I chose this setting because I still wanted some musicality in the tone.
You can set it to auto compression (please don’t) and to place the compressor after the EQ in the chain (not sure why you’d want to). You can also set it so the needle gauge shows the compression level instead of the preamp gain.
And yes, again I have the gain makeup cranked all the way to ten – simply because there was no eleven 😛
The EQ doesn’t have the full suite of options, but it has just enough to get your sound perfected.
It’s called “semi-parametric” because the only parameter you can change is the mid range. But as you can see, you can select “peak mode” for the low and highs in case you want to boost or cut a specific frequency.
The settings you see here are me compensating for the unfortunate lack of low end this little unit has. I set the low to peak mode at a very low frequency and boosted the daylights out of it – and to be honest, this did the trick. You will also see I have the mid range Q set to its widest and cranked right up to offset the lack of control in the lows; the set frequency was the best balance I could find between making up for the lows and still getting that nasty mid-range snarl I also wanted. From there you can see I used the highs at the lower end of the scale just to add that little bit of extra niceness – really it’s more a high-mid than a high, but that suits me just fine 🙂
So whilst the Presonus Studio Channel is not the best bass preamp you can get, for less than $500 it does the job rather nicely!
Crown XLS 1000 Power Amp
I know that a lot of bass players use these bad boys, and for good reason.
The Crown XLS series actually has two power stage channels, which is great for doing low pass/high pass into two separate cabs. But, seeing as though I only have the one cab, I use it in Bridge Bypass mode which pushes both channels out through one.
For only a 1000 watt amp this thing really does crank it out! I’m not entirely happy with how it colours the sound, but it’s not so bad I have to replace it. And at the end of the day, when you’re playing the front bar of a crowded Aussie pub, having a power amp that throws your signal all the way out onto the street is worth the slight discolouration in my books.
Hartke 4.5XL 4×10 speaker cabinet
I borrowed one of these off a friend for a few gigs back in the day, and I always just liked them. Call them gimmicky, but those aluminium cones just seem to do the trick when it comes to a better defined sound. So when this sucker turned up on eBay I just had to grab it! Combined with my EQ settings and the Tung Sol tube, my sound really does punch through the wall of low mids my guitarists churn out.
The only issue I have with this unit? It’s heavy! As in 110 pounds heavy. Those four castor wheels I screwed into the base of it have saved my back many times over!
My name’s Sam, and this was my bass rig
So there you have it folks. Nothing fancy, but the sound this lot puts out is well and truly the shizz.
Now it’s your turn!
Show us your rig! Send us an email telling us all about the other love of your life and it may just pop up on the site for all to enjoy!