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XTREME 5.1 w/WCA 411 Pro 4ohm initial impression

Discussion in 'Bass Amps & Cabinets' started by JSmith, May 11, 2010.

  1. JSmith

    JSmith

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    Actually I should have titled this thread "XTREME 5.1 w 411 Pro 4ohm VS. TWO Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier half stacks".

    My goodness are those guitar amps LOUD! I recently joined a side project and the focus is primarily metal music. It's a bit of a departure from what I usually play but I figured what better opportunity to try out my new rig in a live band situation. So I hauled all the gear to practice, set up, and started jamming. For starters, the XTREME 5.1 and the 4ohm 411 pro felt like it had a ton of head room. I was impressed with how well it filled the practice area which was an average sized garage. That was until those two Mesa Boogie half stacks fired up. It was the first official practice for us so I'm still feeling out the guitar players but needless to say we were WAY too loud. One of the guitarists agreed. It probably didn't help that I was in front of my amp with my back to it but it felt like I was being over powered very quickly. I ended up pushing the master close to the 3 o'clock position with the pre-amp properly set just to mix with them and that made me nervous. I scaled it back and then played with the EQ a bit to bring out more mids to cut through but it seemed like I was being dominated. I'm hoping the next practice isn't so loud because I think I may have to bow out if those sort of levels are a constant thing with these guys and I can't talk them down to a lower level. The XTREME stayed with those guys but my fear is that I'm going to be pushing it harder than it was intended to be pushed.

    Other than that, I'm in love with my new set up. It never gave a hint of trouble and sounds fantastic. It's the sound I was looking for and I like that I can switch the EQ on and off with a footswitch. It gives me a lot of tonal versatility.

    I'm thinking out loud here (no pun intended) but should I have gone with a 211 pro and a 115 pro instead of just a single 411? Maybe I should have gone with an EXTREME 10.1? Damn these feelings of inadequacy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2010
  2. JSmith

    JSmith

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    Note to moderator, I mistakenly put 5.2 instead of 5.1 in the title, can someone please correct that? Thank you.
     
  3. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Man,

    I think that 500W is powerful enough, but if you really want to be LOUD, then 2X 411 pro would be the right setup for you :)
     
  4. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Only if there is a lot going on in the very low end do I find my sound can almost get lost, but the rest I can get to sit there nicely. Don'y be suprised if you do need to crank the amp a little in a metal band. Bearing in mind they are using valve amps they are trying to get that sweet spot in the tone that you only get when cranked up. Your volume thing sounds ery similar to mine. I use the 10.1 and often sit at about 10 oclock on the master.

    Don't use too much contour, I used to and struggled to be heard, turned it off and was too loud. Use it till subtly till it works.

    I also half boost the mid frequencies at 1K. Use a pic and my $$ is in single coil mode.

    I hope some of this can help you.
     
  5. Curtis

    Curtis Editor De Bassist magazine (NL)

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    One of my bands is too loud too. So loud I can't hear the bassdrum, which gives problems if we are recording. Sometimes I play other things than the bassdrum does, which is sometimes a problem. After a while I stopped complaining and just took my earplugs to rehearsals, ha ha!

    But my point: I have this 200W Hiwatt DR201 tube amp. I used to play with a 50W '64 Vox AC50 which was loud enough for most venues and rehearsals. The 200W Hiwatt is LOUD! But with two blasting guitar amps (a Vox AC30 and a Fender 4x10 Deville) I also have to put volume and gain over 2 O'Clock... I once tried a 400W tubeamp, but that just wasn't any louder. You just need more speakers to get louder. Another 410 or a 115.

    But that's no solution: I guess your guitar players need to turn down a bit. With gigs they will have a fight with the sound engineers. They won't be able to mix drums and vocals as hard as there guitars. We musicians always want everything louder than everything else and sound engineers want you to play quiet, so they have some room to mix the music. Over the years I learned to play with less stage volume. Just talk to the engineers and find a nice middle. I like loud, but you can be too loud.
    And I assure you: Your guitar players will have problems, playing live. Or they have to go down in volume or the will ruin the sound!
     
  6. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    The thing is making sure they eq properly. Bedroom eq doesn't work in any other setting.
     
  7. JSmith

    JSmith

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    Don't put ideas into my head! :D

    Thanks for the input. In fact I did play with the settings and brought the mids up. I also use very little if any contour. I think I will play with it more next practice and maybe set the amp up next to one of the guitar amps and see how it sounds then. I think standing in front of it had a lot to do with my not hearing myself well. I play with fingers still but I may try a pick for this situation. Thanks again!

