Wayne Jones is a working bass player, sideman, writer and producer. His original foray into the equipment side of things involved building a bass cab with his father, and that sparked a curiosity that’s led him to design and refine his own ideas and improve on what most people understand to be the standard in the bass cab market. He’s collaborated on a 10” speaker design with Lorantz Audio in Melbourne that has become the backbone of Wayne Jones Audio’s Active and Passive Bass Cabinets – considered widely to be some of the most detailed and balanced in the world today. Add in a studio quality valve preamp and you can start to get a better idea about the quality of these cabs, and what goes in to getting the best audio quality possible.
You talk about a lot of amps not being a true representation of your bass tone – for example running through an Avalon DI in the studio etc?
It’s the never-ending quest for the perfect sound! I’ve got over 45 years experience in all sorts of music related activities. I run my own record label and I have and played and recorded with all types of local and international musicians, so experience is really how all this has come about — by a bass player for the bass player. As bass players, we want one thing, we want it to shine though. You can do that in the studio where you’re subject to monitors and the engineer, but with a great DI like an Avalon U5 or 737, you can get the sound of your bass as it is as long as the preamp is setup correctly. So in simple terms, no one has so far been able to do this for two reasons. One, they haven’t had the knowledge and two, it’s too costly.
So these 10” speakers are your favourite then?
Yes, with 10” they have attack, but they can lack in bottom end. Or if it has bottom end, it lacks in tops or might have muddy mid-range. Essentially a lot of companies can voice speakers with highs or lows but it’s a trade-off. So Michail (Barabasz) from Lorantz Audio in Melbourne and I worked on a 10” speaker for two years that could handle an extended range, and we did it.
You’ve taken these concepts into the production of your amp as well?
You’ll notice often with an amp, the frequency points are set at the wrong spots. You’ll turn up the low mid and it’ll work for one thing, but affect something else. With our amp, we’ve actually tuned each EQ knob to essentially work with each string. The bass control is set to your low E string, low mid is your A, mid is the D, high mid is G, treble is the C string on a 6-string bass. The separation and clarity lets you really tune each string without affecting the others much at all.
It must make things easier if you don’t have to compensate and can just focus on the best sound replication possible.
A lot of companies have to work on business decisions and mass produce for certain needs. This is a passion for me firstly as a bass player, so everything comes from that in building the best quality possible. It’s a people thing, it’s a fellow bass player thing and it’s a business – it’s a real joy.
How do you manage production with overseas markets?
Our speakers are made in Melbourne, there’s a factory in Kentucky that puts them together. The carpet comes from China – it’s actually a much higher quality UV rating and more expensive, our premise is quality not quantity. The covers are made in Pennsylvania and the power amps come from Denmark; so we’ve got stuff going everywhere! I spent time in Kentucky and built cabinets with the factory. I then sat back and watched them build them to see that they were doing it to spec so the quality is controlled too. They store and ship for me, so everything works nicely for now, and further to that we’ve started getting rigs into backline and venues around the world like The Blue Note in Nagoya and SIR Studios in Nashville, so we can support our endorsees but also provide for other players.
For more information about Wayne Jones and his products, visit waynejonesaudio.com.