    Exactly. When I used to play out a lot more I would keep a cheat sheet of settings that worked in a particular venue and go from there. The knobs turn for a reason right? :)
     
  8. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Well yeah of course they do. It's very rare that I adjust anything in different venues. The only hing I have done in a particularly bad venue was majorly cut the treble so it didnt sound thin. Still sounded horrible but at least sounded like a bass again and not a tight piece of cheese wire.

    I will admit it does take a little bit of time to get used to the X-Treme. You have to use the voicing section otherwise your sound will have the balls of a chinese field mouse. Good luck with your tone search, the amp is worth keeping. Just remember mesa's are meant for cranking. At low volumes they do not sound that great. Your X-Treme however will sound good at all volumes if the cab can handle it. A two x 4x10 is always good though.
     
  9. JSmith

    JSmith

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    I had the totally opposite happen at a local club our band frequented. Something about that space but the bass just got boomy and way over powering.

    I'd have to agree with you, the X-Treme is taking me a bit to get used to compared to other amps I've used. I will say though that I love the tone and I think I'm starting to get a feel for dialing it in. I followed Florin's write up on how to get a decent setup on an X-Treme a couple months ago and it was tremendously useful. Thanks for the insight. Looking forward to the next practice where I can try some different settings.
     
  10. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Yeah I found his write up immensly helpful but I myself do dial in a bit more bass than he recommends. Dunno about you but I do find that the Bottom dial is required for putting balls into the sound otherwise it has none. And despite all the options on the amp I hardly change the settings.
     
  11. JSmith

    JSmith

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    I did the same. I'm running the bottom around the 3-4 o'clock position. Other than that, I also haven't changed much since getting the initial sound dialed in. I like how the voicing section really determines the character of the sound while the EQ section works well to even out or add flavor to that tone.
     
  12. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Funnily enough though when I last went to the studio I added a Mesa 400+ to the mix, for a bit of valve drive. But strangely enough I could get the same sound out of the mesa when everything was flat on the eq to what I get with my X-TREME after several years of trying to understand it. Plus I could add some valve drive.
     
  13. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    They are very different sounding amps. MESA will give you the fat tube tone, while the XTREME is on the modern - growly side.

    And yes, you should try the amp with controls flat, because the controls are more like "fine tuning" the sound, they are not working miracles.
     
  14. carpediem930

    carpediem930

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    Hey Florin, I just got the same setup as the OP, can you point me in the direction of the setup tips that JSmith mentioned? I could use some pointers setting it up with my Thumb NT
     
  15. Charmand G

    Charmand G

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    Listen to this man, he is very wise.
     
  16. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Jon,

    Sorry for my late reply :)

    The Xtreme has a lot of buttons, so it can be a little bit tricky to find your sound. Forst of all those are tips to get a "correct" sound, but it is better y0u start from there and be creative.
    - Gain - as usual set it until you see the red light clipping, and then turn it down a little. The clip light should blink only at very loud notes.
    - Compression. Better not... If you want to use it, use only very light compression, almost unaudible.
    - EQ Balance - that willl blend the EQ's sound with the flat sound. Use it by taste :)
    - Bottom - That will act more like a low cut. Turn it up until you don't hear those boomy lows anymore. You probably want clean lows, not boomy lows.
    - Contour - I use it off, but you can be creative with it. It will cut the mids, so the bass will be less punchy, so be careful
    - Growl - 250 HZ - it sounds nice a little boost.
    - Attack - 2500 HZ- leave it flat if you want an old school sound, boost it for a modern growl.
    - Bass - leave it flat
    - Mid Freq. - Do like this- boost the mid level up to 11, and then tweak the mid freq button. Around 800 and 1,8 k you will hear the sound changing dramatically. Look for the kind of sweet spot you like. The kind of voice you like., and leave it there. I like a lot around 1,1 k, or 800
    - Mid Level - turn it back by taste. I usually boost it pretty much - even 4- 5... Played alone it might sound too much, but in the mix it will bring the right growl for your bass, and will make all your friends to ask you what bass do you play.
    - Treble - use it by taste. Don't you ever cut it. Boost it if you feel like hearing mode "fret noise"

    That's it, I hope it helps buddy.
     
  17. carpediem930

    carpediem930

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    Thanks a bunch, I'll be trying out those setting soon :)
     
  18. JSmith

    JSmith

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    I'd also like to chime and make an update. I may have typo-ed in an earlier post regarding the "bottom" knob. I think I meant to say at the number 3-4 position and NOT 3-4 o'clock. At any rate, I've gotten much more comfortable with the X-Treme and have found that the best method is do exactly as Florin says and start with everything flat.
     
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